How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you think of ultraviolet light, you may picture getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. And yet, UV light is also a strategy for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the type of light applied in air purification. If you struggle with allergies or asthma or would like to limit the distribution 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 Work?

The germicidal effects of ultraviolet light have been known for over a century. UVC rays were originally employed to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are found in hospitals, food processing plants, water treatment plants and air purification equipment.

A UV lamp placed inside your HVAC system helps the air quality in your home by wiping out microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It generally requires 10 seconds of contact to deactivate these germs’ DNA, killing them or preventing them from replicating.

UV lights also combat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in cleaners and repellents alongside airborne bioaerosols such as pollen and pet dander. Still, UV lights don’t literally 'trap' contaminants, so you still require an air filtration system to remove dust, fibers and other particles from your indoor air.

How Successful Are UV Lights?

Provided they are installed correctly and use the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at improving indoor air quality. One study out of Duke University revealed that UV light eliminated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another study noted “significantly lower” fungal levels in a commercial building’s HVAC equipment after four months of operating 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 helps clean the air around the clock without adding chemicals into the environment. Compared to some air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t produce ozone, an infamous lung irritant that can be harmful to those with asthma, allergies or chronic lung conditions.
  • Decreased chance of getting sick: When combined with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can lower the chance of getting viral and bacterial infections.
  • A layer of 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 quality UV light.
  • Reduced HVAC maintenance and repair costs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy more manageable 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 choose an air-sanitizing UV light, your installation technician will position it in your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp affects the air before it circulates across your home.

If you choose 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 emits invisible UV radiation. As you already know, UVA and UVB rays can burn your skin, so it’s crucial to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen when spending time outdoors. The sun also gives off UVC rays, the most damaging form of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, particularly the skin and eyes.

Fortunately, the atmosphere blocks out these rays completely, so they don’t make it to the earth’s surface.

Knowing that UVC rays are harmful, 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 never come in contact with it, so it presents no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to clean the lamp or change the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut down the system briefly to prevent being exposed to the damaging light.

How Long Do UV Lights Last?

UV lights run constantly 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 best possible time to have these bulbs looked at and replaced as required.

Schedule UV Light Installation

Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning provides a suite of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be glad to assess your home and your family’s needs to recommend the equipment that will perform 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 Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.