When you think of ultraviolet light, you might think of getting sunburned after spending a day at the pool. Having said that, UV light is also something you can use for increasing indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the form of light applied in air purification. If you deal with allergies or asthma or would like to reduce the distribution of illnesses across your home, a UV light installed in your HVAC system could be the air quality solution you’ve been searching for!
How Does a UV Light Work?
The germicidal impacts of ultraviolet light have been recognized for more than a century. UVC rays were initially used to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are common in hospitals, food processing facilities, water treatment plants and air purification equipment.
A UV lamp placed inside your HVAC system boosts the air quality in your home by eliminating microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It usually requires 10 seconds of contact to disrupt these germs’ DNA, killing them or stopping them from replicating.
UV lights also address volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in cleaners and repellents alongside airborne bioaerosols such as pollen and pet dander. Still, UV lights don’t physically 'trap' contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to remove dust, fibers and other particles from the air.
How Effective Are UV Lights?
Assuming 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 completed by Duke University revealed that UV light deactivated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another analysis revealed “significantly lower” fungal levels within a commercial building’s HVAC equipment after four months of applying a UV light.
Benefits of UV Lights
Place an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to enjoy these benefits:
- Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology helps clean the air nonstop without introducing chemicals into the environment. Unlike some air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t generate ozone, a known lung irritant that can be hazardous to those with asthma, allergies or prolonged lung conditions.
- Decreased risk 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 gunk up your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system running smoothly and efficiently with a hard-working UV light.
- Smaller 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 running a UV light and replacing the bulb.
Where Do UV Lights Get Installed?
If you choose an air-sanitizing UV light, your installation technician will position it within your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp affects the air before it circulates across your home.
If you choose a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit around the AC evaporator coil. There, it deactivates mold and bacteria that accumulate on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.
Are UV Lights Safe?
The sun continuously emits invisible UV radiation. As you already know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s important to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen when enjoying time outside. The sun also emits UVC rays, the most destructive type of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, such as the skin and eyes.
Thankfully, the atmosphere eliminates these rays altogether, so they don’t make it to the earth’s surface.
Understanding that UVC rays are dangerous, why should you feel alright with installing a UVC light in your HVAC system? It’s simple—the light is limited 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 replace the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut off the system for a short time to prevent exposure to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights are used around the clock and usually 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 perfect time to have these bulbs looked at and changed out as required.
Schedule UV Light Installation
Neal Harris Service Experts provides a number 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 equipment that will perform best for you. Rest easy knowing that all work we complete is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Get in touch with your local Neal Harris Service Experts office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.