Sometimes what you cannot see can hurt you. Other times, what you cannot see can save you. With airborne germs inside your Greater Cleveland area home, unseen invaders can make you and your family sick. Fortunately, invisible energy in ultraviolet lights (UV lights) within your HVAC system can save you.  

How Ultraviolet Works

Looking at a UV bulb tells you nothing about its effectiveness. Any glow you see is visible light spillover, but the ultraviolet wavelength is beyond visible light. It is highly energetic light, too, killing microscopic germs, fungi, spores, molds and viruses that travel on the river of air through your house’s ductwork. The ultraviolet lights in the ductwork disrupt DNA in cells faster than the cells can repair damage, so the airborne germs die.

At Risk?

Anyone in your home with COPD, allergies, asthma or other respiratory issues is at risk of contracting serious illnesses from household airborne contaminants:

  • hypersensitivity pneumonitis
  • acute toxicosis
  • asthma
  • allergic rhinitis
  • cancer

A good first step in your fight for clean air is a thorough HVAC system cleaning, including ductwork, followed by installation of a UV germicidal system.

Change is Good

After getting a UV germicidal system, you cannot neglect it. You will not be able to tell how well the lights are working simply by looking at them. Looking directly at UV lights will damage your eyes (UV radiation can cause cataracts). Bulb life, too, is complicated by many factors.

If you are using the bulbs to eliminate germs in your ductwork’s airflow, they lose half their effectiveness within a year after installation. In this case, bigger, “brighter” UV lights are good. There is no such thing as “overexposing” the airflow to UV radiation. Replace your UV lights annually to maintain maximum protection.

If you are using the bulbs to keep HVAC components (usually the evaporator coil and condensate pan in a heat pump or A/C system) themselves clear of molds, mildews and bacteria, you can stretch the replacement to two years (the components don’t move, so a less intense, longer exposure is adequate).

For more help with using UV lights to improve indoor air quality in your Cleveland-area home, contact us at Stack Heating & Cooling.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about UV lights and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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