Central heating and air conditioning systems have greatly increased the quality of life for millions of homeowners. Yet such systems can still develop problems that can negatively affect the health of your family. One of the most serious problems is the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria inside of your HVAC ducts.
To keep these microorganisms at bay, many people invest in special ultraviolet lights for their HVAC system. While such lights can provide a highly effective form of protection, you should understand as much as you can about them before investing in one. This article takes a closer look at three key pieces of information regarding UV lights.
1. UV Lights Don't Replace Air Filters
Ultraviolet light has a long history as a method of sterilization. UV light easily penetrates the cell walls of microorganisms such as bacteria, mold, and mildew, disrupting their DNA. In other words, UV light can kill all such microscopic pests simply by shining on them. This ability can greatly improve indoor air quality, reducing the chances of illness or allergies.
Many people mistakenly assume that a UV light can destroy all particles present in the air. In reality, UV lights only affect living organisms. Substances such as dust, pollen, and pet dander remain unaffected. Therefore, in order to provide across-the-board allergen protection, you must always use a UV light system in conjunction with a high-quality air filter.
2. UV Lights Come in Two Different Types
UV lights for HVAC systems break down into two main categories: coil-sterilizing and air-sterilizing. Coil-sterilizing systems tend to be less expensive. Such systems do not treat all of the air moving through your system. Instead, they simply shine on your system's evaporator coil and drain pan.
An evaporator coil produces a large amount of condensate as it cools the air of your home. This moisture greatly increases the chances of mold growth in your HVAC system. The same holds true for the drain pan, which helps to regulate the condensate dripping off of the coil. A coil-sterilizing light is a great choice for individuals who are primarily concerned with controlling the growth of mold in their system.
Those with serious asthma or allergy problems often choose to install air-sterilizing UV systems for maximum protection. These systems sterilize all of the air passing through your system into your home. This task requires that much more powerful bulbs be installed - a fact that often increases the up-front cost of installing such a UV light.
3. UV Lightbulbs Lose Effectiveness Over Time
Many homeowners make the mistake of assuming that, as long as their UV bulb continues to produce light, it remains fully effective. Yet UV lights differ from regular lightbulbs in this regard, as they gradually lose their ability to provide effective sterilization over time. In fact, a UV bulb will lose half of its effectiveness over the course of a single year.
For this reason, you must be serious about having your UV light system maintained regularly. Plan to install a new bulb roughly every 9,000 hours, or at least once a year. Those who neglect this piece of upkeep expose themselves to a greater risk of mold exposure. Not only that, but they will be wasting money powering a bulb that no longer provides effective sterilization.
The dark and often moist confines of a residential HVAC system provide the perfect place for microorganisms to thrive. Installing a UV light system ensures optimal protection against such problematic pests. For more information about the best type of UV light for your home, please contact Orlando's HVAC pros at Action Air of Florida.