How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you think of ultraviolet light, you might picture getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. However, UV light is also a tool for increasing indoor air quality. Sunscreen safeguards against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the kind of light applied in air purification. If you deal with allergies or asthma or would like to limit the dispersal of illnesses across your home, a UV light within the HVAC system could be the air quality solution you’ve been hoping for! 

How Does a UV Light Operate? 

The germicidal influences of ultraviolet light have been recognized for over a century. UVC rays were initially employed to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are common in hospitals, food processing facilities, water treatment plants and air purification products. 

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

UV lights also combat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in cleaners and repellents on top of airborne bioaerosols such as pollen and pet dander. That being said, UV lights don’t actually ‘trap’ contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to remove dust, fibers and other particles from your home’s air supply. 

How Successful Are UV Lights? 

Provided they are installed correctly and feature the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are remarkably effective at increasing indoor air quality. One study out of Duke University illustrated that UV light eliminated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another study revealed “significantly lower” fungal levels in a commercial business’ 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 sanitizes the air 24 hours a day without introducing chemicals into the environment. Unlike some air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t produce ozone, a recognized lung irritant that is hazardous to people with asthma, allergies or chronic lung illnesses. 
  • Decreased risk of getting sick: When combined with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lights can lower the risk of contracting viral and bacterial infections. 
  • Protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can gunk up your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system operating smoothly and efficiently with a hard-working UV light. 
  • Reduced HVAC maintenance and repair costs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy lower 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 decide on an air-sanitizing UV light, your installer will position it inside your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp affects the air before it spreads across your home. 

If you would rather have a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit near the AC evaporator coil. There, it affects 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 already know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s essential to use a high SPF sunscreen when enjoying time outdoors. The sun also produces UVC rays, the most destructive variant of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, like the skin and eyes. 

Luckily, the atmosphere filters out these rays completely, so they don’t get through to the earth’s surface. 

Understanding that UVC rays are harmful, why should you feel okay with installing a UVC light in your home? It’s simple—the light is confined to the inside of 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 swap out the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut down the system temporarily to prevent exposure to the damaging light. 

How Long Do UV Lights Last? 

UV lights are on around the clock 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 ideal time to have these bulbs checked and changed out as required. 

Request UV Light Installation 

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing features a range of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be glad to analyze your home and your family’s needs to suggest the solutions that will work best for you. Rest assured that all work we produce is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Reach out to 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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