How to Install UV Light in an HVAC System
Your HVAC system can be the breeding house of mold, mildew, and different types of airborne viruses.
And one of the less expensive yet effective ways to treat this issue is using a UV light inside the system. Similar to UV sterilizing, UV light kills these bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
When it comes to the installation part, you can ask your HVAC company and pay them for the installation or do it yourself.
DIY UV light installation might seem quite overwhelming. But this guide on how to install a UV light in an HVAC system will show you how you can do the task within minimum technical knowledge.
How Does UV Light Treatment Work?
It works similar to the way that sunlight UV rays kill bacteria and germs. But, the entire mechanism is quite a bit technical.
UV lights use germicidal UVC to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi by reproducing natural germicidal rays over and over again.
Although it's not similar to typical chemical treatment, this method is way more deadly for micro-organisms.
If you are wondering if the UV light poses any harm to humans, well, as the light will be installed inside your HVAC system, it won't be a threat to your family members, household equipment, or indoor environment whatsoever.
Just be sure to use UV sunglasses when you go to check the light.
What Are HVAC UV Lights?
Whether from this article or somewhere else, you've learned that UV lights are used to treat harmful micro-organisms that build inside the HVAC system. But, what are UV lights?
To simply put, these are the bulbs that radiate UV light to kill mold, mildew, and other airborne viruses.
UV light and its electromagnetic radiation have the lowest light wavelength spectrum. It is quite similar to when sunlight UV rays sunburn a person.
This short-wave ultraviolet light only sterilizes areas that make contact with it. Thus, the internal other parts and components will not be harmed by this.
Inside your HVAC system, when the micro-organisms pass through the light, it will sterilize the air to ensure that harmless air is sent into your indoor atmosphere.
How to Install UV Light in an HVAC System?
The following sections will be pretty much in detail to get a clear understanding of the installation.
Step 1 - Choosing the Right Location
You would want to make sure the UV light sterilizes as many mildew, mold, and viruses from your HVAC system. For this, you need to install the light in the right place to get the best results.
If you don't know, inside the HVAC system, there's a part called the evaporator coil, which is the source of the contaminants. The coil is responsible for growing biofilms that are communities of miro-organisms. This coil is also known as A-coil.
The refrigerant runs through the air handler; the evaporator or A-coil is located on the air handler. And this is the area where most mold grows, and dust builds up.
So, installing the light in this particular location will bring the most effective results as the system flows through this specific area.
However, if you have already located any particular area that has mold and other harmful elements, you can install the light there too.
So, the point is, you need to find the area that has the most mold growth. If you cannot locate it and want to install the light before the damage takes place, the air handler is where you can work. Or, if you can identify any specific molded area, mount the light close to it.
Step 2 - Drill Holes to Mount the UV Light
Depending on what type of UV light you want to use, you need to drill a few holes through the indoor air handler.
That will make sure the mainboard of the bulb is mounted outside, and the bulb itself is inside the HVAC system.
Take proper measurements of the area where the light will be mounted.
If you are lucky enough, your UV light kit should have come with all tools and bits you will need to install it yourself.
Usually, you would need a hole saw and a drilling tool. The hole saw ranges from 1.5 to 3 inches in diameter depending on the light model, type, and size.
Before you proceed to the actual work or operation, be sure to shut down the HVAC system. The breaker switch is located at the panel box if you don't know yet.
Most UV lights come with a paper template for ease of installation. Place or tape the template where you are going to install the light. Then, cut holes according to it.
If you are installing two bulbs, make sure there's enough distance between the two.
Start cutting through the metal sheet slowly. As it starts to make a small groove, gently push the saw or cutter into the ductwork to cut it.
Step 3 - Screw the UV Light to the Furnace
Now, you are going to screw the light onto the air handler. Take a cordless drill tool or a Phillips screwdriver, and secure the light to the metal furnace.
Do it carefully, as you wouldn't want to crack the plastic that holds the light itself.
Be cautious when handling the UV bulb. Please don't touch it with your bare hand. The oils from your skin will reduce its light or worse, cause damage to it. So, be sure to handle the light wearing surgical gloves.
Step 4 - Turn on the UV Light
Once the light is secured to the furnace, wear UV-protected lenses or goggles and full sleeve clothes before you turn on the light. Or you might damage your eyes and burn your skin.
Plug the power cord into an outlet, and turn it on. If there's no outlet nearby, you will have to hardwire it into the furnace.
The light should have a bluish glow when it's turned on.
Step 5 - Clean the Bulb
You will need to clean the UV light every few months or after each season throughout the year.
Use a soft lint-free cloth similar to a microfiber rag, and gently wipe the bulb surface.
You can also use a regular glass cleaning solution to clean dust and debris from the bulb effectively.
UV Light Options for HVAC Systems
For sanitizing HVAC systems, two types of UV lights are found on the market. You may have heard different names such as germicidal lights, purifying lights, sanitizing lights, sterilization lights, and similar things; but, they are basically the same.
Coil Sanitizing Lights
The indoor coil of your central air conditioning system is the breeding house of mold and bacteria.
As this coil condenses moisture from the air in order to dehumidify your home, when air passes over it, pet dander, dirt, and other debris get stuck on this wet surface.
For such conditions, coil UV lights are the best. These are available in both single and dual-lamp models. The bulb is installed where it can shine directly onto the coil surface to treat harmful micro-organisms.
Air Sanitizing Lights
This light is installed where the air is returned to the system in the ductwork. These UV bulbs work best against germs and molds. Both U and stick-shaped lamps are available in the market.
These HVAC lights turn on and off depending on the motor itself. So, you will have to hardwire the light with the system.
Your investment in the HVAC system will be much more secure and bring value to your family when you install a UV light for its maintenance. Be sure to examine the system on a regular basis to make sure it's doing its job as you would expect.