How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you look at ultraviolet light, you probably picture getting sunburned after a few hours spent relaxing at the pool. And yet, UV light is also a strategy for increasing indoor air quality. Sunscreen safeguards against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the type of light used in air purification. If you suffer from allergies or asthma or would like to reduce the distribution of illnesses throughout 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 Work?

The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been known 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 equipment.

A UV lamp added to your HVAC system improves the air quality in your home by eliminating microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It usually takes 10 seconds of contact to disrupt these germs’ DNA, killing them or blocking them from replicating.

UV lights also combat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in cleaners and repellents as well as airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. Still, UV lights don’t literally '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?

Provided they are installed like they're supposed to and utilize the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at improving indoor air quality. One study out of Duke University found that UV light eliminated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another analysis noted “significantly lower” fungal levels within a commercial building’s HVAC system after four months of applying 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 sanitizes the air around the clock without dispersing chemicals into the environment. Unlike some air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t create ozone, a recognized lung irritant that is very harmful to people with asthma, allergies or prolonged lung diseases.
  • Decreased risk of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can minimize the likelihood of catching viral and bacterial infections.
  • Protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can clog up your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system operating reliably and efficiently with a hard-working UV light.
  • Reduced HVAC maintenance and repair costs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy simpler maintenance requirements and fewer emergency repairs. These savings can help counter the cost of using 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 sanitizes the air before it spreads through your home.

If you choose a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit around 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 constantly releases invisible UV radiation. As you already know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s essential to wear a high SPF sunscreen when spending time outdoors. The sun also produces UVC rays, the most destructive type of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, particularly the skin and eyes.

Luckily, the atmosphere eliminates these rays entirely, so they don’t make it to the earth’s surface.

With the knowledge that UVC rays are dangerous, why should you feel comfortable installing a UVC light in your home? It’s simple—the light is limited to the ductwork where you can'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 swap out the bulb, your HVAC technician will turn off the system temporarily to avoid being exposed to the damaging light.

How Long Do UV Lights Last?

UV lights are used continuously 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 perfect time to have these bulbs checked and replaced when necessary.

Request UV Light Installation

All American Air 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 products that will work best for you. Rest easy knowing that all work we perform is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Get in touch with your local All American Air Service Experts office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.

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