How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you think of ultraviolet light, you probably imagine getting sunburned after a few hours spent relaxing at the pool. And yet, UV light is also something you can use for increasing indoor air quality. Sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the type of light applied in air purification. If you suffer from allergies or asthma or would like to reduce the dispersal 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 Function?

The germicidal impacts of ultraviolet light have been recognized for more than a century. UVC rays were originally applied to treat tuberculosis. Nowadays, germicidal lamps are found in hospitals, food processing centers, water treatment plants and air purification systems.

A UV lamp installed into your HVAC unit helps the air quality in your home by eliminating microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It usually requires 10 seconds of contact to deactivate these germs’ DNA, killing them or preventing 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. Still, UV lights don’t literally ‘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?

As long as they are installed like they’re supposed to and utilize the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at improving indoor air quality. One study out of Duke University found that UV light deactivated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another analysis noted “significantly lower” fungal levels in a commercial building’s HVAC system after four months of using 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 helps clean the air 24 hours a day without adding chemicals into the environment. Compared to other air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t produce ozone, a recognized lung irritant that is harmful to those with asthma, allergies or prolonged lung illnesses.
    • Lower likelihood of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can lower the likelihood of contracting 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 running reliably and efficiently with a quality UV light.
    • Smaller HVAC maintenance and repair costs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy lower maintenance requirements and fewer emergency repairs. These savings can help counter 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 will position it in your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp sanitizes the air before it circulates through your home.

If you prefer a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit around the AC evaporator coil. There, it targets 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 probably know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s important to apply a high SPF sunscreen when spending time outside. The sun also produces 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 entirely, so they don’t get through to the earth’s surface.

With the knowledge that UVC rays are dangerous, why should you feel okay with installing a UVC light in your home? It’s simple—the light is limited to the inside of the ductwork where you won’t come in contact with it, so it poses no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to clean the lamp or swap out the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut down the system briefly to prevent being exposed to the damaging light.

How Long Do UV Lights Last?

UV lights are on around the clock 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 replaced as required.

Schedule UV Light Installation

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing offers a range of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be delighted to assess your home and your family’s needs to recommend the products that will work best for you. Rest assured that all work we produce 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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