When you think of ultraviolet light, you probably picture getting sunburned after spending a 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 kind of light used in air purification. If you struggle with allergies or asthma or want to limit the spread of illnesses across your home, a UV light in the HVAC system could be the air quality solution you’ve been searching for!
How Does a UV Light Operate?
The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been known for more than 100 years. UVC rays were even applied to treat tuberculosis. Nowadays, germicidal lamps are common in hospitals, food processing facilities, water treatment plants and air purification systems.
A UV lamp installed into your HVAC unit improves the air quality in your home by wiping out microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It usually requires 10 seconds of contact to affect these germs’ DNA, killing them or blocking them from replicating.
UV lights also combat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in cleaners and repellents on top of airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. However, UV lights don’t physically 'trap' contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to extract dust, fibers and other particles from your indoor air.
How Successful Are UV Lights?
Provided they are installed properly and utilize the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at enhancing indoor air quality. One study out of Duke University found that UV light removed more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another study measured “significantly lower” fungal levels inside a commercial building’s HVAC unit 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 sanitizes the air around the clock without introducing chemicals into the environment. As opposed to some air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t produce ozone, a recognized lung irritant that is very harmful to those with asthma, allergies or chronic lung diseases.
- Decreased likelihood of getting sick: When combined with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can reduce the risk of getting viral and bacterial infections.
- A layer of protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can clog up your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system running smoothly and efficiently with a quality UV light.
- Reduced HVAC maintenance and repair costs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy simpler maintenance requirements and minimal need for 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 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 would rather have a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit near the AC evaporator coil. There, it affects mold and bacteria that accumulate on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.
Are UV Lights Safe?
The sun continuously releases invisible UV radiation. As you already know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s important to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen when spending time outdoors. The sun also emits UVC rays, the most destructive form of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, particularly the skin and eyes.
Thankfully, the atmosphere filters out these rays altogether, so they don’t get through to the earth’s surface.
Knowing that UVC rays are hazardous, why should you feel comfortable installing a UVC light in your home? It’s simple—the light is confined to your ductwork where you won't come in contact with it, so it presents no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to maintain the lamp or change the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut off the system for a short time to avoid exposure to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights run constantly 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 ideal time to have these bulbs looked at and replaced as required.
Request UV Light Installation
Strand Brothers Service Experts features a suite of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be happy to analyze your home and your family’s needs to recommend the products that are best for you. Rest assured that all work we complete is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Reach out to your local Strand Brothers Service Experts office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.