When you think of ultraviolet light, you probably imagine getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. However, UV light is also a tool for enhancing indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the kind of light used in air purification. If you struggle with allergies or asthma or want to reduce the spread of illnesses across 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 Work?
The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been known for more than 100 years. UVC rays were even employed to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are common in hospitals, food processing centers, water treatment plants and air purification products.
A UV lamp installed into your HVAC unit helps the air quality in your home by wiping out microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It only requires 10 seconds of contact to affect these germs’ DNA, killing them or stopping them from replicating.
UV lights also combat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in cleaners and repellents as well as airborne bioaerosols such as pollen and pet dander. That being said, UV lights don’t actually 'trap' contaminants, so you still need an air filtration system to extract dust, fibers and other particles from the air.
How Powerful Are UV Lights?
Provided they are installed correctly and utilize the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are highly effective at enhancing indoor air quality. One study completed by Duke University found that UV light removed more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another study noted “significantly lower” fungal levels in a commercial property's HVAC unit after four months of operating 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 adding chemicals into the environment. Unlike other air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t generate ozone, a recognized lung irritant that can be harmful to those with asthma, allergies or frequent lung illnesses.
- Decreased chance of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lights can minimize the chance of getting viral and bacterial infections.
- Protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can negatively impact your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system operating smoothly and efficiently with a quality UV light.
- Reduced HVAC maintenance and repair costs: 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 utilizing 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 in your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp helps clean the air before it circulates across your home.
If you choose a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit near the AC evaporator coil. There, it affects mold and bacteria that collect on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.
Are UV Lights Safe?
The sun continuously releases invisible UV radiation. As you know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s important to apply an effective sunscreen when spending time outdoors. The sun also emits UVC rays, the most damaging form of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, such as the skin and eyes.
Thankfully, the atmosphere filters out these rays completely, so they don’t make it to the earth’s surface.
With the knowledge that UVC rays are harmful, why should you feel comfortable 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 poses no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to clean the lamp or replace the bulb, your HVAC technician will turn off the system for a short time to prevent being exposed to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights are used around the clock and typically 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 checked and replaced when necessary.
Request UV Light Installation
A-PLUS Service Experts features a suite of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be glad to analyze your home and your family’s needs to suggest the solutions that will work best for you. Rest assured that all work we complete is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact your local A-PLUS Service Experts office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.