Are UV Air Purifiers Safe?

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Written By Jamila W.

In today’s high-paced world, where pollutants exhaust our lungs, compromise our life expectancy and harm our health, it’s almost unimaginable to break through and take a breath of fresh air.

Take this as a major warning flag:

Air pollution is responsible for almost 12% of deaths globally. From this fact alone, it seems like fresh air and human health is becoming a luxury more than a necessity.

If you’re even the slightest bit concerned about the air you breathe, there’s a high likelihood that you typed “UV Air Purifier Dangers,” or even more precisely, “Are UV air purifiers safe,” in your Google search bar.

You’re right for bringing up this question.

Yes, most UV air purifiers are safe. According to research, the latest versions combine PECO with HEPA filters that maximize their efficiency in killing airborne contaminants.

Sit back, scroll down, and read more about how UV air purifiers work, and how this purifying device can improve your health issues.

UV Air Purifiers 101

UV air purifiers are devices that use ultraviolet light to capture the air (inside your home, per se), and then pass it through a filtration system. After the air passes through the system, it goes on to a small internal chamber. There, the air becomes exposed to UV-C light.

Note that some air purifiers work by filtering the air again (essentially, repeating the process), before letting it out.

The result?

Clean air.

The question remains, “How effective and promising is a UV-C air purifier?”

Does it really improve indoor air quality? More precisely, does it kill bacteria, destroy viruses, banish allergens, and create a high-quality atmosphere that exudes purity?

We’ll get there in a minute.

Do Air Purifiers Differ?

They certainly do.

There is no such thing as a universal air purifier. These devices are specially designed to provide certain “features.”

Below are the factors that separate UV light purifiers:

  • Number and type of filters
  • The square footage that the air purifiers cover
  • The amount of air they can draw through the filtration system
  • The amount of collected pollutants (how effective they are)
  • CADR – Clean Air Delivery Rate
  • The ease/weight portability
  • Target contaminants
  • Pollutant source strength

Are UV Air Purifiers Safe Around Newborns and Babies?

If there is a small child in our home, it’s only natural that our danger receptors work twice as hard. As a parent or guardian, we’re 24/7 alert and hearing about how to protect our children from harmful chemicals and provide them with a safe environment: in this case – clean air.

This brings us directly to the question: Are UV Air purifiers safe around babies and newborns?

Whether your choice is purifiers with ionizers, HEPA filters, or UV lights, it’s important to note that they are safe around children as long as you take precautionary measures.

If you are able to choose, however, go for purifiers with HEPA filters.

When it comes to the operating time of the air purifier, it’s recommended that owners don’t leave their UV air purifier on all night (especially if it’s placed in the baby’s room). There’s no need for this machine to work 24/7.

How Much Do UV Light Air Purifiers Cost?

A rough estimate on the price for the installed UV light filter would be around $400 to $800 and $200 to $400 for the filter alone. The light bulbs on these purifiers can cost between $20 and $70, and they should be replaced annually.

If you’re wondering about a UV light hybrid filtration system, don’t be surprised if you come across a price tag between $1,200 and $3,000 with installed filters or an additional $800 to $1,000 for the filters alone.

What Is The Lifespan of UV Air Purifiers?

Like any other purification system, your UV light air purifier won’t last forever and it’s not 100% damage-resistant.

Although the filtration system might not need to be replaced as frequently as you initially thought, changing the UV light bulb is essential for the maintenance of the system.

Broadly speaking, these light bulbs should be changed after 9,000 hours of work, which equates to almost 12 months.

After their first year “in service,” UV light purifiers might start to lose their effectiveness if they’re not tended to. It’s important that you change the UV light bulbs on your purifiers so that they don’t collect mold and form ductwork inside the machine.

How Effective Are UV Air Purifiers? Should You Buy Them?

It’s time to consider some hard evidence that depicts the efficiency of these UV light technology gadgets that promise clean air in your home.

You might have seen the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warning us that people should not make UV-light air purifiers their #1 choice when it comes to improving indoor air quality.

However, there’s one thing that you should consider when buying UV light technology.

You might have seen advertisements talking about PECO and how it’s something brand new on the market. Well, that’s not entirely true. PECO, or photoelectrochemical oxidation, has been used to purify air and clean it for years.

The latest versions of UV air purifiers combine PECO with HEPA filters that react to UV lights and oxidize gas pollutants. According to research, HyperHEPA filtration technology can remove 99.5% of particles.

What Are the Unwanted Effects?

Individuals that are dealing with major health issues should be aware of some of the possible drawbacks of air filters. Here are some unwanted effects that can occur with UV air purifiers:

  • Mild/Severe Inflammation of Airways
  • Lung Diseases
  • Sore Throat and Coughing

Check Out These Boxes Before Buying Air Purifiers

A safe purchase is when your “precaution box” is checked, and the product you’ve envisioned taking home doesn’t pose any of the threats listed (and, of course, fits your budget plans).

Before you go shopping for an air purifier, make sure that you take into account these factors:

ACH – Air Changes per Hour

First on your checklist is ACH, i.e., air changes per hour.

This metric is responsible for measuring the rate at which the air within the room is completely replaced by fresh air. More specifically, it’s used to measure the total air volume that is exchanged with fresh air within one hour.

What’s the aim here?

Well, the higher the ACH on your air purifier, the better the chances of improving indoor air quality.

Supporting Technology

Moving down the list, we have supporting air purification technologies. Here are a couple of things you should look into:

  • Bipolar ionization
  • Activated carbon filters
  • UVGI – Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation
  • Electrostatic precipitators
  • Ionic air purifiers

Purifier Design

Lastly, when it comes to the design of the air purifier you’re aiming for, our heartfelt recommendation is to focus the most on the square footage it covers.

Sure, you’d want to match the aesthetics of your indoor environment, but calculating the space the air purifier covers takes the first place, after all.

Before you head down to the store or place your order online, it’s crucial that you calculate the SF of the room where you plan to use this air purifier. When doing so, take into account the air purifier’s coverage rate – this will shine a light on the maximum room space it can clean.

UV AIR Purifier FAQs

Here are more possible questions that might have popped up while you were scrolling:

Q: Can UV Air Purifiers Cure Asthma or Allergies?

A: No. The purpose of air purifiers is not to cure your health issues but to significantly lower the chances of additionally deteriorating it. With that said – purifiers will not cure your spring allergies or asthma but merely contribute to eliminating the symptoms. Instead, they work to reduce indoor air pollution, which can help you avoid aggravation of existing health issues.

Bonus tip: If you do, however, suffer from asthma, you should look for purifiers that offer both HEPA filters and carbon-activated filters.

Q: How To Check Whether the UV Purifier Is Working Properly?

To make sure that your purifier is operating without any issues, make a habit of checking the filters.

If you’re sensing some technical issues, there’s a high likelihood that some dust that might be piled up. Also, if your allergies are starting to act up again, there’s a good chance that there’s an issue with your air purifier.

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the lifespan of these gadgets, but you should bear in mind that irregular inspection may contribute to more frequent technical issues and an unexpected blow to your budget.

In a Nutshell: Are UV Air Purifiers Safe?

All things considered, UV air purifiers are safe and concerns about UV air purifier dangers are largely over stated.

They operate by using ultraviolet light that captures the air and then passes it through a filtration system. There is no one-size-fits-all type of purifier, and most of them have different characteristics.

UV air purifiers come with a higher price tag, though, ranging from $1,200 to $3,000. Regular maintenance of these purifiers includes changing the UV light bulb every 12 months. Also, they’re completely safe around newborns and babies.

The latest versions combine PECO with HEPA filters that react to UV lights and oxidize pollutants successfully.

When choosing an air purifier for your interior, it’s advisable to double-check everything.

Remember that the aim of these gadgets is NOT to cure your current health issues, but minimize the unwanted effects that we’ve already outlined and, more importantly, improve indoor air quality.

When shopping for possible alternatives, however, don’t forget to consider ACH, supporting technology, and purifier design.