When you hear the phrase ultraviolet light, you probably picture getting sunburned after spending a day at the pool. Having said that, UV light is also a tool for increasing indoor air quality. Sunscreen safeguards against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the form of light found in air purification. If you struggle with allergies or asthma or want to minimize the dispersal of illnesses around your home, a UV light in the HVAC system could be the air quality solution you’ve been looking for!
How Does a UV Light Function?
The germicidal influences of ultraviolet light have been known for more than a century. UVC rays were initially applied to treat tuberculosis. These days, germicidal lamps are found in hospitals, food processing facilities, water treatment plants and air purification systems.
A UV lamp installed into your HVAC unit boosts the air quality in your home by eliminating microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It usually requires 10 seconds of contact to disrupt these germs’ DNA, killing them or stopping them from replicating.
UV lights also address volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in cleaners and repellents alongside airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. That being said, UV lights don’t physically 'trap' contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to capture dust, fibers and other particles from the air.
How Effective Are UV Lights?
Assuming they are installed like they're supposed to and utilize the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at improving indoor air quality. One study completed by Duke University illustrated that UV light eliminated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another study measured “significantly lower” fungal levels within a commercial building’s HVAC unit after four months of applying 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 disinfects the air around the clock without introducing chemicals into the environment. Unlike certain air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t create ozone, a recognized lung irritant that can be harmful to individuals with asthma, allergies or frequent lung illnesses.
- Decreased risk of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can reduce the chance of getting viral and bacterial infections.
- A layer of protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can negatively impact your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system running reliably and efficiently with a quality UV light.
- Lower HVAC maintenance and repair bills: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy simpler maintenance requirements and minimal need for emergency repairs. These savings can help counter the cost of running 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 helps clean the air before it flows 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 accumulate 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 broad-spectrum sunscreen when hanging out outside. The sun also gives off UVC rays, the most harming form of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, such as the skin and eyes.
Thankfully, the atmosphere filters out these rays entirely, so they don’t reach the earth’s surface.
With the knowledge that UVC rays are dangerous, why should you feel alright with 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 creates no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to maintain the lamp or change the bulb, your HVAC technician will turn off the system briefly to avoid being exposed to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights are used around the clock and typically 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 ideal time to have these bulbs checked and swapped out as needed.
Schedule UV Light Installation
BW/Cook Service Experts offers a number of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be happy to evaluate your home and your family’s needs to recommend the products that will perform best for you. Rest assured that all work we complete is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact your local BW/Cook Service Experts office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.