How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you look at ultraviolet light, you probably think of getting sunburned after spending a day at the pool. Having said that, UV light is also a tool for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the form of light applied in air purification. If you struggle with allergies or asthma or want to limit the spread of illnesses around your home, a UV light within the HVAC system can be the air quality solution you’ve been searching for!

How Does a UV Light Work?

The germicidal impacts of ultraviolet light have been understood for more than a century. UVC rays were originally employed to treat tuberculosis. Today, germicidal lamps are implemented in hospitals, food processing facilities, water treatment plants and air purification equipment.

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

UV lights also address volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in cleaners and repellents on top of 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 extract dust, fibers and other particles from your home's air supply.

How Effective Are UV Lights?

Assuming they are installed correctly and utilize the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at increasing indoor air quality. One study from Duke University illustrated that UV light deactivated more than 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from the air in hospital rooms. Another study noted “significantly lower” fungal levels in a commercial business' HVAC equipment after four months of operating a UV light.

Benefits of UV Lights

Install an ultraviolet lamp in your HVAC system to take advantage of these benefits:

  • Cleaner indoor air: UV light technology sanitizes the air nonstop without dispersing chemicals into the environment. Unlike some air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t produce ozone, a recognized lung irritant that is very hazardous to individuals with asthma, allergies or frequent lung illnesses.
  • Decreased chance of getting sick: When combined with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lights can lower the risk of getting 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 smoothly and efficiently with a quality UV light.
  • Smaller HVAC maintenance and repair needs: 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 decide on an air-sanitizing UV light, your installation technician will position it within your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp affects the air before it flows throughout your home.

If you choose a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit around the AC evaporator coil. There, it affects mold and bacteria that collect on the damp coil, keeping your system clean and operating smoothly.

Are UV Lights Safe?

The sun continuously produces invisible UV radiation. As you probably know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s essential to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen when hanging out outside. The sun also produces UVC rays, the most damaging form of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, particularly the skin and eyes.

Thankfully, the atmosphere filters out these rays entirely, so they don’t make it to the earth’s surface.

Understanding that UVC rays are dangerous, why should you feel okay with installing a UVC light in your HVAC system? 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 change 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 on around the clock and typically last nine to 14 months. Routine 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 examined and changed out as needed.

Request UV Light Installation

Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning features a range of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be happy to evaluate your home and your family’s needs to suggest the products 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. Reach out to your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.