Thanks to advanced learning and scientific discoveries, we’ve known for a long time that even microscopic organisms can have an immense impact on our health and comfort. Harmful microorganisms can aggravate allergies, trigger asthma, and make us severely ill. Some, like COVID-19, have even had an impact on the world economy and the daily life of people across the globe.
However, thanks to further scientific discoveries, we now have multiple weapons against these contaminants. One of those weapons is artificial ultraviolet light.
GERMICIDAL UV LIGHT
Types of UV Light
There are three categories of ultraviolet (UV) light:
UV-A (320-400nm): This has the longest wavelength and accounts for approximately 95 percent of the UV light that the sun emits. UV-A is considered the least harmful.
UV-B (290-320nm): UV-B light can pose short-term and long-term threats to human health. This type of UV light gives you sunburns and is known to cause skin cancer.
UV-C (100-290nm): UV-C light is almost entirely absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere, and it is incredibly hazardous to organisms.
Though harmful when not controlled or contained, artificial UV-C light can be safely created and harnessed. This type of light is used in commercial machinery to disinfect many items and surfaces, including tools, equipment, air, and water. Homeowners also use it in residential air purification systems.
How Does UV-C Light Work?
UV-C light is considered germicidal because of the way it interacts with organisms, specifically their nucleic acids. Nucleic acids (the umbrella term for DNA and RNA) comprise every living thing–you, your dog, your houseplants, and even bacteria, spores, and viruses.
When you expose a harmful microorganism to UV-C light under the right conditions, the light will do one of two things:
It will destroy the microorganism’s nucleic acids, which also destroys the organism.
It will disrupt the nucleic acids, such that the microorganism will no longer be able to reproduce. If the microorganism can’t reproduce, then it can’t cause infection.
What Contagions Can Germicidal UV Lights Eradicate?
The type of UV light system that you have will dictate what kinds of contagions and substances it can neutralize. In a more general sense, UV light has been known to eradicate a wide range of harmful microorganisms, including:
Rhinoviruses (common colds)
MRSA infections (“superbugs”)
UV-C light’s ability to deactivate SARS-CoV brings some hope that this light can also be used against COVID-19. As of April 2020, experts are still studying UV light’s effects on this dangerous virus.
What Are Some Uses for Germicidal UV Light?
Many hospitals and other medical facilities have adopted UV equipment and systems as a way to improve manual disinfection procedures and reduce infections from superbugs. However, this technology is also being used in office buildings, factories, major facilities, and even airplanes to purify indoor air and sterilize surfaces.
Homeowners can take advantage of UV-C light air purification. This usually involves setting up a treatment system within the ductwork of your heating and cooling system, although some lamps can be installed in the evaporator coil. As airborne germs, pollen, and mold spores move through your ductwork, they pass through the UV system, where the germicidal rays destroy or deactivate them. The end result is cleaner, healthier air for your home.
Residential UV light systems require very little maintenance. You’ll need to dust the lamps about every six months with a clean cloth. Experts recommend changing out the lamps once a year to ensure that they continue to neutralize contagions effectively. Lamps installed in the evaporator coil can go closer to two years before their effectiveness declines.
Contact Premier Indoor Comfort Systems, LLC today to learn more about our UV germicidal light services in Canton & Tyrone, Georgia & Whittier, North Carolina.