When you hear the phrase ultraviolet light, you probably think of getting sunburned after a few hours spent relaxing at the pool. However, UV light is also a strategy for enhancing indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the form of light applied 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 can be the air quality solution you’ve been hoping for!
How Does a UV Light Work?
The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been known for over a century. UVC rays were even used to treat tuberculosis. Nowadays, germicidal lamps are implemented in hospitals, food processing centers, water treatment plants and air purification products.
A UV lamp added to your HVAC unit boosts the air quality in your home by deactivating microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It generally needs 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 on top of airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. However, UV lights don’t physically 'trap' contaminants, so you still need an air filtration system to remove dust, fibers and other particles from your indoor air.
How Powerful Are UV Lights?
Assuming they are installed like they're supposed to and utilize 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 eliminated 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 equipment after four months of using 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 sanitizes the air nonstop without dispersing chemicals into the environment. Unlike certain air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t create ozone, an infamous lung irritant that is hazardous to individuals with asthma, allergies or chronic lung illnesses.
- Decreased likelihood of getting sick: When used in tandem with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lamps can lower the chance 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 running smoothly and efficiently with a hard-working UV light.
- Smaller HVAC maintenance and repair bills: 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 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 should position it within your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp affects the air before it flows throughout your home.
If you prefer a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit close to the AC evaporator coil. There, it targets mold and bacteria that accumulate on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.
Are UV Lights Safe?
The sun constantly produces invisible UV radiation. As you probably know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s essential to wear an effective sunscreen when enjoying time outside. The sun also gives off UVC rays, the most destructive form of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, particularly the skin and eyes.
Fortunately, the atmosphere eliminates these rays completely, so they don’t reach the earth’s surface.
Understanding that UVC rays are dangerous, why should you feel okay with 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 maintain the lamp or swap out the bulb, your HVAC technician will turn off the system for a short time to avoid exposure to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights are used constantly 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 ideal time to have these bulbs checked and swapped out when necessary.
Request UV Light Installation
Sunbeam Service Experts offers a suite of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be delighted to analyze your home and your family’s needs to recommend the products that are best for you. Enjoy the peace of mind that that all work we perform is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Get in touch with your local Sunbeam Service Experts office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.