How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you hear the phrase ultraviolet light, you probably picture getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. Having said that, UV light is also something you can use for increasing indoor air quality. Sunscreen defends against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the type of light applied in air purification. If you suffer from allergies or asthma or want to reduce the spread of illnesses around your home, a UV light within the HVAC system could be the air quality solution you’ve been looking for!

How Does a UV Light Operate?

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

A UV lamp installed into your HVAC unit helps the air quality in your home by eliminating microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It usually requires 10 seconds of contact to deactivate these germs’ DNA, killing them or stopping them from replicating.

UV lights also target 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 need an air filtration system to extract dust, fibers and other particles from the air.

How Effective Are UV Lights?

As long as they are installed correctly and use the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are highly effective at increasing indoor air quality. One study out of Duke University revealed 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 in a commercial business’ HVAC unit after four months of operating 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 disinfects the air around the clock without dispersing chemicals into the environment. Unlike certain air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t create ozone, a recognized lung irritant that can be harmful to those with asthma, allergies or frequent lung illnesses.
    • Lower chance of getting sick: Alongside good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV products can reduce the risk of catching 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 running reliably and efficiently with a quality UV light.
    • Smaller HVAC maintenance and repair needs: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy simpler maintenance requirements and minimal need for emergency repairs. These savings can help counter 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 installation technician should position it within your ductwork near the HVAC system. There, the lamp sanitizes the air before it spreads throughout your home.

If you would rather have a coil-sanitizing UV light, it should sit around the AC evaporator coil. There, it deactivates 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 know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s important to wear an effective sunscreen when enjoying time outside. The sun also emits UVC rays, the most damaging type of solar radiation capable of killing microorganisms and irritating other living tissue, such as the skin and eyes.

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

Understanding that UVC rays are hazardous, why should you feel okay with installing a UVC light in your HVAC system? It’s simple—the light is restricted to your ductwork where you won’t come in contact with it, so it presents 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 for a short time to avoid exposure to the damaging light.

How Long Do UV Lights Last?

UV lights are used around the clock and generally last nine to 14 months. Annual 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 needed.

Request UV Light Installation

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing provides a suite of air quality solutions, including UV lights for HVAC systems. We would be delighted to analyze your home and your family’s needs to advise the products that will work best for you. Rest assured that all work we produce is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.

  • How to Find a Good HVAC System

    When it comes to keeping your home comfortable year-round, nothing is more essential than choosing the right heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. This decision impacts your daily comfort, monthly utility costs and overall home efficiency. However, with so many system types,... Continue reading

  • Yearly HVAC Maintenance List

    Once the air starts to get cold, you know it’s time to prepare your home for the cooler months ahead. Your heating system is crucial to maintaining a cozy, warm setting. A well-maintained furnace delivers the comfort you crave while using less energy. Routine inspections also make your system... Continue reading

  • HVAC Trends: What’s New in 2024

    In the ever-evolving world of home heating and cooling, keeping up with the newest HVAC trends is very important for homeowners who want to enhance their home’s comfort and efficiency. Looking into 2024, the HVAC industry continues to innovate, bringing brand-new technologies and trends aimed at... Continue reading