How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you look at ultraviolet light, you probably picture getting sunburned after spending a day at the pool. And yet, UV light is also something you can use for enhancing indoor air quality. Sunscreen safeguards 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 minimize the spread of illnesses throughout your home, a UV light within the HVAC system can be the air quality solution you’ve been looking for!

How Does a UV Light Operate?

The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been known for over a century. UVC rays were initially employed to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are found in hospitals, food processing facilities, water treatment plants and air purification systems.

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

UV lights also target volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in cleaners and repellents alongside airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. However, UV lights don’t actually ‘trap’ contaminants, so you still need an air filtration system to extract dust, fibers and other particles from your indoor air.

How Successful Are UV Lights?

Assuming they are installed correctly and feature the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at enhancing indoor air quality. One study out of Duke University found that UV light deactivated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another study revealed “significantly lower” fungal levels inside a commercial business’ HVAC unit after four months of applying 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 nonstop without dispersing chemicals into the environment. As opposed to certain air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t produce ozone, a known lung irritant that is very harmful to people with asthma, allergies or frequent lung illnesses.
    • Decreased chance of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lights can minimize the likelihood 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 working smoothly 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 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 within your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp sanitizes the air before it flows across your home.

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

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

Understanding that UVC rays are dangerous, why should you feel comfortable installing a UVC light in your HVAC system? It’s simple—the light is limited to the ductwork where you won’t come in contact with it, so it presents no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to clean the lamp or replace 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 on around the clock and typically 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 best possible time to have these bulbs examined and changed out as needed.

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 glad to evaluate your home and your family’s needs to recommend the solutions that will perform best for you. Rest assured 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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