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How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you look at ultraviolet light, you probably picture getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. However, UV light is also something you can use for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the kind of light applied in air purification. If you suffer from allergies or asthma or want to minimize the dispersal of illnesses around your home, a UV light within the HVAC system just might be the air quality solution you’ve been hoping for!

How Does a UV Light Operate?

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

A UV lamp installed into your HVAC system helps the air quality in your home by deactivating microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It only requires 10 seconds of contact to affect these germs’ DNA, killing them or preventing them from replicating.

UV lights also address volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in cleaners and repellents alongside airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. That being said, 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 Effective Are UV Lights?

Provided they are installed properly and feature the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are highly effective at improving indoor air quality. One study from Duke University illustrated 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 inside a commercial property’s HVAC unit 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 nonstop without introducing chemicals into the environment. Unlike certain air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t generate ozone, a known lung irritant that is toxic to people with asthma, allergies or prolonged lung diseases.
    • Lower likelihood of getting sick: When used in tandem with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can reduce the likelihood of catching viral and bacterial infections.
    • Protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can gunk up your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system running smoothly and efficiently with a quality UV light.
    • Reduced HVAC maintenance and repair bills: 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 running a UV light and replacing the bulb.

Where Do UV Lights Get Installed?

If you decide on an air-sanitizing UV light, your installer will position it inside your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp helps clean the air before it circulates across your home.

If you choose a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit around the AC evaporator coil. There, it deactivates mold and bacteria that grow on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.

Are UV Lights Safe?

The sun continuously emits invisible UV radiation. As you know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s essential to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen when enjoying time outside. 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 filters out these rays entirely, so they don’t get through 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 HVAC system? It’s simple—the light is confined 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 maintain the lamp or replace the bulb, your HVAC technician will turn off the system temporarily to prevent being exposed to the damaging light.

How Long Do UV Lights Last?

UV lights run constantly 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 perfect time to have these bulbs examined and swapped out as needed.

Request UV Light Installation

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing offers a number of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be happy to evaluate your home and your family’s needs to suggest the equipment that are best for you. Enjoy the peace of mind that that all work we perform is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Get in touch with 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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