When you look at ultraviolet light, you may picture getting sunburned after spending a day at the pool. And yet, 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 deal with allergies or asthma or hope to minimize the distribution of illnesses around your home, a UV light within the HVAC system could be the air quality solution you’ve been looking for!
How Does a UV Light Work?
The germicidal impacts of ultraviolet light have been recognized for more than a century. UVC rays were initially used to treat tuberculosis. These days, germicidal lamps are implemented in hospitals, food processing centers, water treatment plants and air purification systems.
A UV lamp installed into your HVAC unit boosts the air quality in your home by deactivating microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It generally takes 10 seconds of contact to affect these germs’ DNA, killing them or stopping 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. However, UV lights don’t actually 'trap' contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to extract dust, fibers and other particles from your indoor air.
How Effective Are UV Lights?
As long as they are installed like they're supposed to and utilize the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are highly effective at improving indoor air quality. One study from Duke University found that UV light deactivated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another study measured “significantly lower” fungal levels in a commercial building’s HVAC system after four months of operating 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 sanitizes the air around the clock without dispersing chemicals into the environment. Unlike other air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t generate ozone, an infamous lung irritant that can be hazardous to individuals with asthma, allergies or chronic lung diseases.
- Lower chance of getting sick: When used in tandem with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can lower the risk of getting viral and bacterial infections.
- Stronger protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can clog up your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system operating reliably and efficiently with a hard-working UV light.
- Lower HVAC maintenance and repair costs: 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 running a UV light and replacing the bulb.
Where Do UV Lights Get Installed?
If you select an air-sanitizing UV light, your installer should position it within your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp helps clean the air before it flows through your home.
If you would rather have a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit close to the AC evaporator coil. There, it targets mold and bacteria that collect 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 burn your skin, so it’s crucial to apply a high SPF sunscreen when enjoying time outside. The sun also produces UVC rays, the most destructive type of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, particularly the skin and eyes.
Thankfully, the atmosphere eliminates these rays altogether, so they don’t get through to the earth’s surface.
Understanding that UVC rays are hazardous, why should you feel alright with installing a UVC light in your HVAC system? It’s simple—the light is confined to the ductwork where you never come in contact with it, so it presents no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to clean the lamp or change the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut down the system briefly to avoid being exposed to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights run continuously and typically 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 replaced when necessary.
Schedule UV Light Installation
Rob's Albertan Service Experts features a number of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be delighted to assess your home and your family’s needs to advise the equipment that will perform best for you. Rest easy knowing that all work we perform is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Get in touch with your local Rob's Albertan Service Experts office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.