Do HVAC UV Lights Really Work?

UV lights have been found to be highly effective in reducing microbial growth within HVAC systems. In fact, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Niels Ryberg Finsen in 1903 for his work using ultraviolet light radiation to cure skin infections. Ultraviolet (UV) lights for air conditioning systems are commonly known as ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) systems. They target a very specific type of air pollutant, namely microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and spores of mold.

You may be familiar with how hanging clothes in sunlight helps kill any germs or molds that adhere to them. UV lights essentially work the same way. Mold and bacteria are annoying intruders that ruin indoor air quality. Germs that are in the air pass through the filter of the HVAC system and circulate through your home or business.

The inner coil of your air conditioning system is part of what cools your home, but it can also be a hotbed of microscopic misery affecting air quality and system efficiency. Numerous health studies have shown that UV lights in heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems help eliminate bacteria and allergens that accumulate in the system. It's true that the idea of eliminating germs from your home just by illuminating your air ducts sounds too good to be true, but UV HVAC lights can really improve your home's air quality. Air purifiers that use a combination of UV lights and activated carbon are not filters, but they do eliminate odors and they increase filtration.

UV HVAC lamps are designed to serve as HVAC air purification systems, but UV lighting does not clean HVAC systems and should not be used as a substitute for cleaning HVAC ducts. The UV-C section of the spectrum has germicidal properties, with 253.7 nm being the ideal frequency level at which DNA absorbs increased amount of UV light. While it's true that UV light units for air conditioning systems have a lot going for them, there are a few reasons why an addition like this might not be right for you. Even with UV lights on the air conditioning unit, air filters are still necessary to remove particles such as dust and dander from the air before they circulate around the house.

A professional experienced in installing UVGI systems must consider a multitude of conditions when installing a system. Because UV lights only kill germs when the device is turned on, make the system work for a few hours after installation. For example, symptoms of black mold in an air conditioner include headaches that go away when outside, coughing, sneezing, skin rashes, nausea and fatigue, and UV lights can prevent problems like this from forming in the first place.

Grady Ungvarsky
Grady Ungvarsky

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