News & FAQ

What is a UV Air Filter?

2/19/2016

Valerie Johannsen People & Brand Manager

Air filters remove dust, hair, and pollens from your home’s indoor air.  They even filter out several mineral pollutants to leave your home’s air fresh and clean.  But microscopic contagions are much harder to trap or kill because of their small size. Many can easily slip through the safeguard of your air filter and recirculate throughout your home for the germ’s entire lifespan.  It’s part of why we see an increase in sickness during the winter.  Being locked into the same building, breathing the same air can impact your health because of the buildup of germs and airborne pollutants.

Ultra-violet (UV) light is harmful to biological organisms.  UV-B and UV-A, which are two types emitted by the sun, are responsible for the nasty sunburns you can pick up when you’re outside for too long (and why you should always wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days).  UV-C, a third portion of the ultra-violet spectrum of light, is especially harmful.  By shining this light on small organics such as bacteria, mold spores, and viruses they can be killed almost instantly.

Put simply, a UV air filter is a special light embedded in your ventilation system that’s designed to kill all microbial life and improve in-home health.

How it Works

Because UV-C is dangerous, the special light is installed inside your ventilation system, either just before or after your central heating and air unit.  This is to ensure that the circulated air from your home passes through the filter.

As the air is passed through the filter, an intense ultra-violet light shines into the ventilation system.  The light sterilizes the air of all airborne microbes, viruses, bacteria, and mold spores. Other airborne contaminants are, of course, trapped by your regular filter.  The combination of a regular filter and a UV-filter serves to clean the air of physical particles and health-damaging viruses like Influenza.

Many people confuse ozone-based purifiers with modern UV filters.  The two are completely dissimilar.  UV filters use electromagnetic waves in the form of light to clean the air.  They do not bond with air molecules so all UV light remains in the ventilation shaft and only clean air travels through the ductwork.  There are no negative or harmful effects from using a UV filter, only the removal of spores and micro-organisms.

The germicidal lamps used in your filter only need to be replaced roughly once a year, as opposed to the 3-6 months of more traditional filters.  UV filters work 24-hours a day.  As long as your heating and cooling system is running, the UV filter is keeping your air clean and healthy!


Thank you for making Service Legends the #1 provider of residential heating and air conditioning in the Des Moines area. A live and friendly customer care representative is ready to take your call 24/7 at 515-COMFORT (515.266.3678).

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