How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you look at ultraviolet light, you probably think of getting sunburned after a few hours spent relaxing at the pool. And yet, UV light is also something you can use for enhancing indoor air quality. Sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the type of light used in air purification. If you deal with allergies or asthma or want to limit the dispersal of illnesses around your home, a UV light in the HVAC system could be the air quality solution you’ve been hoping for!

How Does a UV Light Work?

The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been understood for more than 100 years. UVC rays were initially used to treat tuberculosis. These days, germicidal lamps are found in hospitals, food processing centers, water treatment plants and air purification equipment.

A UV lamp installed into your HVAC system helps the air quality in your home by eliminating microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It only needs 10 seconds of contact to deactivate these germs’ DNA, killing them or stopping them from replicating.

UV lights also combat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in cleaners and repellents as well as airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. Still, 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?

Provided they are installed correctly and feature the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at improving 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 analysis measured “significantly lower” fungal levels in a commercial property's HVAC unit after four months of applying 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 disinfects the air nonstop without dispersing chemicals into the environment. Unlike some air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t create ozone, an infamous lung irritant that is very toxic to those with asthma, allergies or prolonged lung conditions.
  • Decreased risk of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can lower the chance of getting viral and bacterial infections.
  • Protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can gunk up your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system operating reliably and efficiently with a quality UV light.
  • Reduced HVAC maintenance and repair needs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy simpler maintenance requirements and fewer emergency repairs. These savings can help counter 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 installation technician will position it inside your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp affects the air before it spreads throughout your home.

If you choose a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit around the AC evaporator coil. There, it affects mold and bacteria that grow on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.

Are UV Lights Safe?

The sun constantly emits invisible UV radiation. As you already know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s crucial to wear a high SPF sunscreen when hanging out outdoors. The sun also emits UVC rays, the most harming form 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 reach the earth’s surface.

Knowing that UVC rays are dangerous, why should you feel alright with installing a UVC light in your HVAC system? It’s simple—the light is confined 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 clean the lamp or change the bulb, your HVAC technician will turn off the system for a short time to avoid being exposed to the damaging light.

How Long Do UV Lights Last?

UV lights run around the clock and usually 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 swapped out as needed.

Schedule UV Light Installation

Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning features a suite of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be glad to analyze your home and your family’s needs to recommend the products that will perform best for you. Rest easy knowing that all work we complete is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Reach out to your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.

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