UV Lighting and Indoor Air Quality – TMT

Video Transcript

With people returning to the office, kids going back to school, and others remaining in their residential buildings, everyone is concerned about keeping shared spaces safe. One solution you may be hearing about is UV radiation in air ducts to improve indoor air quality and kill germs.

If you’re getting questions on this or it’s something you may be looking into in the near future, then this Two-Minute Tuesday video is for you. We’re going to talk about 3 things you need to know before looking into UV solutions.

1) Does it work?

The first thing you need to know is, does it work?

And the short answer is: yes. The right type of UV lighting can kill many germs, bacteria, and viruses. It can even help with mold spores and odors in the air.

Now according to the FDA, UV radiation — specifically UVC — has been shown to destroy proteins in other coronaviruses, ultimately leading to deactivation of the virus. Early findings support that it could be equally effective for COVID-19.

Which takes us to the second thing you need to know.

2) Not all UV lights are the same, and not all UV radiation is the same.

While UVA and UVB can kill some germs and bacteria, there is a specific wavelength of UVC that was used to successfully inactivate other coronaviruses, such as H1N1 and SARS.

Enough exposure to UVC-254 damages DNA so viruses can’t replicate. However, direct exposure is also dangerous to people, damaging both skin and eyes. This is why the strongest equipment has been used in medical applications for years, and why it’s installed in air ducts and not in the lobby.

When you’re evaluating UV lights themselves, make note of the type of UV (A, B, or C) and check the light rating. That’s an indication of its effectiveness.

Overall, the effectiveness is based on dose and duration, so power is important. Handheld wands, for example, have a very low dose, and it’s not enough to immediately damage a bacteria or virus. This means it would take prolonged exposure in order to render a virus inactive.

3) Work with an HVAC professional.

The last and most important point: this is NOT a DIY upgrade. You need to work with a professional.

You can buy lights on your own, and in some applications it may seem like an easy install. But there are a lot of ramifications throughout your building that can easily be overlooked. If adequate adjustments are not made to your HVAC system, you can overwork existing equipment or cause condensation issues throughout the entire building.

Be sure to consult an HVAC professional. They can:

  • Tell you whether your current HVAC system can handle UV radiation,
  • Identify the best types of lights that will work with your existing system, and
  • Make the necessary adjustments after they have been installed.

 

These are just a few quick things you should know in case you’re asked about UV lighting. Our November webinar will dive deeper into this topic. So if you’re getting questions or have further questions yourself, please share them in the comments section below, and we’ll be sure to address them in that webinar.

Take care, and thanks for watching!

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