It’s been around 100 years since it was discovered that ultraviolet light can kill mold and germs. Ever since this discovery was made, people have used UV lights for all kinds of purposes – going from sterilizing hospitals to helping nail polish cure faster. However, many people nowadays use it to improve the air quality of their HVAC system – to make the air more breathable. It can be fairly difficult to find the best UV light for HVAC – as each person has different needs.
For this reason, we have brought together a few UV lights for HVAC reviews, just so that you can make your selection easier. Each product is unique in its own regard – some items are more suitable for small houses, others are more convenient for larger houses. Depending on your needs, you may choose the one that suits your purposes the most.
UV Light for HVAC – The Basics
Think about it: whenever your air conditioner is on, it filters the air in and out at all points. Sometimes, moisture can also get into your air conditioning system – causing mold to grow. This mold can lead to a lot of conditions caused by bacteria, viruses, and different fungi.
However, it has been discovered that UV lights can shine light at a frequency necessary to destroy these contaminants. When installed in your HVAC system, they can purify the air and make it easier for you to breathe.
The reason why UV light is so effective has everything to do with its wavelength, in most cases. When a specific range of 260-270nm is touched upon, the light is interrupted, causing its DNA to break down. This permanently destroys their replication abilities, along with their performance of vital cellular processes.
It can be a rather costly investment – but it will certainly prove to be one that is worth the money.
Reasons for Using UV Lights for Your HVAC
To put things as plainly as possible, you need UV lights on your HVAC in order to kill the mold. As mentioned, when the DNA of an organism gets damaged by the UV light, it no longer “remembers” the instructions that the cells have to build more proteins. As a result, that organism will die, and also will not be able to reproduce.
Their reproduction is further enhanced when the microorganisms are placed in damp, dark places. Once the UV light will shine on the ductwork, that environment will no longer become available to the microorganisms and allergens.
As a result, you need UV lights for your HVAC system to protect your ductwork – and to protect your health. Various studies have shown us that UV light can efficiently reduce the air germ contamination in the air, preventing the apparition of serious health conditions such as:
- Allergic rhinitis
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
- Cancer after being exposed to mycotoxins
- Acute toxicosis
Once installed in your body, these diseases might be rather difficult to handle. This is why you need UV lights in your HVAC systems: to ensure that these problems are kept at bay and do not lead to a lifelong condition. Unless you invest in a proper window insulation kit and overall keep your home safe from moisture, you might want to consider investing in a UV light system for your HVAC.
Understanding the Benefits and Drawbacks of HVAC UV Lights
Each AC product, from the HVAC gauge to the HVAC UV lights, will have its own benefits and drawbacks. It is your responsibility to find out what they are, so that you may see whether the investment is actually worth it or not. Granted, in most cases, the advantages outweigh the drawbacks – but you still want to be well informed. Here are some benefits of HVAC UV lights;
Going for the Benefits
Investing in a UV light system for your HVAC is a great way to ensure that the air inside your home is free of pathogens and that it is healthy and breathable. If you have not been convinced already, here are some of the benefits that you might want to keep in mind:
Considering that UV rays have the ability to exterminate viruses and bacteria, the chances of you coming into contact with a pathogen in your home are very low.
Let’s say, for instance, that someone catches a cold in your home. The bacteria released by a simple cough or a sneeze can stay alive for up to 45 minutes – making it very easy for you to catch whatever contagious disease your housemate has.
However, since UV lights will catch the pathogens released by sneezes and coughs, it will make it much more difficult for you to catch anything. This will keep you healthy and the environment safe.
By installing a UV light for HVAC, you will be cleansing the air of fungi and other related pathogens that are responsible for allergies. If you have an air conditioning system and you still seem to suffer from allergy or asthma attacks, you might want to consider adding a UV light system as well.
Tired of playing “what’s that smell”? Your house seems to have a musky, unpleasant odor and you have no idea where exactly it’s coming from? Well, we have some bad news for you – the chances are that it might be coming from your air conditioning system and the circulating air is only making things worse.
The bad odors may be circulated through your home by the HVAC system – all of which may be the result of a microbe congregation from within your air conditioner. As a result, if you destroy these microbes that cause the unwanted smells, your house will be smelling fresh at all times and you will no longer have the need to constantly deodorize every room.
Before you panic when thinking about costs, here is some food for thought: UV lights for HVAC systems are actually very low maintenance. Due to their minimal usage of electricity, they feature a low annual running cost, allowing you to save a fair amount of money. It is certainly a much better option that costs less than the fuel used with a propane generator, for example, even if it is a whole-house generator.
Replacing the bulbs is also very affordable and reasonable – pretty much every utility shop should have them. Plus, it will save you on the maintenance money that you would otherwise have to pay in order to clean off the algae growth found on the coils.
Considering the Drawbacks
There are indeed a number of benefits that come with installing a UV light system in your HVAC, but you also need to consider the drawbacks. For some, these drawbacks might be quite insignificant – but for others, they will make quite the difference. Here is what you need to understand about these UV lights:
AC system damage
Some of the materials found in the ductwork or within the AC unit might be highly sensitive to UV light and might undertake damage as time passes. Non-UV stabilized plastic items, in particular, might be highly sensitive, and they usually take the most wear. Check your flex ducts and rain pans in particular and see whether they are susceptible to become damaged by UV lights or not.
They need to run 24/7
Sometimes, the UV lights need to be on at all times – whereas other times they will only have to be turned on when the air conditioning is running. For example, if the UV lights have been fitted in the air handler, they should be on at all times – whereas those that are placed inside the ductwork will only have to be on while the AC is running.
The problem is that not many of these models come with the option to be turned on and off. However, you may find a skilled electrician to fix this problem for you – to activate the lights only when the fans are activated. This may involve some extra costs, though, so you may want to consider all of your options or at least purchase the right product.
Best UV Lights for HVAC Comparison Chart
Bio-Shield UV-C Air Sanitizer System
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OdorStop UV Air Treatment System (OS72)
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Honeywell RUVLAMP1/C UV Air Treatment System
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D200 Air Purifier Whole House UV Light in Duct for HVAC
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The UV Light Store Pure UV Light AIR Purifier for AC HVAC
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Air Care UV Air Purifier UV LIGHT for AC HVAC
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Best UV Lights for HVAC – (Newest Models)
1. Bio-Shield UV-C Air Sanitizer System
Quality is rather difficult to come across these days, but this system is a top-notch one. Once installed, it will kill more than your average mold and mildew bacteria. This unit will work against airborne irritants, including pet hair and dust mites – making it perfect for those that have breathing problems like asthma.
Plus, unlike other UV lights that put your AC system in danger, this one actually improves its efficiency. Since it continuously cleans through the drain pan and the coils, the result is not only improved air quality but a longer-living AC system as well.
It’s fairly easy to install the UV light system – and it does not take any more than the standard steps. For all intents and purposes, it should be done in a few minutes – and the emitting blue light should tell you that everything is just fine.
- Very easy to install
- Efficient against a variety of airborne microbes
- Energy efficient
- Might be rather weak in humid climates
2. OdorStop UV Air Treatment System (OS72)
If you need a more professional UV light that works with most standard HVAC systems, then you may want to give this one a try. Featuring two light bulbs, with each of them giving off 32 watts, this one is perfect if you have really bad mold problems.
It is also very efficient if you have a musky smell in your home, as this one has the ability to eliminate odors as well. That being said, this product can easily handle odor-causing microorganisms, mildew, mold, viruses, as well as dandruff caused by pets and other allergens.
If you have children in your home or elderly people to take care of, this model is also highly efficient. Plus, it features a very easy installation process – one that even includes picture directions, to make things easier for you.
- 2-year limited warranty
- Very powerful sanitizing process
- Very easy to use and install
- Bulb mating may be rather troublesome
3. Honeywell RUVLAMP1/C UV Air Treatment System
Honeywell has always been very reliable when it comes to delivering quality performance in regard to cleaning household air. With the ability to kill up to 70% of the bacteria that pass through the AC system, this one is perfect for people with asthma and other respiratory issues.
This product comes with a fair number of safety issues. Its most notable one is the sealed design, which prevents direct contact with the UV rays and the voltage. For this reason, it is perfect if you live in a house with children and pets.
The bulbs are very easily removed, as all it will take is a simple twist. The installation process is also pretty intuitive – and the steps for doing so are also included in the package.
- The sealed design makes it completely safe
- Very easy to install
- Highly efficient in killing off most airborne bacteria
- The bulbs do not last as much as they claim
4. D200 Air Purifier Whole House UV Light in Duct for HVAC
If you want something that is environmentally-friendly and completely ozone-free, then you might want to take this one into account. Not only can it contribute to your reduction goals in the global carbon footprint, but it is also very efficient in killing off germs.
This is all thanks to its 14-inch germicidal bulb that puts out 253.7nm – it also features magnets. It is more than you need to kill off the most common pathogens and to clean off the air.
Equipped with a 120VAC power supply, this one is also energy efficient. It cuts your utility costs – allowing you to save on both money and health in the long run. It is also very easy to install, which many people consider a plus.
- Very easy to install
- Environmentally friendly
- May give off a burning plastic smell
5. The UV Light Store Pure UV Light AIR Purifier for AC HVAC
If you are looking for a UV light for HVAC systems that is very easy to install, then this is the one that you should go for. Among all air sanitizers, this one is preferred by most people.
Using a regular 120 power supply, this product is not only energy-efficient, but it also does not need anything fancy to work with. That being said, it is very effective when it comes to removing bacteria, mold, and various different allergens – eliminating the odors in the process as well.
The unit is also fairly lightweight, which means that it will not weigh down on your AC system. It is also ozone-free, making it perfect if you’re concerned about the environment.
- Efficient and durable design
- Straightforward installation process
- Very efficient at killing off mold and bacteria
- The warranty is rather small
- The light bulbs do not last for long
6. Air Care UV Air Purifier UV LIGHT for AC HVAC
Some people do not like having to continuously replace light bulbs – which is exactly why this unit is actually so convenient. Featuring a 13,000-hour lifespan, you’ll go a long way before having to concern yourself with a replacement.
Featuring two light bulbs that have less than 25 watts in their output, this model is energy-efficient. Plus, replacements are very easy to be found when the need asks for it.
The installation is quite straightforward, only taking about 15 minutes of your time. Plus, everything that you need to install this in your air conditioning system has already been included in the package. All you have to do is follow the installation steps.
- Minimalist and compact design
- Energy efficient
- Straightforward installation
- Kills 99% of airborne pathogens
- Some users do not like its design
7. OdorStop UV Air Treatment System (OS36)
Once more, if you need a professional UV light system that can be installed on most HVACs, then you might want to give this one a try. Featuring one 16-inch light bulb that delivers 36 watts, this one is very strong when it comes to cleaning the air and killing off most known airborne pathogens.
This one is particularly efficient when it comes to removing odor-causing bacteria. Therefore, if your house smells like mold, pets, or other bothersome stagnant smells, this one has the ability to remove those odors.
The product is also very easy to install. It should take somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes, depending on your experience – but even if you haven’t installed these kinds of UV lights before, it should be easily done. All you have to do is follow the instructions.
- Very easy to install
- Replacement bulbs are readily available
- Very efficient when it comes to removing odors in homes
- Some users have complained about the unit’s durability
Top Things to Consider about UV Lights for HVAC
Purchasing a set of UV lights for your HVAC is not very easy to do – at least not if you do not conduct your research first. Each UV light system is unique in its own regard, which is why you need to ensure that you only purchase the right one for your home. Overall, here are the main factors that you might want to keep in mind:
UV-C Output Power
Not every UV light has the same power – and some cheaper options might actually have only a very small UV-C output power. While this might be efficient in small cases of mold spread – those where the mold is only in the incipient stage, in one room – it will not be as efficient if the mold went into the air ducts of multiple rooms.
However, the UV light of your choice should be powerful enough to wipe out the fungus, bacteria, viruses, mold, and mildew from your air ducts. It should be able to remove each and every microbe – regardless of how widespread everything is. This is why you should conduct a “review” of the situation in your air ducts, to know exactly how strong your UV-C output power should be.
At this point, you want to make sure that your air remains clean and breathable. It is why you are probably using a UV light for your HVAC in the first place. This is why it might be counter-productive to buy something that cleans the air on one end – and pollutes it with ozone on the other end.
In this regard, you might want to ensure that the UV light system that you use is ozone free, as it will prevent irreversible damage –while improving the aesthetics of your home. Ozone production can actually damage and corrode through the surface of your AC system, reducing its efficiency.
In the end, if you purchase an ozone-free purifier, you will have two wins: first, you will contribute to the reduction of the carbon footprint. Second, you will increase your HVAC system’s lifespan. It won’t be cheap, but at least you will know that it serves a good purpose.
Cost and Ease of Installation
When you buy a new system of UV lights for your HVAC, the last thing that you want is to struggle with its installation. In all regards, it should be very easy to install. Ideally, you should look for products that have extras such as installation guides and magnetic brackets. The UV light system should also have all the accessories necessary for you to install it – including the template, screws, and aluminum tape.
All things considered, all these should be found at a price that is relatively affordable. You should not have to pay an arm and a leg for a good product – and it should be possible for you to get a set that fits right within your budget.
We may say that money does not matter to us “as long as we are healthy.” However, when the energy bill comes through and we see how much we have to pay, things no longer seem as pink and beautiful. We’d end up turning on the UV light less and less to save power – which will give the mold every chance to form.
This is why you should look for an HVAC system that does not consume such a high amount of power. In most cases, this will depend on the way the manufacturer designs that product. Some will feature a titanium oxide reflector – whereas others will use zinc ion technology.
Similarly, some UV light systems will feature 9-watt light bulbs, whereas others will have 18-watt light bulbs and above. Each of them consumes a different amount of power – and depending on your monthly budget, you should choose the one that you believe you will afford.
The UV Wavelength
This feature will allow you to identify precisely the effect of the light on the microbes from the air. UV light features a wide spectrum in regard to wavelengths, which also affects the effectiveness when it comes to getting rid of the viruses, bacteria, as well as other organic particles that may be responsible for odor development.
As tempting as it might be to look for higher wavelengths, as it might give the impression of more coverage, you may want to look for the ones with lower wavelengths instead. These will be the ones to provide optimal performance, as their activity will be more concentrated.
The UV light system that you choose for your HVAC system should be able to produce a decent quantity of hydroxyls, along with a fair quantity of negative ions. These are necessary not only for the cleaning of the air but also for circulating it through your home. It will ensure that the clean air reaches as wide a surface as possible.
Light Bulb Replacement
Light bulbs do not last forever; eventually, they will burn out and will have to be replaced. This applies to UV lamps as well, and when a light bulb goes out – another one will have to go in. Considering that this might occur every so often, you do not want to go for models that are very difficult to install.
As such, you might want to look for light bulb mechanisms that are simple to operate – ideally, with a twist-in/twist-out method. These replacement bulbs must be easy to find on the market – and in order to make things easier for you, some manufacturers even include replacements bulbs in their original kits.
UV Lights for HVAC – What Type Should You Choose?
When it comes to types of UV lights for your HVAC system, there are two options that you might want to research into – and these are air sterilization and coil sterilization. Both types use different systems to sterilize the air.
This complete UV light unit will be responsible for sterilizing moving air. You will be installing the UV light unit inside the return air duct – and the cycle will go on together with the air blower. This will function only for as long as you have turned your air conditioner on.
This one is a “stick type” of light that you install inside the return air duct, near the HVAC vacuum pump – sterilizing the air handler coil this way. A coil sterilization type of HVAC will work non-stop and is likely the most common type of UV that you will come across. It is also among the most reasonably priced options, which is why you might want to go for this one if you are shopping on a budget. Also, you may be interested in our air conditioner coil cleaner reviews.
Step by Step Installation of the HVAC UV Lights
If you know what you are supposed to do, then installing UV lights should be easy to do. Ideally, you should have an expert install these for you – but if you do your research and you have the basic practice, it should not be hard to go through with the entire process. If you think that you have learned all you need to know before installing UV lights for HVAC system, you should proceed. The method of installation may differ from model to model – but in most cases, the rules are fairly similar to one another.
Cut an Opening
For the UV lights to be fitted, you will need to prepare a place for them. Begin by cutting an opening that is slightly larger than the base of the UV light. Make sure that it’s not too large, but not too small either.
Insert the UV Light Housing
Insert the UV light housing, and then mark the holes that you need for fixing the screws. You may use the template that has been provided to mark those holes and then drill into them.
Connect the Lights
Before you position the UV light housing, pass the connecting lead. Once you do that, finish by inserting the screws.
Close the Opening
The next step here would be to fix the UV probes and then close the opening of the duct. Use a tin sheet that you seal using duct tape.
Connect to the Electrical Outlets
This is the step that might actually need the help of a skilled electrician. Otherwise, you might be exposed to electrical hazards if you do not know what you are doing. Here, you will have to connect the UV lights to the standard electric outlet and then switch the system on. Make sure to adjust the thermostat setting to auto before you do so.
FAQ & Answers about HVAC UV Lights
- I have children and pets. Will these UV lights pose any danger to them?
Direct contact with UV light can indeed be fairly dangerous to children and pets – particularly since they do not know how to steer clear from it. However, HVAC UV lighting goes inside the HVAC system – which means that kids and pets won’t be able to get into that area. As a result, the only organisms that will actually be in danger are the microbes and the germs – which is precisely what the UV light is targeting.
- Can I purify the air even if the air conditioner is off?
Yes, you should be able to purify the air, even if the air conditioner is off. But in most cases, this depends on the model that you purchase. For instance, while some models function only non-stop, others only work along with your air conditioner.
Similarly, some UV light systems come with a switch, whereas others do not. If you need to purify the air of germs even when the AC is not running, then you either want to buy a model that runs non-stop or one that has a switch.
- How often do I have to replace the UV lights?
UV lights will have to be replaced after one or two years – and this is a time span that is generally written on the product description. Granted, some of these products might still glow even after that time has passed but they will no longer be as effective. It may look like the lamp is burning off the microbes, but in fact, it is not doing much in that regard.
- Does the light need to be on 24 hours a day?
This depends on how predisposed to mold and mildew your home is. To keep things on the safe side, you might want to ensure that the light is on at all times. However, if mold is not really an issue for you, you may turn it on only when the fans are on as well. This way, when the air is being circulated, the traveling microorganisms will die once they get closer to the light.
When it comes to the air that we breathe, we should never think twice about trying to improve it. This is why we should invest in the best UV light for HVAC systems, as it will certainly improve the air quality in every home. Allergies and respiratory issues should be but a distant memory – one that has been solved by UV lights.
Hopefully, our UV light for HVAC reviews has proven to be useful to you. Along with our tips on how to pick the best product, you may use them to purchase only the product that is most suitable for you. We have chosen the ones that feature the highest rating so that you only experience quality – along with clean air in your home.
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