Air Purifiers With UV Lights: Is UV-C Filter Enough?

Air purifiers these days come with different UV light technologies. Have you ever wondered whether are air purifiers with UV lights really efficient at increasing the air quality in your house, or it’s just the marketing game?

Basically, UV-c filters can destroy almost every type of biological and living pollutant that can be harmful to any house environment. But it is not enough to destroy the dust and chemical pollutants. For this task, a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter is required in addition to the UV-c Filter.

In this article, we have tried to cover every essential information about the mechanism and usability of air purifiers. You will also get to know all the ins and outs of the UV-c filters so that you can decide whether it can be an alone soldier for providing the highest purification or not.

Mechanism of the Air Purifiers with UV lights

Air Purifiers with UV light technology work a bit differently than conventional air purifier units.

UV-C Light to Reduce Air Pollutants

Basically, UV light air purifiers use short-wave UV-c light to purify the air by reducing the number of air pollutants. It works based on the UVGI (UV Germicidal Irradiation) technology in which the UV-c light works directly on the air pollutants.

But how does UV light destroy germs and bacteria?

A direct application of the UV ray is capable of damaging the DNA of living cells, and this characteristic of the UV ray is used in air purifiers.

All types of biological air pollutants, like viruses and bacteria, have a single cell, and this cell relies on DNA to be alive. And the UV-c ray affects the DNA and damages them partially or completely. So, as a result, the pollutant becomes inactive by a self-destructive mechanism.

UV Lamp to Reduce UV Ray

The UV light air purifiers use a UV lamp to illuminate the UV ray. Most of the purifiers use mercury lamps that release the UV-c ray at a wavelength of 254 nm.

You might notice a bluish light emitting from the UV lamp inside the air purifier. But often, the light remains out of the visible range of the human eye.

Other Conveniences

Generally, air purifiers are portable purification machines that you can place anywhere inside your house. It is a soundless and odorless purifier suitable for any closed ambiance and environment.

Some of the UV light air purifiers have an additional HEPA filter for providing higher performance in the air purification process.

When Should I Use UV Light on Air Purifiers?

If you are not familiar with UV light air purifiers, you may have a common query about “when should I use UV light on air purifier?”. Basically, it depends on the type of pollutants that you want to get rid of.

Effective Removal of Microorganisms

Actually, air purifiers work great against different microorganisms like bacteria, molds, and viruses. But this often needs a high dose of UV-c light with a longer exposure time. Therefore, with a regular dose of this radiation, you cannot get rid of them completely.

So, in case you want to get rid of the microorganisms from your house ambiance and surrounding air, you can definitely use a UV light on an air purifier for effective results.

Disinfecting Indoor Air

You might have heard different commercials about UV light air purifiers saying that these will deactivate all kinds of pollutants and disinfect indoor air. But are they really effective against all these pollutants?

Though UV rays do not work effectively against allergen pollutants and various molds, they can disinfect the air from dangerous pollutants. If the air consists of toxic elements like spores and dust mites, UV rays can ensure the highest performance by keeping the air clean from these harmful substances.

UV Air Purifier Side Effects

Air purifiers with UV light technology are undoubtedly a great addition to the regular air purification system. However, though they are effective for deactivating and destructing a huge number of air pollutants, there are also some side effects that can be really concerning.

Here we will briefly discuss the UV air purifier side effects so that you can be completely sure of whether to give these purifiers a chance or not.

  • Not So Effective for Allergens

As UV rays can deactivate the DNA of the microorganism, UV rays air purifiers can effectively damage viruses and bacteria. But when it comes to allergen particles and molds, the effectiveness reduces drastically.

Often, UV radiation cannot completely remove the bio-contaminants, and they can come back to life in the VBNC (viable but nonculturable) state. Therefore, even if you emit a high dose of UV rays, it becomes almost impossible to damage them completely.

  • Require High Maintenance and High Cost

Having a UV light air purifier will cost you a few hundred bucks. The main filter of the purifier is expensive and needs replacement after a short time; otherwise, the emission of UV rays might decrease to an extent.

In addition, if you plan to have a purifier with an extra HEPA filter, the maintenance cost might increase. An air purifier with UV light uses high electricity, making your electricity bill rise higher than you can think of.

  • Incapable to Eliminate Gasses and Fumes

Though you will find air purifiers decreasing the number of contaminants and pollutants in the air, they are basically useless in case of reducing gasses and fumes.

The UV filter is designed to directly emit UV rays to the living DNA of the microorganism cells. However, as various harmful gasses and fumes don’t contain any living characteristics, the UV rays can’t help to reduce any chemical fumes and smoke.

  • Can Be a Cause of Potential Damage

UV light can be dangerous for the human body. If we keep in contact with UV radiation for a long time, it can cause damage to the body cells creating possibilities of severe health issues.

Often air purifiers seal the UV rays inside the chamber, but the rays might leak anytime and cause harm to your body. Besides, UV rays can be harmful to our environment as they produce ozone.

Are UV-c Filters Enough for the Highest Purification?

In case you are planning to have an air purifier only with a UV lamp, it is not a great idea but a waste of money because the UV-c filter alone can’t remove all the pollutants from the air that you are intended to.

In case you wonder whether a UV-c filter alone can provide the highest purification or not, a UV-c filter alone is not enough. You will definitely require a HEPA filter to get the best results. But why so? Let us go through a brief discussion regarding this.

Ensuring a Higher Dose of UV Radiation

For an effective pollutant removal process, the pollutants need to be in contact with the UV rays for a long duration. Besides, the dose of UV rays should be higher for effective air cleaning, which is often disrupted by these purifiers.

But most purifiers cannot ensure a higher dose of UV radiation, and that is where a HEPA filter is needed.

Removing Both Biological and Chemical Pollutants

Things can be slightly different if your air purifier has both the UV-c filter and HEPA filter because HEPA filters work great for removing almost every type of virus, mold, bacteria, allergen, and other chemical particles which a UV-c filter can’t remove.

Studies prove that a HEPA filter can remove 99.9% of pollutants from the air stream, including dust mites, smoke, and chemical substances. Besides, it can be useful for removing pet hair from air also.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does UV-c do in an air purifier?

When an air purifier emits UV-c rays through the UV lamp, the UV radiation works to damage the microorganism and other pollutants present in the air. And it makes the pollutants inactive so that they can no longer be harmful to the human body.  

2. Is UV-c safe in air purifiers?

UV-c is not safe as an air purifier as it can affect the human body with radiation and cause severe health conditions. In addition, being in contact with UV-c rays can affect the living cells of the human body, causing partial or complete damage.

3. Should I use the UV light on my air purifier?

If you can ensure a longer exposure time and high dose of UV rays, it can work well on the chemical and biological pollutants of air. Otherwise, it is not as effective as it seems, and you should not use a UV light on your air purifier.

4. Do UV-c filters produce ozone?

UV-c filters can produce ozone and affect the ozone layer of our environment. When these filters emit UV rays, the highly energetic UV-c light breaks the oxygen particles that form ozone by combining with other oxygen atoms.

Final Words

To ensure the highest air purification, you have to be careful about choosing an air purifier with UV lights.

So, it is better to buy a low-voltage purifier as they do not emit high doses of UV rays. However, a low-voltage UV light air purifier with a HEPA filter could be the best choice to increase the indoor air quality of your surroundings.

Last Updated on May 8, 2023

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Billy J. Weber

Hi. It’s Weber, founder and author of this site Currently you are reading. I am dedicated to provide valuable insights and practical tips to air enthusiasts and anyone interested in improving their indoor air quality.

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