The popularity of indoor air quality solutions continues to gain attention. There are several studies that have highlighted the importance of air quality on people’s health and overall well-being. There are now websites and apps that show the quality of the air in your city, and there are also devices that can show the air quality in your home.
As people have become more conscious of indoor air quality, the range of air purifiers and indoor air quality solutions available has increased. One of the technologies used for indoor air quality products is ultraviolet (UV) light, which is known for its disinfecting properties. The use of UV light in consumer products is not new, as it has been used in different types of applications for decades. We know that indoor air purification solutions using UV light technology have been proven to be safe and effective in purification, but how do these solutions work? What makes them so effective in the purification of the air? Read on to find out.
What Are UV Indoor Air Purifiers?
The goal of UV indoor air purifiers is to reduce the pollutants in the air. UV indoor air purifiers use short-wave UV light to purify the air by killing or inactivating viruses, bacteria, pollen, mold, and other types of airborne pathogens. A common type of technology used in these products is ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI), which uses UV light directly against air pollutants. The UV light emitted by these products is similar to the natural light emitted by the sun.
Most types of UV indoor air quality solutions are installed in the ventilation, which is part of the heating, cooling, and air conditioning (HVAC) system of your house or office. The UV-powered air purification system will clean the air that passes through the HVAC system. Some UV indoor air purifiers are standalone products that do need to be integrated with the HVAC system. For a complete purification process, certain indoor air quality solutions combine UV light technology with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration system to remove pollutants with smaller-sized particles.
Why Purify Indoor Air?
Purifying the air inside of your home offers several health benefits. Depending on where you live, the time of day, and the season, the air inside of your house can contain bacteria, pollutants, and other types of microorganisms that can result in allergies, illness, and other types of health conditions for you and your family.
If there is anyone in your household who suffers from asthma or is sensitive to outdoor pollutants, then poor indoor air quality can be annoying and dangerous for them. It is a common misconception that indoor air quality is better than outdoor air. An indoor environment with carpets, rugs, curtains, and other items allows these pollutants to build up more compared to the outdoors. The pollutants in indoor air can be five to 10 times worse than outdoors. Common indoor allergens include mold, dust, and dander. If these pollutants are not filtered by the HVAC system, they will keep recirculating through the unit. Bad indoor air quality can also worsen cold and flu symptoms, such as congestion, sneezing, and itching. Your overall wellness, including your quality of sleep, energy level, and mood, can all improve with an indoor air purification system.
Background on UV Light
UV light is a type of electromagnetic radiation transmitted at different wavelengths and frequencies. UV light has a history of being used for disinfection purposes and even the treatment of tuberculosis. The use of UV light for disinfection or sterilizing purposes was first started for commercial or industrial purposes. France used UV light to disinfect its municipal water supply in 1908. In the last two decades, UV purification systems have made their way into homes and offices.
The energy in the protons of the UV light allows it to bombard and damage the DNA of the microorganisms found in air pollutants. Once the DNA has been damaged, the bacteria of other forms of pollutants become harmless. Light is made of photons, which are tiny particles of matter. The photons vibrate at different speeds, giving them various wavelengths and energy. UV light has a wavelength of 100 to 4,000 nanometers.
The sun emits three types of UV rays: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C radiation. Prolonged exposure to UV-A or UB-B can be dangerous for humans, leading to damage to the skin and eyes. The UV-C radiation does not reach Earth because it gets blocked by the ozone layer. Instead, it can only be created artificially on Earth. The UV-C light has the shortest wavelength and highest energy of all UV radiation. This makes UV-C radiation ideal for use in air purification systems.
The Technology Behind How Indoor Air Purifiers Work
Most air purification systems use a combination of HEPA filters and UV-C radiation to clean the air. For air purification systems that integrate with an HVAC system, you can have a professional HVAC technician install a single or dual UV lamp in the ductwork of the HVAC system in your home or office. These lamps will continuously emit UV light on the air that flows through the system.
The effectiveness of a UV indoor air purification system depends on several factors. The intensity and duration of the exposure of the UV light are critical to its disinfecting properties. Therefore, the air purification system is designed to maximize the exposure of the air that flows through the system. The cooling effect of the airflow can also inhibit the effectiveness of the UV light on killing the pollutant, so it is important to calibrate the intensity of the lamps according to the expected temperature of the system.
Some indoor air purification systems have mercury vapor lamps as part of the system. The particles of the UV-C light vibrate at a frequency that they can collide with oxygen gas molecules. This collision can result in the splitting of the oxygen molecule into two separate atoms. These split atoms are reactive and can combine with oxygen to form ozone. Ozone can be harmful to humans, as it is known to cause irritation and inflammation of the respiratory system. The mercury vapor bulbs can minimize the formation of ozone in the air purification system. It is important to get an air purification system installed by a reputable and reliable company that specializes in HVAC services. Not only does the UV light air purification system need to have high-quality components, but the technician must also ensure proper fitting of the appliance.
Indoor Air Quality Solutions From McGowan's Heating & Air Conditioning
At McGowan's Heating & Air Conditioning, we specialize in all types of HVAC services, including solutions for UV indoor air quality. We serve all regions between northeast Florida and Daytona Beach. All of our technicians are highly skilled, experienced, and certified in performing HVAC services. We equip our technicians with the best tools and equipment required for indoor air quality solutions. Aside from UV indoor air purifications systems, we also offer services for air conditioners and heating furnaces, such as repair, cleaning, installation, and maintenance. We provide a complete range of HVAC services for newly constructed homes and commercial properties, too. To schedule an appointment, give us a call today.