How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you think of ultraviolet light, you probably imagine getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. And yet, UV light is also a tool for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the kind of light applied in air purification. If you suffer from allergies or asthma or want to reduce the spread of illnesses throughout your home, a UV light in the HVAC system could be the air quality solution you’ve been searching for!

How Does a UV Light Work?

The germicidal impacts of ultraviolet light have been understood for more than 100 years. UVC rays were even used to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are found in hospitals, food processing facilities, water treatment plants and air purification systems.

A UV lamp placed inside your HVAC unit boosts the air quality in your home by wiping out microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It generally takes 10 seconds of contact to deactivate these germs’ DNA, killing them or preventing them from replicating.

UV lights also combat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in cleaners and repellents on top of airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. That being said, UV lights don’t literally ‘trap’ contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to extract dust, fibers and other particles from your indoor air.

How Successful Are UV Lights?

Provided they are installed correctly and feature the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are highly effective at enhancing indoor air quality. One study completed by Duke University illustrated that UV light deactivated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another analysis revealed “significantly lower” fungal levels in a commercial business’ HVAC equipment after four months of using a UV light.

Benefits of UV Lights

Install an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to enjoy these benefits:

    • Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology sanitizes the air nonstop without adding chemicals into the environment. Unlike some air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t create ozone, an infamous lung irritant that can be hazardous to those with asthma, allergies or frequent lung illnesses.
    • Lower chance of getting sick: When used in tandem with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lamps can reduce the chance of getting viral and bacterial infections.
    • Stronger 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.
    • Reduced 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 recoup 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 should position it within your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp affects the air before it circulates across your home.

If you prefer a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit close to 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 continually produces invisible UV radiation. As you probably know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s important to wear an effective sunscreen when spending time outside. The sun also emits UVC rays, the most damaging variant of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, particularly the skin and eyes.

Luckily, the atmosphere eliminates these rays altogether, so they don’t reach the earth’s surface.

Understanding that UVC rays are hazardous, why should you feel comfortable installing a UVC light in your home? It’s simple—the light is confined to the ductwork where you can’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 shut down the system for a short time to avoid being exposed to the damaging light.

How Long Do UV Lights Last?

UV lights are on continuously and generally 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 perfect time to have these bulbs examined and swapped out when necessary.

Schedule UV Light Installation

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing provides a suite of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be glad to assess your home and your family’s needs to advise the solutions that will work best for you. Enjoy the peace of mind that 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.