When you think of ultraviolet light, you might think of getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. However, UV light is also a tool for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen safeguards against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the form of light found in air purification. If you suffer from allergies or asthma or hope to limit the dispersal of illnesses throughout your home, a UV light in the HVAC system could be the air quality solution you’ve been looking for!
How Does a UV Light Work?
The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been known for more than a century. UVC rays were even applied to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are found in hospitals, food processing plants, water treatment plants and air purification systems.
A UV lamp added to your HVAC unit helps the air quality in your home by deactivating microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It only requires 10 seconds of contact to affect these germs’ DNA, killing them or preventing them from replicating.
UV lights also combat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in cleaners and repellents as well as airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. That being said, UV lights don’t physically 'trap' contaminants, so you still need an air filtration system to capture dust, fibers and other particles from the air.
How Successful Are UV Lights?
Provided they are installed properly and feature the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at increasing indoor air quality. One study completed by Duke University revealed that UV light removed more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another report revealed “significantly lower” fungal levels within a commercial business' HVAC system after four months of operating a UV light.
Benefits of UV Lights
Place an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to enjoy 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 known lung irritant that is toxic to those with asthma, allergies or chronic lung illnesses.
- Lower likelihood of getting sick: When combined with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lamps can lower the chance of catching viral and bacterial infections.
- Stronger protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can gunk up your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system working 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 fewer emergency repairs. These savings can help offset the cost of utilizing a UV light and replacing the bulb.
Where Do UV Lights Get Installed?
If you choose an air-sanitizing UV light, your installer should position it in your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp helps clean the air before it circulates throughout your home.
If you would rather have a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit close to the AC evaporator coil. There, it deactivates mold and bacteria that collect on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.
Are UV Lights Safe?
The sun continuously emits invisible UV radiation. As you know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s essential to use a high SPF sunscreen when enjoying time outside. The sun also gives off UVC rays, the most harming variant of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, like the skin and eyes.
Thankfully, the atmosphere eliminates these rays entirely, so they don’t make it to the earth’s surface.
Knowing 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 restricted to the ductwork where you won't come in contact with it, so it creates no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to clean the lamp or change the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut down the system for a short time to prevent 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 replaced as needed.
Schedule UV Light Installation
Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning features a range of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be happy to analyze your home and your family’s needs to advise the products that will work best for you. Enjoy the peace of mind that that all work we produce 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.