Does Your AC Unit Need UV Germicidal Lights?

How to Choose The Best Air Purifier for Your Milbrook, AL Home.

Using ultraviolet (UV) light to treat tuberculosis won Niels Finsen a Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1903. Now, UV lights are used to sanitize everything from hospital rooms and HVAC equipment to drinking water. UV light destroy microbes in air conditioners. The lights are installed in your ductwork or near the AC coil, and they destroy microbes like mold, bacteria, fungi, mildew, mold spores and viruses in the line-of-sight of the UV bulb.

The bulbs are easy to install: your HVAC service technician will typically mount one near the AC coil with a magnet. Maintenance is also easy: Just change the bulb when it burns out. Bulbs typically last for 12 months, and the energy usage costs about $2 per month.

UV Lights: Two Types of Air Purifier Systems

The lights destroy microbes in two different ways: as air conditioner cleaners and as air purifiers. A UV air conditioner cleaner is shaped like a stick, always turned on, and placed in the AC’s return air duct to keep the coil free of microbes. A UV air purifier is also installed in the return air duct, but it turns on whenever the AC blower turns on and cleans moving air as it passes by.

Are UV Lights Effective Air Cleaners?

UV lights are thought to kill microbes by damaging their DNA, although research about their effectiveness in residential settings is limited. However, a 2012 Duke University Medical Center study found that UV lights eliminated 97 percent of drug-resistant bacteria from 50 hospital rooms. Another study published in the Journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology found that after using UV lights in a commercial HVAC air handler for four months, fungal levels in the UV test units were significantly lower than in control units.

What Are the Advantages of UV Lights?

Because UV lights kill microbes, mold spores and viruses, your family will be less prone to colds and flu, and anecdotal reports indicate that allergy symptoms can be greatly reduced. UV lights may also be helpful for those with respiratory problems, pulmonary disease, COPD and asthma because they neutralize VOCs that can irritate the throat and lungs. The lights also keep your air conditioner clean, so the unit will be more effective and efficient.

What Are the Disadvantages of UV Lights?

For the lights to be effective, ductwork must be sealed, and you must use air filters with a high MERV rating. You must change the filters monthly and tune up your air conditioner annually. UV lights only kill organic contaminants; they do not remove inorganic particles like pet dander or dust, and they do not kill dust mites.

Choosing the Best Air Purifier for Your Millbrook, AL, Home

To learn more about whether UV lights or other types of air filters can make your home a healthier place, visit AirNow Cooling & Heating.