When you hear the phrase ultraviolet light, you probably imagine getting sunburned after a few hours spent relaxing at the pool. Having said that, UV light is also a strategy for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the form of light found in air purification. If you deal with allergies or asthma or want to reduce the spread of illnesses around your home, a UV light installed in your HVAC system just might be the air quality solution you’ve been searching for!
How Does a UV Light Work?
The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been known for more than a century. UVC rays were initially employed to treat tuberculosis. Nowadays, germicidal lamps are found in hospitals, food processing centers, water treatment plants and air purification equipment.
A UV lamp added to your HVAC system helps the air quality in your home by deactivating microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It usually takes 10 seconds of contact to disrupt these germs’ DNA, killing them or stopping them from replicating.
UV lights also target volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in cleaners and repellents on top of airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. Still, UV lights don’t actually 'trap' contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to extract dust, fibers and other particles from your indoor air.
How Powerful Are UV Lights?
Provided they are installed correctly and feature the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are highly effective at enhancing indoor air quality. One study completed by Duke University found that UV light eliminated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another analysis revealed “significantly lower” fungal levels within a commercial building’s HVAC system after four months of using a UV light.
Benefits of UV Lights
Add an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to enjoy these benefits:
- Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology disinfects the air 24 hours a day without introducing chemicals into the environment. Unlike other air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t create ozone, a known lung irritant that can be harmful to people with asthma, allergies or prolonged lung diseases.
- Lower likelihood of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lamps can reduce the likelihood of contracting viral and bacterial infections.
- Stronger protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can gunk up your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system working reliably and efficiently with a hard-working UV light.
- Smaller 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 counter 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 will position it in your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp sanitizes the air before it spreads throughout your home.
If you would rather have a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit near the AC evaporator coil. There, it deactivates 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 essential to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen when hanging out outdoors. The sun also emits UVC rays, the most destructive form of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, like the skin and eyes.
Thankfully, the atmosphere filters out these rays altogether, so they don’t get through to the earth’s surface.
Understanding that UVC rays are hazardous, why should you feel alright with installing a UVC light in your HVAC system? It’s simple—the light is restricted to the ductwork where you won't come in contact with it, so it poses no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to maintain the lamp or change the bulb, your HVAC technician will turn off the system briefly to prevent exposure to the damaging light.
How Long Do UV Lights Last?
UV lights run 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 best possible time to have these bulbs looked at and changed out as needed.
Schedule UV Light Installation
San Antonio Air Service Experts features a number of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be glad to analyze your home and your family’s needs to recommend the products that will work 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 San Antonio Air Service Experts office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.