When you hear the phrase ultraviolet light, you may think of getting sunburned after a few hours spent relaxing at the pool. However, UV light is also a tool for increasing indoor air quality. Sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the kind of light used in air purification. If you struggle with allergies or asthma or hope to reduce the distribution of illnesses throughout your home, a UV light within the HVAC system could be the air quality solution you’ve been searching for!
How Does a UV Light Function?
The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been understood for more than a century. UVC rays were even employed to treat tuberculosis. Nowadays, germicidal lamps are implemented in hospitals, food processing plants, water treatment plants and air purification products.
A UV lamp added to your HVAC system improves the air quality in your home by wiping out microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It only takes 10 seconds of contact to affect 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 such as pollen and pet dander. That being said, UV lights don’t actually 'trap' contaminants, so you still need an air filtration system to remove 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 remarkably effective at enhancing 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 revealed “significantly lower” fungal levels within a commercial business' HVAC system after four months of operating 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 disinfects the air around the clock without adding chemicals into the environment. As opposed to other air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t produce ozone, an infamous lung irritant that can be harmful to individuals with asthma, allergies or chronic lung illnesses.
- Decreased chance of getting sick: When combined with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lights can minimize the likelihood of contracting 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 operating reliably and efficiently with a hard-working UV light.
- Lower HVAC maintenance and repair needs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy more manageable maintenance requirements and minimal need for 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 affects the air before it circulates through your home.
If you prefer a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will 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 constantly produces invisible UV radiation. As you know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s important to wear a high SPF sunscreen when hanging out outdoors. The sun also gives off UVC rays, the most harming type of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, like the skin and eyes.
Fortunately, the atmosphere eliminates these rays entirely, so they don’t make it to the earth’s surface.
With the knowledge that UVC rays are hazardous, why should you feel alright with installing a UVC light in your home? It’s simple—the light is restricted to the 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 change the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut down the system temporarily to prevent exposure to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights are on constantly and usually 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 perfect time to have these bulbs checked and changed out as required.
Schedule UV Light Installation
Atmostemp Service Experts features a suite of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be glad to evaluate your home and your family’s needs to advise the solutions that will perform best for you. Rest easy knowing that all work we produce is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Reach out to your local Atmostemp Service Experts office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.