How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you think of ultraviolet light, you may think of getting sunburned after spending a day at the pool. And yet, UV light is also a tool for increasing indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the type of light applied in air purification. If you deal with allergies or asthma or would like to limit the distribution of illnesses around your home, a UV light installed in your HVAC system just might be the air quality solution you’ve been searching for! 

How Does a UV Light Work? 

The germicidal impacts of ultraviolet light have been known for over a century. UVC rays were even used to treat tuberculosis. Nowadays, 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 eliminating microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It generally needs 10 seconds of contact to affect these germs’ DNA, killing them or stopping 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 physically ‘trap’ contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to capture dust, fibers and other particles from your indoor air. 

How Powerful Are UV Lights? 

Provided they are installed like they’re supposed to and feature 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 removed more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another report revealed “significantly lower” fungal levels in a commercial building’s HVAC system after four months of applying a UV light. 

Benefits of UV Lights 

Place an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to make the most of these benefits: 

  • Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology sanitizes the air 24 hours a day without dispersing chemicals into the environment. Compared to some air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t produce ozone, a known lung irritant that is very toxic to people with asthma, allergies or frequent lung illnesses. 
  • Decreased chance of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can minimize the chance of catching 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 operating reliably and efficiently with a hard-working UV light. 
  • Lower HVAC maintenance and repair needs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy lower 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 select an air-sanitizing UV light, your installation technician should position it in your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp helps clean the air before it flows across your home. 

If you choose a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should 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 constantly releases 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 spending time outdoors. The sun also emits UVC rays, the most damaging type of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, like the skin and eyes. 

Fortunately, the atmosphere eliminates these rays altogether, so they don’t make it to the earth’s surface. 

With the knowledge that UVC rays are harmful, why should you feel comfortable installing a UVC light in your HVAC system? It’s simple—the light is limited to your 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 change the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut down the system briefly to prevent exposure to the damaging light. 

How Long Do UV Lights Last? 

UV lights are on constantly and typically 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 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 suggest the solutions that will work 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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