Breathe Your Best Air: Purification – Filters, Ionization, UV Light

With many more adults working from home and kids schooling from home, keeping a home’s inside air clean is becoming a major priority for most families.  But as many consumers are realizing, air purification systems can be complex.  Which one is best for your circumstance? What do all the terms mean? How can you make your air safer?

Do Air Filters Improve Air Quality?

Forced hot air systems contain air filters to capture dust and debris before they enter the furnace that heats the air. Air filters help to keep your furnace safe and in working order. What you may not know is that there are different levels of filters that capture different size particles floating in your air.  These particles range from dust mites and fuzzies to pollen, bacteria, and viruses.  

Furnace filters are rated on a MERV scale – which stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The scale is ranked from 1-20, determining their effectiveness at catching various sized particles. Many homes generally have a filter rated between 5 and 12. These filters are good for catching mold, dust, and pet dander. Filters with a rating of 13, are considered hospital-grade filters that can capture bacteria.  Filters with a MERV rating above 17 can capture viruses and even carbon dust.

It is important to familiarize yourself with the specific needs of your family and purchasing a filter with the appropriate rating. If you need some help in determining how to make a good decision on air-filter selection, keep reading below. 

Which furnace filter is right for me?

That depends on many factors you may want to consider:

  1. What does your furnace recommend? You should always check and see what the recommended filter rating is for your furnace. Reading your furnaces owner manual will help protect you from making a costly mistake, like putting a higher MERV rated into your system than it can handle. It takes more work to draw air through a higher rated filter and this can damage your system. Always check what MERV ratings your system should use.
  2. What do you want to capture? If you want to capture mold and dust, you’ll choose a certain MERV rating around a 6 or 7.  If you want to capture bacteria, you may want to reach for a 13 rating or above. Some families pair their filteration system with a product like a UV light, or iWave ionizer, allowing them to use lower-rated filters.
  3. How much do you want to spend? As with everything in life, the higher the quality, the more you’ll spend. Filters with higher MERV ratings get more expensive. Air filters can range anywhere from $1.00 – $30.00 apiece.


Air purification systems that work off of ionization work on the principle of putting negative ions into the air. These ions contain a negative charge which in turn, binds itself to debris that passes through your air. When enough of these ions cling to a dust particle, virus, or bacteria, they create a static-like charge that binds them to an air filter.

Ionizers, like the iWave air purifier, are placed inside your forced hot air system to put these ions into the system’s air before it reaches the air filter. These ions bind to particles that are then trapped by your air filter.  As mentioned above, a system like the iWave air purifier, paired with an air filter, is incredibly effective against dust, pollen, bacteria, and even viruses like SARS-CoV-2.  These systems are great for both home and business use, have great lifetimes, and require little upkeep to maintain their working order!  You just change your air filter on a regular basis, like normal.

UV Light Systems

UV light air purifiers work on a different principle, one you’re familiar with if you’ve ever gotten sunburned – they break down particles, bacteria, and viruses that float in your air using UV light. Since UV light degrades what it comes in contact with, particles that pass through a UV light system also break down, just like sunlight when it damages your skin.

Are UV light systems safe?

Yes – they are enclosed in your forced air system and are completely safe in both home and commercial uses.  UV light systems are designed to kill germs, are the UV light is exposed to humans. It should be mentioned that UV light air purification systems require some regular upkeep – replacing the bulbs and keeping them free of dust helps to keep your air cleaner.

How do I know what system works for me?

If you have forced hot air, you can easily check your air filter MERV rating and update it to what you feel is best. The next step is making a choice based on personal preference – do you want an ionizer or a UV light system. Both do a great job of removing harmful particles from your home’s air.

If you’re having a hard time deciding between the iWave and a UV light system, our team of HVAC specialists can help.  Either system could be right for your home and budget. Give our team a call today at 866-665-8980 or fill out a quote request form and we can help you breathe your best air!

Get in Touch to Breathe Your Best Air Today!

Get in Touch to Breathe Your Best Air Today!

Share this post
Related Posts