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Benefits of Installing UVC Lamps in HVAC Systems

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 By Niki Schillero

Ultraviolet (UV) lighting has been a hot topic for discussion, especially amid COVID-19 with the constant disinfecting and sterilizing of buildings to keep employees and customers safe. Installing UV lighting into your heating and cooling systems can help keep your air duct sterilized and system running up to par.
 
UV light can be a misunderstood and an under-utilized tool for improving indoor air quality and air duct sterilization. The International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA) states that UVC lighting has been used extensively for more than 40 years in disinfecting drinking water, waste water, air, pharmaceutical products, and surfaces against a whole suite of human pathogens. There are various reasons to take advantage of the benefits that UVC lighting provides – they're a simple, cost effective, and highly reliable technology that keeps HVAC systems running at ‘as-built’ conditions while keeping your air duct sterilized.

What is UVC?

We’re all very familiar with the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays (UVA and UVB) that can give you sunburn. UVC has more than twice the energy and is well absorbed by all organic substances, increasing its ability to destroy molecular bonds. We don’t protect ourselves from UVC like we do UVA and UVB. Why? Because it’s filtered out and absorbed by the ozone layer, not having the opportunity to reach Earth.

UVC refers to ultraviolet light that has a wavelength between 200-280 nanometers (nm). Light in the UVC wavelength has the ability to be used for sterilizing surfaces, disinfecting water, and destroying micro-organisms in the air or food products. UVC can also eliminate biofilms, mold, fungi, and other organic contaminants on coils, drainpipes, and plenum interiors.

Benefits of UVC Lamps

UVC light emitted at appropriate dosages can eliminate many types of bacteria and micro-organisms. With the proper light placement, all of these pathogens can be eliminated from air passing through an HVAC unit.

HVAC units that have UVC lighting installed provide system efficiency, occupant comfort and indoor air quality (IAQ), environmental impacts, and economic impacts:

  • HVAC UVC Light Reduces Sickness and Allergens
    Clean HVAC systems help sustain steady and clean airflow and temperatures throughout a building. The UV light acts as a cleaning agent of bad micro-organisms, killing their ability to multiply.

    UVC lamps target the coils of your HVAC unit to prevent the growth and build-up of bacterial matters and other pollutants such as dust, pollen and other allergens. Without the disinfectant of the UVC lamp, the coils are contaminated and pump out air that’s filled with these bacterial matters and other pollutants.

    Fungal contamination is very common in HVAC units. This contamination can lead to widespread infection and sickness throughout residence, office space, and workplace environments transmitted through air ducts. UVC lamps assist in eliminating these allergens from your HVAC unit the same way that it’s able to kill germs. Dust, dust mites, mold and mildew have the ability to be controlled through proper placement of UVC lighting – reducing allergy related symptoms.

    Along with keeping sicknesses from spreading, UVC lamps can be a defense mechanism against bacteria and viruses that have become resistant to disinfectants – killing harmful micro-organisms directly at the source to promote health and wellness by reducing airborne pathogens that can cause illness.

  • HVAC UVC Light Improves Airflow and Efficiency
    Over time the parts inside your HVAC system can become covered with dirt, germs, pollutants, and harmful contaminants that will diminish efficient output of your HVAC system. Your heating and cooling systems that have compromised functioning will work harder than normal to achieve a desired output. This increases energy consumption, which in turn drives up your monthly energy bill and can cause redundant wear and tear on your unit. By installing the best UVC lamps for your HVAC unit, it will organically clean its coils and can show improvements of 10% to 50%.

  • UVC Light in HVAC Effectiveness
    Airborne illnesses, including the common cold can be transmitted, through HVAC systems. Of all the many ways to improve indoor air quality, UVC lamps appear to be the most economical and effective.

    Studies have shown that UV light is the most effective way to prevent disease and control infection. According to Berkley Lab, research has demonstrated up to 99% reductions of molds and bacteria on irradiated surfaces.

    With every installation comes safety precautions. UVC lamps need to be safely deployed in an area free of people and proper protection is needed when exposed directly with these lamps. Consulting a professional technician that is knowledgeable with HVAC units is highly recommended when installing your UVC lamps to your system. The insertion of any kind of UV lamps must be done properly for optimal results and safety for everyone.

  • UVC Lamps Can Lower Costs Associated with HVAC Systems
    Who doesn’t love cost savings? The cost savings associated with the use of properly installed UVC light can result from increasing the operating efficiency of HVAC units, the reduction of lost work hours due to illness, in addition to the wider benefits that accrue from maintaining a healthier environment for the public.

It's through multiple new technologies that we begin to see success in combating COVID-19. According to the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) HVAC UV lights, upper room UV lights, and UV mobile units are useful tactical deployments within medical treatment facilities. With proper precautions, there is no reason not to take advantage of UV light in in fighting the war. Our Application Engineer, Kristen Cooke, CLCP, says: “UVC is an emerging technology with great potential. It’ll be exciting to see how this part of the spectrum can be harnessed to help make us safer.”

How We Can Help You

If you and your facility are looking to have UVC lamps installed, Illumetek is here and ready to help you!

From health care installations to mobile disinfection, we can walk you through the process. Feel free to contact us at (800) 644-2566 or at hello@illumetek.com for your next project.

 
 

Filed under: Illumetek, Trends

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Illumetek is a National Program Management company facilitating installs, updates, compliance and rebates for Lighting, Electrical, and associated Controls. If you have additional questions regarding LED lighting technology or design, please feel free to contact us anytime.


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Illumetek is a National Program Management company facilitating installs, updates, compliance and rebates for Lighting, Electrical, and associated Controls. Contact us today!