Do Furnace UV Lights Really Work? A Detailed Analysis


UV lights have become trendy for HVAC systems. Do they really work? Let’s check out the facts.

Do Furnace UV Lights Really Work

Do furnace UV lights really work?

Furnace UV lights are an awesome addition to HVAC systems. Their sanitizing and purifying properties are superb.

They emit ultraviolet radiation that kills germs, bacteria, viruses, mold spores, and fungi. Plus, they neutralize harmful compounds that can cause respiratory issues and odors. 

Types of UV Lights and Their Benefits for HVAC Systems

HVAC UV lights 

It Kills bacteria, viruses, and fungi on air handler coils, reducing the risk of respiratory issues.

UVGI systems provide enhanced air purification, reduced energy consumption, and extended lamp lifetime. 

There are three main types of UVGI systems:

In-duct UVGI lampsInstalled in ducts to continuously sterilize the air as it passes through.
Coil Sterilization Units (CSUs)Placed near the evaporator coil to destroy microbial growth and contamination.
Upper-Room UVGI LampsEmit UV lights at a higher intensity, killing microorganisms without harming people in the room.

Air sanitizing UV lights 

It cleans air of harmful compounds, pet dander, and odors, and improves indoor air quality. Not all UV light models are the same. Some may increase HVAC energy costs. 

Install correctly for best performance. Maintenance includes bulb replacement and cleaning.

UV lights are like a tanning bed for your HVAC system – zapping away bacteria and mold, leaving fresh air.

There are two types of air sanitizing lights –

  • Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) 
  • Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO)

UVGI works by emitting UV light at 254 nm wavelength, which breaks down microorganism DNA. 

PCO combines UV light with a photocatalyst to create ions that bond with pollutants like smoke, dust and pollen.

These lights are installed inside ductwork or on HVAC units‘ air handler coils, in different sizes depending on the space. 

Coil sanitizing lights

UVC lights come in three types – low intensity, medium intensity, and high intensity. 

Low intensity

Low-intensity UVC lights emit 5-15μW/cm² and are best suited for small-scale residential use.

Medium intensity

Medium-intensity UVC lights emit 20-40μW/cm² and are most commonly used in commercial buildings. 

High intensity

High-intensity UVC lamps emit over 100µW/cm² and are used in large-scale systems that require high-level disinfection such as hospitals and laboratories.

Hospitals often use both high- and low-intensity lamps for comprehensive disinfection. It’s also important to consider the light’s position relative to the coils’ location.

How do UV lights work?

UV lights in your HVAC system emit ultraviolet radiation which sanitizes the air, coils and drain pan

This kills bacteria, viruses, mold spores, and fungi, reducing respiratory issues such as asthma and odors.

An experienced technician is needed for the installation, but the investment is worth it. 

Improved energy efficiency and reduced risk of mold growth are the rewards. Hospitals and commercial buildings have been using UVGI systems for years.

Various types of UV bulbs exist, each with unique models and costs. Installation may be pricey, but long-term energy savings could be surprising

Benefits of installing UV lights in HVAC systems

To improve the air quality in your home in addition to keeping the AC running efficiently, you might want to consider installing UV lights in your HVAC system.

Air sanitizing and sterilization

Clean air is essential in today’s world. Sanitizing and sterilizing the air with UV lights in HVAC systems is a great way to achieve this.

UV-C lights are great for killing bacteria and viruses, neutralizing microbes, and improving air quality. 

They can also remove finer particles, which are invisible to the naked eye.

Installing UV lights won’t affect energy efficiency or maintenance costs of your HVAC system.

In fact, it can extend the lifespan of other indoor equipment like ductwork and AC coils by preventing mold buildup.

It’s important to take certain precautions when installing these lamps, as some people may be sensitive to light irradiation.

Coil sterilization

Here’s a 6-step guide to sterilize the coil using UV light.

Prepare Turn off the power for safety. Wear protective gear, like gloves & goggles.
CleanUse a brush or compressed air to clear dirt.
InspectCheck for corrosion, damage, & leaks.
Install Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing UV lights.
MonitorRegularly check for changes after using UV lighting.
MaintainConduct regular cleaning & maintenance.

Mold and bacteria prevention

UV lights in HVAC systems are totally transforming the way we breathe in healthy air indoors. 

With the fear of viruses, bacteria and mold growth, HVAC specialists suggest UV lights to keep the air fresh and sterile within homes, offices, etc.

The big perk of installing UV lights is that it prevents mold and bacteria. The unique wavelength of this lighting tech helps eradicate any microorganisms in the HVAC system or on nearby surfaces. 

By getting rid of mold spores and bacteria colonies, it ensures hygienic airflow throughout the building.

UV lights also reduce the need for maintenance services for the HVAC system. When moisture accumulates inside, mold will grow. 

But with UV lights, no need for constant cleaning or replacing parts since they stay mold-free.

If you’re getting UV lights for your HVAC system, here are three tips:

  1. Buy a high-quality product from a supplier that specializes in HVAC.
  2. Get expert advice on optimal positioning angles for maximum efficiency.
  3. Schedule regular maintenance checks every few months.

Improved indoor air quality

Air pollution is on the rise, so improving indoor air quality has become a must. 

Installing UV lights in HVAC systems has been found to reduce indoor pollutants. These lights kill microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, fungi and other pathogens before they enter the indoor environment. 

This decreases the chances of people getting sick from respiratory infections or allergies.

UV lights also get rid of bad smells, which are commonly associated with unclean HVAC systems. 

The ultraviolet rays break down VOCs and other chemicals, which cause odors. This is not only better for breathing, but makes the living environment more pleasant.

NASA has been utilizing UV lights in their spacecraft for years, to remove dangerous gasses from the air in astronauts’ quarters.

Energy savings

Install these UV lights in your HVAC system for improved energy efficiency. They purify the air, destroying mold spores and bacteria. This reduces strain on the system and electricity bills.

You also save money on maintenance costs. UV lamps kill germs in the ductwork, so frequent filter and coil cleaning is no longer necessary.

Comfort levels also increase, as polluted air can cause headaches and irritability. So, get the most out of these lights with proper lamp placement. 

High-quality lamps are key to removing germs and particles from circulated indoor air. Enjoy a cleaner environment for healthier living and save on recurring cleaning costs.

HVAC system components that can benefit from UV lights

To enhance your HVAC system’s performance and improve the quality of your indoor air, you can install UV lights in various parts of your system. 

Air handler

The air handler is vital for distributing cool air in the home. And UV lights can be installed inside the ductwork. 

This not only improves air quality, but also extends the life of the system by keeping components clean.

When picking UV lights for the air handler, it’s important to get a reputable installer to help decide the best size and position for optimal effectiveness. 

The upfront cost may be higher than traditional filtration methods, but UV lights bring long-term benefits.

Interestingly, UV light in HVAC systems dates back to the early 20th century when tuberculosis was rampant. 

Evaporator coil

Evaporator Coils are essential parts of HVAC systems. They absorb heat and moisture from inside a building, turning it to cool air that is circulated back in. 

To keep them working properly, maintenance is a must.

Kills MoldUV-C light destroys the DNA structure of mold cells, stopping growth.
Eliminates BacteriaUltraviolet radiation stops bacteria cells from reproducing.
Increases PerformanceClean coils mean more airflow, leading to more effective cooling.

Using UV lights near Evaporator Coils also improves air quality by reducing allergens and odors.

To get the most out of UV lights, make sure they are installed correctly at the right distance from coils. Also, replace bulbs yearly.

Condenser coil

Maintaining an HVAC system requires an understanding of its different parts – including the condenser coil. 

This is key to removing heat from the refrigerant, making it one of the most important components.

Installing UV lights can be highly beneficial for maintaining the condenser coil. The table below shows how each component works with UV lights.

Column 1Column 2
Fan bladesReduced bacteria & mold growth
Condensate panReduced algae & bacteria growth
Drain linesEliminate mold, mildew, & other organisms

UV lights not only keep things clean, they also reduce insect infestation on the coils, preserving their condition longer.

If UV lights are already installed in your HVAC system, consider these suggestions:

  • Install reflective shields: These shields deflect debris from accumulating & make cleaning easier.
  • Install pressure gauges & remote sensors: This will help monitor causes & indicators of low pressure, which could cause leaks or further damage.

Drain pan

The drain pan in an HVAC system is often overlooked, but it is critical. It sits beneath the evaporator coil and collects condensation. This can provide a great place for mold and bacteria to grow.

To prevent this, UV lights are put above the drain pan. As the moisture flows in, it passes by the UV lights. 

Ultraviolet radiation kills any microorganisms. A maintained system with UV lights can protect your property from dangerous spores.

Here is some key info about the drain pan:

LocationBelow evaporator coil
PurposeCollects condensation to stop water damage
MaintenanceClean regularly and install UV lights to stop microbial growth

Return air ducts

UV lights in return air ducts reduce allergens, bacteria, and viruses in indoor spaces. 

They emit ultraviolet-C radiation, which prevents microorganisms from reproducing. This can help increase HVAC system efficiency and lifespan.

A study shows that 45 minutes of UV exposure reduces bacteria growth by 99%

Supply ducts

UV lights can help HVAC systems. They kill germs that can’t be seen. These include bacteria, viruses and mold. This keeps ducts clean and the air fresh.

To install these lights, an HVAC technician should be hired. They know how to do it right. 

UV lights have been around since 1903. Dr. Niels Finsen won a Nobel Prize for his work on tuberculosis.

Installation and maintenance of UV lights in HVAC systems

To ensure that your HVAC system is effectively killing harmful compounds and bacteria in your home’s air, proper installation and routine maintenance of UV lights is essential. 

Proper installation

  1. Determine the size of the UV-C bulb needed, based on the system’s air flow rate.
  2. Then, install the bulb where it can be seen in the evaporator coil. This will prevent microbial growth.
  3. Make sure the power supply and wiring are safe and connected correctly.
  4. Test the system to ensure that the UV light is working properly.
  5. Before starting up the HVAC system, remove any debris or dust from around the coil.
  6. Document all installations using pictures for future reference.
  7. When handling these powerful bulbs, technicians should use protective gear like gloves and industrial eye protection.
  8. Remember, regular maintenance is key for optimal function and long-lasting UV light systems.
  9. Check bulbs annually and replace them every 12-18 months or sooner if damaged.
  10. Taking these steps will reduce repairs and improve indoor air quality.

Routine maintenance

Performing regular maintenance on UV lights in HVAC systems is crucial for their long-term performance.

Neglecting this leads to bad air quality, higher energy bills, and expensive repairs.

Here are five points to consider for routine upkeep:

  1. Clean the bulbs with a cloth or brush.
  2. Check for cracks in the quartz sleeve. Replace any damaged parts.
  3. Tighten electrical connections.
  4. Change the filters.
  5. Document everything done.

Replacement of UV bulbs

UV bulbs in HVAC systems must be changed regularly for perfect performance. 

Here is a 3-step guide on how to do it:

  1. Switch off the power: Before any maintenance on the HVAC system, make sure the power is turned off to avoid electric shock.
  2. Take out the old bulb: Open the lamp compartment and take out the old UV bulb from its holder carefully.
  3. Put in a new bulb: Put the new UV bulb into the holder and make sure it is firmly in place before turning the power back on.

Cost considerations of installing UV lights in HVAC systems

To ensure clean air circulation in your home, you are considering the installation of UV lights in your HVAC system. 

Initial investment

Installing UV lights in an HVAC system can save energy, eliminate microbial growth, and improve indoor air quality. 

Low-pressure mercury vapor lamps are efficient choices. A licensed HVAC technician familiar with UV systems is recommended for proper installation. 

Regular maintenance schedules per the manufacturer’s suggestions should be considered. Plus, research government incentives and rebates to offset initial investment costs.

Energy costs

Considering energy costs for installing UV lights in HVAC systems? Take into account the long-term benefits.

The initial cost may be there, but lights can reduce energy usage and improve airflow. The quality of indoor air also improves, which reduces the need for maintenance.

Maintenance costs

Proper cleaning of UV lights is vital for their effectiveness and long life. This involves cleaning the lamps, reflectors and other parts, plus replacing parts when needed. Get an annual inspection by a pro too, to check for wear, damage and leakage.

Despite the extra costs, UV lighting in HVAC systems is a wise investment. It pays off quickly with better indoor air quality and efficiency, plus healthier environments and reduced energy bills. Plus, fewer repairs or replacements are needed.

Risks and drawbacks of using UV lights in HVAC systems

To understand the drawbacks and risks of integrating UV lights in your HVAC system for air sterilization, consider the following subsections.

Prolonged exposure can cause skin cancer. Lowering the risk requires taking safety measures.

Protective clothing and sunscreen for workers is essential. Shields around the UV lights may also help. Only trained personnel should handle and maintain these systems.

Vision problems and premature aging are other risks from UV radiation. Building owners should hire certified professionals with experience in UV light HVAC systems.

Impact on refrigerant and other HVAC system components

UV lights in HVAC systems have benefits, yet they can also have bad impacts. High intensity can damage rubber, plastic, and other components. This can lead to early failure and leaks, reducing functionality.

UV lights mix with the refrigerant, so it’s important to make sure the refrigerant is compatible. Else, side reactions could damage the gas.

Not installed or maintained properly, UV lights could increase energy consumption and waste money on electricity bills.

Maintenance is key for HVAC products. So, hire experienced technicians to install and maintain UV lamps to understand how components interact with the lights while saving money.

Potential health risks from harmful compounds released by some UV bulbs

The high-quality UV lamps from Advanced Ultraviolet Systems are an excellent option. They meet all safety standards and destroy VOCs, molds, bacteria, and viruses.

To avoid potential health risks, proper installation and maintenance is key. Professional inspections ensure the system runs correctly and air quality stays safe. 

With correct use, UV lamps are invaluable for creating healthy indoor environments. Their benefits contribute to creating clean and comfortable spaces.


The HVAC UV light system also reduces the need for harsh chemicals like hydrogen peroxide. Research is key for making the right decision and weighing up all the options against priorities and costs.