How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you look at ultraviolet light, you might picture getting sunburned after spending a day at the pool. Having said that, UV light is also a strategy for enhancing indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the form of light found in air purification. If you struggle with allergies or asthma or hope to limit the distribution of illnesses throughout your home, a UV light in the HVAC system just might be the air quality solution you’ve been searching for!

How Does a UV Light Function?

The germicidal impacts of ultraviolet light have been known for more than a century. UVC rays were even used to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are common in hospitals, food processing plants, water treatment plants and air purification products.

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

UV lights also combat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in cleaners and repellents as well as airborne bioaerosols such as pollen and pet dander. However, UV lights don’t literally 'trap' contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to capture dust, fibers and other particles from your home's air supply.

How Powerful Are UV Lights?

Provided they are installed properly and feature the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at increasing indoor air quality. One study completed by Duke University found that UV light deactivated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another report noted “significantly lower” fungal levels in a commercial business' HVAC system after four months of applying 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 sanitizes the air 24 hours a day without dispersing 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 prolonged lung diseases.
  • Decreased likelihood of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lamps can reduce the likelihood of contracting viral and bacterial infections.
  • 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 simpler maintenance requirements and minimal need for 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 installer should position it in your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp affects the air before it circulates across your home.

If you would rather have a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit close to the AC evaporator coil. There, it affects mold and bacteria that grow on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.

Are UV Lights Safe?

The sun continually emits invisible UV radiation. As you know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s crucial to wear a high SPF sunscreen when hanging out outside. The sun also emits UVC rays, the most destructive type of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, such as the skin and eyes.

Thankfully, the atmosphere blocks out these rays altogether, so they don’t reach 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 confined to the inside of the 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 clean the lamp or replace the bulb, your HVAC technician will turn off the system temporarily to avoid exposure to the damaging light.

How Long Do UV Lights Last?

UV lights run around the clock and usually last nine to 14 months. Annual 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 replaced as needed.

Schedule UV Light Installation

Chief/Bauer Service Experts offers 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 suggest the solutions that are best for you. Enjoy the peace of mind that that all work we produce is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Get in touch with your local Chief/Bauer Service Experts office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.

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