How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you think of ultraviolet light, you might think of getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. And yet, UV light is also a tool for enhancing indoor air quality. Sunscreen safeguards against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the type of light used in air purification. If you suffer from allergies or asthma or want to limit the dispersal of illnesses across your home, a UV light installed in your HVAC system can be the air quality solution you’ve been searching for!

How Does a UV Light Work?

The germicidal impacts of ultraviolet light have been known for more than 100 years. UVC rays were originally applied to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are implemented in hospitals, food processing centers, water treatment plants and air purification equipment.

A UV lamp installed into your HVAC system improves the air quality in your home by deactivating microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It generally requires 10 seconds of contact to deactivate these germs’ DNA, killing them or stopping them from replicating.

UV lights also combat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in cleaners and repellents as well as airborne bioaerosols such as pollen and pet dander. However, UV lights don’t actually ‘trap’ contaminants, so you still need an air filtration system to remove dust, fibers and other particles from your home’s air supply.

How Effective Are UV Lights?

As long as they are installed properly and feature the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are highly effective at enhancing indoor air quality. One study out of Duke University found that UV light eliminated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another study noted “significantly lower” fungal levels inside a commercial property’s HVAC unit after four months of using a UV light.

Benefits of UV Lights

Place an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to take advantage of these benefits:

    • Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology helps clean the air 24 hours a day without introducing chemicals into the environment. As opposed to other air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t create ozone, a recognized lung irritant that is harmful to individuals with asthma, allergies or prolonged lung conditions.
    • Decreased likelihood of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lamps can reduce the risk of getting 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 working smoothly and efficiently with a quality UV light.
    • Reduced HVAC maintenance and repair needs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy lower maintenance requirements and fewer emergency repairs. These savings can help recoup 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 should position it inside your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp helps clean the air before it flows across your home.

If you prefer a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit around 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 continuously emits invisible UV radiation. As you know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s crucial to wear an effective sunscreen when hanging out outside. The sun also produces UVC rays, the most destructive variant of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, like the skin and eyes.

Thankfully, the atmosphere filters out these rays entirely, so they don’t make it 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 creates 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 constantly and typically last nine to 14 months. Yearly 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 looked at and replaced as needed.

Request UV Light Installation

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing features a range of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be delighted to assess your home and your family’s needs to suggest the solutions that are best for you. Rest easy knowing that all work we complete is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Get in touch with 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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