UV Lights for HVAC Systems

Aug 11, 2020

With the highly contagious Novel Coronavirus permeating our outdoor air and threatening our home indoor air quality, it is more important than ever to ensure that your HVAC system is circulating safe, clean air.  

The thought of mold and bacteria rapidly increasing in your HVAC system and being circulated through duct work is not only upsetting but could put the health of you and your loved ones at risk. 

Perhaps you are familiar with the concept of ultraviolet (UV) light sanitizing air and equipment. Is this true? Are UV lights worth it? 

Do UV Lights Kill Mold, Bacteria and Viruses?

UV lighting, and UVC lighting in particular, is a disinfection method that employs short-wavelength ultraviolet light to kill or inactivate microorganisms by destroying nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA.  This leaves them unable to perform vital cellular functions. UVC refers to ultraviolet light with wavelengths between 200 and 280 nanometers (nm).

What does this mean?  Ultraviolet lights were shown to destroy mold, viruses, and bacteria more than a century ago. What’s more, in 1903, Niels Finsen was awarded the Noble Prize in Medicine for using UV to effectively treat patients with skin infections. 

Today, UV lights are employed at hospitals, restaurants, and grocery stores for germicidal use.  UV lights have been proven to kill and sterilize HVAC systems, as well. 

Consider two examples of UV sterilization: 

A 2012 Duke University Medical Center study revealed that UV lights destroyed 97 percent of bacteria that were resistant to antibiotics, the so-called super bacteria that are the toughest to kill. 

The Journal of Applied and Environmental Biology reported in 2001 that germicidal UV radiation significantly reduced airborne fungi in air handling units. 

Will UV Light Work on Coronavirus?

Obviously, we are anxious to know if this is true, and the good news is UV germicidal lights are known to kill many types of viruses. What has been determined so far is that UV light might destroy the coronavirus. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Vaporous hydrogen peroxide, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, and moist heat are the most promising decontamination methods” for COVID-19. 

What Type of UV Light is Used in HVAC Systems?

The UV lights installed in HVAC systems are Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation lights, which is the type used to kill COVID-19 in tests that are now under way. 

The CDC cautions that lights are more or less effective based on their UV intensity and the amount of time the contaminated surface is exposed to the light. Because HVAC UV germicidal irradiation lights are on full-time in most instances, the dose is considered very high. 

UV Light Options for Your HVAC System

There are two types of UV lights that are designed to sanitize your heating and air conditioning system. They go by different product names, including purifying lights, germicidal lights, sanitizing lights and sterilization lights. 

Coil Sanitizing Lights

As expected, many or most of you living in the Tri-Cities have central air conditioning.  That means you have indoor coils. Unfortunately, these coils are an ideal environment for the development of mold and bacteria.  Why?

The reason for this is that the coil is used to condense moisture from the air to dehumidify your home during AC cycles.  As the air flows over the coil, dirt, pet dander, and other debris adhere to its wet surface. This combination of events culminates in creating the perfect setting for the growth of mold and bacteria that can be funneled through your home in the passing air. 

As a result of all this, coil UV lights are the most common HVAC sterilizing lights. Single-lamp and dual-lamp models are available.  Coil sterilization lights are installed where they can shine directly onto the surface of the coil, and they are on continuously. 

Air Sanitizing Lights

This type of HVAC germicidal lights are installed in the duct work that bring return air to the system. They are designed to eradicate airborne germs and mold. Stick and U-shaped lamps are used by various manufacturers. 

There are certain germicidal HVAC lights that are coordinated with the blower motor to turn on and off as it does. These lights have to be hardwired with the system, which translates into a higher cost. 

Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning Can Take Care of Your UV Light Needs

Ensure that your indoor air is as pure and as clean as possible with the installation of ultraviolet lights in your HVAC system. 

Our experienced team of highly trained technicians will work with you and exceed your expectations when performing installations or improvements to your HVAC system. 

We invite you to contact Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning by calling (509) 396-COLD (2653).