Everything You Need to Know About UV Air Purifiers

Everything You Need to Know About UV Air Purifiers
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Pathogens such as viruses, mold spores, and bacteria are difficult to fight because they are too small to see and feel. In fact, you’ll be blissfully unaware that you’re breathing them in – that is until you get sick. Staying indoors to avoid germs is an impractical solution because the contaminants in your home or office environment can be just as dangerous as the ones outside.

To improve the air quality indoors, you should consider using an air purifier with uv lamp filters. The ultraviolet light from these air purifiers kills the germs that cause illness and purifies the air, making it safer to breathe.

If you’ve ever wondered about UV air purifiers and have questions – like how they work, when you should use them, and how they improve air quality – this article is for you.

An Introduction to UV Air Purifiers

UV air purifiers have lamps that emit ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light targets or deactivates airborne pathogens. While airborne pathogens and ultraviolet light can’t be perceived by the human eye, the impact of a UV air purifier is massive. Air purifiers don’t just promote health; they also increase an HVAC’s cooling and heating efficiency.

A UV purifier can be a stand-alone device or attached to an existing HVAC system. These air purifiers kill bacteria, viruses, mildew, and airborne mold and fungi spores.

How UV Air Purifiers Work

UV air purifiers work when air passes through ultraviolet light. The short-wave UV light neutralizes pathogens and pollutants. UV light “inactivates” pathogens by destroying their Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA). When pathogens have been “inactivated” in this way, they can no longer reproduce or function.

For UV air purifiers to work effectively, the pathogens must be exposed to UV light for a few seconds and be close enough for the ultraviolet rays to corrupt their DNA or RNA. UV air purifiers have specially designed filters to expose pathogens to UV light for as long as possible.

Even though you can’t perceive UV light, it has a shorter wavelength and vibrates faster than visible light. UV light has wavelengths of less than 400 nanometers, while visible light has wavelengths of 400 to 700 nanometers. The shorter wavelengths of UV light produce a large amount of energy. 

UV Light’s Effects on Single-Cell Organisms

If you’ve ever gotten a bad sunburn, you will be familiar with ultraviolet light’s damaging effects on your skin. Because UV light damages DNA, prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays causes the skin to appear red and inflamed. However, because we are multi-cell organisms, this damage is rarely fatal – although exposure to UV light over the years can cause skin cancer. This is why everyone should wear sunscreen – even if their skin type doesn’t burn easily.

For single-cell organisms like viruses and bacteria, however, exposure to UV light is a very different story. Unlike multi-cell organisms, viruses and bacteria cannot replace damaged DNA or cells. Single-cell organisms exposed to UV light can no longer function or reproduce. In fact, viruses and bacteria rely on their rapid reproduction rate, which allows them to spread quickly. Exposure to ultraviolet light kills them and makes the air safer to breathe.

The Importance of Indoor Air Quality

Poor air quality is an invisible problem that tends to be overlooked. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranks poor air quality among the top five most serious risks to public health.

Considering the fact that the average American spends 90% of their time breathing the air indoors, prioritizing good air quality in the office, school, or home should be a priority.

While we may associate air pollution and poor air quality with exhaust fumes from factories and cars outdoors, the air in our homes, workplaces, and schools can contain up to five times the number of pathogens.

How Pollutants Get Indoors

Air pollutants outdoors can infiltrate indoor spaces through open windows, doors, and tiny gaps in the walls. Indoor environments are also home to other pollutants and allergens like pet dander, mold, and dust mites. Additionally, the furniture and floors inside release hazardous chemicals called volatile organic compounds that further decrease indoor air quality.

Many air pollutants are indoors, and organic contaminants like viruses, bacteria, and fungi spores reproduce rapidly in the natural humidity and warmth inside a building. These indoor air pollutants can cause many health problems.

The Negative Effects of Air Contaminants

Homes, workplaces, schools, and other buildings without air purification systems can host many pathogens. These pathogens can cause illnesses and even negatively affect occupants’ respiratory tract health.

Milder symptoms of poor air quality include headaches, coughing, asthma flare-ups, eye irritation, and difficulty breathing. Some of the more severe effects of prolonged exposure to poor air quality include cancer and an increased risk of heart disease.

Although people with pre-existing conditions – like a compromised immune system, allergies, and sensitivities – are especially at risk, even healthy people can suffer from the effects of airborne contaminants and pollutants. The health risks associated with poor air quality make air purifiers in the home, office, or school necessary for the occupants’ health.

Another thing to consider is that when office workers get sick, their productivity decreases. Similarly, school or college students’ education will suffer if they miss classes due to illness. Making sure the indoor air you and your employees or students breathe is free from pollutants and contaminants benefits everyone.

While the primary benefit of installing a UV air purifier is ensuring that the air indoors is safe to breathe. UV air purifiers also increase HVAC efficiency and decrease maintenance costs. 

HVACs with contaminants clogging their systems have to work much harder to heat and cool the interior of a building. Air purification systems make HVACs more efficient by decreasing their energy consumption. When HVACs use less energy, the buildings they service will have a lower carbon footprint and lower monthly energy bills.

When an HVAC works smoothly and keeps the indoor air at a comfortable temperature, everyone in the building benefits. Employees, students, and patrons will all experience improved wellness and comfort


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Anna Daniels

Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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