Considering Using UV Lights to Improve IAQ? Here’s What You Need to Know
Air cleaning technology can be a bit confusing to homeowners. There is no one-size-fits-all air cleaner or purifier that takes care of all the many airborne pollutants that might be found in your home. A good quality, pleated air filter will certainly do the job for most airborne particulates, but there are others that may require a different treatment — such as UV lights.
UVGI to the Rescue
Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) is used to treat bioaerosols. which include living pollutants such as mold, fungus, mildew, viruses and bacteria.
It’s been known for years that UV light, a wavelength of radiation that is shorter than visible light but longer than X-rays, is effective at disinfecting water and surfaces in clinical, hospital and research settings.
When used in the home, UV lights are installed in the HVAC system, usually near the evaporator coils or in the ductwork. Mold in particular may grow near the evaporator coils, where damp conditions often prevail.
Dealing With Mold
When mold colonizes your HVAC system, it can be spread throughout the home in your supply air. Any musty smell emitting from your HVAC system may indicate that you have a problem with mold, mildew, fungus, bacteria or other organisms.
A film of bacteria and mold over the coils can also impede your system’s performance.
If your HVAC system and ductwork develop a mold problem, you may need to have them professionally cleaned. However, UV lights could well be part of an all-round strategy to prevent these organisms from returning.
Most UV lamps work by emitting a continuous light on all the air that passes through the HVAC system. The light penetrates the DNA of the organisms and disrupts reproduction. However, UV lamps are now available that use variable speed technology and lower operating costs.