When you think of ultraviolet light, you probably think of getting sunburned after spending a day at the pool. However, UV light is also a strategy for enhancing indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the form of light used in air purification. If you suffer from allergies or asthma or would like to limit the spread of illnesses around your home, a UV light in the HVAC system just might be the air quality solution you’ve been looking for!
How Does a UV Light Function?
The germicidal influences of ultraviolet light have been understood for over a century. UVC rays were even used to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are implemented in hospitals, food processing plants, water treatment plants and air purification products.
A UV lamp placed inside your HVAC system helps the air quality in your home by wiping out microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It generally needs 10 seconds of contact to disrupt 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. That being said, UV lights don’t actually 'trap' contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to extract dust, fibers and other particles from the air.
How Successful Are UV Lights?
As long as they are installed like they're supposed to and utilize the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are highly effective at enhancing indoor air quality. One study from Duke University found that UV light eliminated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another report noted “significantly lower” fungal levels inside a commercial business' HVAC unit 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 around the clock without dispersing chemicals into the environment. As opposed to certain air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t generate ozone, an infamous lung irritant that is harmful to people with asthma, allergies or frequent lung illnesses.
- Decreased chance of getting sick: When used in tandem with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can lower the likelihood of contracting 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.
- Reduced HVAC maintenance and repair bills: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy simpler 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 choose 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 choose a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit around the AC evaporator coil. There, it affects 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 already know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s important to use an effective sunscreen when enjoying time outside. The sun also produces UVC rays, the most damaging form of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, such as the skin and eyes.
Luckily, the atmosphere blocks out these rays entirely, so they don’t get through to the earth’s surface.
With the knowledge that UVC rays are harmful, why should you feel comfortable installing a UVC light in your home? It’s simple—the light is confined to the inside of 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 clean the lamp or swap out 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 examined and swapped out as needed.
Request UV Light Installation
Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning features a number of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be delighted to assess your home and your family’s needs to recommend the products that are 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.