When you hear the phrase ultraviolet light, you might imagine getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. And yet, UV light is also a strategy for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the type of light used in air purification. If you suffer from allergies or asthma or hope to limit the distribution of illnesses around your home, a UV light within the HVAC system can be the air quality solution you’ve been hoping for!
How Does a UV Light Operate?
The germicidal influences of ultraviolet light have been recognized for more than a century. UVC rays were initially used to treat tuberculosis. These days, germicidal lamps are common in hospitals, food processing facilities, water treatment plants and air purification equipment.
A UV lamp added to your HVAC unit helps the air quality in your home by eliminating microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It only needs 10 seconds of contact to disrupt these germs’ DNA, killing them or stopping them from replicating.
UV lights also combat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in cleaners and repellents alongside airborne bioaerosols such as pollen and pet dander. However, UV lights don’t physically 'trap' contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to capture dust, fibers and other particles from the air.
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 remarkably effective at improving indoor air quality. One study from Duke University illustrated that UV light removed more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another study noted “significantly lower” fungal levels within a commercial property's HVAC unit after four months of operating 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 nonstop without introducing chemicals into the environment. As opposed to other air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t generate ozone, a known lung irritant that is harmful to those with asthma, allergies or chronic lung diseases.
- Lower chance of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lamps can lower the risk of catching viral and bacterial infections.
- Protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can negatively impact your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system running smoothly and efficiently with a quality UV light.
- Reduced 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 offset the cost of running a UV light and replacing the bulb.
Where Do UV Lights Get Installed?
If you choose an air-sanitizing UV light, your installer should position it inside your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp helps clean the air before it flows through your home.
If you choose a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit around 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 continuously produces invisible UV radiation. As you probably know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s crucial to use a high SPF sunscreen when spending time outdoors. The sun also emits UVC rays, the most damaging type of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, like the skin and eyes.
Thankfully, the atmosphere eliminates these rays completely, so they don’t get through to the earth’s surface.
Understanding that UVC rays are dangerous, why should you feel comfortable installing a UVC light in your home? It’s simple—the light is limited to the inside of 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 replace the bulb, your HVAC technician will turn off the system briefly to prevent being exposed to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights are used continuously and generally 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 looked at and swapped out when necessary.
Request UV Light Installation
Finch Air Conditioning & Heating offers a suite of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be delighted to assess your home and your family’s needs to recommend the solutions that are best for you. Rest assured that all work we perform is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact your local Finch Air Conditioning & Heating office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.