I've heard UV lights are helpful for air purifier filters, is this true?

by Ben W.
(Tempe, AZ)

I have been looking for an air purifier with a UV light to kill the germs and bacteria. I heard these were beneficial to have on an air purifier because germs and bacteria can be recirculated in the air. I can't find too many with UV bulbs and wonder how helpful they really are?

I found some info on the site, but could you give me a simple break down of the pros and cons? Basically, I want to know if I should keep spending my time hunting down an air purifier with a UV light, or not?!

Comments for I've heard UV lights are helpful for air purifier filters, is this true?

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Apr 10, 2010
The air purifier UV bulb 411
by: Lisa

Ok, here's the 411 on the air purifiers with UV bulbs. Way back I'd heard about how great these were also. I got one with a UV bulb and was excited not to have to think about all those germs on my filter. (this was well before my days as an expert on this subject) Well, I didn't like the purifier because it was loud- a Honeywell that's no longer made- so I returned it. This prompted me to explore this subject further. In the last few years, this is the basics on what I have found out:

Yes, the UV bulb will sanitize the filter reducing the amount of germs and bacteria recirculated.

Cons: #1 It's not very conclusive how effective the UV bulb is at sanitizing while the air particles are being pushed through the filter by the fan. Hopefully quality filters will do a great job of trapping the particles, so it will be fairly effective.
#2 The UV bulbs are expensive, around $70- over $100, and many reviews I have read on purifiers with UV bulbs, people tend to say it's a pain, or impossible to find a replacement.
#3 The UV bulb might be damaging to the filter over long periods of time and break down the filter material. This will reduce how effectively it traps particles and may let more of the germs pass through.

In my opinion they seem like a great idea, but one that in practice doesn't hold up. This is my guess at why the top brands don't generally offer this as an option. They haven't found a perfect system for the UV bulb's use. I personally wouldn't want to hassle with the finding/replacing of the bulb and possible wear on the filter.

My advice is to check out the BlueAir purifiers. Their HEPA filters use non-toxic polypropylene which inhibit mold and mildew growth found on most other filters. Their filters overall have many great health benefits.
Happy hunting. Just let me know if you have other questions.

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