How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you think of ultraviolet light, you probably think of getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. However, UV light is also a strategy for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the form of light applied in air purification. If you suffer from allergies or asthma or would like to minimize the spread of illnesses throughout your home, a UV light in the HVAC system could be the air quality solution you’ve been looking for!

How Does a UV Light Operate?

The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been understood for more than a century. UVC rays were even employed to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are found in hospitals, food processing centers, water treatment plants and air purification products.

A UV lamp added to your HVAC unit boosts the air quality in your home by deactivating microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It only requires 10 seconds of contact to affect these germs’ DNA, killing them or blocking them from replicating.

UV lights also target volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in cleaners and repellents as well as airborne bioaerosols such as pollen and pet dander. However, UV lights don’t actually ‘trap’ contaminants, so you still need an air filtration system to capture dust, fibers and other particles from your indoor air.

How Successful Are UV Lights?

Provided they are installed properly and use the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are remarkably effective at enhancing indoor air quality. One study from Duke University found that UV light deactivated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another analysis measured “significantly lower” fungal levels in a commercial property’s HVAC equipment after four months of using 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 disinfects the air 24 hours a day without dispersing chemicals into the environment. Compared to some air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t produce ozone, a recognized lung irritant that can be harmful to people with asthma, allergies or prolonged lung diseases.
    • Decreased likelihood of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lights can lower the risk of catching viral and bacterial infections.
    • Protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can clog up your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system working smoothly and efficiently with a hard-working UV light.
    • Reduced HVAC maintenance and repair needs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy simpler maintenance requirements and fewer emergency repairs. These savings can help recoup the cost of utilizing a UV light and replacing the bulb.

Where Do UV Lights Get Installed?

If you select 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 flows throughout your home.

If you prefer a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit close to the AC evaporator coil. There, it targets mold and bacteria that collect on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.

Are UV Lights Safe?

The sun continually emits 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 enjoying time outdoors. The sun also produces UVC rays, the most damaging type of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, like the skin and eyes.

Thankfully, the atmosphere filters out these rays altogether, so they don’t reach the earth’s surface.

With the knowledge that UVC rays are dangerous, why should you feel alright with installing a UVC light in your home? 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 maintain the lamp or change the bulb, your HVAC technician will turn off the system briefly to avoid being exposed to the damaging light.

How Long Do UV Lights Last?

UV lights are used continuously and generally 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 checked and swapped out as required.

Request UV Light Installation

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing features a suite of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be delighted to evaluate your home and your family’s needs to advise the solutions that will perform best for you. Rest easy knowing that all work we perform is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Get in touch with your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.

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