When you think of ultraviolet light, you might think of getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. Having said that, UV light is also something you can use for enhancing indoor air quality. Sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the kind of light applied in air purification. If you struggle with allergies or asthma or would like to minimize the spread of illnesses around your home, a UV light in the HVAC system just might be the air quality solution you’ve been hoping for!
How Does a UV Light Work?
The germicidal impacts of ultraviolet light have been recognized for more than 100 years. UVC rays were initially applied to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are common in hospitals, food processing plants, water treatment plants and air purification systems.
A UV lamp installed into your HVAC unit improves the air quality in your home by deactivating microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It generally needs 10 seconds of contact to deactivate these germs’ DNA, killing them or preventing them from replicating.
UV lights also combat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found 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 require an air filtration system to remove dust, fibers and other particles from your indoor air.
How Effective Are UV Lights?
Assuming they are installed correctly and use the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at improving 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 study measured “significantly lower” fungal levels in a commercial property's HVAC system after four months of applying 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 sanitizes the air nonstop without introducing chemicals into the environment. Unlike other air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t produce ozone, a known lung irritant that can be hazardous to individuals with asthma, allergies or frequent lung diseases.
- Decreased chance of getting sick: When combined with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can reduce the risk of getting viral and bacterial infections.
- A layer of protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can negatively impact your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system working reliably and efficiently with a quality UV light.
- Smaller HVAC maintenance and repair costs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy more manageable 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 should position it inside your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp affects the air before it flows across your home.
If you prefer a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit near 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 constantly releases invisible UV radiation. As you already know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s essential to wear an effective sunscreen when spending time outdoors. The sun also gives off UVC rays, the most damaging variant of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, particularly the skin and eyes.
Fortunately, the atmosphere eliminates these rays altogether, so they don’t reach 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 limited to your 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 replace the bulb, your HVAC technician will turn off the system for a short time to prevent exposure to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights are on constantly and typically 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 best possible time to have these bulbs looked at and changed out when necessary.
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 happy to analyze your home and your family’s needs to suggest the products that will work best for you. Rest easy knowing that all work we produce 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.