You depend on the air in your home to keep you healthy and comfortable. A lot of bacteria and mold originate in the basement or dark storage areas where AC units and furnaces live. However, adding UV lights at this mold source can boost the quality of your indoor air.
How UV Lights Work
UV light has been used since the beginning of the 20th century as a disinfectant. Its effectiveness has been proven by its use in laboratories, hospitals, and commercial kitchens. These same disinfecting properties can be used to reduce pollutants in the air, often as part of an air purification and filtration system.
The idea behind UV light systems involves the destruction of bacteria, mold, and viruses through exposure to UV-C light. As air passes through your filtration system, it comes in contact with UV-C light. Any bacteria, microbes, or viruses can be destroyed through exposure to this light.
When combined with a complete filtration system, UV light systems can also work to remove musty odors and pollen from the air supply in your home.
Where to Install UV Lights
Thankfully, you can install UV lights with most AC systems. The condenser coil in your indoor unit provides a great environment for bacterial growth because it is warm and wet throughout much of the year. Adding a UV light over the coil silently defends against bacteria and mold growth in this area, stopping the problem before it can start.
UV lights are often used as part of a two-step air filtration system. A UV light before or over an air filter continually disinfects the air on or around the filter. A light system placed after the filter can purify the air and kill any contaminants that are too small to be strained out by the filter. Which placement of the lights is most effective? Particles in the air that pass quickly past a UV light may not be destroyed, so UV light directly over the filter could be the best solution for trapping and killing bacteria and other harmful allergens.
There are also standalone units that claim to improve air quality when used in the home. Be on the lookout for units that only use UV light. Air flowing over a UV light does not show reductions in bacteria or virus levels, so there needs to be a filtration system in addition to the use of UV light.
To create the greatest benefit to the overall air quality in your home, you need to filter the greatest quantity of air. The best place to have the air and filtration system is at the source. You already have an air circulation system in place via your furnace or AC unit, so this is an ideal place to install UV lights as part of an overall air quality improvement strategy for your home.
Be aware that UV light is damaging, and the UV-C light used for air purification is the most dangerous for skin exposure. A trained professional from J Martin Indoor Air Quality should install UV lights in your heating and air conditioning system to ensure that there is no risk of long-term light exposure for you or your family members. For your safety, the UV lights should be installed inside of a case that protects you from direct contact with the bulbs.
Precautions and Improvements for UV Lights
Many older models of UV light filtration systems have the potential to produce large amounts of ozone, which can also be a health hazard. New systems and bulbs are specially coated to avoid this downside, so if you have an older UV light system, it should be inspected and replaced with a newer low-ozone or no-ozone model. In addition, be sure to have the UV lightbulbs replaced at recommended intervals for the greatest effectiveness.
The IAQ specialists at J Martin can inspect and suggest options for overall improvements to your air quality. UV lights are a key part of these systems, but our crew can also recommend whole-home filtration systems. These combine humidity control and advanced filtration systems that can remove 99% of mold, dust, and bacteria-sized particulates in addition to up to 90% of particles that are virus-sized. With the help of the J Martin professionals, you can breathe the cleanest air possible in your home.