UV Lights Can Improve Indoor Air Quality in Your Office
No doubt you’ve heard it said that indoor air can often be more polluted than outdoor air—as much as five times more polluted, according to some sources. Numerous studies have confirmed this statistic, which raises the question: for people working in an office or similar indoor environment, what can be done to improve indoor air quality and reduce exposure to particulates and biological contaminants such as germs, viruses, and bacteria? In addition to improved air cleaning and filtration systems, adding UV lights to your office’s HVAC equipment can dramatically improve office IAQ.
UV Lights: The Basics
UV, or ultraviolet, light is a type of light that can be used as an effective disinfectant to kill microorganisms that can cause disease and infection. The light is just below the visible spectrum, which means that it cannot be seen by the unaided human eye. However, even though it is invisible to human vision, it remains a powerful weapon in the fight against potentially harmful microorganisms such as viruses, germs, bacteria, mold, and fungi. For example, hospitals and medical facilities use UV lights to sterilize surgical instruments and operating rooms. Food processing facilities rely on UV lights to maintain clean, sanitary conditions during food preparation, handling, and packing. In the manufacturing sector, UV lights keep production environments clean, sterile, and free from microorganisms.
UV lights are very effective at improving the indoor air quality of home or business environments. UV light systems are often installed within the ductwork of residential or commercial HVAC systems to provide an extra layer of air purification for indoor environments. As the air circulates through your heating or cooling system, everything within the air is also exposed to the ultraviolet light. UV lights destroy microorganisms in your office’s air, removing the potential threat these microorganisms pose for transmitting disease and discomfort.
In some cases, UV lights are also used to help keep the coils of air conditioning systems clean and free from mold and microorganisms that can reduce system performance by interfering with heat transfer. At the same time, the UV lights remove biological contaminants that could affect indoor air quality. As with other UV light applications, the ultraviolet light is directed onto AC system coils where it helps reduce the growth of mold and other biofilms. This helps keep AC coils clean without the need for harsh chemical cleaners that could produce unpleasant odors in an office environment. UV light can also be used to reduce the growth of biological material in HVAC system drain pans and air handlers.
How UV Lights Work
Exposure to UV light often kills many germs, bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms outright. These dead microorganisms are immediately removed from your office’s indoor air. In other cases, the ultraviolet light causes irreparable damage to the organisms’ DNA, breaking down the molecular bonds of this critical genetic material. With their DNA damaged beyond repair, the microorganisms are unable to reproduce. If they are unable to reproduce and spread, they do not have the chance to enter your body and cause disease.
To be effective, UV light must make direct contact with microorganisms. Partial exposure will not be effective at destroying the biological contaminants on your HVAC system’s components or in your office building’s air. However, it only takes a few seconds of exposure for the UV lights to do their job of cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and HVAC airflow.
Ultraviolet light systems are an extremely effective tool for cleaning indoor air. They are most often combined with high-quality air filtration systems to produce the cleanest, freshest indoor air possible for an office environment.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on UV lights and how ultraviolet light systems can keep your indoor air cleaner, and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!