Do HVAC UV Light Purifiers Really Work? Is It Worth Your Money?
Since the Covid-19 breakout, people are more serious and concerned about cleaning and sanitizing their houses than ever before. UV lights have been used for decades to sanitize surfaces in medical facilities as well as commercial grocery stores. But, do HVAC UV light purifiers really work and worth the money for household HVAC units?
If you don’t know, installing a UV light costs around $200-$700, depending on what type of light you choose, how you install it. This amount of money isn’t any joke considering the fact that it’s for using household sanitizing and HVAC maintenance.
Not everyone is allergic to dust and pollen. Also, if your family members are facing more cold and breathing issues than before, you may need to consider using a UV light for the HVAC unit.
Before you jump to any conclusion, be sure to take the following things into your consideration to decide which one would be better for your condition.
What are HVAC UV Lights?
HVAC UV lights purify the air traveling through your HVAC systems. Ultraviolet lights were shown to kill mold, viruses and bacteria more than 100 years ago. In fact, in 1903, Niels Finsen was given the Noble Prize in Medicine for using UV to effectively treat patients with skin infections.
However, uv lights installed inside of your furnace, air conditioner, heat pumps, or ductwork kill bacteria, mold, mildew, allergens, and other germs—before they enter your home (and lungs).
Eliminating these compounds from your home’s systems also keeps them running more efficiently. Without the buildup of microorganisms such as mold and even algae, air moves more freely and keeps your home heated or cooled to the temperature you desire.
Now the question is do uv lights in hvac work?
What Kind of Contaminants Do UV Lights Kill?
UV-C lights kill and prevent mold, mildew, bacteria, viruses, pollen, and many other microbes that grow inside the HVAC system.
Not all UV lights are equally good against each of these micro-organisms. There are two types of these lights that are mostly used for HVAC systems – Coil sanitizing UV lights and air sanitizing UV lights.
Coil Sanitizing UV lights are effective at mold, mildew, and other microbes that build-up on the coil of HVAC units. These lights consistently shine on one particular spot that has the most chances of growing such germicidal.
Fungi infections spread inside the home when these microbes make their way to your home.
Air sanitizing UV lights are for airborne viruses and bacteria that keep flowing through the air at thousands of feet per minute. These lights are more powerful and more effective at airborne contaminants that go into the house through the duct area.
If any of your family members have allergens, breathing issues, or similar illnesses, make sure your HVAC got an air sanitizing or purifying light installed inside it.
How much does it cost to install uv light in residential hvac ? There are four costs associated with germicidal HVAC lights: Fixture cost, installation cost, replacement lamp cost and energy cost. Look at the bellow chart for installing a UV light cost.
Coil Sanitizing Lights
$15-$30 each year
Air Sanitizing Lights
$15-$30 each year
Are UV Lights Worth the Money?
Considering the fact that if you are noticing the family members are getting sick due to cold and airborne elements, it’s probably for the HVAC system if you maintain proper hygiene at home.
Similarly, for an allergic person, an HVAC unit can be a threat. You need to make sure the system is well maintained periodically. And one of the best maintenance steps would be to install a UV light inside it.
Other than these issues, there’s nothing to be worried about if you and your family members are totally fine with an HVAC system that doesn’t have a UV germicidal light installed. Run regular maintenance, clean the areas that can be cleaned, and change the filter on a regular basis to keep it healthy for the family members.
How Effective Are UV Lights on Coronavirus?
As SARS-CoV-2 Virus aka Covid-19 is an airborne virus, you may be wondering if installing a UV light for HVAC can eliminate the chance of spreading this particular virus inside your home.
According to several researches, including FDA ones, these UV-C lights are effective at inactivating coronaviruses. However, How about –it’s unknown for how long UV light exposure is required to inhibit the viruses.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also states that the ultraviolet germicidal irradiation can be an effective and promising decontamination method against SARS-CoV-2 Virus.
However, adopting this in our daily life demands more research to be specific on exactly what level of UV-C light exposure is needed for fully inactivating such viruses.
But in reality, the chances of your HVAC system getting infected by a huge amount of coronaviruses is much less than your chances of getting infected if you don’t wash your hands regularly and wear face masks.
So, if you are thinking of installing a UV-C light to only make sure coronaviruses don't make their way through the HVAC system, it wouldn't be a wise decision and won't be worth spending the money for it.
Additional Benefits You Will Get from a UV Light
Apart from tackling fungus and bacteria, UV lights come with some other benefits that will enhance the overall HVAC using experience and increase its longevity.
More Efficient Performance
When there’s no mold and other micro-organism build-ups, the system can operate more smoothly and efficiently. These build-ups act as obstacles to get the most out of the system.
Less Energy Consumption
As the system runs smoother, it requires much less power and energy to be able to operate itself. You may notice the electricity bills are a bit less than before.
No Odor Issue
Microbes’ build-ups also cause odor issues in HVAC systems. When these are all cleaned, and the light consistently works to prevent anything from growing on the coil, the system doesn't emit odor or unpleasant smell with the airflow. Your home won't have the odor like before.
What Would Be Your Role as a Homeowner?
Even if you end up installing a UV light inside your HVAC unit, you will still have to make sure you do proper maintenance tasks to keep it in good condition. The UV isn't something that would magically fix every bad thing for you.
So, here’re the stuff you need to be aware of –
Don’t Buy Ozone-Generating UV Light
I guess you are well aware of the ozone layer in the stratosphere. It does an excellent job up there. But if the ozone makes its way to the ground, it works as a pollutant.
Some UV lights generate ozone. And you may find the seller telling you that the ozone from the light will react with the indoor air pollutants and then neutralize and kill them. This kind of statement isn't backed by science at all.
So, at all costs, avoid ozone-generating UV lamps. The lamp must be made of quartz glass that has been doped with titanium.
So, there you have all the information on whether do HVAC UV light purifiers really work or not. Consider the health condition of your family members, and see if it's necessary to invest in this additional protection.
If someone has anything related to asthma, allergy, or breathing issues, getting a UV light would be worthwhile considering.