How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?
When you hear the phrase ultraviolet light, you may imagine getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. Having said that, UV light is also something you can use for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the kind of light used in air purification. If you deal with allergies or asthma or want to reduce the dispersal of illnesses across your home, a UV light in the HVAC system can be the air quality solution you’ve been searching for!
How Does a UV Light Function?
The germicidal impacts of ultraviolet light have been known for more than a century. UVC rays were initially used to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are common in hospitals, food processing centers, water treatment plants and air purification products.
A UV lamp installed into your HVAC system boosts the air quality in your home by deactivating microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It only needs 10 seconds of contact to disrupt these germs’ DNA, killing them or blocking them from replicating.
UV lights also address volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in cleaners and repellents alongside airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. Still, 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 Effective Are UV Lights?
Assuming they are installed like they're supposed to and utilize 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 within a commercial property's HVAC unit after four months of operating a UV light.
Benefits of UV Lights
Add an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to make the most of these benefits:
- Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology helps clean the air 24 hours a day without adding chemicals into the environment. Unlike certain air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t produce ozone, a recognized lung irritant that is harmful to people with asthma, allergies or prolonged lung illnesses.
- Decreased likelihood of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lights can lower the likelihood of contracting 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 reliably and efficiently with a hard-working UV light.
- Smaller HVAC maintenance and repair bills: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy more manageable maintenance requirements and fewer emergency repairs. These savings can help offset 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 installer will position it in your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp sanitizes the air before it flows through your home.
If you would rather have a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit close to the AC evaporator coil. There, it targets mold and bacteria that grow 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 harm your skin, so it’s important to apply an effective sunscreen when hanging out outside. The sun also emits UVC rays, the most damaging form of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, particularly the skin and eyes.
Thankfully, the atmosphere blocks out these rays entirely, so they don’t get through to the earth’s surface.
With the knowledge that UVC rays are hazardous, why should you feel alright with installing a UVC light in your HVAC system? It’s simple—the light is limited to the inside of the ductwork where you never come in contact with it, so it creates no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to maintain the lamp or swap out the bulb, your HVAC technician will turn off the system briefly to prevent exposure to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights are used continuously and usually last nine to 14 months. Routine 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 changed out as needed.
Request UV Light Installation
Levy & Son Service Experts provides a number of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be glad to evaluate your home and your family’s needs to advise the equipment that are best for you. Rest assured that all work we produce is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact your local Levy & Son Service Experts office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.