What You Should Know About UV Lights and Air Quality

What You Should Know About UV Lights and Air QualityIf you’ve been looking for an easy way to boost your home’s air quality that doesn’t cost a lot, uses little energy and doesn’t use floor space, look no further than UV (ultraviolet) lights. These lights go inside the HVAC system and clean the air by shining on bacteria, viruses and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). 

UV light is the spectrum of sunlight that helps sanitize organic matter. It works by preventing them from reproducing. When UV light shines on them, it alters their DNA and they won’t be able to reproduce. When it hits VOCs, the gases change so that they’re no longer as toxic.

Where They Go

Since UV lights can harm eyesight, they’re placed inside the ductwork and/or the air handler. Hospitals and medical centers have used UV lights inside their ventilation systems for years to lower the bacterial and viral loads inside their buildings. When they’re installed in homes, they do the same and more.

Their Benefits

Placed in the air handler, the lights prevent the growth of mold and biofilms on the evaporator coil. Besides increasing your energy costs, growths like these lower your air quality. Mold is one of the most common allergy and asthma triggers.

Reducing the toxicity of VOCs is another important benefit of UV lights. VOCs come from ordinary products made from hydrocarbons like:

  • Cleaning supplies
  • Home renovation materials like paint, glues, flooring products and cabinetry
  • Textiles like upholstery and carpeting
  • Vehicle exhaust
  • Anything with perfume like candles, soaps and air fresheners
  • Hobby supplies
  • Some plastics

Without the lights, the only way to manage VOCs in your home is through avoidance and adequate ventilation. Although there are alternative products without VOCs for home improvement products, it’s more difficult to find VOC-free replacements for others. Look for labels on the packaging that says fragrance-free, no VOCs, or low-VOCs.

UV lights don’t use much electricity and require little maintenance compared to other devices that improve indoor air quality. If you’d like to learn more, contact CCAC, providing HVAC services for Coastal Bend homeowners.

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    David Mathewst David Mathews is the owner of CCAC Air Conditioning and Heating. A Corpus Christi native... More »