Air Dynamics HVAC | UV Lights and Clean Air

UV lights Help Prevent Allergens in your HVAC system

Do you or your family regularly suffer from serious allergies?
Do your air ducts contain mold? Do you have indoor air quality issues in your home?

Everyone wants to breathe clean air, but the meaning of “clean” can differ from person to person. Not everyone is easily irritated by mold, bacteria, or other indoor allergens. While some, on the other hand, may be extra sensitive to those things.

Common signs and symptoms associated with poor indoor air include:

  • Headaches, fatigue, and shortness of breath
  • Worsening allergy and asthma symptoms
  • Sinus congestion, cough, and sneezing
  • Eye, nose, throat, and skin irritation
  • Dizziness and nausea

Enter ultraviolet (UV) lights! These highly effective lights are installed inside of your HVAC system and designed to zap any potentially harmful bacteria before it enters your living space. UV lights can be particularly effective at keeping your AC’s indoor coil free from fungal growth, which is good considering the coil stays wet for several months out of the year.

How HVAC UV lights work

While UV lights are effective and work particularly well at killing organic growths, such as mold and bacteria; they have no effect on dust, pet dander or other allergens, and can only work in a specific range.

It is for this reason that most residential HVAC UV lights are installed near the coils to prevent this mold or bacteria growth since all of the air passes through there when travelling throughout your system.

Types of UV Lights for HVAC Systems

HVAC UV lights come in two types:

  1. Coil Sterilization – The most common type of HVAC UV light, in part because it runs 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to ensure effective sterilization. This is a “stick-type” light that is installed inside of the return air duct. Its main job is to sterilize the air handler coil which is where mold and bacterial growth issues are most likely to arise. In this type of sterilization, you are treating the origin of the problem as opposed to its symptom. This is because the coil and drain pan tend to harbor contaminants. If you replace the bulb during your annual HVAC service, you won’t have to worry about any additional maintenance.
  2. Air Sterilization – This method uses a UV light unit which is installed in the return air duct and is designed to cycle on with the air handler blower. A complete UV light unit will sterilize the moving air itself as it is pushed through the HVAC system. This will effectively treat air that is contaminated by any number of sources.

Energy Cost

For approximately only $100 per year, the cost of a $24 electricity bill and approximate $70 replacement bulb, you can enjoy breathing more easily in your home or workplace.
Check out these helpful calculators to determine the specific annual energy cost of running a UV sterilization system in your home:

A UV light is just one part of an effective HVAC maintenance plan. Your unit will still require the use of high-quality air filter(s), which will need to be checked regularly and changed as needed.

How to maintain UV lights

Ultraviolet lights require routine maintenance, including regular cleaning, the bulbs should be replaced at least once every year and can cost an average of around $70 to $100 per bulb.

Be Certain you have a proper Media Filter before installing UV lights.

UV lights are only one line of defense against pesky indoor allergens. You’ve got to capture particulate matter, too.

AirDynamics recommendS installing a media filter in your return ductwork in conjunction with indoor air quality products. A media filter is as effective as a HEPA filter by removing 99% of particles from the air including mold spores.

Meaning, you won’t only have to rely on the UV light to destroy most of the harmful contaminants, as the filter has already captured them.

Safety tip!

BE ADVISED: UV lights are no joke and should definitely be taken seriously! You should never look directly at a UV when it is activated. They may seem fairly harmless because they produce very little heat, but the high-frequency ultraviolet light they emit can damage your retina in seconds. 

UV lights for Preventing Microbial Growth

If biological contaminants such as mold begin growing on your AC coil, the blower fan can easily blow them into your home. It’s always wise to take preventative measures to stop that process before becomes a major concern. Causing you and your loved ones, especially those with pre-existing respiratory issues to feel their ill health effects. When looking to minimize or eliminate microbial growth inside your HVAC system UV lights are a solid preventative measure.

UV lights for Air Purification

If anyone in your household suffers from serious allergies or asthma, you want to do more than just keep your coil clean – you want to purify your indoor air. Some UV lighting systems take purification a step further and go beyond simple “coil bathing” by using activated carbon cells to remove noxious odors, VOCs, and chemical vapors that may be making you feel sick.

We are HUGE fans of UV lights!

UV lights can be a great addition to improve your indoor air quality when used in conjunction with a media filter. Simply put, they’re awesome products! But they can also be costly. At Air Dynamics HVAC we believe it is important to first consider the individual needs of you and your family. When UV lights are the proper fit, our pros are happy to install them. When there are other more cost-effective strategies to help your family breath easier we will pursue those.

For a more thorough list of ways to reduce contaminants in your home check out our article Pollution Solutions for Any Home

To find out if UV lights are the right fit for you, or for assistance with improving the overall quality of the air in your home

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