When you think of ultra violet light chances are the first thing that comes to mind are the harmful rays of the sun and not your HVAC systems. However, UV light can be harnessed and put to good use in the duct system of your home. If installed properly by a reliable HVAC contractor, UV lights can improve indoor air quality by destroying odors and harmful particles, and it may even boost the efficiency of your heating and air conditioning systems.
What is a UV light and how does it work?
A UV light is a machine that is mounted into your duct works supply and return vents or over the air conditioning coil. It uses a light bulb that emits powerful UV-C rays into the duct system. UV-C is an invisible part of the sun’s light spectrum. It has the ability to alter the DNA and RNA of microorganism which will sterilize them. Once sterilized, the microorganisms can no longer grow or reproduce and are killed off in a short amount of time.
The duct work in your home is a breeding ground for microorganisms that produce odors and that can be harmful to your health. By placing a UV light in the duct work, you are able to kill off these organisms as the air circulates through the home. On average, the air in your home can be circulated through the duct work as much as 75 times a day. As more and more air is exposed to the UV light, the cleaner the air in your home becomes.
What does it work on?
If you have a central air furnace, then you probably have an air filter inside that unit. The standard air filters that are used can only capture particles down to a certain size. Many microorganisms are so small that they can still get through the filter and continue to plague your HVAC system. Your standard air filter also does little to decrease odors in the home. But, UV air purifiers work on a broad range of microorganisms. These are some of the ways that a UV light can purify your home:
- Kills mold spores
- Destroys pollen spores
- Removes damp musty smells
- Gets rid of pet odors
- Eliminates allergy irritants
- Kills viruses
- Eradicates bacteria
- Removes smells caused by smoke, paint, wood stain, and food
Most of these can be cleaned up in the surfaces of your home, but the reason why they stick around so long is because they get trapped up in the duct work. The best time to have a UV light installed is after a duct cleaning. You should have a professional duct cleaning company come out to your home and perform a thorough duct cleaning. Once that is complete, have them install a UV light to take care of any particles that are still floating in the air. This combination will not only drastically improve your indoor air quality; it will also improve the efficiency of your heating and air conditioning systems. The cleaner the duct work is the cleaner the furnace and air conditioner will be. Clean units run more efficiently, and clean duct work allows for better air flow which allows the units to work less often. Both of these save you money on your energy bills.
Is it safe?
Yes, UV lights are safe to use in your home if they are installed properly. UV light cannot travel through plastic, metal, or glass, and when it is inside your ducts you should never be exposed to the light. Also, many people will warn you that UV lights create ozone emissions. Ask you serviceman if the unit he offers creates ozone before you allow him to install it. Overall, you should not have anything to worry about. UV lights have been used in hospitals and to sterilize medical instruments for years. So if it is safe enough to be used on instruments that are used in surgery, it should be more than safe enough for use inside your home.
If a UV light sounds like it will solve your indoor air problems, contact a trustworthy local HVAC contractor or duct cleaning specialist, and have one installed today!