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UV light is a range of invisible light wavelengths produced by the sun. In locations like Fairfax, VA, UV light can be so potent that if you stay under the sun for a long time with your skin exposed, you end up sunburned. There are different UV light classifications, and each of them has a different wavelength and energy. Read on to understand the science behind UV light air purification.

What are the Classes of UV Light?

There are three classifications of UV light: UVA, UVB and UVC. About 10% of the light from the sun is UV and only about a third of the UV light penetrates to the surface of the Earth. The EPA has a UV rating scale that consists of numbers from 1 to 11.

Different wavelengths of UV light serve different purposes. At one end of the spectrum, you’ll find UVA backlights, while germicidal purifiers fall squarely into the UVC category.

UV light sanitizes the air that passes through the HVAC system. Manufacturers of purifying UV lamps create a system that emits UVC, the most potent of the three classes of UV light.

How Does UV Light Purify Air?

If you have our professionals install a UV lamp within your air conditioner, the lamp will denature the DNA molecule of microbes in the air. These microbes include bacteria and viruses. The effectiveness of the UV lamp in destroying microbes depends on the number of them in the air and the contact time between the microbes and the light.

What are the Benefits of UV-Purified Air?

Many air purifiers are just filter-based. Filters trap particles in their weave and prevent them from continuing in the air. While UV purifiers have filters, the UV light provides a second step with some important benefits.

No filter removes every particle from the air. By running the air through UV after it passes through the filter, the purifier alters the microorganisms that make it through. This means that they can’t replicate when they land on different locations.

While denatured microbes are still alive, they remain a single entity and cannot reproduce. This reduces illness if you breathe them in and lessens structural damage to your home if they land on wood, windowsills or drywall.

Are UV Light Air Purifiers Safe?

The FDA approves the use of UV lamps. However, when you’re using these lamps, you have to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and let a professional handle the installation.

Most manufacturers place their lamps inside of the HVAC system, where the UV light doesn’t come into the living space. This keeps the UV out of your living area and also purifies the air before it enters your home.

Many manufacturers claim the UV light their devices emit is safe for use indoors. However, there are some that may produce ozone, and you should use these outdoors only. Working with a professional will ensure that you get the right purifier for your system, the size of your home and the location of the installation.

Are UV Lamps Effective in Cleaning Air?

The effectiveness of UV light in purifying air depends on the following factors:

  • Whether the microbes come in contact with the light.
  • Whether the potency of the light reduces the cooling effect of the airflow<./li>
  • How long the microbes are in contact with the light.
  • The material of the light bulb.
  • The concentration of microbes in the air.

Air needs to pass through the UV lamp a few times to denature all the microbes. Most manufacturers recommend that the unit should clean all the air in a home in 60 minutes or less. However, you still need to leave the unit on so it can sanitize the air constantly.

Call us at Brennan’s Heating & Air Conditioning for all your eating, air conditioning and indoor air quality services. Our air quality specialists can answer your questions and tailor solutions to your home and budget.

Image provided by iStock

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