How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you look at ultraviolet light, you probably think of getting sunburned after spending a day at the pool. Having said that, UV light is also a tool for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the type of light applied in air purification. If you struggle with allergies or asthma or want to limit the dispersal of illnesses across your home, a UV light in the HVAC system just might be the air quality solution you’ve been hoping for!

How Does a UV Light Work?

The germicidal impacts of ultraviolet light have been recognized for over a century. UVC rays were even applied to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are found in hospitals, food processing plants, water treatment plants and air purification systems.

A UV lamp placed inside your HVAC system boosts the air quality in your home by wiping out microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It usually needs 10 seconds of contact to affect these germs’ DNA, killing them or blocking them from replicating.

UV lights also address volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in cleaners and repellents as well as airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. Still, UV lights don’t actually ‘trap’ contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to capture dust, fibers and other particles from your indoor air.

How Effective Are UV Lights?

As long as they are installed properly and utilize the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are remarkably effective at increasing 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 analysis noted “significantly lower” fungal levels within a commercial property’s HVAC equipment after four months of applying a UV light.

Benefits of UV Lights

Place an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to make the most of these benefits:

    • Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology sanitizes the air nonstop without introducing chemicals into the environment. Unlike other air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t produce ozone, an infamous lung irritant that is very hazardous to those with asthma, allergies or prolonged lung conditions.
    • Lower chance of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can lower the risk of catching viral and bacterial infections.
    • A layer of protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can clog up your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system operating smoothly and efficiently with a hard-working UV light.
    • Lower HVAC maintenance and repair bills: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy simpler 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 installation technician will position it inside your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp affects the air before it flows throughout your home.

If you would rather have a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit close to the AC evaporator coil. There, it deactivates mold and bacteria that collect on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.

Are UV Lights Safe?

The sun continually emits invisible UV radiation. As you know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen when enjoying time outside. The sun also gives off UVC rays, the most destructive form of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, like the skin and eyes.

Fortunately, the atmosphere filters out these rays entirely, so they don’t get through to the earth’s surface.

Knowing that UVC rays are dangerous, why should you feel comfortable installing a UVC light in your HVAC system? It’s simple—the light is restricted to your ductwork where you can’t 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 turn off the system for a short time to avoid being exposed to the damaging light.

How Long Do UV Lights Last?

UV lights run around the clock 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 best possible time to have these bulbs checked and changed out when necessary.

Request UV Light Installation

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing offers a number of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be happy to evaluate your home and your family’s needs to recommend the solutions that are best for you. Rest assured that all work we complete 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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