Upon hearing that UV light is an amazing home air purifier, puzzled listeners ask, “shouldn’t we protect ourselves against ultraviolet light?” Yes, by all means slather on the high-SPF lotion when encountering UV rays in sunlight at the beach. UV light in a home air purifier instead? Shine on! It protects you by freshening and scrubbing your indoor atmosphere.


UV is a special type of light that makes up part of the electromagnetic spectrum. With wavelengths shorter than visible light but longer than X-rays, UV light can’t be seen with the naked eye. This invisible UV part of the spectrum is further divided into three types: UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. Sunscreen is a must to repel the first two as they beam down in the sun’s rays. Both cause sunburns, skin cancer and wrinkles. UV-C, on the other hand, is harmless to people but rapidly lethal to dangerous microorganisms and germs.


That’s what makes a UV light unit, whether a standalone plug-in device purchased by consumers or one professionally installed in air conditioning systems, so good at cleaning a home’s air. These devices dramatically reduce substances and contaminants in home air like mould, bacteria, fungus, viruses, allergens, smells and volatile organic compounds. Studies in hospitals and offices have found they can reduce organisms – even drug-resistant bacteria – by 97%, and many people with home units notice increased comfort and fewer allergy symptoms. UV units also aid air conditioning, ventilation and heating systems by keeping equipment cleaner and reducing clogging.


How do UV light units compare to other home air purification options like HEPA filters and ionizers? They outshine both. Tightly woven HEPA filters operate by pulling air into the device and trapping substances with a physical filter, but they’re prone to clogging as well as letting tiny bacteria and viruses slip through. Ionizers clean air efficiently, but ironically they produce ozone, a substance that can irritate the respiratory system. Many states have published guidelines limiting their use.


Homeowners with UV light units will probably never see the bulb in action, glimmering blue because a tiny portion of its output is in the visible blue end of the spectrum. However, some homeowners report knowing if the bulb needs replacing, because their respiratory and allergy symptoms have returned. For more and more residents looking to boost health and breathe easier, UV light units have become a necessity for comfortable homes.