Is UV light in air purifiers harmful? Are UV air purifiers safe? If you are having doubts and want answers to these questions, I invite you to check out this review and figure out if a UV air purifier is worth it. Let’s head towards a quick answer and the other important details!
A (UV) air purifier, uses UV light to kill or deactivate airborne microorganisms. Its safety and effectiveness are dependent on a number of factors, including:
A good and safe UV air purifier should:
- Have a quality UVC lamp that does not make ozone or other byproducts.
- Use HEPA filters with UVC light to remove odors, gases, VOCs, and particles. UVC light alone cannot do that.
A bad and harmful UV air purifier may:
- Have a cheap UVC lamp that produces ozone or other byproducts that can irritate the lungs and worsen asthma.
- Expose skin or eyes to UV light, causing burns or injuries.
- Does not use other filters with UVC light, so it cannot remove particles, VOCs, gases, or odors from the air.
For you to make a confident opinion about UV light purifiers, continue reading and know the ins and outs of using UV air purification, their benefits, drawbacks, and some FAQs.
The Science Behind How UV Light “Purifies” the Air?
Most UV light purifiers combine a forced air system with another sifter, such as a HEPA filter:
- The air purifier’s ultraviolet light and other processes work together to clean the air.
- Surrounding, in-house air is constrained through the unit and ventilated through a chamber with bulbs radiating light inside the UV-C recurrence.
- Microorganisms’ DNA and RNA can be damaged by UV-C light and HEPA filters, making it impossible for them to reproduce or function properly.
Important to note that other indoor air pollutants cannot be eliminated by UV light alone, there are:
- Dust Pollen
- Pet dander
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
For more insights on the working phenomenon, check out this video.
The Truth About UV Air Filters: How Effective Are They?
The effectivness of UV HEPA filters indoor air channels relies upon a few variables, for example,
- The microorganisms’ exposure time and distance to the UV-C light;
- The type and concentration of the microorganisms in the air;
- The presence of other pollutants that can block or reflect the UV-C light;
- The upkeep and replacement of the UV-C bulbs and HEPA filters.
A recent systematic review suggests that UV light air purifiers with a HEPA filter may be effective at removing bacteria from the air. However, there is insufficient evidence to determine whether they can guard against viral infections or respiratory illnesses.
UV Light: A Deep Dive into the Types A, B, C
UV light is a kind of electromagnetic radiation with a frequency more limited than noticeable light but longer than X-beams.
It can be broken down into three groups: Depending on the wavelength and energy level:
- UV-B, and
- UV-C (Used in Air Purifiers).
UV-A: The Most Abundant Type of UV Light and How Its Effects
The most prevalent form of ultraviolet (UV) light that reaches the Earth’s surface is called the Most Common UV-A Light.
- It has a frequency scope of 315-400 nanometers (nm).
- It records around 95% of the UV radiation we are presented with.
- UV-A light can enter profoundly into the skin and cause untimely maturing, kinks, and some skin malignant growth.
- It can cause cataracts and eye damage.
- It is present throughout the year and can penetrate clouds and glass.
UV-B: Why You Should Be Concerned?
It is more lively than UV-A light and has a frequency spectrum of 280-315 nm.
- Represents around 5% of the UV radiation that arrives at the World’s surface.
- Sunburn, inflammation, DNA damage, and skin cancer are all effects of UV-B light.
- Vitamin D, which is necessary for bone health and immune function, is also stimulated in the skin by ultraviolet-B light.
- The season, time of day, latitude, altitude, and ozone layer all affect how UV-B light behaves. For example, radiations are at a peak in the tropics as compared to the polar latitudes. You can also read this research for further info.
UV-C: The Most Deadly UV Light and How It Affects You
It is the most hurtful kind of UV light and has a frequency scope of 200-280 nm.
- It has sufficient energy to break synthetic bonds and obliterate DNA and RNA atoms.
- Luckily, a large portion of the UV-C light from the sun is consumed by the ozone layer and doesn’t arrive at the World’s surface.
- However, water treatment plants, hospitals, and air purifiers all make use of artificial UV-C light for sterilization and disinfection.
The Best Time to Use UV Light on Air Purifier
The best time to use a UV light on an air purifier is when you want to sterilize your indoor air and eliminate harmful pathogens that can cause respiratory infections, allergies, or asthma. It can also help reduce odors caused by bacteria or mold growth.
Kinds of Pathogens Destroyed
A few instances of normal airborne microbes that UV light can obliterate through air purification are:
- Staphylococcus aureus: A bacterium that can cause skin contaminations, pneumonia, and septicemia.
- Escherichia coli: A pathogen that can cause meningitis, urinary tract infections, and diarrhea.
- Aspergillus niger: A growth that can cause lung infections and unfavorably susceptible responses.
- Phi-X174: a virus that is used as a substitute for other viruses and can infect bacteria.
How UV Light Air Purifiers Protect You
UV light air purifiers are particularly useful in environments with a high risk of exposure to these pathogens, such as hospitals, clinics, schools, offices, and homes with sick or immunocompromised individuals.
They can likewise assist with lessening scents brought about by microscopic organisms and shapes.
What They Cant Protect You From
A UV air purifier, on the other hand, isn’t as effective against all kinds of pollutants like
- Vaporous organic compounds (VOCs),
- Dust mites,
- Pet dander,
Moreover, they are unable to remove particles that are either too small to be captured by the UV light or too large to pass through the filter.
The Final Take
The last say will be that UV light air purifiers should be used in conjunction with other strategies for enhancing indoor air quality. This includes:
- Regular air purification
- Controlling humidity
- Removing sources
For more details on UV light technology and purifiers, I recommend you check out this video.
Are UV Air Purifiers Safe?
The question of whether a UV light air purifier is safe for both people and pets is a major concern. Yes, provided that they are utilized in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Therefore, some factors that affect the safety of UV air purifiers are:
- The quality and type of UVC lamp
- The presence of filters
- The emission of ozone
- The exposure of skin to UV light
How UV Light Air Purifiers Prevent UV-C Exposure
UV-C light air purifier is harmful to living beings, but they can’t get through glass or solid materials.
- Due to this, the UV light in the purifiers is perfectly safe as it can’t pass through the glass of the purifier.
- But if the glass gets damaged, the UV light might become harmful to those exposed.
- So make sure your device is not damaged and maintain it frequently.
How UV Light Air Purifiers Minimize Ozone Production
Another worry is whether these purifiers produce ozone.
- It is a gas that can disturb the lungs and deteriorate respiratory circumstances like asthma.
- Ozone can be a byproduct of some kinds of air purifiers that use plasma or electrical charges to make ions or radicals.
However, the majority of UV light air purifiers either do not produce it. Even if they do so, it is at very low levels that are below the EPA’s safety standards. Just choose a quality one. Let’s know how!
What’s Required to Do?
Always look for UV light air purifiers that have been certified by reputable organizations like:
- UL (Underwriters Laboratories),
- CARB (California Air Resources Board),
- AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers), or
- Energy Star,
to ensure that they are energy-saving, safe, and free of ozone.
Additionally, you should steer clear of devices that make the claim that they make use of “ozone generators,” “activated oxygen,” or “super oxygen,” all of which are misleading terms for the production of ozone.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of UV Light Air Purifiers? Are They a Good Investment?
The final question of whether UV light air purifiers are useful and worth purchasing. Your requirements and preferences will determine the answer.
There are some plus points to light air purifiers over other types of air filtration systems.
- Resistant to microorganisms: They can eliminate or inactivate microorganisms, and infections, and form spores, and parasites that can cause illnesses and sensitivities. These harmful particles in the air are destroyed by light air purifiers using photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) or ultraviolet (UV light).
- Easy to maintain: They do not require filter replacement or cleaning on a regular basis. There is no waste or residue produced during the UV light or PCO process that needs to be disposed of. The main thing you want to do is to supplant the light or the impetus intermittently, contingent upon the model and utilization.
- Energy-saving: They use less electricity than other air purification devices. Light air purifiers use low-wattage lamps or LED bulbs, which last longer and use less power than standard bulbs. PCO air purifiers likewise create ozone a result, which can assist with lessening scents and poisons in the air.
However, there are a few drawbacks to light air purifiers that you should be aware of before purchasing one. These are:
- Restrictive coverage: Only the air that passes through them can be cleaned by them. This indicates that they may not be able to access all of your room’s nooks and crannies. To get the best results, you might need to use multiple units or combine them with other kinds of air purifiers.
- Threats to one’s health: Some of them can emanate unsafe excessive radiation or ozone that can harm your eyes, skin, or respiratory framework.
If you are exposed to UV light for an extended period of time or from a short distance:
- It can irritate your eyes,
- Burn your skin, or
- Cause cancer
If you inhale ozone in high concentrations or for an extended period of time, it can cause
- Asthma attacks
- Chest pain
- Difficulty Breathing
- Respiratory Infections
- Irritation of the throat
Important Considerations Before Buying
UV light utilized in air purifiers has a few limits, however, it can assist with killing several microorganisms in the air. Along with this, you should also keep your home clean and observe cleanliness.
In the event that you choose to purchase it, make sure that:
- It has a HEPA filter,
- Delivers low degrees of ozone, and
- Is properly maintained and installed.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Should I turn on the UV light on my air purifier?
The short answer is yes. You should turn on the UV light on your air purifier. It kills airborne germs and bacteria, which are common causes of indoor allergies and respiratory problems.
Do UV air purifiers emit ozone?
Yes, UV air purifiers emit ozone. It is a harmful gas that can irritate your lungs and exacerbate asthma symptoms and may be produced by some not quality UV air purifiers. Check certifications before buying.
Why does my air purifier have a UV light?
The air purifier has UV light because it can sterilize the air inside and stop diseases and allergens from spreading.
What are the cons of a UV air purifier?
A UV air purifier’s potential to produce ozone, which can be harmful to your health and the environment, is one of its cons.
What is the safest type of air purifier?
The safest type of air purifier is one that effectively removes a variety of pollutants from the air without producing ozone or other harmful substances. One of the most common and dependable kinds of air filters is a HEPA filter.
UV air purifiers are a good decision if you want to get rid of microorganisms and infections from the air, particularly during a pandemic or influenza season. UV light from these purifiers is perfectly safe as long as there is no direct exposure.
Similarly, most purifiers use a short wavelength that is harmless. On the other hand, some of these brands do produce ozone which could cause breathing difficulties.
I’d love to hear from you. What is your take on UV air purifiers? Have you used one before or intend to purchase one? Please comment below with your thoughts. Thanks for reading!
Danny is a passionate writer who loves to share his knowledge about air purifiers. He’s been writing for 10 years, and he’ll share all that experience with Very Well Home viewers to help you make the best decision when it’s time to buy an appliance!