How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you hear the phrase ultraviolet light, you might imagine getting sunburned after spending a day 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 form of light found in air purification. If you suffer from allergies or asthma or hope to reduce the dispersal of illnesses across your home, a UV light installed in your HVAC system just might be the air quality solution you’ve been searching for!

How Does a UV Light Function?

The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been recognized for more than 100 years. UVC rays were initially employed to treat tuberculosis. These days, germicidal lamps are implemented in hospitals, food processing plants, water treatment plants and air purification products.

A UV lamp added to your HVAC system helps the air quality in your home by deactivating microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It generally requires 10 seconds of contact to affect these germs’ DNA, killing them or preventing them from replicating.

UV lights also combat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in cleaners and repellents on top of airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. Still, UV lights don’t actually ‘trap’ contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to extract dust, fibers and other particles from your home’s air supply.

How Effective Are UV Lights?

As long as they are installed correctly and utilize the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at enhancing indoor air quality. One study out of Duke University illustrated that UV light removed more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another report revealed “significantly lower” fungal levels inside a commercial building’s HVAC equipment after four months of operating 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 24 hours a day without adding chemicals into the environment. As opposed to some air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t produce ozone, a known lung irritant that is hazardous to individuals with asthma, allergies or frequent lung diseases.
    • Lower likelihood of getting sick: When combined with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can minimize the likelihood of contracting viral and bacterial infections.
    • A layer of protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can gunk up your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system running reliably and efficiently with a quality UV light.
    • Reduced 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 offset the cost of using a UV light and replacing the bulb.

Where Do UV Lights Get Installed?

If you decide on an air-sanitizing UV light, your installer should position it in your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp sanitizes the air before it spreads throughout your home.

If you prefer a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit close to 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 produces invisible UV radiation. As you already know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s crucial to use an effective sunscreen when spending time outdoors. The sun also emits UVC rays, the most destructive form of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, like the skin and eyes.

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

Understanding that UVC rays are harmful, why should you feel comfortable installing a UVC light in your HVAC system? It’s simple—the light is restricted to the inside of the ductwork where you never come in contact with it, so it poses 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 prevent 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 best possible time to have these bulbs examined and changed out when necessary.

Request UV Light Installation

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing offers a suite of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be happy to assess your home and your family’s needs to recommend the solutions that will work best for you. Rest easy knowing that all work we perform is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Reach out to 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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