When you look at ultraviolet light, you might imagine getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. However, UV light is also a tool for enhancing indoor air quality. Sunscreen safeguards against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the type of light applied in air purification. If you struggle with allergies or asthma or hope to limit the dispersal of illnesses throughout your home, a UV light within the HVAC system could be the air quality solution you’ve been hoping for!
How Does a UV Light Function?
The germicidal impacts of ultraviolet light have been known for more than a century. UVC rays were originally applied to treat tuberculosis. Nowadays, germicidal lamps are implemented in hospitals, food processing facilities, water treatment plants and air purification equipment.
A UV lamp installed into your HVAC system improves the air quality in your home by deactivating microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It only requires 10 seconds of contact to disrupt these germs’ DNA, killing them or stopping them from replicating.
UV lights also target volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in cleaners and repellents as well as airborne bioaerosols such as pollen and pet dander. Still, UV lights don’t actually '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?
Assuming they are installed properly and use the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at increasing indoor air quality. One study from Duke University found that UV light removed more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another analysis measured “significantly lower” fungal levels inside a commercial building’s HVAC system after four months of applying a UV light.
Benefits of UV Lights
Place an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to make the most of these benefits:
- Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology sanitizes the air around the clock without introducing chemicals into the environment. Unlike certain air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t generate ozone, a known lung irritant that is harmful to people with asthma, allergies or frequent lung illnesses.
- Lower chance of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can lower the likelihood of contracting 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 operating smoothly and efficiently with a hard-working UV light.
- Reduced HVAC maintenance and repair bills: 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 installation technician should position it in your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp helps clean the air before it spreads across your home.
If you prefer a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit around the AC evaporator coil. There, it deactivates mold and bacteria that accumulate on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.
Are UV Lights Safe?
The sun continually releases invisible UV radiation. As you probably know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen when enjoying time outdoors. The sun also gives off UVC rays, the most destructive variant of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, particularly the skin and eyes.
Luckily, the atmosphere blocks out these rays altogether, so they don’t make it to the earth’s surface.
With the knowledge that UVC rays are harmful, 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 can't come in contact with it, so it presents no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to maintain the lamp or change the bulb, your HVAC technician will turn off the system briefly to prevent being exposed to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights are used continuously and usually 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 replaced when necessary.
Schedule UV Light Installation
Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning provides a suite of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be glad to evaluate your home and your family’s needs to recommend the products that will perform best for you. Rest easy knowing 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.