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Sep 27, 2021  Al Chan

An Introduction to UV Light for HVAC

Contaminated HVAC systems can host microorganisms such as bacteria, molds, and mildew. These microbes can cause health complications like allergies and respiratory infections. Fortunately, you can help rid your home of these microbes by installing UV lights for HVAC. Read on to learn more about the UV light system, its benefits, and its applications. 

What Are UV Lights for HVAC and How Do They Work?

UV light is a portion of electromagnetic light that kills microorganisms that may interfere with the internal air quality. You can use UV lights to prevent microbial development on cooling coils, duct surfaces, air filters, drain pans, and other HVAC units. When a microbe passes through lighting, its DNA absorbs the UV rays. The UV energy, in turn, breaks the chemical bonds in the DNA, neutralizing the microorganism. 

Once neutralized, microbes become harmless as they cannot synthesize the proteins they need to survive. They normally die after a few seconds of UVC exposure. Thus, UV lighting can help maintain the efficiency of the entire HVAC system and improve the comfort of your home.

Do I Need a UV Light for My Air Conditioner? ‌ 

Yes. You need UV lighting for your air conditioner to clean particulates that the air filters cannot trap. The air moves through the filters during the cooling process to eliminate particulates sized 0.3 microns or more. The residual contaminants below 0.3 microns move through the vents to the grill for further purification.

Since most bacteria and viruses fall between 0.2 and 2.0 microns, most of them will pass through the filters to the vents, grills, and other parts of the AC system. If not treated, the microbes in the filtered air can turn the AC unit into a source of contaminants including bacteria, pathogens, molds, and allergens.

Worse still, they can interfere with the indoor air quality as the system would release contaminated air to the environment.

UV lights in the HVAC system can ensure maximum air purification. Remember, the air from outside must pass through the systems before being released to the house. Here are some of the benefits you get from UV lighting installation:

Energy Efficiency

Fitting UV lights in your existing HVAC system can help cut your energy bills. These energy savings can accumulate enough money for restocking your grocery. However, the UV light installation does not save energy on itself. Instead, it optimizes the performance of the HVAC system by removing agents that may cause narrowing of the vents or interfere with the indoor air quality. This installation can help restore the HVAC system to work like a new one.

Note that the HVAC UV light installation does not remove all contaminants. Some pollutants like fine dust would normally pass through the filter and accumulate on the coils and entire HVAC system. If left unattended, the accumulated contaminants may interfere with the systems’ performance and trigger high energy bills. A UVC system installed on the evaporator coil will help destroy biofilm, which acts as an adhesive, allowing the dust and particulates that cause energy loss and reduce equipment efficiencies. A UVC system will help to prevent any accumulation on the coil that could rob performance.

Besides installing the UV lights, you should subject the entire system to regular cleaning and maintenance to maintain its operating efficiency.

Cost Savings

Installing the UV lighting in your HVAC can help prevent the growth of molds, bacteria, dander, and other organic air pollutants. Additionally, UV lighting can be the perfect addition to your HVAC systems during this pandemic era. 

According to studies, certain UV light products like the APCO-X by Fresh-Aire UV can neutralize the Covid-19 virus within seconds of exposure. APCO-X UV light installed in an air furnace

The ability of the UV lights for air conditioners to combat viruses, bacteria, and other harmful microbes saves homeowners money that they would otherwise spend to treat illnesses if they never installed UV lighting in their homes.

Fewer Odors

Your HVAC system can trap and transmit odors from tobacco, food, paints, pets, and other things in your house. These odors can make the whole house smelly, annoying, or even unhealthy for your living. The HVAC UV lights using an activated carbon catalyst minimize those odors from the systems, making the air in your home fresher.


The UVC germicidal rays destroy the microbes’ DNA. The killing of the microbes means that you won’t have to use abrasive chemicals to clean the evaporator coils when they become filthy. Instead, you will only need a quality coil cleaner for the job. 

Better Airflow

Usually, dust and other contaminants fill in the ductwork of an HVAC system and overwork the duct system. Those contaminants interfere with airflow in the house because the ducts must overwork to regulate the air. Thankfully, UV lights for HVAC help minimize the issue by reducing the contaminants in the HVAC systems. Better airflow guarantees fresh air in the house and prolongs the life of the ducts.

What Are the Risk Factors of Using the UVC Lights?

Occupants should never be exposed to direct UVC light, as direct exposure can be problematic to the eyes and skin. Thankfully, as UVC systems for HVAC are installed inside the HVAC equipment or duct work, the application is perfectly safe as exposure should never be an issue.

For safety purposes, you should hire a qualified technician to install the UV light system for HVAC. The technicians will use their expertise to ensure that you are completely secure from UVC rays exposure. The technicians will also review their installation to ensure that your air handlers work efficiently to eliminate bacteria, molds, and viruses away from your room.

UV Lighting System Installation

UV lighting systems require expert installation to connect the UV lights to the HVAC’s evaporator so that the two systems can work simultaneously.

Before the installation, your certified HVAC technician should perform a thorough cleaning of the air handler, inspecting and repairing any leaks in the duct system to ensure an optimized UV light system. 

Where to Install UV Lights in Your HVAC System

Your technician will advise you where to install the lights. Probable sites the technician can affix the UV lights on include:

  • The Evaporator Coils. The evaporator coils are the primary breeding zones for mold and biofilm since condensation constantly collects on them. Installing the UV lights on the coils will ensure constant UV disinfection inhibiting the development of microorganisms.
  • The Ductwork. Installing the UV lights along the duct system can neutralize the contaminants passing through your return vents.

How Much Does It Cost to Install UV Lights? 

Costs can vary depending on type of UV lamp system as well as installation. An HVAC contractor or technician would be able to provide costs associated with coil and duct work disinfection.

Final Thoughts on UV lights

Your decision to invest in UV lights will depend on household needs. If your HVAC system is susceptible to molds and mildew, you might need to install UV lighting to eliminate these contaminants.

You will also need to install the UV lights if:

  • Your indoor air quality is deteriorating
  • A member of your family is prone to allergies
  • You want to enhance your home comfort

The UV lights for HVAC can help you address most IAQ issues and enhance your air quality and is the perfect complement for your HVAC filter. However, most homeowners end up not enjoying these benefits due to incorrect DIY installations and poor system maintenance. Utilizing a certified technician to perform these tasks is the best way to ensure optimal results without compromising your unit.

Published by Al Chan September 27, 2021