Air purifiers can help improve the quality of the air inside your home. There are different kinds, and the ones that use UV light to find and kill viruses and bacteria in the air are among them. Here’s a quick look at UV air purifiers, the different types of filters they use, and how they can help you the most.
How do UV air purifiers work?
UV air purifiers give off ultraviolet light in short wavelengths, specifically calibrated to kill germs. The purifier moves air under high-intensity UV light, a known mutagen that destroys nucleic acids at a molecular level. UV air purifiers are often coupled with other filtration techniques to remove other types of particles in the air.
UV air purifiers come equipped with a fan, which drives ambient air to a chamber where it’s exposed to light for at least a few seconds. Any shorter amount of time would not be sufficient to kill pollutants. Air purifiers kill 99% of germs in just a few seconds of exposure.
What do UV air purifiers remove from the air?
UV air purifiers are ideal for areas heavy with bacteria, especially kitchens and bathrooms. Removing airborne adds another level of cleanliness which maintains normal cleaning and can positively affect health. UV light has the ability to mutate microorganisms:
- VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)
Since these types of organisms consist of just a single cell, light can permeate them and break apart the bonds in their DNA. These mutations are enough to kill germs, rendering them harmless and unable to reproduce.
Do UV air purifiers pet dander, pollen, smoke, or odors?
While UV air purifiers are excellent for killing germs and living microorganisms. This includes bacteria that cause illness, which can linger and fester anywhere in your home. UV air purifiers are not as effective for eliminating inorganic or dead particles, like pet dander, pollen, chemicals, smoke, or odors.
What other filtration methods should I look for in a UV light air purifier??
As mentioned above, most UV air purifiers need other filtration techniques to eliminate dead microorganisms. Almost all models will feature a pre-filter and another filter. A pre-filter is a rudimentary filter to remove large, potentially clogging particles from the air, like small insects, pieces of lint, or clothing fibers.
Common filtering technologies to consider that supplement UV purifying:
- HEPA filters: High-efficiency filters that remove at least 99.97% of particles .3 micrometers or more in diameter. Good for all types of particles.
- Carbon filters: Smoke, odors, and chemicals are trapped in activated carbon granules
- Ionizers: Uses the process of photocatalytic oxidization, an extension of UV air purification. Basically, a very strong UV light works with a Tio2 filter made of titanium dioxide. This process produces electrons, which destroy bacteria and neutralize odors by oxidizing organic matter.
Are there any dangers associated with UV air purifiers?
Although it is dangerous for people to be exposed to UV light, the light in a purifier will be covered up by the machine’s structure, making it harmless. If you have small children, consider placing your UV air purifier out of reach, as the light can make the unit hot to the touch.
As with any electronic item, ensure that wherever the air purifier is being placed has an outlet nearby that can handle its wattage. Using caution can reduce the possibility of an electrical fire.
What maintenance does a UV air purifier need?
Paying attention to maintenance ensures that your UV air purifier will work at its most efficiently. Good maintenance also makes the air purifier last longer, so you won’t have to replace it soon after you’ve made your purchase.
Expect to replace your UV light bulb once every 1-3 years, depending on the bulb’s design and how often you run the air purifier. Dust and film can develop on the light bulb and should be regularly dusted off to keep the germ-fighting power strong. Residue on the bulb filters the UV light, like putting a lampshade over an incandescent bulb. This makes it so the beams aren’t reaching particles with maximum intensity, therefore, aren’t killing as many microorganisms.