How Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Work?

When you hear the phrase ultraviolet light, you probably picture getting sunburned after spending a day at the pool. Having said that, UV light is also a strategy for improving indoor air quality. Sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the type 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 in the HVAC system can be the air quality solution you’ve been searching for!

How Does a UV Light Function?

The germicidal influences of ultraviolet light have been known for over a century. UVC rays were even employed to treat tuberculosis. Nowadays, germicidal lamps are common in hospitals, food processing centers, water treatment plants and air purification equipment.

A UV lamp placed inside your HVAC system improves the air quality in your home by eliminating microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, mold and more. It only needs 10 seconds of contact to disrupt these germs’ DNA, killing them or stopping them from replicating.

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

How Effective Are UV Lights?

Assuming they are installed like they're supposed to and utilize the right wavelength of UV light, germicidal lamps are very effective at enhancing 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 analysis revealed “significantly lower” fungal levels in a commercial building’s HVAC system after four months of operating 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 helps clean the air around the clock without dispersing chemicals into the environment. Unlike some air purifiers, ultraviolet lamps don’t create ozone, a known lung irritant that is harmful to individuals with asthma, allergies or chronic lung conditions.
  • Lower likelihood of getting sick: When used in tandem with good personal hygiene, germ-killing UV lights can reduce the risk of catching viral and bacterial infections.
  • Stronger protection for your HVAC system: Mold, fungi and bacteria can clog up your heating and cooling equipment. Keep the system running reliably and efficiently with a quality UV light.
  • Lower HVAC maintenance and repair bills: With an inherently cleaner central HVAC system, you enjoy more manageable maintenance requirements and fewer emergency repairs. These savings can help offset the cost of running a UV light and replacing the bulb.

Where Do UV Lights Get Installed?

If you select 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 flows across your home.

If you would rather have a coil-sanitizing UV light, it will sit near 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 continuously releases invisible UV radiation. As you know, UVA and UVB rays can harm your skin, so it’s important to wear an effective sunscreen when hanging out outdoors. The sun also gives off UVC rays, the most damaging 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 get through to the earth’s surface.

Understanding that UVC rays are hazardous, why should you feel alright with installing a UVC light in your HVAC system? It’s simple—the light is confined to your ductwork where you never come in contact with it, so it poses no risk to you and your family. When the time comes to maintain the lamp or change the bulb, your HVAC technician will shut down 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 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 perfect time to have these bulbs checked 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 delighted to assess your home and your family’s needs to suggest the products that will perform best for you. Rest assured that all work we complete is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office to schedule UV light installation or request a free home health consultation today.