How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you hear the phrase ultraviolet light, you might imagine 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 protects against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the form of light used in air purification. If you suffer from allergies or asthma or want to minimize the distribution of illnesses across 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 Operate?

The germicidal impacts of ultraviolet light have been known for more than a century. UVC rays were initially employed to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are implemented in hospitals, food processing facilities, water treatment plants and air purification equipment.

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

UV lights also address volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used 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 remove dust, fibers and other particles from your indoor air.

How Powerful Are UV Lights?

As long as they are installed properly and use the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at enhancing indoor air quality. One study out of Duke University illustrated 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 inside a commercial business’ HVAC equipment after four months of using a UV light.

Benefits of UV Lights

Add an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to take advantage of these benefits:

    • Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology sanitizes the air nonstop without dispersing chemicals into the environment. Compared to other air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t create ozone, a known lung irritant that is hazardous to individuals with asthma, allergies or prolonged lung illnesses.
    • Decreased risk of getting sick: When combined with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can reduce the risk of contracting 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 operating reliably and efficiently with a quality UV light.
    • Smaller HVAC maintenance and repair needs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy more manageable maintenance requirements and fewer emergency repairs. These savings can help recoup the cost of using a UV light and replacing the bulb.

Where Do UV Lights Get Installed?

If you choose an air-sanitizing UV light, your installer will position it in your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp helps clean the air before it flows through your home.

If you prefer 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 continually produces invisible UV radiation. As you probably know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s crucial to use a high SPF sunscreen when hanging out outside. The sun also produces UVC rays, the most destructive type of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, particularly the skin and eyes.

Thankfully, the atmosphere blocks out these rays altogether, so they don’t get through to the earth’s surface.

With the knowledge that UVC rays are harmful, why should you feel alright with installing a UVC light in your HVAC system? It’s simple—the light is confined to your 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 clean the lamp or change the bulb, your HVAC technician will turn off the system briefly to prevent 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 perfect time to have these bulbs examined and replaced as required.

Request UV Light Installation

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing provides a number 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 equipment that will perform best for you. Rest assured that all work we produce is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact 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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