When you think of ultraviolet light, you might imagine getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. Having said that, UV light is also a strategy for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the kind of light found in air purification. If you suffer from allergies or asthma or would like to reduce the spread of illnesses around your home, a UV light in the HVAC system just might be the air quality solution you’ve been searching for!
How Does a UV Light Operate?
The germicidal impacts of ultraviolet light have been recognized for more than 100 years. UVC rays were initially employed to treat tuberculosis. Nowadays, germicidal lamps are found in hospitals, food processing plants, water treatment plants and air purification products.
A UV lamp placed inside your HVAC unit boosts the air quality in your home by wiping out microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It generally requires 10 seconds of contact to affect these germs’ DNA, killing them or stopping them from replicating.
UV lights also target volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in cleaners and repellents on top of airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. However, UV lights don’t literally 'trap' contaminants, so you still need an air filtration system to extract dust, fibers and other particles from your home's air supply.
How Powerful Are UV Lights?
Assuming they are installed like they're supposed to and use the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at increasing indoor air quality. One study out of Duke University illustrated that UV light removed more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another study measured “significantly lower” fungal levels in a commercial business' HVAC system after four months of applying 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 sanitizes the air 24 hours a day without introducing chemicals into the environment. As opposed to certain air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t generate ozone, an infamous lung irritant that is very toxic to people with asthma, allergies or prolonged lung diseases.
- Decreased chance of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lamps can reduce the risk of catching viral and bacterial infections.
- Stronger 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 hard-working UV light.
- Smaller HVAC maintenance and repair costs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy simpler maintenance requirements and fewer emergency repairs. These savings can help counter 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 in your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp affects the air before it circulates through your home.
If you would rather have a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit near 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 continually produces invisible UV radiation. As you probably know, UVA and UVB rays can burn 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 destructive type of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, such as the skin and eyes.
Luckily, the atmosphere filters out these rays completely, so they don’t reach the earth’s surface.
With the knowledge that UVC rays are hazardous, why should you feel comfortable installing a UVC light in your HVAC system? It’s simple—the light is confined to the inside of the ductwork where you won't come in contact with it, so it creates 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 briefly to prevent exposure to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights run continuously 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 changed out as needed.
Request UV Light Installation
Becht/Givens Service Experts features a suite 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. Enjoy the peace of mind that that all work we complete is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Get in touch with your local Becht/Givens Service Experts office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.