Your HVAC system connects your whole home so it is important to keep it as clean as possible. Check out our best UV light for an HVAC system.
Your home is your safe place, so of course, you want it to be as clean as possible. Your HVAC (heating, venting, and air conditioning) system connects your entire home and all the air within it. Keeping that air as clean as possible could mean your whole family can breathe easier.
There are different ways to disinfect the systems in your home. There are water filtration systems that can purify the water as it flows into your home, and air filtration systems for your HVAC system. Both are effective and can handle many contaminants, both airborne and water-based, but often you might want a little more protection.
UV light is known to inactivate certain viruses, bacteria, and even mold; three things you definitely don’t want to breathe. These lights are used in health centers and even in air purifiers to enhance indoor air quality.
Keeping Your HVAC System Clean
Likewise, these lights can be placed in your heating and cooling system to protect the air from bacteria, mold, mildew, as well as other toxins and allergens.
Mold and bacteria growing in the HVAC system and circulating through the ductwork can prevent you from having a truly clean home. It can pose a serious threat to people with respiratory problems like COPD and asthma.
While many homeowners assume that the best UV light for HVAC systems is difficult to maintain or too expensive, this is absolutely not the case.
In this guide, we will explain the benefits of using UV light in your heating and cooling system and give you a quick overview of some of the best options currently on the market.
Apart from keeping your HVAC system free from bacteria, mold, and mildew, there are other ways you can use ultraviolet light to keep you and your family safe.
Investing in our Handheld UV Light Sanitizer can help you to inactivate 99.9% of germs, bacteria, and viruses on surfaces, gadgets, and many more.
How A UV Light for HVAC System Works
If you don’t know how ultraviolet light works, it might sound ridiculous to hear that simple “light” destroys microorganisms or bacteria.
Modern UV light for HVAC systems is similar to fluorescent lighting usually found in commercial office buildings.
Both types of lamps have similar shapes and operate by similar electrochemical processes: an electrical discharge through inert gas collides with mercury vapor to produce a photon with a 253.7-nanometer wavelength (commonly known as UV-C).
However, unlike fluorescent lamps, the glass envelope in UV-C lamps is a high-tech transparent glass that allows unfiltered transmission of the 253.7 nm wavelength (fluorescent lamps use ordinary glass coated with phosphorus inside). A typical germicidal UV light for HVAC generates approximately 90% of its energy in the UV-C wavelength. About 4% of its energy is released as heat, and the rest (~5%) is in the visible light range, which is a mid-blue color due to the argon gas in the envelope.
Ultraviolet light of a specific wavelength can react to and destroy the RNA or DNA of a microorganism. The light distorts things so those harmful pathogens can’t multiply, making it deadly against things like the flu or even the E. coli virus.
For a UV-C light to be powerful enough to inactivate bacteria and viruses, it must meet certain criteria. The lethal dose is calculated from the intensity of the light and the exposure time (duration of 9000 hours), with a range for different types of pathogens and microorganisms. Everything from lamp position to wind chill can disrupt kill range.
Are UV Lights for HVAC Systems Worth It?
Installing UV lamps in your HVAC system can purify the air you breathe while reducing energy consumption.
Furnace filters with higher MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) also claim to capture mold spores and even viruses, but they certainly won’t sanitize your HVAC system’s interior.
The drawback of furnace filters with higher MERV ratings is that they can cause a “pressure drop” in your heating and cooling system, resulting in reduced airflow.
Reduced airflow to your HVAC can damage the equipment, reduce its efficiency, and make your home less heated or less cooled.
An HVAC UV light does not replace the need for a furnace filter. Its primary purpose is to inactivate microbes on the surface and in the airflow of your HVAC system.
These benefits extend to many of the reasons why the best UV light for an HVAC system is so wonderful:
- Kills germs, bacteria, and viruses
- Controls mold as well as other allergens
- Eliminates volatile organic compounds
- Reduce bad odors and smells
- Maintains a cleaner HVAC system
- Reduce monthly expenses
- Reduces maintenance efforts
- UV light for HVAC system promotes operational efficiency and healthier living
So how do you know if the UV-C dose is working?
The UV-C Light Intensity Meter comes in handy in this case. This meter provides a digital readout of the UV-C dose delivered to your HVAC system in μW/cm².
It is an ideal tool for commissioning, verifying, and maintaining the operation of 254nm UV-C systems in a wide range of environments, including your heating and cooling system.
This intensity meter verifies that you are delivering a high enough dose of UV-C to inactivate pathogens with the clarity of a digital display that takes the guesswork out of how our UV-C sanitizing systems work.
The Best UV Light for HVAC Systems
If you have always wanted to install a UV device in your HVAC system to combat allergens and microorganisms, you might be in for a surprise
Only a few versions are available, and most are very similar in design. However, finding the best UV light for HVAC system is not easy, even if there are not many options on the market.
In our research, we only found a handful of reputable companies that currently manufacture UV-C light for HVAC systems. There’s not a huge difference between the systems, so things like the build quality and features have a considerable impact on price.
1. Bio-Shield Anti-microbial Protection UV-C Air Sanitizer
The Bio-Shield Antimicrobial Protection UV-C Air Sanitizer is the simplest system on this list.
It can’t eliminate odors, but it’s extremely easy to install. You will need a drill and hole saw, but once you have those two, installation should take less than 15 minutes.
With the mount installed, all you have to do is insert the UV-C lamp. This lamp is a 17-inch UV-C lamp designed and manufactured by Philips.
That means the quality is top-notch, and the company estimates you can save 10-25% with their system.
That’s a nice benefit of this UV-C air freshener, though the real draw lies in its ability to kill allergens, viruses, and bacteria.
If you need a budget-friendly UV-C light for your HVAC system and aren’t ready for a dual-bulb system, this is a great entry-level unit. It has received high marks from consumers on various websites, and it’s hard to ignore the attractive price.
2. Honeywell UV Air Purifier (24V) with AirBRIGHT
The Honeywell UV2400U5000 is a unit with additional technology that is typically less pricey than the dual-bulb system of the company.
A feature called AirBRIGHT is the appeal of this unit that makes it unique from other UV filters. The odor absorption system from Honeywell aims to eliminate odors in your home caused by cooking or pets. Although UV lamps can help eliminate odors caused by bacteria or mold, they won’t help with kitchen odors, which can linger long after the food is eaten.
The AirBRIGHT system is an advantage of the UV2400U5000 and the activated carbon system works well with the SnapLamp.
However, the UV lamp can be used alone and is rated at 16 watts. Honeywell wasn’t as forthcoming with its specifications as other brands, but it is rated for a 99 percent reduction in surface mold.
This device can also remove up to 90% of VOCs under such circumstances.
The UV2400UT5000 is easy to set up thanks to its “snap” technology. It’s designed to be mounted in a supply or return, but like many other versions in this class, it is always on. Replacement parts are available and the lamps are priced similarly to similar UV-C light systems designed for domestic use.
3. Pure Air UV Air Whole House Air Purifier
While the Pure Air R-18D is not that different from the other systems on our list, it would be risky to underestimate it.
This germicidal light is available at a reasonable price and is very effective in small to mid-sized homes.
The R-18D is a dual outlet UV-C air filter. On the back of the ballast are two sockets for a pair of twin-tube UV-C lamps. The device is flat on the mounting side, with a black box covering the circuitry on the exterior.
It is a typical style, but it would be more attractive if it were not for the branding. There are no sensors other than a small power light that show when the UV-C light is on.
It’s rated for heating and cooling systems up to 50 tons and continuously runs as long as it’s plugged in.
The lamps are rated at 253.7 nm and should last 10,000 hours before requiring replacement. The Pure Air UV Air Whole House Air Purifier features a nine-foot power cord that fits into all standard outlets.
4. ODORSTOP OS144PRO1 UV Air Purifier
OdorStop specializes in air quality products, from ozone generators and ventilation devices to UV-C lighting systems.
With nearly a dozen models, they have one of the largest collections of UV air purifiers, including the powerful OdorStop OS144PRO1. While this UV-C air filter doesn’t look particularly unusual from the exterior, it’s designed to house four large UV-C lamps. It contains four 16-inch 36 watt bulbs with a wavelength of 254nm.
Ducts for this filter should be at least 17" deep, although 12" bulbs are also compatible with the OS144PRO1. This 120-volt unit is just as easy to install as other UV-C air purifiers, but it has some unique features.
On the exterior, there’s a row of running lights, a standard off/on switch, and convenient fuse access.
You should not have to remove this unit unless you need to replace a lamp, and it is energy efficient, with a sensor that simply turns on the UV-C light while the device is running.
5. Field Controls UV-18 Air Purification System
Field Controls UV-18 is a UV-C sanitizing system that uses a single lamp.
Although it may not be as effective as systems with two or four bulbs, it is 18 inches long and can easily destroy airborne bacteria, viruses, and mold.
Two key highlights of this ultraviolet-C lamp are its inclined mounting bracket and hinged cover.
This makes it easy to change bulbs, and the design is sealed to keep them secure during use. It has a standard viewing window in the front, but no other notable features.
The durable hinged cover is definitely a reason to consider the UV-18, but we like this system for its affordable price point and reliability.
This unit is rated for homes up to 2,000 square feet. It’s almost indestructible considering you can purchase replacement ballast. This UV-C system is guaranteed by Field Controls for 18 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Size UV Light Do I Need for my HVAC System?
The size of ultraviolet light plays a big role.
This is because the size determines the area it can cover as well as the strength of UV rays it can generate.
Let’s understand this better with an example. Imagine that you have just moved into a new house and you need to turn on the light in the living room. Now, the first thing to consider is the size of your room.
The light you buy for your living room depends entirely on the size of the room. If your hall room is large and you purchase a small light, the light won’t light the room well. It will look dark and gloomy. If the room is small and you purchase a large light, it will be too bright and your eyes may start to hurt from the glare. The concept is quite similar when purchasing a UV lamp.
It is therefore essential to have the right size of light. For HVAC system UV light, the size depends on the size of your heating and cooling unit. If it is a small device, such as a split air conditioner or a mid-sized heater, a mid-sized UV light is sufficient.
However, if it is a large system, such as a central cooling or heating system, it is better to have a large one. The idea is that the light will cover the area where the mold will grow.
So, first, look at the area where the mold will grow, then buy something that covers that area appropriately.
Where Should I Install UV Light in HVAC?
Consult with an HVAC technician and decide on the best and most efficient place to install UV lamps in your heating and cooling system. There are ideally 2 places in your system where you can install them:
Coil UV Lamps - Located on the Inner Coil
Central air conditioners have indoor air handling systems that contain a coil. Often, this can be a breeding ground for mold, as condensation typically collects on the coil. You can install the lights directly on the coil so that the UV lights shine on it continuously to prevent mold growth.
Ductwork UV Lights
Ductwork ultraviolet lights, also known as air germicidal HVAC lights, are designed to inactivate pollutants and allergens that pass through your return air vents. These lights are hardwired into the system and coordinated with the blower motor, meaning they turn on and off with it. These lamps are more expensive.
When shopping for the best UV lights for your HVAC system, make sure they emit UV-C light, which is most effective at killing germs and preventing fungal growth.
Installing it in the correct place in the ducting or air conditioning system will ensure efficient performance.
Although UV lamps can be useful for people who live in humid areas or those with serious health problems, they should be used alongside an air filter.
Additionally, we encourage you to invest in our Handheld UV Light Sanitizer as the best UV light for HVAC systems is not suitable for disinfecting surfaces, gadgets, toothbrushes, remote controls, doorknobs and many more.
Our Handheld UV Light Sanitizer effectively and almost instantly decontaminates surfaces from viruses, bacteria, pathogens, and mold. Just wave the “magic wand” and germs will be removed from hundreds of surfaces we touch every day.