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Everything You Need To Know About Residential UV Lights in HVAC Units

You have probably heard about ultraviolet lights for homes. They are becoming an “in" thing for swimming pools, smoking rooms, saunas, tanning booths, and other commercial places, too.

For over 100 years, UV light has been in use commercially for water purification, sterilization, and other functions. However, residential usage has peaked over the last two decades. In this guide, experts from Brighton Air Corp will let you know some of the most important things that you need to know about them. 

What is a UV light or UV lighting?

Ultraviolet is one of the electromagnetic radiations emitted by hot surfaces such as the sun. Typically, radiation is characterized by its wavelength. Short wavelengths emit higher energy because of the short bursts while longer wavelengths have longer energy. UV light is a form of short wavelength radiation, exhibiting high bursts of energy but can only travel for short distances. Typically, the wavelength of UV radiation ranges from 10-400 nm. 

It can be naturally occurring or manmade. The naturally occurring UV radiation comes from the sun, but only a small category reaches the earth’s surface. You can also make UV radiation by passing an electric current over vaporized gas. The potent UV light wavelength is the UV-C, a germicidal irradiation bandwidth. This bandwidth ranges from 280-200 nm. 

Residential UV lights use a radiation wavelength of about 220 nm. UV LED lights may have higher peak wavelengths up to 273 nm. However, they use the light in highly controlled environments that prevent leakage to the atmosphere.

Older technologies of UV radiation generators use vaporized mercury. However, newer versions have replaced the potentially hazardous metal with vaporized gas. As for the state of the art UVC technologies, they form part of integrated purification systems in ventilation systems.

In a typical HVAC system, the UV-C system is applied at the contamination level, usually where air from outside the house is pumped into the house. This ensures that the contaminants can be suppressed before they enter. For greater efficiency, such systems combine well with HEPA-compliant filters to increase the efficacy of the materials that can be removed including dust, mold, general debris, and smoke.

In short, UV lighting is a form of lighting that harnesses UV radiation to decontaminate homes and residential areas.

What is the UV lighting used for?

UV lighting has several residential uses. Notably, it can be used to purify the air. The correct dose of UV radiation exposure can kill germs, viruses, mold, mildew, and other unwanted air contaminants. The applied wavelength, duration of exposure, and level of resistance determine the efficacy of the UVC. The same concept can be used in the purification of water in a swimming pool or domestic water.  

Other uses include sterilization of surgical instruments and non-porous surfaces. Porous surfaces absorb the radiation making the process of disinfection ineffective. UV is also used controversially for tanning booths and beds.

Benefits of using UV lights

In residential lighting, UV lights and lamps have several benefits. 

Actively purifies the air 

The lamps and lights are designed in a way that they are actively killing germs and other pathogens active in the air. Areas that are prone to harmful microorganisms can benefit greatly from well-designed and positioned UV lighting. 

In the recent past, most people are adding these lamps in areas prone to notable allergens such as attics, basement, bathroom, and areas prone to mold, mildew, germs, viruses, and fungi. This means that a standard UV-C system can enhance your overall indoor air quality.

Eliminates bad odor

A bad odor comes from biological and microbial activity. UV lighting inhibits all microbial activities in the surrounding area reducing bad odor. When placed strategically in places prone to rotting and germs activity, it can inhibit bacterial and microbial action thereby keeping the air around there fresh.

Broad residential application

Modern UV lamps pack several advantages. Most notable designs currently work in series with household blowers ensuring that a wider range of benefits can be achieved. It can help remove smoke, dust, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other particulates.

Is the UV light used in HVAC systems safe?

Now that UV can kill germs and bacteria and it is also known to cause sunburns, rapid skin aging, and eye problems, is it safe to use it in a residential setting? This is a valid question for any homeowner. Usually, the UV light emitters are enclosed to prevent exposure to hazardous radiation.  

Further, UV-C products have specific regulatory compliance requirements that manufacturers must comply with before putting them to the market. They include safety, use, and disposal. In the US, the Radiation Control for Health and Safety Act is the active provision for UV-C products. 

What to look for when buying a UV-C light residential air purifier

Coleman HVAC, an ultraviolet irradiation systems manufacturer, provides a guide of some of the things to consider including performance, efficiency, and reliability.

  1. Performance

It is imperative to check the performance metrics of your system. The common parameters that you may want to check include the cleaning cycle, the number of contaminants it can neutralize, and the operational level. Does it use continuous or episodic cleaning? Can it neutralize major contaminants such as mold, viruses, and bacteria?

  1. Efficiency

All cleaning apparatuses in an HVAC unit are bound to accumulate dirt and debris. How is the system handling this dirt? A typically efficient model such as the HALO-LED™ features self-cleaning bi-polar ionizers and washable ceramic catalysts. Further, a typical whole-home system should be able to handle continuous cycling to ensure that all the air that comes in is purified effectively. 

  1. Reliability 

On this one, you want to look for a product that has an effective warranty against parts and the product. 5-years parts warranty is standard across the industry. You may also want to pick a low-maintenance purifier. 

Final thoughts

UV-Cs have proven germicidal properties. When combined well with other HEPA-compliant filtration systems, they can perfect your indoor air quality. Brighton Air Corp is an installation and servicing company for UV light purifiers.

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