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UV Air Purifiers HVAC ?

UV Air Purifiers HVAC


My 30-year career in engineering has included process control instrumentation, balancing machines, medical devices and HVAC control. The latter started in 1998 when I moved to Fort Collins, Colorado to work with a small HVAC furnace control company that had been recently acquired by Robertshaw. Later, I moved on to the Carrier division of United Technologies. In those days, internet connected homes were just beginning to be a hot topic and HVAC systems were a large part of the discussion. Now, over 20 years later UV Air Purifiers HVAC is an active topic. Is adding an air purifier with UV to a furnace or HVAC system worth it? Is it better to opt for a whole-house solution rather than having portable air purifiers in various rooms? Good Questions.

UV Air Purifiers HVAC – What Are the Options?

Actually, the technology for HVAC has a lot of overlap with what you find in portable air purifier solutions. Although much of it boils down to scale, it’s important to consider that some UV related air purification issues that exist in portable units extend to HVAC systems where the issues are magnified due to the scale of the implementation.  However, before we discuss those issues let’s quickly review the HVAC options available in general and then we’ll spend more time on UV Air Purifiers HVAC.

Standard Flat HVAC Air Purifier Filters

This is the default. If you already enjoy the benefits of an HVAC system for A/C, Furnace, or a Combo, then you are familiar with these flat filters. In fact, you can purchase them almost anywhere and they are a low-cost solution to filtration. They are typically made of matted fiberglass and generally do a pretty good job on larger particles. Unfortunately, they are often forgotten and not changed nearly enough. The big difference here is that the default portable air purifiers use some grade of HEPA Filter which is far more effective than a HVAC Flat Filter. Hence, in order to compete with portable air purifiers, HVAC needs to have some type of customized installation.

Electronic Filters

Enter the use of electronic or electrostatic filtration. Just like their competition, HVAC solutions provide a high-voltage electrical charge on particles in the air and then further along the filtration path collector plates with opposite charge act like a magnet to attract the charged airborne particles. The advantage to this solution is that you no longer need to buy replacement filters. Typically, the maintenance involves periodically washing the collector plates. However, the effectiveness of destroying harmful bacteria and viruses largely depends on the electrostatic technology. Furthermore, the ozone by-product of the ionization process now becomes a more global household concern which places further burden on choosing a high quality and often expensive HVAC electrostatic design that mitigates such concerns. 

UV Air Purifiers HVAC – Back to where we started

At this point it might be good to reference a previous article I wrote Air Purifiers with UV Light Benefits in order to better understand why UV Light is used to address viruses and bacteria. In doing so, a big takeaway is that while UV Light is very effective, the exposure time, distance, and power source are all crucially important concepts. Given these are important concerns with portable air purifiers, such are magnified even further with HVAC systems where the air flow rate is typically higher than portable units. Basically, prolonged exposure to UV Light is necessary and if the airborne particles are moving very fast through an HVAC duct system this places a heavier burden on the UV Light power source. Furthermore, the physical design is crucial since the distance of the harmful airborne particles from the light makes a big difference in the outcome.

Another point to consider is that portable air purifiers with UV Light are generally not “UV only” solutions, rather HEPA Filters are used to trap the viruses and bacteria and then they are exposed to the UV Light for prolonged periods. Hence, an HVAC system would need to employ a similar approach or use UV as a component in the overall technology design for optimum efficacy.  If I were building a new home, I would most definitely consider a whole-house HVAC air purifier solution. Even then, I’m not convinced that would be my only choice. Given the complexity of uniform air flow, I’d probably opt for a mixed approach. The great thing about portable air purifiers is that they can be placed in strategic locations that are close to the breathing source. In any case whether UV Air Purifiers HVAC or portable air purifiers with UV Light, choose a design that combines UV Light with another filtration system like HEPA or a technology that uses UV as a component of the technology. The most important takeaway is that adding on just UV Light alone to an existing HVAC system is not the ideal solution.

In summary, for emphasis, even if you choose a UV Air Purifier HVAC purification system, portable units in strategic locations are highly recommended. We invite you to our Think Air Purifiers Home page to assist you further.


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