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Ultraviolet Air Cleaners vs. Media Air Cleaners: What’s the HVAC Difference?

Before you improve the indoor air quality in your home, it’s best to understand the HVAC difference between an ultraviolet air cleaner or media air cleaner. Both keep unwanted contaminants out of your home’s air.

Both allow you to breathe easier and healthier air. But, each system works differently and has its own advantages. Below, we explore the similarities and differences between these two indoor air quality products.

Media Air Cleaners

Media air cleaners serve as a great first line of defense to improve your home’s indoor air quality. Essentially, they are highly effective air filters which trap tiny invisible air particles. These pollutants include dander, pollen, mold and dust. Media air cleaners are installed on a return duct line and prevent particulates from entering your home.

How Media Air Cleaners Work

A media air cleaner is a cabinet placed in the return air duct of the forced air system. As air passes through your HVAC system, the media air cleaner traps airborne particles within the filter media before they reach your indoor atmosphere.

The main HVAC difference between a media air cleaner and a standard air filter is size. Conventional air filters are an inch thick while media cleaners are 4 to 5 inches thick. This allows for more and better air filtration.

IAQ Advantages of Media Air Cleaners 

Here are ways a media air filter improves air quality in your home:

  • More effective than traditional filters: A media air cleaner provides up to 40 times more filtering media than a traditional 1-inch thick air filter.
  • Captures invisible particulates: As air flows through the cleaner, it traps tiny particles as small as 0.1 microns. To give you an idea of how small that is, consider the average thickness of a human hair is between 30 to 100 microns!
  • Captures pathogens: A media air cleaner captures up to 98 percent of airborne particles containing bacteria, mold spores, and viruses. These have the potential to cause dangerous and even deadly diseases in humans.

Ultraviolet Air Cleaners

The main HVAC difference between media air cleaners and ultraviolet media cleaners? One is a filter and one uses light to prevent harmful particles from entering your home’s air. Ultraviolet air cleaners live inside your HVAC system and kill any potentially harmful bacteria before it enters your living space. They do not rely on filters to remove airborne contaminants.

How Ultraviolet Air Cleaners Work

Ultraviolet air cleaners use state-of-the-art ultraviolet (UV) light technology to stop virus reproduction. This effectively prevents the spread of diseases or re-infection. Ultraviolet air cleaners often combine a UV lamp with a media air filter to remove harmful particles from your home’s air and kill germs and bacteria.

IAQ Advantages of HVAC UV light

UV air cleaners help purify your home’s air in the following ways:

  • Kills mold and bacteria: It’s almost impossible for air conditioners to stay dry from within. UV light significantly reduces microbes on the coils within your system. Also reduces the risk of mold and other bacteria from entering the rooms in your home.
  • Removes VOCs: UV lights lower the amount of VOCs in your home. Volatile organic compounds include both human-made and naturally occurring compounds. These range from acetone in furniture polish and wallpaper to benzene in paint and carpeting. VOCs have a direct effect on your home’s indoor air quality as well as your family’s health. This is especially true for those who suffer from allergies, asthma, respiratory illnesses or certain cardiac conditions.

Call Douglas Cooling & Heating to Install a Media Air Cleaner or Ultraviolet Air Cleaner

Are you looking to install a media air cleaner or ultraviolet air cleaner in your Birmingham home? Now that you know the HVAC difference between the two devices, contact Douglas Cooling & Heating today for a free estimate!

Our indoor air quality specialists conduct a comprehensive analysis of your HVAC system and recommend an indoor air quality system to keep your air, allergen and contaminant-free.

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