UV Light for AC: Does it Protect Against Viruses?

South End Plumbing, Heating, & Air Expert Tips

UV Light for AC: Does it Protect Against Viruses

Germicidal or UV lights for AC and HVAC systems eliminate the DNA of viruses, bacteria, mold spores, germs, and fungi as they travel through the air system. A correctly installed and used UV light is very reliable for killing nearly 100% of these pollutants, contaminants, and viruses. Setting up a UV light in your air conditioning or HVAC system is an affordable and effective method to cleanse all the air as it flows through a system.

How Does it Work?

UV lights made to be used in heating and cooling systems use an exact wavelength of light – 254 nanometers. This wavelength is taken in by the DNA of microbes. After exposure to UV light, the organisms can no longer produce proteins and survive. The light doesn’t kill contaminants immediately. It stops them from reproducing, being harmful, and shortens their lifespan.

Why Put a UV Light in a Home HVAC System?

The quantity of air inside your home is large. Treating it at once isn’t possible with UV light because UV light is harmful to people. Inside an enclosed space within an air handler, though, is a safe space for UV light. Your airflow system brings air into the evaporator unit before it goes out into your home through vents. Installing a UV light device there makes perfect sense as all the air in a home passes through the UV light.

Limits or Risks of UV Light

UV lights for your home heating and cooling will not eliminate or reduce all symptoms triggered by irritants, considering that dirt, some mold, and other particulates can still be present. Additionally, if your cooling and heating system has damaged or leaky air ducts, the vacuum produced in the ducts could pull in new contaminants in the air from an attic and crawl space, decreasing the UV light effectiveness. UV light is only effective when microorganisms contact its light spectrum.

Setting Up a UV Light

An expert HVAC technician ought to take care of the installation of UV lights inside the HVAC system of a house. The light has to be wired to the cooling and heating system so it triggers only when the system is in operation. Before installing the equipment, the service technician must clean the air system thoroughly and inspect the ductwork for leaks. This will provide optimal conditions for the UV light system.

Mostly Energy-efficient homes are built today with an emphasis on sealing everything so conditioned air is kept in. Unfortunately, this has developed the ideal atmosphere for bacteria to thrive. Mounting UV lights for an AC system helps manage and rid of these harmful contaminants.

Does UV Light Kill Coronavirus?

It’s been said that UV light stops the unique coronavirus which triggers COVID-19. This is true. Specifically, UV light has been proven to stop the growth of the unique coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. It can be an effective treatment for viral contaminants, yet it needs to be used safely in order to prevent damage to the skin and eyes.

How Does UV Light Clean Air?

UVC light has been shown to inactivate the novel coronavirus in experiments. Ultraviolet (UV) light is produced by the sun and manufactured lights. There are three sorts of UV light– UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVC light includes wavelengths of light from 200-280 nanometers. These UVC wavelengths have the most energy of the three types of UV light. Wavelengths from UVC are taken in by, and destroy, the DNA material inside infections and microbes, making them inactive.

In lab experiments, UVC light has been found to stop the capacity of the SARS-CoV-2 infection to contaminate a host. This is an additional sign it is effective versus bacteria. And UVC light has been found to inactivate the genetic product in multiple other coronaviruses.

Why Put a UV Light in a Home HVAC System?UVC Light Can Sanitize Surfaces and Areas

UVC light can be utilized to disinfect air, water, and surfaces. For example, UVC light and robotics are used to sanitize water, surface areas in empty hospital rooms, and vehicles such as buses.

UVC lights can be used in a vacant room in space to eliminate infections and other airborne germs. The lights are placed in the middle part of a room at a height of a minimum of eight feet. They are angled to beam flat or toward the ceiling instead of down at the floor. Using fans in addition to the lights makes sure the air from the lower part of the room flows to the upper part of the room and the other way around. In this way, all the air in the room is exposed to the UV lights, so any contaminants are treated. UVC lights can likewise be positioned in air ducts to disinfect viruses, infections, and bacteria in the air that could travel from one room to another.

Also, it is essential that when UVC lights are used in rooms individuals do not enter the room. High-intensity UVC light can harm the eyes and skin in just a few seconds.

More Research

Scientists are discovering certain wavelengths of UVC light could be safe for people. Most UVC lights beam a wide range of UVC wavelengths (200-280 nanometers) or an exact wavelength of 254 nanometers.

Interestingly, studies have found a possibility of shorter wave UVC lights, for example, 222 nanometers, inactivate airborne contaminants, including SARS-CoV-2.  This wavelength of UVC light may be risk-free to use in busy areas. In studies with mice, no damage to the skin or eyes was found from this UVC light. More research is needed to verify people can be exposed to this wavelength overtime periods without damaging effects.


At South End Heating and Air, we are Charlotte’s affordable AC experts. Call us anytime for a free consult and free estimate. We’ll evaluate your system and help make recommendations for optimum value. After all, we want to keep you cool all summer long and warm in the winter. Just schedule a visit with one of our technicians to talk about how we can help. Would you like to learn more options our techs can help you with? Give us a call 704-684-5339.

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