UV Air Cleaner vs. HEPA Air Cleaner: Which Do You Need?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) most homes are 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. And many homes have as much as 100 times more pollution than the worst outdoor air.

These are sobering stats and one of the reasons many Northern California homeowners are looking for whole-home air cleaners.

But shopping for the right air cleaner can be confusing. In this article, we’re going to look at two types of whole-home air cleaners (sometimes called air purifiers) – UV air cleaners and HEPA air cleaners.

UV air cleaners

UV stands for ultraviolet. These air cleaners use UV light to kill harmful microorganisms like mold, viruses, and bacteria.

What it does: A UV air cleaner is installed over your air conditioner’s coils to kill mold and bacteria that can collect there.

Why it’s needed: Your coils are cold, which causes water from your air to condense on them. This creates a moist environment where mold and bacteria can grow. The bacteria and mold spores can then be carried into your home through your ductwork.

Get a UV air cleaner if:

  • Your home is humid much of the summer.
  • You’re concerned about energy efficiency (mold buildup on air conditioning coils also decreases energy efficiency).
  • You or someone in your home is allergic to mold or mildew.

HEPA air cleaners

HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. What that really means is that these filters remove even very, very small airborne particles. (Read more about how small airborne pollution is and why it matters) HEPA filters are used in hospitals and clean rooms because of their ability to clean indoor air.

What it does: A HEPA whole-home air cleaner is essentially a very fine air filter (actually a series of very fine filters) and a fan. The fan pushes the air through the filters, removing 99.97% of all indoor air pollution down to .03 microns. Some HEPA air cleaners also have a UV light built in to help kill mold, bacteria, and viruses.

Why it’s needed: As we said in the intro to this article, most homes are much more polluted than the worst outdoor air. And many of the common pollutants in homes have serious health effects. A HEPA whole-home air cleaner is the best home air filtration available.

Get a HEPA air cleaner if:

  • You or other family members have serious allergy problems.
  • You are concerned about the overall air quality of your home.
  • You want hospital-clean air in your home.

Other options

Of course, there are many other air cleaning options available to Northern California homeowners today, these are just a couple we get the most questions about. There are also whole-home air cleaners that aren’t quite as powerful as HEPA air cleaners, but offer some of the same advantages.

Want more information on what’s right for your family? Contact one of our experts and we’d be happy to help.

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