How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you hear the phrase ultraviolet light, you might picture getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. And yet, UV light is also something you can use 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 hope to limit the dispersal of illnesses around your home, a UV light installed in your HVAC system just might be the air quality solution you’ve been hoping for! 

How Does a UV Light Function? 

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

A UV lamp placed inside your HVAC system helps the air quality in your home by deactivating microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It only needs 10 seconds of contact to deactivate these germs’ DNA, killing them or preventing them from replicating. 

UV lights also target volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in cleaners and repellents as well as airborne bioaerosols such as pollen and pet dander. Still, UV lights don’t literally ‘trap’ contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to remove dust, fibers and other particles from your home’s air supply. 

How Effective Are UV Lights? 

Assuming they are installed properly and feature the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are highly effective at enhancing indoor air quality. One study from Duke University found 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 business’ HVAC equipment after four months of operating a UV light. 

Benefits of UV Lights 

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

  • Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology helps clean the air nonstop without adding chemicals into the environment. Unlike other air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t generate ozone, a recognized lung irritant that is very toxic to individuals with asthma, allergies or chronic lung diseases. 
  • Decreased chance of getting sick: When combined with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lamps can minimize the chance of catching viral and bacterial infections. 
  • Stronger protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can clog up your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system operating smoothly 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 minimal need for emergency repairs. These savings can help recoup the cost of utilizing a UV light and replacing the bulb. 

Where Do UV Lights Get Installed? 

If you select an air-sanitizing UV light, your installer should position it inside your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp affects the air before it spreads across your home. 

If you prefer a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit close to 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 constantly releases invisible UV radiation. As you already know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s crucial to use a high SPF sunscreen when spending time outdoors. The sun also produces UVC rays, the most damaging type of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, like the skin and eyes. 

Luckily, the atmosphere filters out these rays entirely, so they don’t make it to the earth’s surface. 

Understanding that UVC rays are dangerous, why should you feel comfortable installing a UVC light in your home? It’s simple—the light is restricted to the inside of the ductwork where you never come in contact with it, so it poses 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 briefly to prevent exposure to the damaging light. 

How Long Do UV Lights Last? 

UV lights run around the clock and usually 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 when necessary. 

Schedule UV Light Installation 

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing provides a range of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be delighted to analyze your home and your family’s needs to advise the solutions that will perform best for you. Rest easy knowing that all work we produce is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Get in touch with 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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