Are UV Air Purifiers Worth It?

When people think of air pollution, they usually envision smog-filled cities. However, the impacts of indoor air pollution shouldn’t be overlooked. The pollutants found in indoor air and dust can cause or exacerbate respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases and more.

If you’re a homeowner concerned about indoor air quality, there are several steps you can take to reduce your risk for exposure. It’s important to keep your home clean and well-ventilated. You may also want to invest in air purification technology, like a UV air purifier. The following are several factors to consider when purchasing an air purifier.

Traditional Air Purifiers

Traditional air purifiers use filters and fans to draw in air, capture particles and pollutants, and release clean air. To maintain good performance, the filters in these purifiers, which are made of materials like mesh, fiber or paper, need to be replaced regularly. Traditional air purifiers are best for filtering particles like pollen and dust, and they are less successful at capturing potentially hazardous gases and volatile organic compounds.

UV Air Purifiers

UV air purifiers use ultraviolet light technology to control the spread of viruses and other harmful organisms. Ultraviolet light is a form of electromagnetic radiation with germicidal properties. It damages the genetic material of microorganisms, preventing further reproduction of the pathogens. UV light – specifically UV-C light – may help to deactivate fungi, bacteria, viruses and mold. This reduces the spread of potentially hazardous viruses, which helps keep homes, offices and other indoor spaces disease-free.

The Importance of UV Light Exposure

For UV air purifiers to be effective, the pathogens must be exposed to intense UV light for a prolonged period of time. As UV exposure increases, the damage to the pathogen’s genetic material increases. To facilitate this exposure, UV air purifiers, like traditional purifiers, use fans to suck in air. The air is then sent to a chamber, where it is exposed to UV light. Once the air is clean, it is sent back into the room via the fans.

Combined Technologies

To increase the efficiency of UV air purifiers, these devices may combine UV light technology with additional purification methods. Some UV filters are equipped with traditional HEPA filters, which remove contaminants like dust and pollen from the air before it’s sent into the UV-C chamber for additional purification.

UV air purifiers may also feature activated carbon, which can trap smoke and other gases. Because of the porous nature of charcoal, the surface space of activated carbon can be used to capture gaseous substances.

Are They Worth It?

UV-C light does have germicidal properties, which makes it an effective way to rid the air of living organisms like mold and mildew. Before you invest in a UV air purifier, however, make sure to do your research. For best results, the UV light must be intense enough to damage the mold and mildew at a cellular level. Inexpensive UV air purifiers with inadequate UV-light technology may not be worth it.

It’s also important to remember that for UV air purifiers to work, the organisms must be airborne. Mold and mildew collecting in the carpet, the walls, or in other corners of the house won’t be affected by the purifier. Meanwhile, standard HEPA filters are better at trapping particles, like pet dander and pollen. If you’re more concerned about allergies than about hazardous organic compounds, then a traditional air purifier may be sufficient.

Choosing a UV Air Purifier

If you decide to purchase a UV air purifier, look for the following:

  • Multiple stages of air filtration
  • Multiple settings
  • Noise reduction
  • Replacement rate

Many UV purifiers have two or more stages of air filtration to increase the elimination of airborne organisms, particles, allergens and other pollutants. Before the air gets to the UV light chamber, it may pass through a pre-filter, which captures the largest particles, and a HEPA filter, which traps smaller non-biological contaminants. Purifiers with only one filtration method may not provide comprehensive elimination.

Speed settings allow you to adjust the purifier to your specifications. You can crank it up to full blast on spring days with high pollen counts, and you can use the lowest setting overnight to save energy. If you’re sensitive to noises, look for an air purifier with a silent/white noise setting.

When purchasing an air purifier, you’re not just investing in the device. Eventually, you’ll need to purchase replacement filters and bulbs. Look for information about how often you’ll need to replace parts.

Long-Term Air Quality

Breeze Air Conditioning has been providing residents of Palm Desert and the surrounding areas with HVAC services, including repair, maintenance and installation, for years. If you want professional assistance tackling your indoor air quality concerns, turn to Breeze Air Conditioning. Contact us today for more information about air quality, HVAC repair and much more.

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