Germicidal UV Light: Is It Right for You? Everything You Need to Know
May 11, 2023
Germicidal UV Light: Is It Right for You? Everything You Need to Know
While we all rely on our HVAC systems to keep our homes at a comfortable temperature, many people are unaware that they also impact the indoor air quality within the space. When contaminants are present in the ductwork, these can spread through the air and affect your health. Installing germicidal UV lights in your air filtration system helps capture and destroy harmful bacteria and viruses circulating in your home.
These lights specifically target airborne pathogens using a specific wavelength of light. Learn more about HVAC UV lights and how they can benefit the cleanliness of the air in your living space. When you’re ready to install, make sure to work with a reliable HVAC provider. At YES!, we offer professional installation of these beneficial lights and other indoor air quality solutions.
What Are Germicidal UV Lights?
You may already be familiar with UV lights. They’re most commonly known for being used in tanning beds. But there’s another use for these types of lights—getting rid of germs.
UV, which stands for “ultraviolet,” is a wavelength of light that damages the DNA of bacteria, mold, and other air pollutants when installed in the air filtration system. Not only is the light invisible to the human eye, but it prevents germs from being able to duplicate and eliminates them. This process dramatically reduces the transmission of respiratory infections, wound infections, and other concerning health problems.
UV lights are split into three categories:
- UVC (germicidal UV)
The UVC category is used to kill germs. Although the weakest of the three, it’s strong enough to target and kill bacteria. The other two come from the sun and are more intense, requiring more severe protection measures, such as wearing sunscreen.
Are Germicidal UV Lamps Safe?
Yes, germicidal UV lights are safe as long as you use them properly. For example, using an HVAC UV light is safe, but installing it yourself could be dangerous. Direct exposure to any type of UV light can cause skin and eye damage.
But don’t panic if you experience brief exposure to UVC light. Experts say minor exposure is safe because humans have a layer of dead skin that protects our genetic material. Germs don’t have this layer, which is why the light kills them on contact.
Attempting to install a UV light yourself can result in accidental direct exposure to the light at unsafe levels. Instead of putting yourself in harm’s way, call 844-216-9300 today to get UV lights installed.
The Science Behind Germicidal UV Lights
So, how do UVC lights work? Is it as simple as turning on a light and germs disappearing? For how you will use these lights—yes, it is that simple.
A UVC lamp includes a quartz shell that contains mercury and other chemicals. When you turn on the light, the energy in these substances activates—creating the UV light.
What Types of Germs Do UV Lights Kill?
UV lights can kill the following germs:
- Bacteria (even drug-resistant ones)
- Viruses (like the flu)
At What Range Is UV Light Germicidal?
According to research, UVC light is most effective at targeting and eliminating germs at a peak of 260 to 265 nanometers (nm).
5 Benefits of Adding a Germicidal UV Light to Your HVAC System
Here are five benefits of a germicidal UV light for an HVAC system.
1. Eliminates Harmful Bacteria & Viruses
Since your HVAC system is constantly circulating air, it has the potential to spread pollutants around the home. However, when germicidal UV lights destroy the bacteria and viruses, they will no longer spread.
2. Improves Overall Air Quality
The air you and your family breathe should be clean and healthy, as it impacts your overall health and well-being. Since UV lights disinfect the air as it passes through the filter, this process ensures that the air in your home is completely clean and sanitized.
As the light removes bacteria and germs, it can also eliminate odors from pets and children. Installing UV lights will ensure your HVAC system fills your home with clean, high-quality air.
3. Decreases Electricity Cost
Another advantage of adding a UV light is the potential for lower electricity costs. Clean coils and cleaner indoor air put less strain on the HVAC system, which reduces energy waste.
4. Reduces Maintenance and Cleaning Needs
Because UV lights eliminate microbial growth, your HVAC system requires less maintenance and cleaning. The lights handle various forms of contamination within the system—so it is less work for you. This factor can also prolong the lifespan of heating and cooling equipment since microbial growth can cause problems like clogged filters, corrosion, and other problems.
5. Requires No Work After Installation
Once installed, you won’t need to do any additional work to use UV lights—it’s a hands-free method that cleans the air inside your home. Your HVAC and UV light work together to get rid of germs while you relax.
If you are interested in germicidal UV lights for your Las Vegas or Salt Lake HVAC system, call YES! at 844-216-9300.
Types of Germicidal UV Lamps
Germicidal UV lamps have a wide range of wavelengths (from 100 to 280 nm), and certain styles of light use different wavelengths. Here are some of the most common types of lights used in households.
Low-Pressure Ultraviolet Lamps (LPUV)
This is the most common type of UV light used. You can get this light in different styles to suit your specific needs.
Low-pressure mercury lamps are the most energy-efficient because they usually last a year with continuous use before requiring replacement. This type of lamp also uses the lowest output of UV energy needed to eliminate germs—meaning it’s good for smaller spaces, like homes. However, this light may not be enough to clean the air if you have a large home.
Medium-Pressure Ultraviolet Lamps (MPUV)
The next step up from low-pressure lamps, medium-pressure lamps offer more power and generate more heat. If you live in a larger home, this style will better suit your needs.
It’s important to note that this type of light focuses more on water purification, so limited options for your HVAC system may be available.
The latest version of UV light is the LED UV. These lights take advantage of the best parts of LEDs and emit longer UV lengths than other types of UV lights. They have a similar lifespan as LPUVs, but are still being studied, so information and recommendations may change.
Installing and Maintaining Germicidal UV Lights
Some websites offer DIY steps for installing UV lights, but in reality, this is a job for professionals. Not only do you need proper tools, but installing the lights improperly could cause you harm. As mentioned, direct exposure can be dangerous for your skin and eyes, and getting up close and personal with the lights can cause injury.
The same goes for the maintenance of germicidal UV lamps. Instead of risking yourself or the others in your household, call 844-216-9300 or get in touch with us—we’ll take care of everything and ensure the safety of your home.
Should I Get UV Lights? And Other Common Questions
Still have questions about UV lights? You may be able to find your answer below.
Do HVAC UV Lights Use a Lot of Electricity?
No, these lights don’t use a lot of additional electricity. You can think of UV lights as an addition to your HVAC system. While the electricity usage will increase slightly, it won’t be much more than what you already use. On average, it costs about 7 cents per day to operate a germicidal UV lamp inside your HVAC system, well worth it for the benefits you’ll receive.
Do HVAC UV Lights Really Work?
Yes, HVAC UV lights really work. Research has proven their ability to get rid of various germs that can make people sick.
Is a Germicidal UV Light Worth It?
The answer depends on your needs. If you or someone in your household has health concerns and wants to reduce the presence of illness-causing contaminants, it’s certainly worth it. If you plan to install a new HVAC system, adding a UV light is probably a good idea, since you’re already investing in updated equipment.
Is It Worth Putting UV Lights in an HVAC?
For the sake of upkeep and maintenance, it’s worth putting germicidal UV lights in your HVAC system. The lights will help minimize problems caused by particles like corrosion or mold. Plus, you get the benefit of eliminating those contaminants from the air you breathe.
Do UV Lights Work in HVAC Systems?
Yes, UV lights work in HVAC systems and are compatible with most equipment. Think of the light as an additional system feature, even if installed separately.
Start Breathing Cleaner Air Today
Adding germicidal UV lights to your HVAC equipment offers many benefits, from delivering cleaner air to maintaining the system. If you want to add UV lights to the HVAC equipment in your home, contact YES! today to schedule a visit with one of our experienced technicians. Also, check out our special offers to see if you can save money on your UV light installation!
Last Updated: December 07, 2023