How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you look at ultraviolet light, you probably picture getting sunburned after a few hours spent relaxing at the pool. However, UV light is also a strategy 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 struggle with allergies or asthma or would like to minimize the distribution of illnesses throughout 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 Operate? 

The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been recognized for more than a century. UVC rays were originally employed to treat tuberculosis. Nowadays, germicidal lamps are implemented in hospitals, food processing facilities, water treatment plants and air purification products. 

A UV lamp installed into your HVAC unit boosts the air quality in your home by deactivating microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It generally requires 10 seconds of contact to affect these germs’ DNA, killing them or stopping them from replicating. 

UV lights also target volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in cleaners and repellents alongside airborne bioaerosols such as pollen and pet dander. That being said, UV lights don’t actually ‘trap’ contaminants, so you still need an air filtration system to capture dust, fibers and other particles from the air. 

How Powerful Are UV Lights? 

Assuming they are installed properly and use the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are remarkably effective at enhancing indoor air quality. One study completed by Duke University found that UV light deactivated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another study noted “significantly lower” fungal levels within a commercial building’s HVAC equipment after four months of using a UV light. 

Benefits of UV Lights 

Install an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to take advantage of these benefits: 

  • Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology sanitizes the air 24 hours a day without adding chemicals into the environment. Unlike certain air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t create ozone, a recognized lung irritant that can be toxic to those with asthma, allergies or frequent lung conditions. 
  • Lower likelihood of getting sick: When used in tandem with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can reduce the risk of getting viral and bacterial infections. 
  • Protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can negatively impact your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system working smoothly and efficiently with a hard-working UV light. 
  • Lower HVAC maintenance and repair costs: 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 inside your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp affects the air before it flows through your home. 

If you prefer a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit near 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 releases invisible UV radiation. As you probably know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s crucial to wear an effective sunscreen when hanging out outside. The sun also gives off UVC rays, the most harming type of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, like the skin and eyes. 

Thankfully, the atmosphere blocks out these rays altogether, so they don’t make it 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 restricted to 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 shut down the system for a short time to prevent exposure to the damaging light. 

How Long Do UV Lights Last? 

UV lights are used around the clock 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 best possible time to have these bulbs examined and swapped out as needed. 

Schedule UV Light Installation 

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing features 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 suggest the products that are best for you. Rest easy knowing that all work we perform 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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