When you think of ultraviolet light, you probably picture getting sunburned after a few hours spent relaxing at the pool. However, UV light is also a tool for enhancing indoor air quality. Sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the kind of light found in air purification. If you struggle with allergies or asthma or would like to minimize the dispersal of illnesses throughout your home, a UV light in the HVAC system just might be the air quality solution you’ve been looking for!
How Does a UV Light Work?
The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been recognized for more than 100 years. UVC rays were initially employed to treat tuberculosis. Nowadays, germicidal lamps are used in hospitals, food processing plants, water treatment plants and air purification equipment.
A UV lamp added to your HVAC unit helps the air quality in your home by wiping out microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It usually needs 10 seconds of contact to deactivate these germs’ DNA, killing them or preventing them from replicating.
UV lights also address volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in cleaners and repellents alongside airborne bioaerosols such as pollen and pet dander. However, UV lights don’t physically 'trap' contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to remove dust, fibers and other particles from your indoor air.
How Successful Are UV Lights?
Provided they are installed properly and use the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are remarkably effective at improving indoor air quality. One study out of Duke University found that UV light eliminated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another analysis revealed “significantly lower” fungal levels in a commercial building’s HVAC unit after four months of applying a UV light.
Benefits of UV Lights
Place an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to take advantage of these benefits:
- Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology sanitizes the air 24 hours a day without dispersing chemicals into the environment. Compared to some air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t generate ozone, an infamous lung irritant that is very harmful to those with asthma, allergies or prolonged lung conditions.
- Lower likelihood of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lights can reduce the likelihood of contracting viral and bacterial infections.
- A layer of protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can clog up your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system running smoothly and efficiently with a hard-working UV light.
- Lower HVAC maintenance and repair needs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy simpler maintenance requirements and minimal need for emergency repairs. These savings can help counter the cost of running a UV light and replacing the bulb.
Where Do UV Lights Get Installed?
If you select an air-sanitizing UV light, your installer should position it within your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp affects the air before it flows across your home.
If you prefer a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit near the AC evaporator coil. There, it deactivates mold and bacteria that grow on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.
Are UV Lights Safe?
The sun constantly releases invisible UV radiation. As you already know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s crucial to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen when enjoying time outside. The sun also emits UVC rays, the most damaging type of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, like the skin and eyes.
Luckily, the atmosphere filters out these rays entirely, so they don’t reach the earth’s surface.
Understanding that UVC rays are hazardous, why should you feel okay with installing a UVC light in your HVAC system? It’s simple—the light is confined to your ductwork where you never come in contact with it, so it presents no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to clean the lamp or change the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut off the system briefly to avoid exposure to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights run continuously and typically last nine to 14 months. Yearly HVAC maintenance (once in the spring for your air conditioner and again in the fall for your furnace) is the best possible time to have these bulbs examined and swapped out as required.
Request UV Light Installation
Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning provides a suite of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be delighted to analyze your home and your family’s needs to suggest the equipment that will work best for you. Rest assured that all work we complete is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Get in touch with your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.