When you think of ultraviolet light, you probably picture getting sunburned after spending a day at the pool. However, UV light is also a tool for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the type of light found in air purification. If you suffer from allergies or asthma or hope to minimize the dispersal of illnesses around your home, a UV light in the HVAC system could be the air quality solution you’ve been looking for!
How Does a UV Light Work?
The germicidal influences of ultraviolet light have been recognized for more than a century. UVC rays were even employed to treat tuberculosis. These days, germicidal lamps are common in hospitals, food processing facilities, water treatment plants and air purification systems.
A UV lamp placed inside your HVAC unit improves the air quality in your home by eliminating microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It generally takes 10 seconds of contact to deactivate these germs’ DNA, killing them or preventing them from replicating.
UV lights also target volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present 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 extract dust, fibers and other particles from the air.
How Successful Are UV Lights?
Provided they are installed like they're supposed to and feature the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are remarkably effective at improving indoor air quality. One study from Duke University found that UV light deactivated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another analysis revealed “significantly lower” fungal levels in a commercial building’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 around the clock without introducing chemicals into the environment. As opposed to some air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t produce ozone, a known lung irritant that can be harmful to people with asthma, allergies or chronic lung conditions.
- Lower likelihood of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lights can minimize the chance of catching viral and bacterial infections.
- Protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can negatively impact your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system running reliably and efficiently with a quality UV light.
- Smaller HVAC maintenance and repair costs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy more manageable 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 choose an air-sanitizing UV light, your installation technician will position it within 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 should sit close to the AC evaporator coil. There, it targets mold and bacteria that accumulate on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.
Are UV Lights Safe?
The sun continuously emits invisible UV radiation. As you already know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s important to apply an effective sunscreen when hanging out outdoors. The sun also produces UVC rays, the most harming form of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, like the skin and eyes.
Thankfully, the atmosphere blocks out these rays altogether, so they don’t make it to the earth’s surface.
Understanding that UVC rays are harmful, why should you feel okay with installing a UVC light in your HVAC system? It’s simple—the light is restricted to your ductwork where you can't come in contact with it, so it presents no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to maintain the lamp or replace the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut down the system temporarily to avoid being exposed 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 ideal time to have these bulbs checked and changed out as needed.
Schedule UV Light Installation
Church Services features a suite of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be delighted 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 perform is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Reach out to your local Church Services office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.