Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights: What's Right for Me?

Indoor air quality is a concern for every household. Without the right air quality products, indoor air is often two to five times more contaminated compared to outdoor air. But with different air cleaning methods to choose from, how do you learn which one is ideal for your home and family? Here’s a comparison of two quality options—air purifiers and UV lights.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

Air purifiers are used to improve indoor air quality by removing dust, tobacco smoke, and pollen from the air. Some also collect odor-causing molecules for a pleasant scent. Air purifiers are available in a portable form, which means they can only clean the air in one room at a time.

There are many types of air purifiers, such as mechanical filters, activated carbon filters, ozone generators, electronic air purifiers, and ionization systems. They all function somewhat differently, but the goal is the same—to capture airborne pollutants. However, once allergens settle to the floor, purifiers can no longer trap and remove them.

One underlying side-effect with a number of air purifiers is that they generate ozone. Whether in its raw form or mixed with other chemicals, ozone can be hazardous to health. Exposure to ozone affects lung function and enhances the risk of throat irritation, coughing, chest pain and lung inflammation. This is an ironic side effect, considering that a homeowner would only purchase an air purifier to improve indoor air quality, not hurt it! Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommendations, homeowners are reminded to utilize proven systems of managing indoor air pollution. These methods include removing or controlling pollutant sources, adding outdoor air ventilation and using any proven methods of air cleaning that doesn’t intensify or generate ozone.

How Do UV Lights Work?

Ultraviolet-C (UVC) rays are the highest energy portion of the UV radiation spectrum. This type of light is called germicidal because it inactivates most viruses and kills bacteria and molds. UV lamps have been used as a sterilization mechanism in hospitals and food production for decades. When added to your HVAC system, UV lights can drastically increase indoor air quality.

The process is quite uncomplicated: an ultraviolet lamp is installed in your ventilation system, where it runs throughout the day. Any time the air conditioner or furnace turns on, indoor air containing particulates moves through the light. Airborne microorganisms are inactivated in under 10 seconds of contact, rendering them unable to reproduce until they die quickly after UVC exposure. It is encouraged that UV lights be utilized in conjunction with both high efficiency filtration and ventilation devices. All three work with one another to provide the best, most pure indoor air for your home.

Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights – Which is Recommended?

McKinley Heating Service Experts suggest installing UV lights for enhanced indoor air quality. This solution can provide relief to those suffering from asthma and allergies, namely in warm, humid regions where microorganisms thrive. Unlike air purifiers, UV lights can:

  • Clean the air in your entire home
  • Destroy the bulk of viruses, bacteria and mold
  • Enhance your HVAC system’s lifespan
  • Avoid the possibility of generating ozone

If you decide a UV germicidal light is beneficial for your home, speak with one of our indoor air quality specialists today. We can walk you through the best combination of products based on your HVAC equipment and indoor air quality needs. Keep in mind, you should still have an HVAC air filtration system to remove dust, pollen and pet dander since UV lights won't affect inanimate allergens. To learn more about these air cleaning methods, or to arrange a free home health consultation, call us at 780-800-7092 now!

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