Informational Guide

Can HVAC UV Lights Help?

Read our guide to find out if UV lights can help your HVAC systems and improve air quailty in the home. See the pros and cons.

by Ian Haynes

Ultra violet (UV) lights have many uses. Many of them you’re probably not aware of. It can sterilize medical equipment, dry nail polish quickly, treat Vitamin D deficiency in people and sterilize different components in food production.

UV lights

Recently, it is being incorporated in air conditioners. A good question to ask is if it really is worth it to pay extra to have them on our HVAC air handler. Does it really improve indoor air quality?

So, here’s a little bit of information about it that can help you make a decision for your home. UV lights are great in killing organic causes of air quality issues like bacteria and mold. However, they don’t do a lot against dust, pollen, pet dander and other allergens. So, it really depends on what the root cause of your low air quality is and how sensitive your family is to them.

Many people with allergies have a very strong sensitivity to a different allergens. UV lights are very good in killing mold so in general, it does have positive effects on the quality of your indoor air.

The Journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology published a study in 2001, entitled “Effectiveness of Germicidal UV Radiation for Reducing Fungal Contamination within Air-Handling Units.” They cited that after only four months of operation, the fungal levels in a commercial building were reduced significantly.

Places like Florida, where high humidity and high temps create a breeding ground for mold and other microbes is a good example area to use UV lights.

How HVAC UV Lights Help Improve Air Quality

The lights are installed in the air handle of the air conditioner system. All molds within reach of the light will be killed. This means that the coil will remain mold free which is very important. Since air passes through the coils, mold spores and fungal particles will also be killed, thus purifying the air.

Should you install or not install?

To install UV lights in your HVAC system, you have two options. One is to purchase a stick light which you can attach near the return air duct.

It can cost around $100 or more. It’s the most common system.

The second option is to buy a whole system of air sterilization. The UV light cycles on with the air handler blower making it more effective than the stick light.

These systems are also more costly. They can cost on average at least $1500.

Pure UV Light Air Purifier_Alt

The first option is good enough if you’re looking to keep the coils mold free. The latter option is best for those with allergies and need a better purification system.

Do you want to know more about air conditioners, visit our page for portable air conditioners.

Last Updated on July 16, 2021

Ian Haynes

Ian Haynes is an HVAC writer, and researcher. He has worked on hundreds of articles relating to home cooling, heating and air quality with a vast knowledge of the technical aspects of these types of appliances. Outside of his work, Ian likes exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador. Learn more about the AC Lab team here.