How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?
When you think of ultraviolet light, you may imagine getting sunburned after spending a day at the pool. And yet, UV light is also a tool for increasing indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the type of light applied in air purification. If you struggle with allergies or asthma or hope to reduce the distribution of illnesses across your home, a UV light in the HVAC system can be the air quality solution you’ve been searching for!
How Does a UV Light Work?
The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been known for more than 100 years. UVC rays were initially applied to treat tuberculosis. Nowadays, germicidal lamps are used in hospitals, food processing plants, water treatment plants and air purification systems.
A UV lamp added to your HVAC system boosts the air quality in your home by eliminating microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It generally needs 10 seconds of contact to deactivate these germs’ DNA, killing them or blocking them from replicating.
UV lights also target volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in cleaners and repellents alongside airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. Still, UV lights don’t physically 'trap' contaminants, so you still need an air filtration system to extract dust, fibers and other particles from your home's air supply.
How Successful 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 completed by Duke University revealed that UV light deactivated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another report noted “significantly lower” fungal levels within a commercial building’s HVAC unit after four months of operating a UV light.
Benefits of UV Lights
Add an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to make the most of these benefits:
- Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology disinfects the air nonstop without dispersing chemicals into the environment. As opposed to other air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t produce ozone, a known lung irritant that can be hazardous to those with asthma, allergies or chronic lung illnesses.
- Lower risk of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lights can minimize the risk of getting viral and bacterial infections.
- Stronger protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can negatively impact your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system operating reliably and efficiently with a hard-working UV light.
- Smaller HVAC maintenance and repair bills: 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 select an air-sanitizing UV light, your installation technician will position it inside your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp helps clean the air before it flows throughout your home.
If you choose 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 continually produces invisible UV radiation. As you probably know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s essential to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen when spending time outdoors. The sun also gives off UVC rays, the most damaging form of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, like the skin and eyes.
Fortunately, the atmosphere eliminates these rays altogether, so they don’t make it to the earth’s surface.
Knowing that UVC rays are harmful, 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 poses no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to maintain the lamp or change the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut down the system temporarily to avoid being exposed to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights run constantly and usually 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 swapped out as needed.
Request UV Light Installation
Norrell Service Experts offers 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 suggest the equipment that will work best for you. Rest assured that all work we perform is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact your local Norrell Service Experts office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.