Ultraviolet Lights: Good News for Controlling a Multitude of Microorganisms
Many people across the country are becoming concerned with every aspect of their health, and it's important to remember that your home's indoor air quality also deserves some of this attention. There are a number of solutions to microorganisms floating in your air, from ventilation to better filters, but ultraviolet lights just may prove to be the perfect answer. What exactly are these lights and how do they help make you and your family healthier? That's what we're here to explore.
The dangers of microorganisms
You probably don't want to even think of microscopic pollutants floating around your home. But it's a truth that you must face, because even if you can't see them, trust us: they're everywhere. And they'll get into your lungs without you even knowing it.
Therein likes the real danger. Microorganisms in your air, which run the gamut from bacteria and viruses to mold spores and dust mites, can easily be inhaled into your lungs. Even if you're a relatively healthy person, this can cause severe respiratory problems to develop over time. For those already suffering from allergies, asthma or other breathing issues, the danger increases exponentially.
Why ultraviolet lights are effective
When you think of ultraviolet lights, the dangers of exposure probably spring immediately to mind. After all, too much UV radiation can cause damage to our skin, sometimes even resulting in skin cancer. Of course, we have ways of protecting ourselves that range from sunscreen to sunglasses, and beyond.
Microorganisms, of course, don't have the ability to protect themselves. Which is bad news for them, because they are extremely susceptible. When UV rays hit these pollutants, they immediately penetrate the cell structure and begin breaking down the molecular bonds that keep them together. Once that's done, the offending microorganisms are rendered inert, unable to cause respiratory problems at that point.
How ultraviolet lights clean your air
The installation of UV lights is done inside your HVAC equipment. They can be placed at either the site of the induct coil or evaporator coil. Typically, the induct coil is preferred. This placement provides two advantages. First, it protects anyone in your home from being exposed to the rays unintentionally, so you never have to worry about any dangers inherent in UV radiation. Second, the site of the induct coil is susceptible to the proliferation of pollutants, which the UV lights can take care of more effectively.
UV lights clean your air with the help of your HVAC system. As you're no doubt aware, whenever your HVAC system is switched on, air is drawn through your ductwork so that it can be conditioned and distributed throughout your home. This air carries with it a number of microorganisms. When these particles pass in range of the ultraviolet lights, they're taken care of. This process will happen even if you simply set your unit to its fan setting, and is able to get rid of a large portion of the harmful microorganisms in your home.
New ultraviolet lights use less energy
The use of UV lights has always been an effective way to get microorganisms under control. If there has been one negative about these systems, however, it's the energy that's been used to allow them to operate effectively. The problem is that they were designed with only one strength setting. And since this isn't a system you simply switch on and off as needed, this intensity eats up energy very quickly, especially since it's on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So while there are fewer pollutants in the air, that has come at a cost every month.
Newer technology, however, has put an end to this problem. Or, at the very least, curtailed it quite a bit. Newer ultraviolet lights range in intensity, designed to only hit the strength needed to get rid of the pollutants that are in the air at any given time. This is done by analyzing the air and switching the light's intensity accordingly. If there is a large concentration of microorganisms, the intensity is strong. If not, it's weaker. This allows the system to still do its job while using less overall energy.
For more expert advice on the use of UV lights to control microorganisms in your home, or for any other questions concerning home comfort, contact the friendly professionals at Griffith Energy Services, Inc. We serve the HVAC needs of Baltimore, Frederick, Hagerstown, Manassas, Westminster and Easton in Maryland, plus Dover, Delaware, and Martinsburg, West Virginia.
Written by Scott Haley