When you think of ultraviolet light, you may think of getting sunburned after a few hours spent relaxing at the pool. Having said that, UV light is also something you can use for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the kind of light found in air purification. If you suffer from allergies or asthma or hope to minimize the distribution of illnesses throughout your home, a UV light in the HVAC system could be the air quality solution you’ve been hoping for!
How Does a UV Light Function?
The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been understood for more than a century. UVC rays were initially employed to treat tuberculosis. Nowadays, germicidal lamps are implemented in hospitals, food processing facilities, water treatment plants and air purification products.
A UV lamp added to your HVAC system helps the air quality in your home by wiping out microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It only needs 10 seconds of contact to affect these germs’ DNA, killing them or stopping them from replicating.
UV lights also address volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in cleaners and repellents as well as airborne bioaerosols such as 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 your indoor air.
How Powerful Are UV Lights?
As long as they are installed properly 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 noted “significantly lower” fungal levels inside a commercial business' HVAC equipment after four months of applying a UV light.
Benefits of UV Lights
Place an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to enjoy these benefits:
- Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology sanitizes the air 24 hours a day without adding chemicals into the environment. Compared to certain air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t produce ozone, a known lung irritant that is very hazardous to people with asthma, allergies or frequent lung illnesses.
- Decreased chance of getting sick: When used in tandem with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lamps can reduce the risk of catching 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 operating smoothly and efficiently with a hard-working UV light.
- Reduced HVAC maintenance and repair needs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy more manageable maintenance requirements and fewer emergency repairs. These savings can help counter the cost of utilizing 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 circulates 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 accumulate on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.
Are UV Lights Safe?
The sun continuously releases invisible UV radiation. As you probably know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s important to apply a high SPF sunscreen when spending time outside. The sun also produces UVC rays, the most harming form of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, such as the skin and eyes.
Fortunately, the atmosphere filters out these rays entirely, so they don’t make it to the earth’s surface.
Understanding that UVC rays are dangerous, why should you feel alright with installing a UVC light in your HVAC system? It’s simple—the light is restricted to the inside of the ductwork where you can't come in contact with it, so it creates 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 temporarily to avoid exposure to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights are used constantly 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 checked and changed out as needed.
Schedule UV Light Installation
Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air provides 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 suggest the solutions that will work best for you. Rest easy knowing that all work we complete is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Reach out to your local Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.