When you look at ultraviolet light, you probably picture getting sunburned after a few hours spent relaxing at the pool. Having said that, UV light is also a strategy for enhancing indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the type of light found in air purification. If you deal with allergies or asthma or want to reduce the distribution of illnesses around your home, a UV light installed in your HVAC system just might be the air quality solution you’ve been looking for!
How Does a UV Light Function?
The germicidal impacts of ultraviolet light have been known for more than a century. UVC rays were initially employed to treat tuberculosis. These days, germicidal lamps are used in hospitals, food processing plants, water treatment plants and air purification products.
A UV lamp placed inside your HVAC system boosts the air quality in your home by eliminating microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It only requires 10 seconds of contact to deactivate these germs’ DNA, killing them or preventing them from replicating.
UV lights also address volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in cleaners and repellents on top of airborne bioaerosols such as pollen and pet dander. That being said, UV lights don’t physically 'trap' contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to capture dust, fibers and other particles from your home's air supply.
How Powerful Are UV Lights?
As long as they are installed like they're supposed to and use the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are highly effective at improving 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 measured “significantly lower” fungal levels in a commercial property's HVAC system after four months of operating a UV light.
Benefits of UV Lights
Place an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to take advantage of these benefits:
- Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology helps clean the air around the clock without dispersing chemicals into the environment. Unlike certain air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t create ozone, a known lung irritant that can be hazardous to people 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.
- Stronger protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can negatively impact your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system working smoothly and efficiently with a quality UV light.
- Reduced HVAC maintenance and repair costs: 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 decide on an air-sanitizing UV light, your installation technician should position it within your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp affects the air before it circulates through your home.
If you prefer a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit close to 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 produces invisible UV radiation. As you already know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s crucial to use a high SPF sunscreen when enjoying time outside. The sun also emits UVC rays, the most destructive form of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, particularly the skin and eyes.
Thankfully, the atmosphere eliminates these rays entirely, so they don’t get through to the earth’s surface.
With the knowledge that UVC rays are hazardous, why should you feel comfortable installing a UVC light in your HVAC system? It’s simple—the light is confined to the ductwork where you can't come in contact with it, so it creates no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to maintain the lamp or replace the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut off the system for a short time to avoid exposure to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights are on around the clock and typically last nine to 14 months. Annual 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 checked and replaced when necessary.
Request UV Light Installation
Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning provides a number of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be happy to assess your home and your family’s needs to recommend the solutions that will work best for you. Rest assured that all work we perform 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.