How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you think of ultraviolet light, you might picture getting sunburned after spending a day at the pool. However, UV light is also something you can use 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 deal with allergies or asthma or want to reduce the dispersal of illnesses across 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 Work?

The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been understood for more than 100 years. UVC rays were even used to treat tuberculosis. Nowadays, germicidal lamps are common in hospitals, food processing facilities, water treatment plants and air purification equipment.

A UV lamp added to your HVAC system improves the air quality in your home by wiping out microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It only needs 10 seconds of contact to deactivate these germs’ DNA, killing them or preventing them from replicating.

UV lights also target volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in cleaners and repellents alongside airborne bioaerosols such as pollen and pet dander. However, UV lights don’t physically ‘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?

As long as they are installed like they’re supposed to and feature the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are remarkably effective at increasing indoor air quality. One study completed by Duke University found that UV light removed more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another report measured “significantly lower” fungal levels inside a commercial building’s HVAC equipment after four months of using a UV light.

Benefits of UV Lights

Add an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to make the most of these benefits:

    • Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology disinfects the air 24 hours a day without adding chemicals into the environment. Compared to some air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t create ozone, a recognized lung irritant that is toxic to individuals with asthma, allergies or prolonged lung illnesses.
    • Decreased chance of getting sick: When combined with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lamps can minimize the risk of contracting viral and bacterial infections.
    • Stronger 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 quality UV light.
    • Smaller HVAC maintenance and repair needs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy simpler maintenance requirements and fewer emergency repairs. These savings can help recoup the cost of running a UV light and replacing the bulb.

Where Do UV Lights Get Installed?

If you select an air-sanitizing UV light, your installation technician should position it within your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp sanitizes the air before it spreads throughout your home.

If you prefer a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit close to 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 constantly produces invisible UV radiation. As you probably know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s important to use a high SPF sunscreen when enjoying time outdoors. The sun also produces UVC rays, the most harming 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.

Knowing 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 limited to 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 clean the lamp or replace the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut down the system for a short time to prevent exposure to the damaging light.

How Long Do UV Lights Last?

UV lights are on continuously and usually 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 examined and swapped out when necessary.

Schedule UV Light Installation

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing provides a suite of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be glad to assess your home and your family’s needs to advise the equipment that will perform best for you. Rest assured that all work we produce is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.

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