How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you look at ultraviolet light, you might think of getting sunburned after spending a day at the pool. Having said that, UV light is also something you can use for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the form of light used in air purification. If you deal with allergies or asthma or want to minimize the spread of illnesses throughout your home, a UV light within the HVAC system could be the air quality solution you’ve been looking for! 

How Does a UV Light Function? 

The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been known for more than 100 years. UVC rays were initially used to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are used in hospitals, food processing facilities, water treatment plants and air purification systems. 

A UV lamp installed into your HVAC system helps the air quality in your home by wiping out microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It usually requires 10 seconds of contact to affect these germs’ DNA, killing them or stopping them from replicating. 

UV lights also address volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in cleaners and repellents on top of airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. Still, UV lights don’t physically ‘trap’ contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to capture dust, fibers and other particles from your indoor air. 

How Successful Are UV Lights? 

Assuming they are installed properly and use the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are remarkably effective at improving indoor air quality. One study completed by Duke University revealed that UV light deactivated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another study measured “significantly lower” fungal levels within a commercial building’s HVAC unit after four months of applying a UV light. 

Benefits of UV Lights 

Add an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to enjoy these benefits: 

  • Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology helps clean the air nonstop without adding chemicals into the environment. Unlike certain air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t create ozone, a recognized lung irritant that is hazardous to individuals with asthma, allergies or chronic lung diseases. 
  • Decreased likelihood of getting sick: When combined with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lamps can reduce the likelihood of getting viral and bacterial infections. 
  • Stronger protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can clog up your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system working reliably and efficiently with a quality UV light. 
  • Smaller HVAC maintenance and repair needs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy more manageable maintenance requirements and fewer emergency repairs. These savings can help offset the cost of using a UV light and replacing the bulb. 

Where Do UV Lights Get Installed? 

If you select an air-sanitizing UV light, your installer will position it inside your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp sanitizes the air before it flows throughout your home. 

If you prefer a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit close to the AC evaporator coil. There, it targets mold and bacteria that accumulate on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly. 

Are UV Lights Safe? 

The sun continuously emits invisible UV radiation. As you probably know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s crucial to wear a high SPF sunscreen when spending time outside. The sun also produces UVC rays, the most damaging form of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, like the skin and eyes. 

Luckily, the atmosphere blocks out these rays altogether, so they don’t make it to the earth’s surface. 

Knowing that UVC rays are hazardous, why should you feel comfortable installing a UVC light in your HVAC system? It’s simple—the light is confined to the ductwork where you never come in contact with it, so it poses no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to maintain the lamp or swap out the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut down the system temporarily to avoid being exposed to the damaging light. 

How Long Do UV Lights Last? 

UV lights are on around the clock and generally last nine to 14 months. Routine 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 looked at and changed out when necessary. 

Schedule UV Light Installation 

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing offers a range of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be happy to assess your home and your family’s needs to recommend the equipment that will work best for you. Rest easy knowing that all work we perform is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today

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