When you hear the phrase ultraviolet light, you probably imagine getting sunburned after a few hours spent relaxing at the pool. And yet, UV light is also a tool for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the form of light applied in air purification. If you suffer from allergies or asthma or want to reduce the distribution of illnesses throughout your home, a UV light installed in your HVAC system could be the air quality solution you’ve been looking for!
How Does a UV Light Work?
The germicidal impacts of ultraviolet light have been understood for more than 100 years. UVC rays were originally used to treat tuberculosis. These days, germicidal lamps are common in hospitals, food processing plants, water treatment plants and air purification products.
A UV lamp installed into your HVAC unit helps the air quality in your home by wiping out microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It generally takes 10 seconds of contact to affect these germs’ DNA, killing them or stopping them from replicating.
UV lights also address volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in cleaners and repellents alongside airborne bioaerosols such as pollen and pet dander. Still, UV lights don’t literally 'trap' contaminants, so you still need an air filtration system to capture dust, fibers and other particles from your indoor air.
How Effective Are UV Lights?
Provided they are installed like they're supposed to and use the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at improving indoor air quality. One study out of Duke University found that UV light deactivated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another report measured “significantly lower” fungal levels within a commercial property's HVAC system after four months of using 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 helps clean the air nonstop without introducing chemicals into the environment. Compared to other air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t generate ozone, a known lung irritant that is harmful to those with asthma, allergies or prolonged lung illnesses.
- Lower likelihood of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lights can reduce the chance of getting viral and bacterial infections.
- Protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can negatively impact your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system working smoothly 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 installation technician should position it inside your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp affects the air before it flows across your home.
If you prefer a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit around the AC evaporator coil. There, it affects mold and bacteria that accumulate on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.
Are UV Lights Safe?
The sun continually releases invisible UV radiation. As you know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s crucial to apply a high SPF sunscreen when spending time outside. The sun also produces 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 filters out these rays completely, so they don’t get through to the earth’s surface.
Knowing that UVC rays are dangerous, why should you feel okay with installing a UVC light in your home? It’s simple—the light is restricted to the ductwork where you never come in contact with it, so it creates no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to clean the lamp or replace the bulb, your HVAC technician will turn off 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 typically 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 best possible time to have these bulbs checked and changed out as needed.
Request UV Light Installation
McKinley Heating Service Experts features a number of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be delighted to evaluate your home and your family’s needs to recommend the equipment that will perform best for you. Rest easy knowing that all work we produce is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Get in touch with your local McKinley Heating Service Experts office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.