When you hear the phrase ultraviolet light, you probably imagine getting sunburned after a few hours spent relaxing at the pool. However, UV light is also something you can use for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the kind of light used in air purification. If you suffer from allergies or asthma or want to minimize the dispersal of illnesses throughout your home, a UV light within the HVAC system just might be the air quality solution you’ve been looking for!
How Does a UV Light Work?
The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been known for more than 100 years. UVC rays were initially applied to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are implemented in hospitals, food processing facilities, water treatment plants and air purification products.
A UV lamp placed inside your HVAC system helps the air quality in your home by eliminating microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It usually takes 10 seconds of contact to disrupt these germs’ DNA, killing them or blocking them from replicating.
UV lights also combat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in cleaners and repellents as well as airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. That being said, UV lights don’t actually 'trap' contaminants, so you still need an air filtration system to remove dust, fibers and other particles from your home's air supply.
How Powerful Are UV Lights?
Assuming they are installed like they're supposed to and use the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at improving indoor air quality. One study from Duke University illustrated that UV light removed more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another study revealed “significantly lower” fungal levels inside a commercial property's HVAC system 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 helps clean the air around the clock without dispersing chemicals into the environment. Compared to other air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t create ozone, an infamous lung irritant that can be hazardous to people with asthma, allergies or prolonged lung conditions.
- Lower chance of getting sick: When combined with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lights can reduce the risk of contracting viral and bacterial infections.
- Protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can gunk up your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system working reliably and efficiently with a hard-working UV light.
- Lower HVAC maintenance and repair needs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy lower maintenance requirements and fewer emergency repairs. These savings can help offset 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 affects the air before it spreads throughout your home.
If you would rather have a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit close to 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 continuously releases invisible UV radiation. As you probably know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s important to wear an effective sunscreen when hanging out outdoors. The sun also emits UVC rays, the most destructive form of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, such as the skin and eyes.
Thankfully, the atmosphere eliminates these rays completely, so they don’t make it to the earth’s surface.
Knowing that UVC rays are dangerous, 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 never come in contact with it, so it poses no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to maintain the lamp or swap out the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut off the system for a short time to avoid being exposed to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights run continuously and generally 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 changed out as required.
Request UV Light Installation
Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning offers a suite of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be glad to assess your home and your family’s needs to suggest the solutions that will perform best for you. Rest easy knowing that all work we complete is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Reach out to your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.