UV lights come in different wavelengths. It has different purposes. It’s even used to kill viruses like COVID-19. So, to that conclusion, UV light might be useful in many cases. However, UV light can be dangerous too when exposed to living tissue.
As far as we know UV rays are harmful to human skin but, in specific cases, they are helpful as well. The application of UV light rays on electric appliances as germicide is gradually becoming popular in recent times.
Now, let’s talk about everything to know about UV light so that you can decide- do I need a UV light for my air conditioner?
Do I Need A UV Light For My Air Conditioner?
Installing UV light in the air conditioner enhances efficiency and protects against pathogens. Adding UV light in the AC lowers the power consumption of the cooling system thus lessening the monthly bill along saving the ecosystem.
Aren’t UV Rays Dangerous? (A Common Notion Among Consumers)
Exposure to UV light can damage the skin increasing the possibility of skin cancer. UV radiation is categorized into three types: ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB), and ultraviolet C (UVC). UVB rays are comparatively more fatal than UVA & UVC. So assuming UV light to be hazardous is a natural response no doubt.
But the robot cleaners use Far-UVC radiation which does not penetrate the skin. Meanwhile, in an air conditioner, a UV light is placed in an air handler to avoid making any interaction with your skin at all. In the case of the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) UV light kit is installed deep inside the evaporator coils, far from any skin exposure. It’s always the first and foremost priority of technicians to ensure absolutely no disclosure to ultraviolet rays. Just the air circulating your room will be under UV exposure. UV ray radiation acts as an antimicrobial agent. Consequently, the air handler of AC will serve as an air purifier, keeping out mold, bacteria, and viruses from circulating throughout the area.
Do I Need A UV Light For My Air Conditioner?
Air filter hinders dust, pollens, allergens, and heavy molecules to pass through the cooling coils while the air cooling procedure. Unfortunately, not all elements get cleared out: particles less than 0.3 microns are unavoidable even if using a HEPA ( high-efficiency particulate absorbing filter) filter.
Unfortunately, viruses and bacteria are easily penetrating through the filtration system as they are sized between 0.2 and 2.0 μm. The probability of spreading out coronavirus by passing through the air filter at the coiling coils is very likely.
That is why you need UV light in your AC/HVAC to purify the air from pathogens, molds & contagious microorganisms.
If the residue on the filter becomes over the limit, the evaporator or cooling coils tend to work less efficiently. So you need to seek the assistance of a certified expert.
Yet, cleaning manually won’t eradicate the virus or bacterial organisms. So, including a UV filter on your air conditioner seems to be a top priority.
UV Light For Hvac: Do They Work?
UV light filters are implemented to prevent bacteria, spores, fungi, and contagious viruses like COVID-19 from spreading out into your house. When the pathogens come in contact with the UV light, the radiation breaks the H-bond in the orgasms thus killing them.
Eventually, they turn into harmless moisture. In the end, clean air is passed. It’s like a firewall guarding your home ventilation.
This disinfecting system has been under trial and tested many times. The outcome is satisfactory. UV light technology became so conducive that even the medical sector started to use it as a sterilizing option and a weapon against any flu.
The impact is so real that even beauty salons and water purifier companies are adopting this method. This is a true testament to their capability.
Types Of UV Lights For Air Conditioners
There are two types of UV lights to install in the AC:
1. Air Sterilizer UV Lights
From the name you can realize the UV light sterilizes the air as it passes through the AC. That is why it is installed in the return air ducts. These UV lights automatically turn on when the fan initiates working. When the fan turns off, the UV lights also turn off. It’s a spontaneous process.
2. Air Handler Coil Sterilizer UV Lights
These UV lights are installed inside the air handler unit facing the coil. The coils filter air moisture and in the process of this, they become a breeding ground for mold, fungi, and other bacteria. The air handler coil sterilizer UV lights function continuously as long as the AC is performing cooling.
HVAC UV Light Benefits
UV lights undeniably contribute a great deal. This electromagnetic ray has become a necessity for indoor air quality. Let’s see the benefits of UV are:
1. Enhances Airflow
Air filters may get clogged due to the residue remaining on the coil after years of service. Adding a UV light can give your air conditioning system a boost, restoring the optimal airflow.
2. Decrease Energy Costs
Increased airflow and higher efficiency lead to lower energy costs.
When your air conditioning system works efficiently, it requires less energy to operate. Then the energy consumed will be lower eventually, the bill will be less. During the summertime when the heating cost is more than ever, UV lights set in the AC will provide a low expense. Less power consumption keeps the environment safe as well.
3. Sterilizes Bio Organisms
If you live in a humid climate, you must face the disturbance of mold and bacteria. This is where the purpose of UV light technology reveals.
UV light kills microbes on the coils of air filters.
The microbes are demolished even before they can breed. UV light is a type of electromagnetic wave. This wave emits certain radiation that breaks the hydrogen bond in the DNA of bacteria and neutralizes the protein part of viruses. Consequently, UV rays prevent them from infiltrating the rooms in your home.
4. Comforts Respiratory Allergies
People allergic to dust, pollen, smoke, steam, and other types of breathing problems e.g., asthma, bronchitis, tuberculosis encounter real difficulties if bacteria, allergens, fly viruses and spores are present in the home. In this case, UV filters come to the rescue.
5. Remove VOCs
Volatile organic compounds or VOCs are very abundant around us both synthetic and natural complex molecules. They are carcinogenic to our health. The UV filter system can reduce the amount of VOCs in your home impressively.
6. Reduces Jamming in The Condensate Drain Line & Keeps Evaporator Coil Clean
Air conditioning systems create moisture from within. Over time, moisture can fill up and clog the condensate drain line. A UV light helps reduce moisture, which can restrain the condensate drain line from clogging. Thus the coil stays clear.
7. Removes Odor In The Room
UV lights reduce pungy smells caused by molds and bacteria by filtering them out. Also, other unpleasant smells such as smells from grease, garbage, and others get cleared out from the air flowing. Finally, the air circulating through the area becomes fresh and odorless.
8. Possible To Install DIY
The installation process is manual and consumer-friendly. Although it is recommended to seek the assistance of professionals to install, clean, or repair.
The Difference Between A UV System And An Advanced Filter
UV lights act as antimicrobial to molds, some airborne & contagious bacteria, and other pathogens which filters can barely trap. UV purification systems possess both air filters and UV lights.
While the light kills the bioorganisms by attacking the cells and targeting their DNA, a filter is required to cage them objectively. Without an air filter, residues would float around the air and contaminate the air. So the filter alone can not effort to do this much work.
Do UV Lights Really Improve Indoor Air Quality?
A UV light filtration can bring out from the air-
- Very small chemical molecules
- Airborne Allergens
- Bacteria & Viruses (contagious & airborne)
- Mold Spores
- Cooking Smells
- Tobacco Smoke
- Pet Odors
- Oil particles
- Gasoline smells
A UV filter also functions as a house ionizer. An ionizer makes rooms smell fresh, odorless, and air clean. So this is definitely beneficial to a polluted area, the house of an asthma patient, and the florists.
Can UV Light Kill Covid-19?
There’s a high possibility that UV light might kill coronavirus! According to the research conducted by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Vaporous hydrogen peroxide, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, and moist heat are the most promising disintegration methods for COVID-19” or so-called coronavirus. So, in times of pandemic UV lights might be a handy preventive tool.
Are UV Lights Worth The Hype? Are They Worth the Money?
UV lights provide a great service for netting out pollutants. Its impact has been recognized more and more. The preference of the healthcare community is enough to prove.
If you want to breathe fresh, surround yourself with pleasant wind and a healthy environment, spending a bit more money won’t be a big deal. The expenses are worth the outcomes. Your well-being reveals the answer itself.
Costs associated with germicidal HVAC lights are divided into 4 steps- Fixture cost, installation cost, light replacement cost, and energy cost.
The cost of the UV lights usually ranges from $70 to $500 on Amazon. The average light life is 9 to 12 months for most brands, so the estimated cost of repair and replacement per year would be from $50 and above.
Here’s a review of three UV light brands on Amazon.
- The LSE Lighting UVC 36
Price: at $72
Power: 36W High Power UVC bulb.
Pros: cheaper than other brands
Cons: poor installation instructions.
- The RGF Reme Halo
Pros: rating 4.9 out of 5
Cons: too expensive.
- The Reko Lighting R2000
Pros: gets rid of mold, mildew, and other bacteria very quickly, low electricity consumption, the installation takes just 15 minutes, user-friendly manual
Cons: low durability
The cheapest units use a single lamp whereas expensive ones use two lamps and serve better air purification.
Best Place To Install A UV Light In HVAC
The air handler is the best location to install UV Light. But UV light can be set at other positions inside of AC. The air handler is a perfect location because all the initially filtered air must pass through it.
That is why it is easier for UV rays to sterilize mold, mildew, bacteria, and airborne viruses before releasing the purified air. The installation process depends on the location of the air handler.
The air handler sometimes carries the evaporator A-coil from the air conditioner. For an HVAC system, before buying a UV light be sure to search the best location to install it. The air handler is usually placed at the bottom of the gas furnace if there is one. Many systems can install a UV light in the air handler at the bottom of the furnace.
If your home has a heat pump instead of a furnace, then the air handler is in the packaged unit. Package units have the return air on one side and the supply on the opposite side circulating the air in a house. Generally, UV light is placed on the return side of a packaged system but it can be located on the supply side as well.
How Long Do UV Lights For Ac Last?
The germicidal UV-C lights have an effective lifespan of 5,000 to 9,000 hours (approximately 7 months to 12 months). This is the peak time of optimum output level for neutralizing mold, fungus, bacteria, and air-borne viruses. It is better to replace the lights after a year if possible.
All the investments in UV lights, installation, and clean-up are worth the hype when you can breathe and sleep peacefully. UV lights for both AC and HVAC work as air purifiers and germicides.
They recycle the indoor air of your old stagnant rooms considerably. Hopefully, the discussions above clarify your doubt on- Do I need a UV light for my air conditioner? In short, it is absolutely needed for your house. Because every one of us wants to enjoy the fresh breeze.