Home Improvement

UV-C Light Air Purification: The Basics and Benefits

When you think of an air purifier, HEPA air filters come in your mind. This is probably because HEPA filters are widely known for quality as far as air purification is concerned.

However, other technologies can equally clean the air. UV light is one of them.

UV-C Light Air Purification The Basics and Benefits
UV light

If properly utilized, UV light air purifiers can kill airborne germs including mold, mildew, bacteria, and viruses. In this article, we will go over everything about UV light air purifiers. Also, you’ll get to know how they work and the possible health benefits of UV light technology.

Read on …

What is a UV Light Air Purifier?

Like any other air purifier, a UV light air purifier’s primary goal is to improve the air quality. However, it differs from others in purification technology. Instead of using filters, a UV light air purifier uses UV-C light to deactivate airborne germs and microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and mold. This technology is also known as UV germinal irradiation.

UV-C Light Air Purification The Basics and Benefits - uv light air purifier

As air passes through the device, it is exposed by the UV light, which attempts to clean it through germinal irradiation.

UV light air purifiers are sold as stand-alone devices or as systems in existing HVAC. However, it is rare to find a stand-alone device. Besides, UV-C air purifiers mostly come with other additional filtration technologies as HEPA filters for effective purification. According to EPA, a UVC air purifier is not as effective as a stand-alone device because it cannot trap contaminants.

What is UV Light?

To understand how UV light air purifiers work, you first need to understand what UV light is.

First things first: what does UV stand for? UV stands for Ultraviolet. On the other hand, UV light is electromagnetic radiation that can’t be seen by the naked eye but can be felt.

UV light is a product of the sun. Prolonged exposure to UV light destroys body cells leading to sunburns. It is this cell-killing ability that makes it effective in destroying pollutants. No! The UV light in air purifiers is not from the sun. It is artificially created.

Also, UV light is divided into three subcategories. UVA, UVB, and UVC. You might have heard of UVA and UVB in sunscreen lotions television commercials. These two are the forces behind sunburns and, worse, skin cancer.

UV-C, on the other hand, is unique radiation that harmless to people but a threat to microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria.

How Does UV-C in UV Light Purifiers Work?

Unlike other air filtration technologies that trap dander and other particles, UV light works by keeps the microorganisms from reproducing. The Ultraviolet light damages the DNA of the organisms, making it difficult for them to reproduce. This prevents the disease-causing germs from multiplying and wreaking havoc in your body.

The UV light purification technology is most effective with prolonged contact. The longer the microorganisms are bathed in UV light, the greater the DNA damage.

When UV light combines with other purification technologies as HEPA filters or Ionizers, you’ll be sure that the air quality is perfect.

Factors That Affect the Effectiveness Of UV-C Light in Air Purifiers

UV-C light can destroy harmful microorganisms, alright. But can it do so within a portable air purifying unit? The answer is yes, but it depends on some factors. Namely:

Exposure Time

The pathogen inactivation depends on the length of exposure on the UV-C light. The longer it is exposed, the higher the chances of being destroyed.

Air purifiers with longer UV-C lamps are have longer exposure and thus more effective.

Proximity to the UV-C Light

The germs must come into close contact with the UV-C light to allow inactivation.

The Intensity and Wavelength of the UV-C Light

The standard UV-C wavelength to effectively destroy pathogens as they move through the air purifier is 254 nanometers. Anything less than that is not as effective.

Air changes per hour (ACH)

The more the times the unit exchanges the air within the room in an hour, the longer the exposure to the UV-C light.

Does UV-C Light Kill Bacteria and Viruses?

According to research, narrow-spectrum UVC light can kill bacteria and viruses. It does this by destroying the DNA, thus inhibiting the ability to reproduce and multiply.

Interestingly, the far UV light is not harmful to human beings. It cannot penetrate the human skin nor the eye. Viruses are smaller than human cells; UVC light can easily reach their DNA and destroy them.

Additionally, bacteria have only one cell and rely on DNA to live. If the DNA is sufficiently damaged, it automatically triggers a self-destruct mechanism.

The following viruses have been proven to decrease after exposure to UV lights.

  • H1N1
  • HPA1
  • HIV1
  • CCHFV
  • NiV

Health Benefits of UV Light

Some of the benefits of using a UV light air purifier include

  • Reduced allergic and asthma symptoms and attacks
  • Improved air quality
  • Reduced exposure to illnesses causing germs including flu and colds
  • Reduced household odors

Take Away

As discussed above, UV light technology performs a unique function that no other technology does- killing airborne disease-causing pathogens. For this reason, you may want to consider a unit that features a UV light when shopping for an air purifier.

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