When it Comes to Killing Viruses, We Have Seen the (Ultraviolet) Light
The ability of ultraviolet (UV) light to kill viruses is a proven method that has long been used in sterile environments like hospitals and surgery centers. UVGI (Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation) is a specific method of sterilization that uses the disinfecting properties of UV lighting to kill pathogens through exposure to electromagnetic radiation, destroying their ability to reproduce. Installing UVGI lighting within HVAC-R equipment is an effective method to reduce airborne disease transmission.
What we don’t see can’t hurt us
If ultraviolet light is so effective, then why don’t we just use it everywhere? As powerful as UV lighting is in killing harmful pathogens, in UVC form—the shortest wavelength of ultraviolet light—can be just as harmful to humans through its risks of causing skin cancer and injury to the eyes. The question for HVAC-R engineers becomes where to put this lighting technology so it can do all the good while doing zero the harm.
It takes a true HVAC-R engineering and design expert to understand how to maximize the disinfecting benefits of UVGI within HVAC-R equipment to make it most effective in killing viruses while keeping humans free from exposure. Some considerations include:
- Understanding that UVC is effective in short distances, CoolSys technicians know how to expertly place the lighting closely spaced together within ductwork.
- When positioned on the return side of the HVAC system, the lower air velocity creates an opportunity to achieve the one-second target exposure time to UVC light that is needed to irradiate virus-ridden airborne particles that can flow through ductwork.
- Designing a customized schedule to run UVC lighting within HVAC equipment can maximize energy efficiency while ensuring the necessary light exposure to kill viruses
- Strict maintenance programs are required to change ultraviolet lights annually to ensure they generate beneficial light on a continuous basis.
CoolSys experts can show you the light
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. The extent to which UVGI placed within HVAC units can effectively kill viruses depends upon a number of factors. CoolSys understands that all buildings and businesses’ operational objectives are unique, and our expert technicians can analyze your specific store requirements and design a solution that meets evolving coding regulations for adequate air quality.
Learn more about incorporating UV light into HVAC design to reduce virus transmission.