Clean Your Facilities’ Air with UV Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) in HVAC and Reduce Disease Transmission


The COVID-19 pandemic that we are sadly going through has opened our eyes to yet one more truth. We need to take every precautionary measure possible to make sure workers are kept safe at all times. The CDC recommends using UVGI or ultraviolet germicidal irradiation as a way to inactivate the virus. Let’s find out more details about this technology. If you are a homeowner and would like to find out how this could help your family and loved one, check out our blog “Get a Flu Shot for Your Home – Your Guide to HVAC UV Light Air Purifier Against Germs and Virus” .

The History of Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) Against Airborne Pathogens

Despite this technology sounding incredibly modern, it’s actually been around for more than 140 years. It all began with Downes and Blunt discovering that shorter wavelengths of sunlight have antibacterial effects. Here are some more details in a Public Health Report published in 2010.

This incredible discovery led to scientists trying to replicate UV wavelengths that would be able to disinfect water, surfaces, and of course, air.

As a result, 1904 saw the invention of the first lamp with UV quartz in history. This was the seminal invention that would later lead to the germicidal lamp which we have and use today, especially when it comes to the HVAC ultraviolet air purifier.

To put it as simply as possible, a germicidal lamp is the type of lamp that can produce those exact wavelengths of ultraviolet light discovered some 140 years ago. And which were found to have the potential to kill pathogen agents and to disinfect surfaces, water, and air.

How Does UVGI Apply to HVAC?

Since the pandemic has become part of our lives, this is a question that we have been receiving more and more.

There are two primary ways in which UVGI applies to HVAC when it comes to protecting surfaces against pathogen agents, according to a featured article on limiting the spread of contagious diseases with germicidal UV published in HPAC Engineering.

HVAC air stream disinfection systems 

In this case, the UVGI technology or air conditioner UV light is installed straight in the duct system, in the air distribution systems, or in the air handling units. In this way, they can disinfect the air stream as it moves and inactivate all the pathogen agents in it on the go, so to say.

Coil irradiation systems

They get installed inside the HVAC duct runs or air handling units. When your AC system starts to age, it also starts to lose its ability to maintain the proper heat or humidity levels due to the buildup of biofilm on coil. When you install a UV light that fixes the buildup, you can solve your problem, but also eliminate at least 30% of all airborne pathogens, which is a fantastic secondary benefit.

What Are the Benefits of UVGI?

We can classify the benefits of UVGI or UV light for HVAC in three categories:

  • The system efficiency of your HVAC - the technology will prevent or eliminate altogether any organic material deposited on the interior of duct surfaces, drain pans, or cooling coils. As a result, the air flow will improve, and the transfer levels of the cooling coils will return to the conditions they were when you bought the system.
  • IAQ - by improving the air flow and eliminating organic material as shown above, UVGI will improve the indoor air quality (IAQ), in the sense that it reduces both odors and pathogen agents. As a result, since we are talking about cleaning your office’s air, this will lead to better productivity, higher levels of comfort and less sick days.
  • Economic impact - this means less energy consumption as well as paying less for that same energy and, of course, a smaller carbon footprint.

Please be aware that the only way to enjoy all of these benefits is to have a licensed engineer determine the following:

  • How much UVGI you require for your needs.
  • The lamp or ballast characteristics you need to fulfill the operating conditions for the individual application.
  • The exact quantity of lamps you need and their configuration.

Passive vs. Active Technology

The UVGI approach described so far is a passive one. Albeit good, the latest Space Technology has come up with Active Technology that might prove to be even better.

As the airborne contaminants pass through, they are zapped, terminated and with the help of the Active Technology, are transformed into oxidizers. The oxidizers are then released back into the air to eliminate all the pathogen agents floating through the atmosphere or lying on the surfaces of your home.

Here are the main differences between the Active Technology and a passive one:

  • Active Technology has a very assertive and proactive approach while filters, ionizers, scrubbers, and UB are unassertive and inactive.
  • Active Technology is known to destroy bacteria very effectively. Passive technology can do that as well, but the bacteria may reactivate itself under certain conditions.
  • One of the reasons why Active Technology is considered to be better is because it can penetrate fabric so as to fight against pathogens. For example, it can go right into cushions as well as very tight spots where you are not able to clean or disinfect by hand. As opposed to that, Passive Technology which is based on filters, might turn into a pollution source all on its own. Not to mention how little effect they have on mildew, mold, VOCs, odors or indoor pollutants.
  • Another major indicative of the difference between them is that Active Technology can take care of particles under .003 microns while with Passive technology not all air can even pass through the system.

What Are the Benefits of ActivePure Technology?

ActivePure Technology has been inducted into the Space Tech Hall of Fame. This incredible honor makes it one of only 75 technologies that were awarded this distinction in the past 30 years.

Here are some of its benefits:

  • It doesn’t require maintenance.
  • Very safe to breathe.
  • Doesn’t contain chemicals.
  • Very easy to install.
  • The treatment is continuous.
  • Cost effective
  • Reduces all contaminants at the source.
  • A very energy sensitive solution.

You can find this amazing technology in use in the Air Scrubber by Aerus. The model uses this state of the art technology and UV light for HVAC to remove odors, smoke, as well as pathogen agents from the air and any surfaces. The Air Scrubber can be installed in any type of light commercial building, which includes banks, churches, restaurants, offices, retail buildings, small shopping centers, multi-family buildings, hotels, and more. Also keep in mind that installation of a whole-house dehumidifier is an excellent way to prevent bacteria from getting into your home in the first place.

If you are interested in this clean and cost-saving solution for cleaning your office’s air, this is the time to call SuperTech, the Baltimore area's best heating and cooling repair contractor. Using an UV light air purifier has never been easier, so simply give us a call or schedule on our website. We are at your disposal because your safety is our priority!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}