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Do UV Light Air Purifiers Work?

UV light air purifier

The dangers posed by air pollutants are real – microbes, viruses, bacteria, and other contaminants in the air can cause ill-health when breathed in.

Air purifiers can help remove some of these harmful microorganisms from the air as they have in-built systems that can trap particles and destroy germ cells.

UV air purifiers are becoming popular for use in homes and offices but the question remains whether they are as effective and safe as manufacturers want us to believe.

What Is UV Air Purifier?

A UV air purifier is air quality control equipment that utilizes ultraviolet light (UV-C light) to rid the air of harmful bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms in an attempt to make the air clean and safe to breathe.

It can exist as a stand-alone air purifier or as a complement to other types of purifiers such as HEPA Air Filter, Activated Carbon Air Purifiers, and Ionic Air Purifiers, etc. UV air purifiers are used in both residential and commercial settings. Home UV air purifiers usually come in a small, compact form.

How Do UV Light Air Purifiers Work?

The UV air purification system produces short waves from its UV light which irradiates and inactivates microorganisms, molds, bacteria, and viruses in the air. This irradiation attempts to alter the structure of their DNA thereby stopping them from multiplying. Purifiers have a system that forces air through the device and as the air passes through the UV light, it is disinfected before going back into the room.

The destruction of the genetic makeup of microorganisms by the air purifier with UV reduces or stops the proliferation of microbes, bacteria, and viruses in your home. For better air cleaning, UV air purifiers are combined with one or more traditional filters in a unit to maximize the removal of particles as well as the destruction of germs. Some units combine UV light radiation with Titanium Oxide to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the air. It can also be combined with the action of ‘catalytic molecules’ for the removal of pollutants such as smoke.

Read our Cigarette Smoke Air Purifiers Review

Are UV Air Purifiers Effective?

The effectiveness of a UV air filter depends on its model and the manufacturer you buy it from.

A stand-alone UV air purifier without other air cleaning systems and components that have been mentioned earlier might not be as effective as the ones that incorporate them. There are particles, dust, mold, allergens, smoke, VOCs, and all sort of pollutants that can’t be removed by germicidal irradiation alone.

Read also Do Air Purifiers Help with Mold?

Are UV Air Purifiers Safe?

The major safety concern about an air purifier with UV light is that ozone can be produced during the process of air cleansing. UV light radiation with uncoated lamps can convert oxygen in the air into ozone and prolonged exposure to ozone is known to have adverse effects on human health.

UV lights now have special overlays to reduce the production of ozone and this is a good step towards safety. Therefore, the question of safety, like effectiveness, also depends on whether the model manufacturer has taken caution to overlay the UV lamp to reduce ozone production.

Pros and Cons of Ultraviolet Air Purifier

Pros

  • They can hinder the reproduction of microorganisms, bacteria, and viruses in your home.
  • They can rid the air of harmful microbes and pathogens, making the air safe to breathe in.
  • They can remove odor and smoke from the air.
  • When combined with other air filtration systems, they can remove particulate matter, smoke, and other organic contaminants such as VOCs from the air.

Cons

  • UV air purifier lamps that are not properly overlaid can lead to ozone production which is harmful to human health.
  • Portable, stand-alone UV air purifiers will not be effective if they lack some other required components that can remove a wide range of pollutants and contaminants from the air.

When considering the pros and cons of a product, it is to make a buying decision. Overall, it can be said that UV air purifiers are worth giving a try. However, you will have to carefully choose a reliable product that can keep you and your family safe from harmful pollutants.

How to Choose the Best UV Air Purifier?

Any UV air purifier that guarantees the following requirements would be a great choice:

  • A system that gives long and maximum exposure of the microorganisms to the UV light. 
  • A UV light of high dosage that is not affected by the cooling effect of the airflow.
  • The quality of the material of the bulb emitting light is effective for germicidal irradiation.
  • Combines traditional filtration such as activated carbon and HEPA filter with UV air filtration thus can remove smoke as well as carbon-based and organic particles like VOCs.
  • Has specially overlaid UV light to minimize ozone production. 

Some of the requirements written above may not be outrightly stated in product descriptions. Therefore, you have to be mindful of the manufacturer you are buying from to get the best device. Read product reviews of different models to help in your buying decision.

There are several manufacturers out there that produce ineffective air purifiers and yet make bogus claims on their products. We have recommended some UV air purifiers below that match most of the requirements that have been highlighted above.

#1 Germ Guardian AC4825

Germ Guardian AC4825 is an air purifier that has all the complete requirements for effective air cleaning, removal of odor, particulate matter and allergens up to 0.3 microns.

Its UV C light helps kill air contaminants and viruses and also reduce VOCs. It has a true HEPA air filter that is capable of eliminating 99.97% percent of germs, microbes, dust, pollen, pet dander, and mold spores.

The Germ Guardian has a standard industry rating and it is certified to filter tobacco smoke, cooking fumes, pet odor, dust, and pollen from rooms.

#2 Pure Enrichment

Pure Enrichment, also known as PureZone 3-in-1 Air Purifier is another great product for sanitizing and cleaning the air in your home or office.

It comes with a HEPA filter that traps almost all air pollutants and odors in the house. The UV-C light is capable of destroying germs & viruses.

Pure enrichment can work both day and night and it won’t disturb your sleep. It works at a relatively quietly 30dB noise level. The machine is effective in destroying allergens and can help in the prevention of cold and flu.

#3 SilverOnyx

SilverOnyx Air Purifier is a home essential that is effective in removing allergens, smokes, mold, pet odor, dust, and pollen from the air.

It comes with HEPA filter, air quality monitor, UVC sanitizer, and Cleaner for allergies. The HEPA H13 activated carbon filter traps most of dust and allergens including airborne pollutants, dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, and odors.

This device has 5 levels of advanced filtration for the best air quality. It includes a combination of the filter cartridge with mesh pre-filter, HEPA H13 activated carbon filter, UV-C light and Ion generator that works to sanitize the air further. The SilverOnyx is highly recommended for anyone with allergies.