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Air Conditioning • Energy Audits

Do you need an Ultra-Violet light?

Do you need an Ultra-Violet light?

This is one of the more common questions we receive here at our Sarasota AC repair company, Green Cooling Solutions.

Our most common response is a simple no.

But it is important to understand what a UV-C light will do and will not do, along with the maintenance costs associated with UV lights.

UV Light Purpose
UV-C light will stop microbial growth from occurring on a surface area if the UV-C light is shining directly on that surface area with sufficient dosage (time and intensity). In applications where sufficient residence times exist, such as on stationary surfaces, it is possible and practical to even deliver a ‘killing’ dose of UV energy to the organism. However, delivering a sufficient dosage of UV energy to bacteria and fungi, especially those in spore form, while moving through an A/C duct system is difficult and in most cases impossible. Often times, unscrupulous AC companies and technicians will sell UV light systems as an “air cleaner” for the air passing through your homes duct system. That sort of “air cleaning” benifit is simply without any scientific merit.

UV Light Used for Maintenance
Over the last few years, the claimed value and benefits of UV lights have moved away from health benefits to keeping equipment clean and maintaining HVAC system efficiency. Based on the independent scientific data available at this time, the general consensus is that the ability of UV-C light to maintain system efficiency is generally overstated and has not been validated through third-party testing.

UV Light Maintenance Cost
Before purchasing a UV light system, a homeowner should be made aware of the maintenance costs associated with a UV light system. The bulbs need to be changed every year or two depending on the brand and an average HVAC contractor will charge several hundred dollars to do this. After the initial investment into a UV light system you may have another $2000.00 in maintenance costs over the next ten years. This information is often left out during the sales presentation.

Our Conclusion
UV light systems can be beneficial in certain scenarios, as long as the consumer has reasonable expectations and a clear understanding of what a UV light system will and will not do. And the careful sizing of lamps for surface irradiation and the shielding of materials in the vicinity of the lamps, specifically, electrical wiring and circuit boards is imperative. Green Cooling Solutions cautions owners who allow technicians to install UV lights in their systems to work with the original equipment manufacturer to make sure the personal safety and equipment reliability risks are managed. Also, to receive the expected value from the UV light system, the end-user must fully understand the maintenance requirements of the system, which includes periodic lamp cleaning and replacement, and the environmentally responsible disposal of the discarded lamps due to their mercury