(Last Updated On: March 24, 2023)

Does UV Light Kill Viruses?

Discover How UV Lights Have the Potential to Kill Viruses Such as the Coronavirus While Disinfecting Your Home

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By Jaimie Hart

12 min read

UV light with germicidal properties is used to treat tuberculosis and disinfects hospitals, kitchens, laboratories, and more. From visible light to radio waves to ultraviolet light, electromagnetic radiation comes in many forms. As photons collide with the matter, they transmit electromagnetic energy, and ultraviolet light has a high energy level. UV-C light is what you’ll find in many air purifiers. It ranges from 100 to 280 nanometers, with photons vibrating the fastest and holding the most energy than UV-B and UV-A.

UV Light

Health Benefits of UV Light

The use of ultraviolet (UV) has several advantages, especially when combined with an air purifier. UV light rays may incinerate bacteria, prevents microorganisms from reproducing. They do this by killing the genetic material that helps in reproduction. UV light can kill microbes that cause illness, preventing diseases from spreading.

Many individuals have discovered these health benefits after using a UV light air purifier:

    • Allergens and discomfort are reduced
    • Asthma signs have improved
    • Reduced germ exposure, such as measles, the flu, coronavirus, and the common cold virus 
    • There are fewer odors

Adding a UV-C sanitizer or UV air purifier to your home strengthens families’ immune systems and reduces illness frequency. According to studies, UV light inactivates the flu and viruses by inhibiting the cell’s ability to replicate and transcribe. Since an air purifier decreases the number of airborne pollutants and dust in the house, you’ll also benefit from cleaning less.

Your Guide to UV Air Purifiers and Viruses

Poor indoor air quality is known to cause a range of health issues. When you’re looking to keep the air in your home healthy and free of viruses, why not add some extra protection for you and your family? Learn more about UV light effectiveness, the fight against viruses, costs benefits, and the best air purifiers.

1. The Effectiveness of UV Light Air Purifiers

While UV-C light can deactivate microbes, an air purifier is also commonly marketed as having the potential to minimize dust mite and mold allergens. This means that you can reduce many health issues with the UV-C light’s ability to disinfect the air.

UV light effectiveness is dependent on a variety of factors, including the following:

    • Whether or not the contaminants are exposed to UV light
    • The high amount of light that is needed
    • How long the pollutant remains in the light
    • If the cooling effect of airflow prevents light from passing through
    • The material of the light bulb that emits this form of light

2. UV Light Against Viruses

The UV filtration process can deactivate certain bacteria and mold, as well as reduce virus levels slightly. According to the EPA, high UV light and long exposure times are necessary to kill bacteria spores. While it’s difficult to achieve enough UV light power in air purifiers to kill all viruses in one pass, the UV light can achieve significant results alongside a HEPA filter.

HEPA filters quickly capture viruses. They can catch over 99.9% of viruses in a single pass, according to research and thorough use of HEPA air purifiers. Therefore, UV light could offer extra protection in air purifiers by disinfecting viruses and microorganisms that get trapped in the HEPA filter.

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    3. Long Exposure to UV

    The exposure period or dwell time is one factor that determines how effective a UV air purifier is at deactivating airborne microorganisms. When the air passes through the chamber, the UV lamps destroy pathogens. The majority of air purifiers need all pollutants to be near the UV lamps to be efficient.

    The dwell time should be longer for inactivation to occur efficiently. Besides, the UV lamps must align with the airflow. You may also extend the exposure time to toxic air by operating the air purifier at a low level.

    4. Cost Benefits of UV Light in Air Purifiers

    UV air purifiers have the potential to improve the health of your whole family, along with providing cost-saving benefits. They are energy efficient and do not require filters, unlike HEPA or alternatives. So you won’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on filter replacements and high energy bills.

    You have to arrange routine repairs for other air purification systems. If you don’t change your air filters at least twice a year, toxic particles can continue to enter your lungs. Don’t forget about your HVAC system as well, since it would have to work harder to force air through the clogged filter due to the reduced performance. The only maintenance you’ll have with a UV light is to repair the light bulb every few years or so.

    5. UV Light Prevents Microorganisms From Getting Into Your HVAC

    One of the most severe threats in your house is the possibility of microorganisms in the air you breathe. These microorganisms can cause disease and illness, making it possible for germs to spread from person to person during illness. When a sick person coughs or sneezes, the particles are picked up by your HVAC system and recirculated in the treated air. Keeping harmful air particles and germs from seeping into your HVAC system is a crucial step to prevent you and your family from getting sick.

    Fortunately, by removing all pollutants from the air, a UV air purifier can help you prevent microorganisms from getting into your HVAC. Air purifying systems are effective against bacteria and viruses that cause many viruses and diseases, and UV light can give you extra protection throughout your home. You’ll have a lot better chance of staying safe if you limit your exposure to these germs, which can start with keeping your HVAC clean. We recommend installing a quality UV-C light directly into your HVAC system.

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    6. It’s Important to Find the Right UV Products

    UV light can sterilize and remove germs on medical equipment and other surfaces. It can destroy viruses, but not every UV product on the market is suitable for this use. According to the World Health Organization, UV radiation and UV lamps alone can not treat the coronavirus. The Centers previously recommended UVGI (ultraviolet germicidal irradiation) for Disease Control and Prevention due to their decontamination crisis criteria. 

    The FDA and CDC’s recommendation for UV Light sanitization is not the same as a UV lamp you may find on the internet. Some advertisers are making misleading statements, claiming that simple UV lights not included in proper ionization technology can be used safely and efficiently in homes and workplaces. If you’re searching for a UV product for COVID-19, please be careful when shopping online and make sure that you’re buying a well-reviewed air purifier with excellent research results.

    7. UV Light Questions to Ask

    You don’t want to buy a UV air purifier without ensuring that it’s safe. If you’re viewing products online, check the features and ensure that it’s ozone-safe and kills viruses. 

    If you want to know more about a particular UV-C light, be sure to find out the answers to these questions:

      • Inquire about the products that are compatible with UV-C disinfection. You’ll want to make sure that the amount of UV light in an air purifier won’t damage any filters.
      • Inquire about the lamp’s mercury content. If the lamp breaks and you need to know how to clean it up and dispose of it, this knowledge might be helpful.
      • Inquire with the manufacturer about the product’s health and safety risks and whether or not guidelines for use/training information are available.
      • Test to see if the product emits ozone, as this can be harmful to the environment. Make sure that you find a CARB-certified (California Air Resources Board) air purifier for ozone safety.

    8. Buying a UV Light Air Purifier

    You can find many air purifiers on the market now with UV-C light that destroys airborne bacteria, mold spores, and viruses. The True HEPA filter included in air purifiers also captures 99.97 percent of airborne pollutants. Some products offer the utmost protection and utilize UV-C sanitization for extra protection from viruses, including the Vornado UV Bulb Tray or the GermGuardian Elite Pluggable UV-C Air Sanitizer.

    UV light, when used correctly, will safely destroy germs, mold, mildew, and, in some cases, bacteria and viruses. Please make sure you thoroughly study your UV light choices before purchasing and that it’s configured with an air purifier correctly for optimum efficiency. There is a range of high-quality virus-removing UV lights and systems available to efficiently purify your indoor air for a safer working environment and a comfortable home.

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