How Do UV Lights Purify Air, and Are They Worth It?

May 21, 2023

Spring in Clayton, MO, can be a time of natural growth and beauty, but all the plants blooming can also trigger respiratory ailments in your family. If you have someone you love already afflicted with a breathing condition, you want to do all you can to make your home’s air as safe as possible. UV lights are one option to consider if you know how they work and whether they’re worth it.

What Are HVAC UV Lights?

Ultraviolet light is one kind of light that sits on the broader light spectrum. You’re probably already familiar with the UV light of the sun that can burn your skin and endanger your health when you spend too much time outside without protection. Conversely, UV technology can help your family stay healthy by eliminating airborne contaminants in your home’s HVAC system.

HVAC UV lights get installed either in your ductwork or the air handler, and you might even choose both simultaneously. When air circulates through the system, it carries bacterial growth and other contaminants. UV lights sanitize the air before it goes through recirculation around your home.

How Do HVAC UV Lights Work?

HVAC UV lights emit light several orders of magnitude greater than the same light from the sun shining outside. The intensity of this level of light has the power to degrade the nucleic acids found in bacterial growth at the microscopic level. When the actual DNA of microorganisms gets destroyed, they either die immediately or they’re simply incapable of replicating themselves.

You should know that hospitals have been using UV light for nearly 100 years to treat multiple conditions, including tuberculosis. Given the effectiveness of UV lights, other medical settings and even many commercial establishments also use them for sterilizing supplies and equipment.

The effectiveness of HVAC UV lights has seen a lot of study and research. The actual impact varies, but many cases report disinfection rates at 90% and higher. That’s a significant improvement in air quality in any home.

What Are the Benefits?

The benefits of adding UV lights to your air conditioning are plentiful. Reducing bacterial contamination should reduce the frequency and severity of asthma, allergies and other respiratory symptoms in your home. Indoor air quality gets better because odors also get minimized.

When the air of your home gets disinfected regularly, it also means that the air can move more freely through your system. Improved airflow and efficiency help your system run better and longer. HVAC UV lights often last from one to five years, making them a durable investment.

Are There Any Downsides?

UV lights can be very effective for cleaning your home’s air, but they’re not perfect. Installation does cost money, and they need routine service just like the rest of your system. If installed wrong, they might even hurt your system or ducts, so leave this to industry professionals.

Where Does Installation Happen?

You have two primary options here. First, coil sanitizing lights stay close to the evaporator coil, where moisture might prove conducive to bacterial breeding. Second, air sanitizing lights sit in supply vents and ductwork to deal with air before circulation through your home.

Are They Worth It?

Installation and maintenance costs do require money, but HVAC UV lights can also keep your home’s air clear of bacterial contamination. If anyone in your home has respiratory conditions and is vulnerable to what they’re breathing indoors, the investment involved can be well worth their improved health. Your peace of mind is priceless.

UV lights in your HVAC system can disinfect the air moving through by irradiating bacterial growth present. We can help you pick the right technology and install it for you. Contact Fresh Air Heating & Cooling for all your indoor air quality needs in Clayton, MO.

Image provided by iStock

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