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A Quick Guide to UV-C Light in HVAC Systems

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UV Light

UV-C lighting seems to be all the rage right now, primarily because it's linked to the possible destruction of the novel coronavirus. You may be approached by an HVAC professional who serves your home or office building and asked you if you would like to consider installing ultraviolet (UV) lights in your facility. It's being promoted by everyone right now due to its ability to reduce and prevent microorganisms from circulating within the duct-work of the place. However, before you begin to consider the idea, you need to know how UV lights can help your home and facility.

How UV radiation works

To the uninitiated, UV radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation that occupies a wavelength of 0nm to 400nm within the light spectrum. It's shorter than that of visible light but longer than X-ray. The term nm stands for nanometers, which is the billionths of a meter. This range is not visible to the human eye, so it's not easily quantifiable. The range of 0 to 400nm spectrum is divided into four distinct levels: 

  • UV-A (long-wave; 400 to 315nm): this is most abundant in sunlight, responsible for facilitating skin tanning and causing wrinkles.
  • UV-B (medium-wave; 315 to 280nm): mostly responsible for skin reddening and skin cancer
  • UV-C (short-wave; 280 to 200nm): the most effective wavelengths for germicidal control
  • UV under 200nm (vacuum UV; 0 to 200nm): radiation below 200 nm can produce ozone (O3) in air.

As you can see, it's the UV-C portion of the spectrum that has germicidal properties, with 253.7nm being the ideal frequency level at which DNA absorbs the most UV light. 

How UV-C light can prevent contamination in your HVAC system

The last thing you want is for your HVAC system to cause health issues within your home or office. Contamination in HVAC units is a prevalent concern, and it's one that you should never ignore. As per the National Institute of Health, this contamination often leads to building-related diseases, such as viral or bacterial infections, allergic rhinitis, asthma, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. 

It should be noted, however, that only certain UV lights work with regards to air purification. Ultraviolet Germicidal Light (UVGi), in particular, helps eliminate many types of bacteria and viruses. It operates within the UV-C spectrum, which just so happens to be the effective wavelength spectrum for germicidal efficiency. 

When installed properly, you can benefit from the correct spectrum of UV light. It is up to the homeowner or building manager to ensure that the conditions are correct. You can easily do that by enlisting the help of a qualified HVAC technician. It's best to leave the installation to a professional with experience in installing UVGi systems in homes and buildings as they know the conditions to take into account. The correct placement and direction of the proper number of UVGi lights have as much impact on the efficiency as the temperature and humidity levels within the home or office.

Conclusion

The use of UV-C light in your space would benefit you not only now during the outbreak, but also in the long run. If you think that it's time to install it in your home or building, get in touch with Legacy Heating. 

We're an Edmonton-based HVAC company that specializes in furnace repair, heat and air conditioning services. Get in touch with us to see how we can help!

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