Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights: What's Best for My Needs?

Indoor air quality is important for every homeowner. If you lack the proper air quality products, indoor air is often two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. But with different air cleaning methods available, how do you know which one is right for your home and family? Here’s a comparison of two quality choices—air purifiers and UV lights.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

Air purifiers are designed to improve indoor air quality by trapping dust, tobacco smoke, and pollen from the air. Some also capture odor-causing molecules for a fresher scent. Air purifiers can be found in a portable form, which means they can only be used in one room at a time.

There are different types of air purifiers, like mechanical filters, activated carbon filters, ozone generators, electronic air purifiers, and ionization systems. They all function a little differently, but the goal is the same—to capture airborne particles. However, once allergens fall to the floor, purifiers can no longer catch and remove them.

One consistent side-effect with several air purifiers is that they generate ozone. Whether in its raw form or mixed with other chemicals, ozone can be detrimental to health. Exposure to ozone affects lung function and escalates the risk of throat irritation, coughing, chest pain and lung inflammation. This is an ironic side effect, since a homeowner would only purchase an air purifier to improve indoor air quality, not make it worse! Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommendations, homeowners are advised to use proven methods of reducing indoor air pollution. These methods include phasing out or controlling pollutant sources, adding outdoor air ventilation and using any proven methods of air cleaning that doesn’t add 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 known as germicidal because it inactivates most viruses and wipes out bacteria and molds. UV lamps have been used as a sterilization mechanism in hospitals and food production for decades. When placed in your HVAC system, UV lights can dramatically increase indoor air quality.

The process is quite simple: an ultraviolet lamp is installed in your air ducts, where it runs constantly. Every time the air conditioner or furnace starts, indoor air containing particles moves near the light. Airborne microorganisms are inactivated in under 10 seconds of contact, rendering them unable to reproduce until they die shortly after UVC exposure. It is suggested that UV lights be installed in conjunction with both high efficiency filtration and ventilation systems. All three work in unison to give you the best, most pure indoor air for your home.

Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights – Which is Better?

McElroy Service Experts encourages you to consider installing UV lights for maximum indoor air quality. This solution can provide relief to people suffering from asthma and allergies, particularly in sunny, humid settings where microorganisms are in abundance. Unlike air purifiers, UV lights can:

  • Improve the air in your entire home
  • Destroy the bulk of viruses, bacteria and mold
  • Extend your HVAC system’s lifespan
  • Reduce the potential of generating ozone

If you feel a UV germicidal light is right for your home, speak with one of our indoor air quality specialists today. We can point you to the best combination of products based on your HVAC equipment and indoor air quality needs. Don’t forget, you should still install an HVAC air filtration system to remove dust, pollen and pet dander since UV lights can’t affect inorganic allergens. To learn more about these air cleaning methods, or to schedule a free home health consultation, call us at 308-210-4398 today!

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