Do UV air purifiers really work?

Yes, SOME UV air purifiers really work. Numerous health studies have shown that UV-C light very effectively inactivates viruses, bacteria, mold, mildew and fungi by breaking down their DNA or RNA. UV light also is helpful in prevention of secondary allergies related to airborne allergens. However, not all UV air purifiers are the same, nor are all effective. Many make false or exaggerated claims. RXAir® is one of the few that can back its claims with hard data.

RxAir has gone through rigorous testing by EPA- and FDA-certified labs. Our claims that RxAir destroys germs, bacteria, viruses, and reduces VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and odors are backed by independent research and testing facility data and studies. RxAir has been proven to disinfect the air and inactivate a wide range of bacterial and viral pathogens as has been conclusively demonstrated in independent laboratory tests.

RxAir has been endorsed by Dr. Wladyslaw Kowalski, a leading authority on aerobiological infection control and UV germicidal irradiation (UVGI) who has written numerous papers and books[1] that many consider as the definitive industry guides on the subject.

RxAir is a powerful UV air purifier that destroys more than 99% of airborne bacteria and viruses, such as the flu, (including H1N1), SARS, pneumonia, MRSA, strep, TB, measles and the common cold. RxAir kills bacteria that can make it difficult to sleep and helps protect those who suffer from respiratory conditions or a weakened immune system by reducing their exposure to harmful pathogens. RxAir effectively reduces odors, indoor pollutants, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

How UV Air Purifiers Work

The key factors to the effectiveness of UV light at inactivating pathogens are:

  • Length of time to which the pathogens are exposed to the UV-C light. RXAIR uses a powerful fan to bring air in, but then it uses its patented Viratech technology to slow the air down once in the kill chamber.
  • The intensity of the ultraviolet germicidal light kills the pathogens as they move through the chamber.
  • The proximity of the pathogen to the light is another advantage that RXAIR has as the Viratech chamber is specially designed to keep harmful bacterial and viruses in close contact to the UV-C light.
  • Finally, it is important how many times the air in a given space is circulated through an air purifier in an hour. RXAIR can clean a large room upwards of 800 sq. ft. up to six times in an hour.

The dwell time for inactivation is approximately 1/2 second which is what makes RXAIR so effective. All contaminants are directed into the Viratech cartridge and the turbulence inside the cartridge creates a mixing that forces all contaminants to get close enough to at least one of the three lamps for inactivation. Also, each one of the RXAIR germicidal UV lamps is long, approximately 16″ long with a very high intensity and an ozone block to prevent any ozone emissions.

With most other technologies it is improbable that a contaminant will get close enough to the UV lamp for inactivation. A 6″ lamp has less dwell time and less of a chance for inactivation than a 16″ lamp. If a contaminant gets close enough to the competitions lamp it would most likely be inactivated. The question is how many contaminants even get close enough to accomplish this.

UV air purifier myths vs facts

Myth – bacteria and viruses aren’t exposed to UV lights long enough to kill them

FactMOST UV air purifiers blow air quickly past UV lights without sufficient exposure time to inactivate the harmful pathogens. Many also use UV lights that are too weak to be effective. RxAir uses a patented chamber that includes a system of baffles to create turbulence that brings the pathogens in close proximity to its three powerful 24-watt UV-C lamps for an extended time, resulting in inactivation of 99% of pathogens on first pass and reduction in VOCs and odors.

Myth – UV air purifiers produce harmful ozone

Fact – There are air purifiers that produce ozone, but RxAir is NOT one of them. RxAir uses non-ozone producing UV-C that prevent ozone emissions.

RxAir is NOT an ionizer. An ionizing air purifier’s corona discharge produces ozone, a known irritant of the lungs and respiratory system. Many states including California, Minnesota, and Texas have published guidelines on air purifiers that produce ozone.

Myth – UV air purifiers cannot kill bacteria and viruses

Fact –The effectiveness of UV light at inactivating viruses and bacteria has been well documented scientifically for decades. In fact, the CDC recommends UV light as a supplemental hospital infectious control method for hospitals on pathogens such as TB[3]. RxAir employs the same technology used in UV air purifiers in hundreds of hospitals to keep you and your loved ones safe from airborne pathogens

Myth: HEPA air filters are adequate against bacteria and viruses.

Fact: Many dangerous viruses are smaller than 0.1 micron and can pass through the typical HEPA filter. HEPA filters trap, but do not necessarily kill live pathogens. HEPA filters may accumulate viruses, bacteria and fungal spores over time, exposing the people to a literal petri dish of pathogens and allowing the opportunity for them to be reintroduced to the area during filter changes. HEPA systems also circulate air over live viruses and, if the filter is not sealed tightly, leaks may occur which can re-entrain live pathogens and recirculate them into the area.

Conclusion: Do UV Air Purifiers Really Work?

RXAIR is one of the few UV air purifiers that really does work, unfortunately there are many dubious UV air purifier products that make exaggerated claims about their ability to kill/inactivate pathogens and the size of the space they can service. Consumer Reports has even warned consumers about companies making unfounded claims.

RxAir has gone through numerous tests in EPA and FDA certified labs and the results support our claims of effectiveness at inactivating 99% of most viruses and bacteria on first pass. For this reason, RxAir’s technology is used in hundreds of hospitals in some of the most sensitive of environments. The powerful UVC light in every RxAir processes the air in an 800 sq. foot room three times per hour to help reduce your exposure to pathogens and keep it fresh and safe for you and your loved ones. I think it is safe to say, UV air purifiers work.

[1]Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation Handbook: UVGI for Air and Surface Disinfection”
[2]“Aerobiological Engineering Handbook: A Guide to Airborne Disease Control Technologies.”
[3]Public Health Reports. Association of Schools of Public Health, Jan. 2010. Web. 15 June 2015.


UV Air Purifiers work! RXAIR believes coming home should be a breath of fresh air.

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