There are several choices in the air purifier market today and they all use different filtration technologies. One option is a UV-C light air purifier that is often combined with a different type of filter in one product or can be sold as a standalone device.
There are some positive benefits of choosing an air purifier with UV light, but there are also some potential hazards. Let’s take a closer look.
What Does UV-C Light Do in an Air Purifier?
There are different types of ultraviolet light (UV). UV light air purifiers use short wave ultraviolet light or UV-C light, which can disrupt the DNA of airborne particles.
In an air purifier, the UV-C light kills mold and mildew, usually in combination with a HEPA filter which captures, dust, pollen and pet dander. The purifier pulls air inside, it first passes through the filter and then over a UV-C light. The idea of the two-step process is to remove as many contaminants from the air as possible.
Is a UV-C Light Air Purifier the Right Choice for the Home?
A UV-C light can kill up to 99.9 percent of viruses, bacteria, and mold; so it’s hard not to endorse these devices. As we’ve already mentioned, when used in combination with other filters they’re highly effective. If used safely and you take the right precautions they’re a good addition to your home in most cases.
Are there Health Risks When Using a UV-C Light Air Purifier?
UV light can be dangerous for a couple of reasons. First, it can react with oxygen in the air to create ozone. If enough ozone enters a home, it can cause breathing problems and can be a serious issue for asthma sufferers. Second, UV-C light is the most dangerous type of ultraviolet light there is. It’s a form of radiation that can harm the skin and potentially cause cancer with prolonged exposure.
Fortunately, most modern air purifiers that use UV-C technology, protect the user by placing the light-emitting device within the machine, preventing direct exposure. They can’t stop the purifier from introducing ozone into the home though.
Do UV-C Light Air Purifiers Work as Advertised?
It’s common for manufacturers to make miraculous claims about their products, but few live up to the hype. In the case of UV-C light air purifiers, it depends on the quality of the product. The better devices hold the air under the UV light for a longer period, allowing the device to kill contaminants.
They also work better if the air passes through a HEPA filter first to remove dust and large particles.
Some products on the market today have no way of slowing down the passage of air through the UV light. At best these machines are ineffective and a poor investment.
UV-C Light Pros:
- Can kill up to 99.99 percent of mold, viruses, and bacteria
- Highly effective in combination with a HEPA filter
UV-C Light Cons:
- Can increase ozone in the air
- Direct exposure to skin can be harmful
- Contaminants need prolonged exposure
UV-C Light Purifiers, Buy or Bye?
Under the right conditions, an air purifier with a UV-C light filter can be effective at making the air in a home safer to breathe. For this to happen, they need to be used together with a HEPA filter.
Standalone UV-C light air purifiers are ineffective. If you choose an air purifier with both types of filters, you’ll experience a noticeable improvement in the quality of air.