Ultraviolet light, also called UV light, was used by Nobel Prize winner Niels Finsen in 1903 to treat tuberculosis. It has since been used for sterilization in hospitals and to remove contaminants from food and water. These days, the lights are used in many settings including in homes to keep HVAC equipment and indoor air clean. Ultraviolet lights are easy to install. They require little maintenance and consume minimal electricity. Two types of UV-C lights are used in HVAC systems:

  • The coil sterilization UV-C light is a stick-type device that’s mounted inside the return air duct of an HVAC system to sterilize the air handler coil 24/7.
  • The air sterilization UV-C light is a unit that’s also installed in the return air duct. It sterilizes circulating air whenever the air handler’s blower is running.

Studies Show Effectiveness of Ultraviolet Light in Killing Microbes

Duke University Medical Center researchers found that ultraviolet radiation reduced bacteria in 50 hospital rooms by over 97 percent. In another study, UV radiation reduced fungal contamination in commercial air handling units. For the lights to be effective, any ductwork leaks must be sealed, high-MERV air filters should be used and kept clean, and annual maintenance must be performed on the HVAC system.

How Do UV Lights Keep Indoor Air Quality High?

Coil sterilization lights kill and control mold, mildew and other fungi. They neutralize dust mites and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They also kill microbes like viruses and bacteria, thereby reducing the incidence of colds and flu. By keeping the coil clean, they improve HVAC efficiency and reduce airflow obstruction. They also reduce the potential for condensate drain clogs by preventing algae from growing in the line. However, they don’t kill contaminants in circulating air. For that, an air sterilization unit must be installed.

To learn more about indoor air quality solutions in your Lorton, VA, home, visit Commonwealth Cooling & Heating or call (703) 436-8028.