When you hear the phrase ultraviolet light, you might think of getting sunburned after a few hours spent relaxing at the pool. And yet, UV light is also a tool for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the form of light found in air purification. If you deal with allergies or asthma or hope to minimize the spread of illnesses throughout your home, a UV light within the HVAC system just might be the air quality solution you’ve been searching for!
How Does a UV Light Function?
The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been understood for more than a century. UVC rays were initially used to treat tuberculosis. These days, germicidal lamps are used in hospitals, food processing centers, water treatment plants and air purification systems.
A UV lamp placed inside your HVAC unit helps the air quality in your home by eliminating microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It only needs 10 seconds of contact to affect these germs’ DNA, killing them or preventing them from replicating.
UV lights also combat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in cleaners and repellents on top of airborne bioaerosols such as pollen and pet dander. However, UV lights don’t literally 'trap' contaminants, so you still need an air filtration system to remove dust, fibers and other particles from your indoor air.
How Effective Are UV Lights?
Provided they are installed properly and use the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at improving indoor air quality. One study completed by Duke University found that UV light deactivated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another study noted “significantly lower” fungal levels in a commercial property's HVAC system after four months of applying a UV light.
Benefits of UV Lights
Add an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to make the most of these benefits:
- Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology disinfects the air 24 hours a day without introducing chemicals into the environment. Compared to certain air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t produce ozone, a recognized lung irritant that is very hazardous to individuals with asthma, allergies or chronic lung conditions.
- Lower chance of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lamps can reduce the risk of catching 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 operating reliably and efficiently with a hard-working UV light.
- Smaller HVAC maintenance and repair needs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy more manageable maintenance requirements and minimal need for emergency repairs. These savings can help recoup 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 installation technician will position it in your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp helps clean the air before it spreads across your home.
If you choose a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit near the AC evaporator coil. There, it targets mold and bacteria that collect on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.
Are UV Lights Safe?
The sun continuously produces invisible UV radiation. As you already know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen when enjoying time outside. The sun also gives off UVC rays, the most damaging type of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, like the skin and eyes.
Thankfully, the atmosphere blocks out these rays altogether, so they don’t reach the earth’s surface.
Knowing that UVC rays are dangerous, why should you feel alright with installing a UVC light in your home? It’s simple—the light is limited 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 replace the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut down the system for a short time to avoid exposure to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights run constantly and generally 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 perfect time to have these bulbs checked and swapped out when necessary.
Schedule UV Light Installation
Air Engineers Service Experts features a suite of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be happy to assess your home and your family’s needs to suggest the equipment that are best for you. Rest assured that all work we produce is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Get in touch with your local Air Engineers Service Experts office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.