How Does UV Light for HVAC Work?

What is HVAC UV Light

In Rockwall, TX, our biggest concern regarding our HVAC system is whether it’s properly heating or cooling off our homes. We often forget the role that these systems play when it comes to indoor air quality. An effective HVAC system should keep out harmful toxins and pollutants and filter in clean air throughout your home. The effectiveness of your system, meaning how well it is filtering your air, can decrease over time, which is why many homeowners add indoor air quality systems to their HVAC units. 

UV lights for HVAC systems are becoming popular throughout Rockwall and the surrounding areas. As the outdoor pollutants continue to worsen, homeowners are more concerned than ever about the air they breathe inside. These UV lights are installed in your HVAC system and clean the air supplied into your home. The quality of the air you breathe inside your home can affect your health and lead to respiratory and other issues down the road. Air quality products like UV lights are a great way for you to remove harmful contaminants from the air so you and your family can breathe easily. 

If you’re interested in how an HVAC UV light system can benefit your home, call the indoor air quality experts at Lyons Air and Heat today.    

What is an HVAC UV Light System?

An HVAC UV light system is an ultraviolet light that is installed in the air handler or the ductwork of your HVAC system. Also known as germicidal UV lights, these lights have the ability to kill many airborne contaminants as they pass through the HVAC system. Ultraviolet lights can sterilize almost 100% of all germs, mold spores, viruses, fungi, bacteria, and other contaminants that can travel through your air ducts and affect the air you breathe. 

How Do HVAC UV Light Systems Work?

UV lights for HVAC systems use UV-C light, which is light with a wavelength of 254 nanometers. This light is a special high frequency, low wavelength that can remove harmful contaminants by destroying the nucleic acid that makes up their DNA. As the contaminants pass through the UV light, they’re no longer able to create the required proteins that they need to reproduce. It’s important to note that the UV lights do not kill the microorganisms, but shorten their lifespan. As the contaminants are weakened and eventually die, the air that passes through the UV light is sanitized before it’s released through the various air vents in your home.  

Where Are HVAC UV Lights Installed?

If you’re looking to install UV lights in your HVAC system, you have two options to choose from: air-sanitizing lights or coil-sanitizing lights. Both coil sanitizing and air sanitizing UV lights have indoor air quality benefits that clean the air, but there are a few differences that you should consider before installing UV lights. 

Coil Sanitizing Lights

Coil sanitizing UV lights are stick-shaped lights installed inside the air handler near the evaporator coil. The evaporator coils are prone to mold growth as moisture collects on the coils during the air conditioning process. These HVAC UV lights are more common and usually less expensive than air-sanitizing UV lights and are easier to install. Unfortunately, these lights are constantly running, so they use more energy than air-sanitizing UV lights. Since these coil sanitizing UV lights are always on, you’ll need to replace them more often.    

Air Sanitizing Lights

Air sanitizing UV lights are usually installed near the air handler but can be installed anywhere throughout the ductwork. Your air quality technician will choose the areas that are prone to moisture before installing HVAC UV lights. It’s best to install UV lights in HVAC systems where there is an increased risk of moisture buildup to prevent mold or bacteria from growing. The air sanitizing UV lights sanitize the air as it passes through the air ducts and will turn off when the HVAC system is not running since it’s wired directly into the system. This UV HVAC air purifier cleans more air than coil sanitizer and can sterilize HVAC components near the UV light.   

Pros and Cons of UV Light in HVAC

While there are many benefits to installing UV lights in your HVAC system, it does come with downsides. We’ll break down the pros and cons of HVAC UV lights below. 

As you can see above, we’ve mentioned a lot of benefits regarding UV light for HVAC systems. They can improve indoor air quality by preventing the growth of bacteria and contaminants and help your family’s overall respiratory health. Listed below are some pros associated with HVAC system UV lights. 

  • Better Airflow: Since UV light removes airborne particles and contaminants, your HVAC system can run more efficiently while producing cleaner air. 
  • Lower Energy Costs: The UV HVAC air purifier lights prevent the buildup and growth of harmful contaminants. Since the air is able to flow unobstructed through your air ducts, your HVAC system should be able to operate more efficiently and use less energy. It’s important to discuss this with your air quality expert from Lyons Air, though, because additional costs can be associated with a coil sanitizing UV light. 
  • Fewer Clogged Drain Lines: Adding a UV light to your HVAC system can help you avoid clogged drain lines. Since UV lights prevent the growth of mold and mildew, you won’t have to worry about those bacteria clogging up your HVAC drain lines. 
  • Improved Health: As UV lights work to prevent mold, mildew, and other bacteria from growing in your HVAC system, you and your family should struggle less with allergies and other respiratory issues. 

While UV lights in HVAC systems have many benefits, some adverse factors should be considered before you schedule your installation.  

  • Don’t Eliminate Everything: UV lights are great for reducing mold and bacteria, but they don’t work on dust or dander. If pet dander and dust are causing your allergies, it’s best to invest in an air-purifying system instead. 
  • Installation Costs and Bulb Replacements: You can expect to be out of pocket between $200 to $1,000 for installation costs depending on the type of UV light installed. You’ll also need to replace the UV light bulb once a year which averages $10-$125, also depending on the type. Since coil sanitizing UV lights run constantly, you may need to replace them more frequently. 
  • Cleanings Required: When the UV lights get covered in dust, they aren’t able to work effectively. This means that you’ll need to clean the UV light routinely in order for it to work correctly.
  • Does Not Eliminate Air Filters: Air filters are still necessary for your HVAC system, even with UV lights. The air filter will catch dust and pet dander that the UV light cannot eliminate. 
  • Can Cause Damage: Over time, UV light can damage your HVAC system. It’s important to seek professional UV light installation services, as an improperly installed UV light can damage your ductwork and overall HVAC system. 

Before you make the decision to install a UV light in your HVAC system, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. If you’re interested in learning more about installing a germicidal UV light, schedule an air quality consultation with one of our Rockwall indoor air quality specialists today.

How Much Do HVAC UV Lights Cost?

The cost of installing a UV light in your HVAC system will depend on the size of your unit and the type of UV light system you choose. Homeowners can typically expect to spend anywhere between a couple hundred dollars to even up to $1,000 for a UV light installation. 

How Long Do UV Lights for HVAC Systems Last?

Depending on the model and manufacturer of the light, HVAC UV lights should be changed every one to five years. Coil sterilization lights should be replaced every 9,000 hours or once a year. Coil UV lights will need to be replaced more often than air-sanitizing UV lights since they constantly run, whereas the latter only runs when your HVAC is on.

As mentioned earlier, cleaning your UV light periodically helps the light work effectively to minimize and reduce contaminants. At Lyons Air and Heat, we offer a preventative maintenance plan called the Cool Club, where a professional HVAC technician will perform routine maintenance twice a year on your HVAC system. During these preventative service appointments, an HVAC technician will check your UV light and ensure it’s clean and working properly. 

Do I Need a UV Light for My Air Conditioner?

If you and your family constantly struggle with allergies and respiratory illnesses, you may want to consider adding a UV light to your HVAC system. A UV light is only effective in fighting against mold, mildew, bacteria, etc., but won’t eliminate dust or dander. To learn more about how you can improve indoor air quality in your home, call the experts at Lyons Air and Heat. We will perform an air quality consultation to help determine the source of your poor indoor air quality. If your Rockwall air quality technician determines that a UV light won’t improve your air, we offer other air quality products like air scrubbers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and air duct cleaning and replacement services.   

Call the Rockwall Indoor Air Quality Specialists at Lyons Air & Heat Today To Learn More

As a family-owned and operated business, we take pride in serving Rockwall homes and businesses for their HVAC needs. Whether you need an air conditioner replacement, heat pump repair, or commercial HVAC services, you can count on Lyons Air and Heat. We understand that HVAC system repairs and installations can be costly, so we offer our customers coupons and financing options. Call Lyons Air and Heat to schedule your indoor air quality consultation by calling (214) 432-2859 today.


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