How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you look at ultraviolet light, you might think of getting sunburned after a few hours spent relaxing at the pool. However, UV light is also something you can use 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 suffer from allergies or asthma or hope to reduce the spread of illnesses across 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 Function?

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

A UV lamp added to your HVAC unit improves the air quality in your home by deactivating microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It generally requires 10 seconds of contact to affect these germs’ DNA, killing them or blocking them from replicating.

UV lights also combat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in cleaners and repellents on top of airborne bioaerosols like pollen and pet dander. Still, UV lights don’t physically 'trap' contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to extract dust, fibers and other particles from the air.

How Powerful Are UV Lights?

Assuming they are installed correctly and use the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are remarkably effective at improving indoor air quality. One study from Duke University illustrated that UV light removed more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another report measured “significantly lower” fungal levels within a commercial building’s HVAC system after four months of using a UV light.

Benefits of UV Lights

Install an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to make the most of these benefits:

  • Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology disinfects the air 24 hours a day without adding chemicals into the environment. Compared to certain air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t produce ozone, an infamous lung irritant that can be toxic to individuals with asthma, allergies or chronic lung illnesses.
  • Decreased chance of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lights can reduce the risk 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 working reliably and efficiently with a hard-working UV light.
  • Smaller HVAC maintenance and repair costs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy lower maintenance requirements and minimal need for emergency repairs. These savings can help recoup the cost of utilizing a UV light and replacing the bulb.

Where Do UV Lights Get Installed?

If you select an air-sanitizing UV light, your installer should position it inside your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp affects the air before it spreads through your home.

If you choose a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit near 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 continually produces invisible UV radiation. As you probably know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen when spending 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.

Thankfully, the atmosphere blocks out these rays altogether, so they don’t reach the earth’s surface.

Understanding that UVC rays are hazardous, why should you feel comfortable installing a UVC light in your home? It’s simple—the light is limited to the ductwork where you never come in contact with it, so it poses no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to clean the lamp or swap out the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut down the system temporarily to prevent being exposed to the damaging light.

How Long Do UV Lights Last?

UV lights are used continuously 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 looked at and replaced when necessary.

Request UV Light Installation

Freschi Service Experts provides a range of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be happy to assess your home and your family’s needs to suggest the solutions that are best for you. Rest assured that all work we perform is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Reach out to your local Freschi Service Experts office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.

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