When you think of ultraviolet light, you probably imagine getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. And yet, UV light is also a strategy for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the type of light found in air purification. If you deal with allergies or asthma or want to minimize the distribution of illnesses around your home, a UV light in the HVAC system can be the air quality solution you’ve been hoping for!
How Does a UV Light Operate?
The germicidal impacts of ultraviolet light have been known for more than a century. UVC rays were originally used to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are found in hospitals, food processing centers, water treatment plants and air purification products.
A UV lamp installed into your HVAC system helps the air quality in your home by eliminating microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It generally requires 10 seconds of contact to deactivate these germs’ DNA, killing them or blocking them from replicating.
UV lights also target volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in cleaners and repellents as well as airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. Still, UV lights don’t literally 'trap' contaminants, so you still need an air filtration system to remove dust, fibers and other particles from your indoor air.
How Effective Are UV Lights?
As long as they are installed like they're supposed to and feature the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are remarkably effective at increasing indoor air quality. One study from Duke University found that UV light removed more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another report noted “significantly lower” fungal levels within a commercial property's HVAC system after four months of operating a UV light.
Benefits of UV Lights
Place an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to enjoy these benefits:
- Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology disinfects the air around the clock without introducing chemicals into the environment. Unlike other air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t create ozone, an infamous lung irritant that is very harmful to those with asthma, allergies or frequent lung conditions.
- Decreased risk of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lights can minimize the likelihood of getting 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 running reliably and efficiently with a quality UV light.
- Smaller HVAC maintenance and repair needs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy more manageable maintenance requirements and fewer emergency repairs. These savings can help offset the cost of running a UV light and replacing the bulb.
Where Do UV Lights Get Installed?
If you decide on an air-sanitizing UV light, your installer will position it within your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp helps clean the air before it spreads throughout your home.
If you would rather have a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit close to the AC evaporator coil. There, it targets mold and bacteria that collect on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.
Are UV Lights Safe?
The sun constantly releases invisible UV radiation. As you probably know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s crucial to use an effective sunscreen when spending time outdoors. The sun also gives off UVC rays, the most destructive type of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, like the skin and eyes.
Fortunately, the atmosphere filters out these rays altogether, so they don’t make it to the earth’s surface.
Understanding that UVC rays are harmful, why should you feel alright with installing a UVC light in your home? 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 clean the lamp or swap out the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut down the system for a short time to avoid exposure to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights are used around the clock 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 ideal time to have these bulbs checked and swapped out as needed.
Schedule UV Light Installation
Gordon's Service Experts features a range of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be happy to analyze your home and your family’s needs to advise the equipment that will perform best for you. Rest easy knowing that all work we perform is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Get in touch with your local Gordon's Service Experts office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.