When you hear the phrase ultraviolet light, you may think of getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. And yet, 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 would like to minimize the distribution of illnesses around 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 Operate?
The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been understood for more than 100 years. UVC rays were initially used to treat tuberculosis. Nowadays, germicidal lamps are found 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 deactivating microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It usually requires 10 seconds of contact to disrupt 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 physically 'trap' contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to extract dust, fibers and other particles from the air.
How Powerful Are UV Lights?
Assuming they are installed like they're supposed to and feature the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at enhancing indoor air quality. One study from Duke University revealed that UV light eliminated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another analysis revealed “significantly lower” fungal levels inside a commercial building’s HVAC system after four months of applying 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 helps clean the air 24 hours a day without introducing chemicals into the environment. Compared to some air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t create ozone, a recognized lung irritant that can be hazardous to people with asthma, allergies or prolonged lung conditions.
- Decreased chance of getting sick: When used in tandem with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can minimize the risk of contracting 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 working reliably and efficiently with a quality 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 counter the cost of utilizing a UV light and replacing the bulb.
Where Do UV Lights Get Installed?
If you select an air-sanitizing UV light, your installation technician should position it within your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp helps clean the air before it spreads through your home.
If you would rather have a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit around the AC evaporator coil. There, it targets mold and bacteria that grow on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.
Are UV Lights Safe?
The sun continuously produces invisible UV radiation. As you probably know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s important to wear an effective sunscreen when hanging out outdoors. The sun also emits UVC rays, the most destructive variant of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, particularly 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 harmful, why should you feel comfortable installing a UVC light in your home? It’s simple—the light is limited to 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 off the system for a short time to avoid being exposed to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights are used continuously and generally 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 perfect time to have these bulbs looked at and replaced when necessary.
Schedule UV Light Installation
Barlow Service Experts provides a suite of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be glad to evaluate your home and your family’s needs to advise the products that will perform 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 Barlow Service Experts office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.