Over the years, we’ve all become accustomed to having access to high quality HVAC systems to improve our indoor comfort levels throughout the year. Initially, heating and later cooling methods were adopted to keep us warm and cool during the coldest and hottest seasons of the year. But, over time, HVAC equipment has evolved to meet other needs, such as humidification, dehumidification, and cleaner air. One of the most interesting developments in cleaner air systems is UV, and in this article, we will explore whether this might work for your home.
Is Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Important?
The air in our homes can become stale and unpleasant to breathe, but is air quality really all that important from a health perspective? When your air isn’t clean, and the home doesn’t receive adequate ventilation, it can quickly degrade in quality, and this can represent a health risk. Our air in and outdoors is filled with pathogens and allergens that can trigger asthma attacks or exacerbate existing respiratory conditions. The first people in the home to feel the effects of poor IAQ are those that are susceptible to a variety of pathogens and allergens.
If the humidity or temperature is allowed to get too high, there are other contributing factors, such as mold growth and the release of mold spores into the indoor air. Every HVAC system works in a circulatory manner, so the air is gathered, treated, and then distributed back into the home. So, if you have poor IAQ, it will go around and around the home, and everyone will breathe it in during the course of a regular day. Many people in homes with poor IAQ suffer from a general feeling of lethargy, and they may experience headaches or other symptoms.
How Can UV Help?
The use of UV light has been widely adopted to treat waterborne pathogens in many domestic water treatment systems. It is now becoming increasingly popular to treat indoor air with UV light to kill bacteria and viruses in the air. When UV light is used in this way, it’s typically referred to by professionals as Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation or UVGI. When UVGI is used to treat air, it offers an unprecedented 100% protection again bacteria. Up until recently, this technology was only used in facilities, such as clinics, laboratories, hospitals, and other sensitive locations where a sterile environment was required. But, UVGI technology is now more affordable and well within the reach of many people that are seeking cleaner air for their homes. Many HVAC manufacturers now offer UVGI for air filtration and purification to improve the IAQ of their customers.
What is a UV Air Purifier?
UV rays can be divided into three categories, they are A, B, and C. We receive UV-A and UV-B radiation naturally and directly when we are outdoors from the sun. But, UV-C rays are short wave, and they are blocked by the ozone layer. When UV-C is delivered in short directed bursts, it’s incredibly effective at disinfecting the majority of pathogens, viruses, and bacteria that it comes into contact with. When UV-C is used in conjunction with a circulating water or air system, it’s an effective way to provide purification and eliminate contaminants. This results in air that is extremely clean and a far better level of IAQ.
How Does a UV Air Purifier Work?
A UV air purifier can be added to many new HVAC systems, or you can get them retrofitted to your existing equipment. A UV lamp is installed in your air circulation system to clean the air by eliminating pathogens. UV-C deactivates or destroys pathogens by causing disruption to their DNA makeup, and this makes them unable to function and reproduce. They may sound scary, but this technology is quite mature, and there are many safeguards in place to ensure that UV-C devices are safe to use in your home.
The Benefits of UV-C Disinfection
The UV-C lamps installed in your HVAC system are extremely effective at eliminating any unwanted pathogens from your indoor air supply. In the past, you might have cracked some windows or opened a door to allow cleaner air into your home. This would have resulted in a loss of cooling performance and waste of energy. This practice would also have allowed other pathogens, allergens, and a variety of other unwanted particulates into your home.
When you use a UV air purifier, the air will be cleaned constantly as it circulates throughout your home. Any pathogens that are present will be quickly eliminated and unable to reproduce. This will make everyone in the home feel happier and healthier, especially vulnerable people that may be susceptible to allergic reactions and breathing issues.
A UV air purifier will remove pathogens, but it’s not very effective at removing other contaminants, such as dust, dirt, pollen, skin cells, and pet hair. If you want to efficiently remove these types of contaminants, a HEPA air filter is recommended. A HEPA air filter will improve airflow by removing these materials, and it removes biofilm residues that are often left behind by certain organic pollutants. Many homeowners install a HEPA air filter and a UV air purifier together to get the best possible IAQ.
Would UV Filtration Work for You?
As you can see, UV air purification and filtration can deliver many benefits in terms of IAQ and your quality of life in general. When your indoor air is cleaner, your mood is naturally lifted, and you may notice that you don’t suffer from many respiratory problems. Installing a UV air purifier is affordable, and it’s not a very disruptive to your home. Most HVAC systems can be retrofitted to this technology, or you could simply add it to your new HVAC system. One of the best things about UVGI is that there are no filters to change. An air purifier works very simply, and it will only stop working if the bulb blows. The UV bulbs for air purifiers are easy to purchase at most hardware stores, they are not expensive and changing them is as simple as changing a lightbulb.