When you hear the phrase ultraviolet light, you probably think of getting sunburned after a few hours spent relaxing at the pool. However, UV light is also something you can use for enhancing indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the form of light found in air purification. If you struggle with allergies or asthma or hope to reduce the distribution of illnesses across your home, a UV light in the HVAC system can be the air quality solution you’ve been searching for!
How Does a UV Light Work?
The germicidal impacts of ultraviolet light have been understood for more than 100 years. UVC rays were even applied to treat tuberculosis. These days, germicidal lamps are used in hospitals, food processing plants, water treatment plants and air purification products.
A UV lamp placed inside your HVAC system improves the air quality in your home by wiping out microorganisms including 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 target volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in cleaners and repellents as well as airborne bioaerosols such as pollen and pet dander. Still, UV lights don’t literally 'trap' contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to remove dust, fibers and other particles from your home's air supply.
How Successful Are UV Lights?
Assuming they are installed correctly and feature the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at enhancing indoor air quality. One study from Duke University illustrated that UV light removed more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another study revealed “significantly lower” fungal levels inside a commercial business' HVAC system after four months of using a UV light.
Benefits of UV Lights
Install an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to enjoy these benefits:
- Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology helps clean the air 24 hours a day without introducing chemicals into the environment. As opposed to some air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t create ozone, a recognized lung irritant that can be hazardous to individuals with asthma, allergies or chronic lung conditions.
- Decreased chance of getting sick: When used in tandem with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can minimize the chance of catching viral and bacterial infections.
- A layer of protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can gunk up your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system running reliably and efficiently with a hard-working UV light.
- Smaller HVAC maintenance and repair needs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy lower 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 decide on an air-sanitizing UV light, your installation technician will position it inside your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp affects the air before it spreads through 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 continually emits invisible UV radiation. As you probably know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s important to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen when spending time outdoors. The sun also emits UVC rays, the most harming 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 completely, so they don’t make it to the earth’s surface.
Understanding that UVC rays are dangerous, why should you feel alright 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 creates no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to clean the lamp or swap out the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut down the system for a short time to prevent being exposed to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights are on constantly 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 as required.
Request UV Light Installation
Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning offers a range of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be glad to evaluate your home and your family’s needs to suggest the products that will perform best for you. Enjoy the peace of mind that that all work we perform is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.