How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you hear the phrase ultraviolet light, you might imagine getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. However, UV light is also a strategy 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 would like to limit the spread of illnesses around your home, a UV light installed in your HVAC system can be the air quality solution you’ve been hoping for!

How Does a UV Light Work?

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

A UV lamp installed into your HVAC system improves the air quality in your home by wiping out microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It only requires 10 seconds of contact to disrupt these germs’ DNA, killing them or preventing them from replicating.

UV lights also combat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in cleaners and repellents as well as airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. That being said, UV lights don’t physically ‘trap’ contaminants, so you still need an air filtration system to extract dust, fibers and other particles from your indoor air.

How Effective Are UV Lights?

As long as they are installed properly and utilize the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are remarkably effective at enhancing indoor air quality. One study from Duke University illustrated that UV light deactivated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another report measured “significantly lower” fungal levels in a commercial business’ HVAC system after four months of operating 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 nonstop without dispersing chemicals into the environment. As opposed to certain air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t generate ozone, an infamous lung irritant that is very toxic to individuals with asthma, allergies or prolonged lung conditions.
    • Lower risk of getting sick: When combined with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lights can reduce the risk of contracting viral and bacterial infections.
    • Stronger protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can negatively impact your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system running smoothly 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 minimal need for 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 choose an air-sanitizing UV light, your installer will position it inside your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp sanitizes the air before it spreads across your home.

If you choose a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit around the AC evaporator coil. There, it targets 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 essential to use an effective sunscreen when enjoying time outside. The sun also gives off UVC rays, the most damaging variant of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, particularly the skin and eyes.

Fortunately, the atmosphere eliminates these rays entirely, so they don’t get through to the earth’s surface.

Knowing that UVC rays are dangerous, why should you feel comfortable installing a UVC light in your home? It’s simple—the light is confined to 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 maintain the lamp or replace the bulb, your HVAC technician will turn off the system temporarily to prevent exposure to the damaging light.

How Long Do UV Lights Last?

UV lights are used constantly and generally 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 perfect time to have these bulbs looked at and changed out as needed.

Schedule UV Light Installation

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing offers a number of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be glad to assess your home and your family’s needs to suggest the products that will perform best for you. Enjoy the peace of mind that 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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