Do HVAC UV Lights Improve Air Quality? - An Expert's Perspective

Ultraviolet (UV) lights are a safe and effective way to enhance air quality in your home. They don't produce ozone or other hazardous by-products, and they work even better when used in conjunction with an air filter. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is currently testing UV products for the presence of ozone and approving those that emit less than 0.050 parts per million. UV lights don't directly affect the air, as air moves too quickly for the UV rays to be sterilized.

However, they can be utilized if the coils are constantly wet due to moisture. UV rays can also cause many components to break down unnecessarily. UV light will create ozone from atmospheric oxygen at short wavelengths of less than 240 nanometers (nm). Ultraviolet light will also break down ozone and decompose it into atomic oxygen (O) and diatomic oxygen (O) at wavelengths of approximately 200 nm to 315 nm.

Therefore, the ozone layer does an excellent job filtering UV wavelengths of approximately 100 to 315 nm. This is important because it's the harmful wavelengths of UV light that cause sunburn and damage to the DNA of living tissue. The use of a VUV lamp can eliminate the wide spectrum of UV light production and eliminate the problem of the creation and destruction of the ozone layer caused by the UV lamp itself. These lamps will produce UV light with two peaks in the UV light band, one at 254 nm and the other at 185 nm.

A UV light with a wavelength of 185 nm is “adjusted to produce UV light at 185 nm”, but it can create UV light from 100 to 240 nm, or even more. If you have a minislit air conditioning system, the UV HVAC lamp should be installed inside the indoor unit where the air enters your house, in order to be able to clean it properly. Halo UV light helps improve the efficiency of your air conditioner by reducing the growth of mold and bacteria in the unit. This was highlighted this week when Acuity Brands, based in Atlanta, announced that its health care lighting company's line of EvolAir UV-C lamps had passed CARB's scrutiny.

These lamps are sometimes referred to as “adjustable UV lamps” because they can be adjusted to create UV light at very specific wavelengths. 185 nm light is what is called an “ozone-producing” lamp, while 254 nm light is called a “germicidal” lamp. It's important to remember that UV lights are only part of a comprehensive approach to protecting yourself from viruses and other airborne contaminants. If you're concerned about air quality in your home, you may want to consider installing a UV lamp in your air conditioning system.