Do UV Lights in Air Purifiers Create Ozone? - An Expert's Perspective

Many air purifiers that use UV light are also ozone generators. Just like ozone in the Earth's atmosphere reacts with UV rays from the sun, the light and heat from some UV air purifiers can also generate heat that converts free-floating oxygen (O2 and O3) and water (H2O) molecules into dangerous tropospheric ozone (O3). Not only do they produce ozone, but they are not very effective in a residential environment. Studies have shown that high-energy UV light can be effective in killing bacteria, viruses, and some mold spores.

However, for this to be successful, it requires very high-intensity UV light and prolonged exposure. Unfortunately, these units do not offer the intensity or duration necessary to be truly effective. In addition, they do not remove particles such as dust from the air, so they must be combined in hybrid systems with HEPA filters. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using UV lights to reduce tuberculosis (TB) transmission in hospitals.

Together, the National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOSH), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the CDC drafted a manual for effectively installing UV light, which recommends UVGI (ultraviolet germicidal irradiation) light technology to inactivate airborne TB bacteria. In a study commissioned by the United States Department of Energy, scientists found that photocatalytic oxidation converted more than 95% of harmful chemicals in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into harmless carbon dioxide and water molecules. The air purifier light itself is safe, since you're not normally exposed to it. However, UV air purifiers come with other risks.

Air exposed to UV light can create ozone. This is just an unstable oxygen molecule, but it can have serious effects on human health. Exposure to ozone can reduce lung function, but not all UV air purifiers generate ozone. The experts at Appleby Systems stand behind their products and will explain to your family the right choice of UV air purifiers. UV lights significantly reduce the number of microbes in your home's ducts, coils, and airspace.

Photocatalytic oxidation is achieved when UV rays (from the UV lamp) are combined with a surface coated with TiO2 (titanium dioxide). UV light can be harmful just like UV light from the sun when a person is exposed for too long. UV (ultraviolet) air purifiers use ultraviolet light to reduce mold and mildew, VOCs, airborne pathogens, flu, germs, bacteria, viruses, and other harmful airborne contaminants. Small household UV-C air purifiers use a fan to pass air through the purifiers, where the contaminants are briefly exposed to UV light as they pass through them.

Some UV rays cause sunburn and can be dangerous, but UV air purifiers are designed so that you don't get exposed to the UV light itself. Fortunately, when the UV light system is installed in the air conditioning system (inside the walls of the ducts), there is no direct or harmful exposure to you or your family. With this knowledge in mind, it is important to understand how these systems work and how they can benefit your home or business. UV air purifiers are designed to reduce airborne contaminants such as bacteria and viruses by using ultraviolet light to kill them. This process is known as ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI).

The intensity of the ultraviolet light used in these systems is much higher than what you would find from natural sunlight or even from artificial lighting sources such as fluorescent bulbs. UV air purifiers are also effective at reducing VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from indoor air. VOCs are gases emitted from certain solids or liquids that can have adverse health effects when inhaled over long periods of time. By using photocatalytic oxidation technology combined with a titanium dioxide coating on a surface exposed to ultraviolet light, VOCs can be broken down into harmless carbon dioxide and water molecules.

When considering whether or not to install a UV air purifier in your home or business, it is important to understand both its benefits and potential risks. On one hand, these systems can help reduce airborne contaminants such as bacteria and viruses as well as VOCs from indoor air. On the other hand, they can also create ozone which can have serious health effects if inhaled over long periods of time. The experts at Appleby Systems will help you make an informed decision about whether or not a UV air purifier is right for your home or business.

They will explain how these systems work and how they can benefit your home or business while minimizing any potential risks.

Pamela Endreson
Pamela Endreson

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