Air purifiers with UV technology are pretty popular on the market, even though they are more expensive than other types of air purifiers. Manufacturers claim that the light is effective in killing germs and viruses in your indoor air. But is that true? Is the technology helpful and worth the price?
About Ultraviolet C
The ultraviolet used in anti-germicidal lamps is UV-C. We don’t get it from the sun, because UV-C can’t pass through the ozone layer. We only get UV-A and UV-B from direct sunlight.
UV-C can damage cells. Microorganisms like viruses and bacteria can get disrupted easily by the light. Therefore, people use UV-C for many sterilization purposes: filtration for drinking water, sterilization lamps for hospital chambers, and even on air purifier devices.
The Effectiveness of a UV Air Purifier for HVAC
Although the light can inactivate microorganisms, it can only do so effectively under specific conditions. Otherwise, your UV will not bring any benefits to your indoor air. It will depend on the light intensity, airflow, time of exposure, and room width.
Low-intensity UV can still effectively inactivate viruses; it just requires a longer period of exposure. However, if the airflow is quick, there is a chance that those germs will fly away from the exposure before they turn inactive. And if the room is wide, it will take longer to purify your indoor air.
Most people will not feel any difference when using UV in air purifiers. But people with allergies, asthma, or any breathing sensitivity might experience a significant benefit. Hence, if you have no respiratory or allergy issues, you don’t need to buy this pricey device. But if you have such an issue, you could consider buying one as an investment in your health.
As mentioned above, UV-C light causes damage to cells. That includes human cells. It can be lethal to viruses and germs because they are small. Although UV-C won’t kill us, it can still harm us. In the long term, it may put you at risk of skin cancer and immune system suppression.
Some UV devices also generate ozone. This gas is beneficial for humans if it stays in the stratosphere. But on a ground habitable level, the gas may damage our health. At a certain concentration, ozone that comes inside our lungs may cause heavy breathing, chest pain, and throat irritation.
Buying an Air Purifier with UV Technology
To prevent the UV from harming your skin and eyes, you need to buy an air purifier where the UV is hidden inside the machine. This way, you will not be exposed to the light. The light will only affect the microorganisms in the air that your purifier takes in.
However, you need to make sure that the air stays inside the machine long enough for the light to finish its job. If the airflow is too quick, the air might take all the germs out before the UV-C successfully kills them.
To recap, a UV air purifier is advisable if you have allergy and breathing problems. And if you need to buy one, make sure you buy a high-quality one. Not only will a poor-quality purifier fail to kill all the germs, but it also may harm your body instead of the germs.