September 5, 2022
What to Know About UV Light Indoor Air Quality Products
According to a recent survey by Velux, one in every four Americans spends nearly their entire day indoors. For this reason, it’s important to ensure that the air you breathe inside your house is clean and healthy. If you suspect that the air circulating inside your house is filled with biological contaminants, UV light indoor air quality products should be on your shopping list.
These products usually work as air purifiers by removing particulates, allergens, viruses and germs from indoor air. One of the best things about UV light indoor air quality products is that they’re very effective in deactivating the DNA found in organisms, fungi and bacteria. This makes such bacteria and organisms incapable of replicating or reproducing.
UV light indoor air quality products have created a lot of buzz in the HVAC market, but how exactly do they work? And, most importantly, are they safe?
What Is Ultraviolet Light?
Ultraviolet light is basically a type of light that appears on the light spectrum between visible light and X-ray. Generally, violet is the highest known frequency of visible light. Since UV light is beyond violet, it is invisible to the naked eye. UV light has a shorter wavelength compared to other forms of visible light, such as infrared, which means that it has more intensity and higher frequencies with more powerful energy.
This explains why UV light indoor air quality products effectively kill microorganisms and bacteria. Most of the ultraviolet light on the planet today comes from the sun. However, this light can easily cause sunburns and freckles and makes people more vulnerable to skin cancer.
Fortunately, a big percentage of the radiation found in UV light is absorbed by the ozone layer before it reaches Earth. In most cases, UV light can only be sensed or felt but not seen with the naked eye. But, some animals, such as the bumblebee can see it.
Different Forms of UV Light
UV light can be classified into three categories based on wavelength, including the following:
This type of UV light has a wavelength of 315 to 400 nanometers. This light is more abundant in the atmosphere than in other forms and is not absorbed by the ozone layer. Even though long-term exposure to UV-A won’t cause sunburns, it can make the skin look more wrinkled and aged. Additionally, UV-A is a bit closer to the visible end of the light spectrum.
This type of UV light has a wavelength that measures between 280 and 315 nanometers. The photons found in UV-B vibrate faster than those found in UV-A. UV-B is renowned for disrupting the DNA in skin cells and causing skin cancer and nasty sunburns. Even though the ozone layer blocks approximately 95% of the radiation found in UV light, the remaining 5% of UV-B can cause serious damage after prolonged exposure.
This is the third category of UV light, and it has a much shorter wavelength that measures between 100 and 280 nanometers. UV-C produces the most energy among the three categories since its photons vibrate faster. UV-C can easily damage the human skin and can cause serious damage to your eyes if you look directly into them.
Fortunately, the ozone layer blocks almost all UV-C rays from reaching the Earth. On the other hand, the powerful nature of UV-C light makes it effective in removing germs, bacteria, fungi and viruses from indoor air in homes. However, you want to ensure that you let the professionals at Scott-Lee Heating Company do it and don’t tamper with it afterward.
How Germicidal Lights Are Installed
Due to the powerful and non-toxic nature of UV light, scientists discovered that it was possible to harness it and use it for disinfection purposes. However, since UV light is highly volatile and harmful to humans, the installation of UV light indoor products should be done by trained, knowledgeable and experienced professionals with the right safety equipment. Nowadays, UV light can be used in lamps to kill harmful bacteria, germs and viruses.
These lamps are commonly used with HVAC systems to combat the constant threat of mold and fungi growth indoors. It’s worth noting that UV light indoor air quality products can be installed as standalone units or together with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters. Homeowners get to decide how they want their germicidal lights installed depending on their needs and applications.
When these lamps are installed together with HEPA filters, they complement the filtration system and make it even more effective. This is because the HEPA filters usually trap harmful pollutants, organisms and bacteria while the germicidal lights kill them.
However, this doesn’t exactly mean that installing your UV light indoor air quality products as standalone units isn’t effective. It all depends on the specific area in your home you install them. Due to the complexity of most HVAC systems, only two locations would prove ideal for UV light indoor air quality products. One of these locations is inside the return ducts, while the other is near the central air coils.
The latter makes such an ideal location to install your germicidal lights because these coils are tasked with cooling and dehumidifying indoor air, making them a notorious breeding ground for germs, bacteria mold and fungi. By installing germicidal lights near these coils, you’ll prevent this completely.
Return ducts are an ideal location to install germicidal lights because this is where the air from the HVAC system is circulated. Therefore, installing germicidal lights inside the return ducts means you can kill harmful bacteria, viruses, germs and allergens before they access your indoors.
How do UV Light Indoor Air Quality Products Work?
UV light is basically a form of highly potent radiation. In its concentrated form, UV light kills bacteria, mildew, mold, fungi, germs, viruses and allergens found in indoor air. This light is so powerful that it renders these airborne microbes inactive and makes it impossible for them to replicate or reproduce.
Once a UV light indoor air quality lamp is installed inside your HVAC system or in any other location in your home, it shines a light that destroys and prevents the buildup of these harmful microbes and pollutants.
Additionally, UV light is used in hospitals and other facilities that require constant disinfection. It’s also worth noting that forms of UV light can also be used to treat and purify drinking water.
Are UV Light Indoor Air Quality Products Safe?
Understandably, due to UV light’s volatility and potency, you may be worried that UV light indoor air quality products pose a danger. But this isn’t exactly the case. If these lamps are installed properly, they pose no danger. In fact, some UV light indoor air quality products come with a thick coating that directs the UV light to only the areas it’s needed. Additionally, manufacturers of these UV light indoor air quality products usually include clear instructions on how to install and handle them safely.
Types of UV Light Lamps
There are various types of UV light lamps based on the emitter available. They include:
Low-Pressure Mercury Lamps
This is undoubtedly one of the most common UV light lamps you’ll see today. These lamps usually emit UV light radiation in a narrow spectrum and don’t require any sophisticated hardware during installation. The only drawback of these lamps is that they take a significant amount of time to heat up or cool off after an operation cycle. This means that they consume more energy.
Pulsed Xenon Lights
These UV light lamps are also common in the current HVAC market due to their safety and many applications. These lamps can also be used for disinfection purposes in hospitals and other public facilities. Their only drawback is that they require dedicated hardware for a successful installation.
These lamps are eco-friendly, energy-efficient and contain no mercury. They’re also durable and can be used for disinfection purposes. The only drawback to these lamps is that they have a higher directionality, meaning they take longer to disinfect air and surfaces.
Do you need help installing UV light indoor air quality products in St. Louis and its environs? Contact us today at Scott-Lee Heating Company and let us take care of all your germicidal lights needs. You can also count on us for reliable installation, repair and maintenance services of furnaces and A/C systems.