There was a time almost two years back when indoor air quality was not considered too big a deal by the homeowners, even though HVAC contractors stress its importance time and again. The US EPA also warns against its deterioration. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and contagiousness are now forcing the homeowners to rethink.
There are many devices available in the market that can help improve indoor air quality. The two that are fast gaining popularity are – air purifiers and UV lights. At the very outset, air purifiers and UV lights may not necessarily save you from contracting COVID-19. Still, they can reduce the concentration of viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens present in the indoor air. Let us see in the race of air purifiers Vs. UV lights who comes out on top.
Air purifiers are devices that are used to improve indoor air quality. These devices remove dust, dirt, smoke, pollen, and even Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from the air. Some air purifiers are portable, and you can shift them from room to room as you move about, while some units are fixed. They operate with the installed HVAC system to provide whole-home air purification.
Based on the manner in which the air purifiers help clean the air, one can opt for a unit with activated carbon filters, ozone generators, or mechanical filters. Furthermore, there are ionization systems and also electronic air purifiers. Although the way they clean the indoor air is different, their ultimate goal is the same.
Also known as the Ultra Violet lights, these belong to the “C” spectrum of the UV wavelength. The unique thing about UVC lights is that it renders most bacteria and viruses inactive. For this very reason, these are also referred to as germicidal lights. UV lamps have long been used in hospitals, care homes, etc., for sterilization purposes. The way they work is quite simple. When switched on, the UV light destroys the pathogens that fall in its path. An exposure of mere seconds is enough to inactivate them.
Typically, the UV lamp is placed either inside the ducts or facing the evaporator coil. The UV light switches on as soon as the HVAC system is switched on, and it stays that way until the heating and cooling unit is switched off.
Air Purifiers Vs. UV Lights
Most people involved in the HVAC industry would suggest using UV lights for improving indoor air quality for the following reasons:
1. Some Pathogens May Escape The Air Purifiers Because Of Their Small Size – Air purifiers cannot catch all the disease-causing microorganisms that pass through. Some pathogens are so small in size that they escape from getting trapped in the air purifier’s filters. Even the HEPA air filters are not 100% efficient. At best, they can only trap 99.97% of micro-organisms of size 0.3 microns.
UV lights do not have any such limitation. They are 100% efficient in rendering all micro-organisms that fall in its path sterile. A contact of mere 10 seconds will be enough. The contact will prevent them from reproducing, and they will die rapidly. So a system that gives a better result is any day, a far more preferable option.
2. Air Purifiers Trap Pathogens But Do Not Make Them Sterile – We just spoke about how UV light prevents the pathogens from reproducing by making them sterile. When it comes to air filters, they only trap the pathogens but do not make them sterile. Therefore, immense caution needs to be exercised while discarding the used filters when their life is up. The trapped bacteria or virus is not sterile. It may still be active depending on its life cycle. So any mishandling can cause you to fall ill.
Thankfully, in the case of UV lights, there are no filters involved. At best, you just have to replace the UV bulb when it dies, and one can do that without any fear of contracting any disease.
3. Some Air Purifiers Produce Ozone – During their work, some air purifiers produce ozone. Now, ozone, whether pure or mixed with other chemicals, is harmful to human health. If you breathe in air containing ozone, it will cause:
1. Inflammation in the lungs.
2. Inflammation or soreness in the throat.
4. Pain in the chest.
The irony of the situation is that when the homeowner purchased the air purifier, the intention was to create a healthy living environment. Therefore EPA, suggests that one should only use approved products and devices for improving indoor air quality. Also, instead of depending upon external measures, one should take steps to phase out the use of products that cause indoor air pollution. Additional steps like proper ventilation, growing indoor plants that purify the air, etc., will also be helpful.
UV lights do not create ozone in any form, and hence, they are safe for use in homes and offices.
But Wait! Exposure To UV Light Is Dangerous For Humans Also. Now What!!!
Well, yes, exposure to UV lights is dangerous to humans. Nonetheless, you have nothing to worry about. The good news is that the way the UV light is installed in your home will never fall on you. The UV lamp will either face the evaporator coil or, as we said, it will be inside the air duct. Both these places are enclosed areas, and thus, you or any other resident will never be exposed to UV light.
If you are looking to invest in an indoor air quality solution, UV lights are the best option. They are cheap and low maintenance. Also, their efficiency is way better than anything else in the market today.
Aztil Air Conditioning cares about improving indoor air quality. It is precisely for this reason we offer indoor air quality solutions. We want your home to be a safe place where you can relax without the fear of falling ill or triggering allergies. Aztil AC is a premier HVAC contractor serving South Florida since 1981. Our reputation and dedication to excellence have made us a household name. If you wish to discuss or purchase any air quality solution, we shall be glad to help you. You can reach out to us at +1-888-729-8452 any time.