What’s the Difference Between a Media Air Cleaner and an Ultraviolet Air Purifier?

What’s the Difference Between a Media Air Cleaner and an Ultraviolet Air Purifier?

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People spend an estimated 90% of their day indoors, so the cleanliness of the air we breathe indoors has a great impact on our health and comfort. Whole house air cleaners work to eliminate contaminants to create healthier air for everyone indoors. 

When it comes to better indoor air quality for the entire home, Atlanta homeowners have options – media air cleaners and ultraviolet air purifiers. But, there’s some confusion surrounding what each does and how they differ, which prevents many homeowners from understanding the benefits of using this technology at home.

The indoor air quality professionals of Estes Services explain how media air cleaners and ultraviolet air purifiers work to benefit your family and how to find the right one for your home. Schedule a consultation with our staff to address the air quality challenges you face at home.  

Media Air Cleaners

A media air cleaner is a type of air filtration system. It uses filter media to trap airborne contaminants as air cycles through the home’s HVAC system. Typically installed on the return duct run, incoming air is filtered by the air cleaner before passing into the heating or cooling system for conditioning.

  • Whole house air cleaners fit anywhere and everywhere. Air cleaners for your home come in a variety of sizes with different features to keep your air healthy and clean in every room.
  • Media air cleaners remove up to 99% of airborne pathogens. They trap and eliminate up to 99% of small airborne particles including bacteria, germs and viruses.
  • Use of whole house air cleaners improves respiratory issues. Constant exposure to airborne particles causes long-term respiratory issues. If you have asthma or severe allergies, a media air cleaner allows your lungs to relax with cleaner indoor air.
  • Air cleaners neutralize smoke. Second-hand smoke is harmful to your loved ones, but you can also get smoke in the home from using your fireplace. Smoke brings a dingy smell to the air – an HVAC air cleaner neutralizes those smells, leaving you with clean, fresh air.
  • Air cleaners keep seasonal allergies under control. Pollen, dust and other allergens are filtered out through the air cleaner filtration system, which is up to 99% effective.
  • Media air cleaners keep your home cleaner. Consistent sweeping and vacuuming do not eliminate 100% of the dust in your home. Whole house air cleaners trap the missed dust before it settles, leaving you with less cleaning on your hands.
  • Air cleaners remove pet hair and dander. Pets are a wonderful addition to any home, but their dander and hair are bothersome for allergy and asthma sufferers.
  • Media air cleaners help your home smell fresh. Smells from cooking and cleaning, as well as other unpleasant odors, are eradicated with an air cleaner for your home.
  • Air cleaners improve indoor air quality year-round. Indoor air is between 2 to 5 times more polluted than the air outside.

Ultraviolet Air Purifiers

Ultraviolet (UV) air purifiers use bulbs that emit UV-C energy that neutralizes harmful pathogens in the air. They are installed within the home’s ductwork and the air conditioner’s evaporator coil to treat the air flowing through the system, killing live matter and stopping its reproduction. 

  • A UV air purifier kills harmful pathogens that cause illness and infection. UV light neutralizes virus, bacteria and germ cells to lessen the transmission of illness throughout a household.
  • UV air purifiers are safe for use in homes. Contained within the HVAC system, there is no risk of exposure to UV rays.
  • Prevent mold and mildew growth within the air conditioning system. UV air purifiers destroy their cells, which prevents reproduction and kills active spores.
  • UV air purifiers are very low maintenance. Only bulbs require replacement and are made to last one to three years between changes, depending on the model.
  • UV light air purifiers are energy efficient. The bulbs used require minimal energy consumption even with around-the-clock use. Their addition to the HVAC system also improves the overall efficiency of heating and air conditioning equipment for further savings.

Which One Is Right for My Home?

Whole house air cleaners and UV air purifiers serve two different purposes. Whole house air cleaners remove particles from the air supply, while UV light purification neutralizes harmful microorganisms to prevent their spread and transmission. 

UV lights do not remove any particles from the air supply. They are ineffective for treatment of allergens such as pet dander, pollen and dust mites. While whole house air cleaners remove matter from the air supply, they are still not 100 percent effective – some of the smallest microscopic particles do pass through. 

These two different solutions are used together rather than alone to provide the most comprehensive air cleaning and filtration solution for the home. UV lights kill harmful microorganisms, but they are still present in the air supply and still have the ability to impact some family members. So, whole house air cleaners are used to remove as much of those particulates as possible. And finally, the UV lights serve as a defense to neutralize those incredibly small particles that do pass through whole house air cleaners, which can be dangerous to human health.

Learn More from Our Experts

Estes Services’ NATE-certified HVAC technicians possess the detailed knowledge of indoor air quality solutions required to carefully explain how each system works, its benefits and if multiple solutions can provide more comprehensive air cleaning and filtration for your household. Schedule an appointment today to meet with our staff and discover whole house air cleaners, UV light air purifiers and other solutions that offer the maximum benefit to your family.