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 defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the kind of light applied in air purification. If you suffer from allergies or asthma or hope to limit the spread of illnesses throughout your home, a UV light in the HVAC system just might be the air quality solution you’ve been looking for!
How Does a UV Light Function?
The germicidal influences of ultraviolet light have been recognized for more than 100 years. UVC rays were originally used to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are used in hospitals, food processing centers, water treatment plants and air purification equipment.
A UV lamp added to your HVAC system improves the air quality in your home by deactivating microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It generally takes 10 seconds of contact to deactivate these germs’ DNA, killing them or preventing them from replicating.
UV lights also combat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in cleaners and repellents on top of airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. That being said, UV lights don’t actually 'trap' contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to extract dust, fibers and other particles from your home's air supply.
How Effective Are UV Lights?
Assuming they are installed like they're supposed to and utilize the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very 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 report noted “significantly lower” fungal levels inside a commercial business' HVAC equipment 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 sanitizes the air 24 hours a day without introducing chemicals into the environment. As opposed to some air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t produce ozone, an infamous lung irritant that is very harmful to people with asthma, allergies or chronic lung conditions.
- Lower likelihood of getting sick: When used in tandem with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can lower the chance of contracting viral and bacterial infections.
- Protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can gunk up your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system working reliably and efficiently with a hard-working UV light.
- Lower HVAC maintenance and repair needs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy simpler maintenance requirements and fewer emergency repairs. These savings can help counter the cost of using 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 sanitizes the air before it circulates throughout your home.
If you choose a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit near the AC evaporator coil. There, it deactivates mold and bacteria that grow 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 important to wear an effective sunscreen when spending time outside. 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 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 limited to the inside of the ductwork where you won't come in contact with it, so it poses no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to clean the lamp or replace the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut down the system temporarily to avoid exposure to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights run constantly and usually 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 perfect time to have these bulbs checked and replaced as required.
Schedule UV Light Installation
Knochelmann Service Experts features a range of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be delighted to analyze your home and your family’s needs to recommend the products that will work best for you. Enjoy the peace of mind that that all work we produce is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Reach out to your local Knochelmann Service Experts office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.