Using Ultraviolet (UV) Indoor Air Cleaners
Did you know that ultraviolet (UV) light technology can clean indoor air? Mr. Duct Cleaner offers a range of UVGI—ultraviolet germicidal irradiation—products that can kill or disarm microorganisms including viruses and molds, in the air around your home and offices.
In fact, hospitals and other medical facilities, including laboratories, use UVGI to keep air and surfaces as clean as possible for patients, operating rooms, and drug development and manufacturing facilities. UVGI can also sterilize water and is used in water treatment plants.
UV Light Prevents Contaminants From Growing in Air Ducts and on Air Conditioner Parts
Homes and offices can use UVGI technology to keep microorganisms from growing on moist surfaces like air conditioner coils and in drip pans and ductwork. Note that they do not replace filters, but provide additional protection for the air conditioner system.
How does this work? Special UV lights are placed in areas susceptible to dampness and sprouting bacteria, mold, and other particulate that threaten the quality of indoor air. The lights irradiate the area, killing or disabling the germs, bacteria, mold, or mildew.
In 2014, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADVA) released a paper on using UV lighting in HVAC systems. The paper makes these key points:
- UVGI technology kills virtually all (99.9%) of organisms on hard surfaces like evaporator coils and drain pans.
- Lamps need to be properly and strategically placed to reduce airborne bacteria.
- The number of lamps needed will vary at different properties.
- UVGI is particularly good at quickly deactivating bacteria.
UV lights provide three important benefits, says an article in the engineering journal Consulting-Specifying Engineer:
- It extends air conditioner lifespans by preventing buildup of organic material on coils, duct surfaces, and drip pans. This helps improve airflow, reduces maintenance costs, and maintains heat-transfer levels.
- Better airflow and a well-functioning unit improves indoor air quality since there are fewer pathogens to generate odors and allergens.
- Better functioning units need less power to cool a building, which can save money. It also reduces a building’s carbon footprint, helps occupants remain healthy, and brings more satisfaction to the workplace and/or home.
UV Technology May Lower Energy Costs
Consulting-Specifying Engineer hints that UV lights can save money for consumers, drawing upon research from ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers. It points to a 2011 ASHRAE handbook which cites that UV lights reduce HVAC energy use by as much as 25%.
More recently, ACHR News, ASHRAE’s weekly newsletter, reported in 2014 that UV lights’ impact on keeping air duct and air conditioning systems clean can reduce household energy bills by up to 35%, and is the reason behind nine of every 10 installations. In addition, the cost to install UV lights is often less than or equal to the cost of a professional coil cleaning.
UV Air Cleaners are Safe for Consumers
UV lights used to clean air are safe. They do not shine directly on building occupants, but inside air ducts on air conditioner parts. For consumers who are concerned about ozone, there are many UVGI products that do not generate any ozone.
Generally speaking, any UVGI device that produces ozone does so in very small amounts; the market has pretty much eliminated those that cause headaches and other side effects.