The air contains more than 1,800 types of bacteria, according to a journal finding published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. When chemicals and biological contaminants enter a home, they diminish indoor air quality and can negatively impact respiratory health. Ultraviolet (UV) purification lights have been found effective in creating a healthier home environment.
How Ultraviolet Light Destroys Bacteria
Hospitals and other health facilities have utilized ultraviolet lights to clean and contaminated rooms for many years. The three main types of UV rays include UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVC light has the shortest wavelength and therefore emits the highest amount of energy. Powerful UVC lights are able to destroy the molecular bonds that bind the DNA of bacteria and viruses, thus destroying these pathogens. What makes ultraviolet lights so popular is that they can effectively kill germs without the use of toxic chemicals. They are even effective in destroying newly-emerging strains of pathogens.
Today, UV lights can be purchased for use in homes and businesses. When UV lights are properly positioned within an HVAC system, they are able to help kill harmful microorganisms and purify the air. In a 2012 study conducted by researchers at Duke University Medical Center, the use of ultraviolet light was found effective in eliminating drug-resistant bacteria in 50 hospital rooms while also reducing the number of bacteria by more than 97 percent. Air UV lights can be installed in the ductwork to kill microorganisms as air is returned to the system, or in indoor AC coil units, eliminating germs where they are most likely to develop.
Biological Contaminants In Dirty HVAC Systems
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average home may contain biological contaminants like animal dander, house dust, cockroach droppings, mites, pollen and mice and rat urine. While air filters used in furnaces and air conditioning units are effective at filtering out the bulk of these contaminants, it can be challenging to control the buildup of pollutants over time. People and animals can carry biological pollutants into a home where they can then become airborne. HVAC systems can also become breeding grounds for contaminants when not properly maintained.
Some of the most common biological contaminants found in dirty HVAC systems include:
- Mold – Exposure to mold can cause health issues like throat irritation, eye irritation, nasal stuffiness, wheezing, coughing, and certain skin irritations. Allergic reactions can also develop in certain people.
- Bacteria – While some bacteria are harmless, others can damage cells, invade and damage tissues and contribute to infections in the body.
- Viruses – Viruses are capable of attacking cells in the body, creating infections that damage the respiratory system, liver or blood.
- Allergens – Allergens can cause uncomfortable symptoms like itchy skin, facial swelling, rash and wheezing, and in serious cases, a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Chemicals That Get Trapped In HVAC Systems
Daily activities like cooking and the use of household cleaners can significantly reduce the air quality of a home. The release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as those from paints, aerosol sprays, pesticides, craft supplies, and moth repellents, is also a major concern as some VOCs are believed to be carcinogens. UV purification lights are capable of destroying these harmful chemicals to create a purer environment. Installing UV purification lights helps to eliminate harmful contaminants and chemicals as they pass through the system. Some of the most common chemicals and contaminants that get trapped in HVAC systems include:
- Pet Odors – Pet odors in the home are not only unpleasant but can also be dangerous. Pet accidents, particularly pet urine, can act as an irritant to the lungs. Ammonia fumes from pet urine can cause irritation to the throat, nose, and lungs.
- Cooking Smells – Cooking can produce odors that linger in the air for hours. When food is smoked or burned, microscopic particles can attach to nearby surfaces causing the smell to stick around longer.
- Toxic VOCs – Breathing VOCs can damage the central nervous system and other organs, as well as irritate the eyes, throat, and nose.
- Particles Carried in Air Currents – Dirt, dust, pollen, dander, and other particles can become airborne, posing health hazards to those who breathe them in.
Install UV Purification Today With Cool Works
There are many different ways that home and business owners can maintain good indoor air quality, such as by opening windows, cleaning with non-toxic chemicals, using houseplants as décor, replacing air filters regularly, and using alternative methods like beeswax candles which act as natural air purifiers. Installing UV purification lights can be an added way to improve indoor air quality by removing harmful biological contaminants and airborne chemicals. To learn more about how UV purification lights can make indoor air healthier or to have UV purification lights installed, reach out to the HVAC professionals at Cool Works Co.