HVAC UV Light for AC System: Why the Investment Isn’t Necessary

Most of us by now have heard of HVAC UV lights for our AC system, but what are they exactly? We dive into the details and uncover why we think it may not be worth the investment.

An HVAC UV light is a device that emits ultraviolet radiation, which is effective in killing mold, bacteria, and viruses. These lights are often used in air conditioning systems to improve air quality. While UV light is invisible to the human eye, it can be dangerous if exposed to the skin or eyes.

As such, HVAC UV-C lights must be properly installed and operated according to manufacturer instructions. When used properly, however, these lights can significantly improve the quality of indoor air.

HVAC UV Light for AC System

You may have heard that some people believe installing a UV light in their AC unit can be beneficial, but you’re not sure if it’s worth the money.

In this article, we will take an unbiased look at the types of UV lights for an AC unit, the benefits and disadvantages of UV lamps in an AC, and also give you our take on whether we think investing in HVAC UV-C lights for your AC is worth it.

Scientists have found that overexposure to UV radiation may suppress proper functioning of the body’s immune system and the skin’s natural defenses. For example, the skin normally mounts a defense against foreign invaders such as cancers and infections. But overexposure to UV radiation can weaken the immune system, reducing the skin’s ability to protect against these invaders.


HVAC UV Light for AC System

HVAC UV lights are designed to kill germs and bacteria that can accumulate in your AC system. These lights are installed in the ductwork of your system and work to disinfect the air as it circulates.

UV lights are a safe and effective way to improve indoor air quality and prevent the spread of illness.

These lights can help to reduce odors emanating from your AC system.

While HVAC UV lamps are not a replacement for regular cleaning and maintenance, they can be a valuable tool in keeping your home or office air quality high.

Does UV Light in AC Work?

UV light in an AC works by breaking apart molecular bonds. In terms of your AC, this means that it can break apart mold, bacteria, and viruses; essentially sterilizing your unit. UV light is Invisible to the human eye and is located on the electromagnetic spectrum between x-rays and visible light.

Not only is this good news for your health (mold and bacteria can cause a whole host of respiratory problems), but it can also improve the efficiency of your system.

When mold builds up in an AC unit, it can cause blockages and impede airflow. This decreased airflow puts additional strain on the unit, causing it to work harder and driving up energy costs.

Types of UV Lights for AC

HVAC UV lights are used to clean and sanitize the air and evaporator coils in a home’s HVAC system. There are two types of HVAC UV lights: the air sterilization UV light and the coil sterilization UV light.

The air sterilization UV light is used to kill airborne pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, while the coil sterilization UV light is used to kill algae, mold, and other contaminants that can build up on the evaporator coils.

Air Sterilization UV Lights

Air sterilization UV lights are a type of air purifier that uses ultraviolet light to clean the air of contaminants. Common pollutants like mold, bacteria, and viruses. UV light is a powerful disinfectant that can kill up to 99.9% of harmful microorganisms.

It is safe to use around people and pets and does not produce any harmful ozone or chemicals.

Air sterilization UV lamps are an effective way to improve indoor air quality and reduce the spread of illness.

They are typically used in HVAC systems and ACs, but can also be used in stand-alone units.

When shopping for an air sterilization UV light, be sure to choose one that is sized appropriately for the space you wish to purify.

These devices are a great way to improve the quality of the air you breathe and keep your family healthy.

Coil Sterilization UV Lights

Coil sterilization UV lights, on the other hand, are used to disinfect surfaces. They emit UV rays that kill bacteria and viruses on contact. These special lights emit ultraviolet (UV) radiation that can kill bacteria and viruses.

In fact, UV light is so effective at sterilization that it’s often used in hospitals and other medical facilities.

But unlike traditional sterilization methods like chemical disinfectants, UV light doesn’t leave any toxic residues behind.

Both types of UV light can be effective at sterilizing their respective areas; however, coil sterilization UV lights are generally more expensive and have a shorter lifespan than air sterilization UV lights.

Further, coil sterilization UV lights require regular maintenance in order to remain effective, whereas air sterilization UV lights do not.

How Effective Is UV Light in HVAC?

In recent years, UV light has become increasingly popular as a means of killing bacteria and viruses. HVAC systems are particularly well-suited to UV disinfection, as they provide an enclosed space where air can be circulated and treated.

UV light works by damaging the DNA of bacteria and viruses, preventing them from reproducing.

This makes it an extremely effective method of disinfection, with a wide range of applications.

In HVAC systems, the UV light unit can be used to clean the air and surfaces, reducing the spread of illness. It can also help to reduce mold growth, as well as unpleasant odors.

As a result, UV light is an increasingly popular choice for those looking for a safe and effective way to improve the quality of their indoor air.

HVAC UV Light Maintenance

HVAC UV light maintenance is not as simple as just installing a light bulb. In order to be effective, UV lights must be properly installed and maintained. The light bulb must be replaced on a regular basis, typically once every year.

The light bulb should be cleaned regularly with a soft cloth or brush, and the area around the light bulb should be kept clear of debris to ensure that the light can properly illuminate the entire space.

UV Light for HVAC Benefits

UV light is used in many industries, including the HVAC industry. UV-C lamps can be used to disinfect air and surfaces, which can help to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. UV light can also help to reduce the amount of dust and dirt in the air, which can improve indoor air quality.

So what are some benefits of HVAC UV lights?

  • Helps reduce bacteria, viruses, and fungi
  • Reduces airborne mold spores
  • Could conceivably help to eliminate odors
  • Helps to remove VOCs from the air
  • For those living in more humid climates, HVAC UV lights work more effectively
  • Helps maintain a cleaner AC evaporator coil which improves cooling efficiency contributing to reduced electricity costs

UV Light for HVAC Disadvantages

The disadvantages of HVAC UV lights are important to make note of:

  • Can deteriorate the flex duct in 2 years
  • Non-UV stabilized plastics in the air handler will be destroyed
  • Say goodbye to your drain pan in about 3-5 years
  • UV bulbs will need to be replaced yearly
  • Quickly accumulates dust requiring constant cleaning to ensure effectiveness
  • UVC light can damage the skin and eyes
  • UVC lights may contain mercury or produce ozone
  • UV HVAC lights can be quite expensive

Healthline explains that UVC lights sold for home use in HVAC systems are lower intensity and not as effective as one would hope.

How to Improve Air Quality without HVAC UV Lights

Before you jump the gun and go all in on investing in HVAC UV lights for your AC, we’d like to remind you that there are other very effective ways of ensuring clean air in your home. Why spend hundreds of dollars on UV lights when you don’t have to?

The Importance of Air Quality in a Home

Most people are aware of the importance of clean air outdoors, but Indoor air quality is often overlooked. After all, we spend the majority of our time indoors, so it stands to reason that the quality of indoor air is just as important as the quality of outdoor air.

Unfortunately, indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air, due to a variety of factors.

Poor air quality can cause a variety of health problems such as headaches, fatigue, and difficulty breathing.

In severe cases, it can even trigger asthma attacks or allergic reactions. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that your home has good air quality.

Factors that Affect Air Quality

It is important to be aware of the things that can contribute to poor air quality so that you can take steps to avoid them.

  • Cigarette smoke
  • Cleaning products
  • Paint fumes
  • Pet dander
  • Mold spores
  • Dust mites
  • Airborne allergens from outside (such as pollen, etc.)

In addition to the above, it’s important to clean your home on a regular basis to prevent the buildup of dust that will eventually become airborne and inhaled into the lungs.

How to Improve Air Quality in a Home

The quality of the air in a home is important for the health and comfort of its inhabitants. Poor air quality can cause respiratory problems, allergies, and other health issues. It can also make it difficult to breathe and lead to fatigue. Clean air is essential for a healthy home.

There are some things you can do to ensure the air in your home is as clean as possible:

Use a Vacuum with a HEPA Filter

Vacuums with HEPA filters are often recommended for people who suffer from asthma or other respiratory conditions. However, HEPA-filtered vacuums can also be beneficial for anyone who wants to improve the air quality in their home.

In addition to trapping small particles, HEPA filters can also remove larger ones, such as pet hair and dust mites.

As a result, using a vacuum with a HEPA filter can help to create a cleaner and more comfortable environment for everyone in your home.


Proper ventilation is essential for maintaining clean air in a home. Without adequate ventilation, pollutants can quickly build up to levels that are harmful to health.

There are a number of different ways to ventilate a home, and the most effective approach depends on the specific needs of the household.

  • Open windows and doors
  • Use exhaust fans during and after shows and baths to eliminate the buildup of humid air that can encourage mold growth.
  • Add roof vents to your home to allow moist, hot air to escape, preventing excess heat and moisture.

Air Purifiers

Air purifiers are devices that help to remove contaminants from the air and offer many benefits. Air purifiers can remove allergies, dust, pollen, smoke, and other pollutants from the air. This can help to improve the quality of the air in your home and make it healthier to breathe.

Air purifiers can also help to reduce odors in your home. If you have pets, an air purifier can help to remove pet dander and other pet-related odors from the air.


Most people are familiar with the idea of using a humidifier to add moisture to the air, but fewer people are aware of the benefits of using a dehumidifier.

In addition to helping to prevent dry skin and sinus problems, maintaining healthy levels of humidity in your home can also have a positive impact on your overall health.

According to research, high humidity levels can lead to the growth of mold and dust mites, both of which can cause respiratory problems.

Additionally, high humidity makes it difficult for your body to regulate its temperature, which can lead to overheating and dehydration.

Invest in a Hygrometer

A digital hygrometer is a tool used to measure humidity levels. Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air, and it can have a big impact on air quality. Too much humidity can lead to mold and mildew growth, while too little can cause static electricity and dry out wood furniture.

Mold thrives in humid conditions and multiplies by the transfer of airborne mold spores that land on other surfaces and then reproduce.

When these mold spores become airborne, they are inhaled into our lungs and can cause allergy-like symptoms. For those will respiratory illnesses, the symptoms can be more severe.

Maintaining a healthy humidity level in a home is essential for clean, in-home air, and the ideal humidity level for a home is between 30-50%.

Digital hygrometers are beneficial in controlling humidity levels because they are more accurate than analog models.

They also often come with features like alarms that alert you when the humidity level gets too high or low.

By using a digital hygrometer, you can ensure that your home has the best air quality possible.

Replacing Air Filters

To ensure clean and healthy air in your home, it is important to regularly replace your air filters. Over time, air filters can become clogged with dirt, dust, and other airborne particles, making them less effective at trapping contaminants.

When this happens, the contaminants are free to circulate throughout your home, leading to poor indoor air quality.

In addition to causing respiratory problems, poor indoor air quality can also exacerbate allergies and trigger asthma attacks.

Best Type of Air Filters

The best type of filter will depend on the specific needs of your home, but there are a few general things to keep in mind when making your decision. First, consider the size of the filter. Smaller filters will need to be changed more often, but they will also be less expensive.

You’ll want to think about the specific needs of your home. If you have allergies, you may want to choose a filter that is specifically designed to remove allergens from the air.

Finally, consider the cost of replacement filters. Some types of filters can be quite expensive to replace, so it’s important to factor that into your decision.

Understanding a Filter’s MERV Rating

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It is a measure of how well a filter can remove contaminants from the air. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particles that the filter can remove.

The most common range for residential filters is from MERV 1 to MERV 16. The lowest rating, MERV 1, is typically used in swamp coolers and window air conditioners.

The highest rating, MERV 16, is used in hospitals and other settings where very fine particles need to be removed from the air.

A high-MERV filter is best. Normally, the higher the MERV rating, the more expensive the filter will be. However, it is important to choose a filter with the appropriate MERV rating for your needs.

A filter with too high of a rating may place too much strain on your HVAC system, while a filter with too low of a rating may not provide adequate protection against airborne contaminants.

How Often to Change Air Filters

In general, air filters should be replaced every three months. However, if you have pets or live in a dusty area, you may need to change them more often. By following these simple guidelines, you can make sure that your home has the best possible air quality.

By replacing your air filter on a regular basis, you can help to improve the air quality in your home and create a safer and more comfortable environment for your family.

Yearly Preventative HVAC Maintenance

Yearly preventative HVAC maintenance is important for several reasons.

  • It helps to ensure that your system is running properly and efficiently.
  • Saves you money on your energy bills and prolongs the life of your system.
  • Helps to improve the air quality in your home by removing dust, dirt, and other airborne particles from your air ducts.
  • HVAC cleaning improves indoor air quality and reduces allergens and other irritants.
  • Preventative maintenance can help to prevent unexpected breakdowns and repairs.

By scheduling regular tune-ups, you can identify and fix small problems before they become big ones.

In short, yearly preventative HVAC maintenance is an important part of keeping your home comfortable and your family healthy.

How Long Do UV Lights Last in Air Conditioners?

UV lights are commonly used in air conditioners to kill bacteria and improve air quality. But how long do UV lights last in air conditioners? The answer depends on a number of factors, including the type of UV light and the amount of use.

UV air purifiers are available in both portable and built-in models, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

The most common type of UV light unit used in air conditioners is called germicidal UV light.

These lamps contain a mercury vapor that produces UV light when in contact with an electrical current.

Germicidal lamps typically last between 8,000 and 10,000 hours before they need to be replaced.

However, portable UV lights only last for a few hundred hours before they need to be replaced.

If you’re looking for long-lasting UV light for your air conditioner, consider a built-in model with a germicidal lamp.

Is UV Light Dangerous?

UV light is emitted by the sun and is also used in some HVAC systems as a germicidal agent to kill bacteria and other microorganisms. Before considering the purchase of UV lights for your AC, it’s important to be informed of the risks and potential dangers of UV light exposure.

UV Light and Skin Cancer

According to the CDC, UV rays can damage the skin, causing premature aging and increasing the risk of skin cancer. Exposure to UV radiation is the main cause of skin cancer. In fact, it is estimated that up to 90% of all skin cancers are caused by exposure to UV rays.

The risk of developing skin cancer increases with the amount of exposure to UV radiation.

People who sunburn easily or who have been sunburned in the past are at an especially high risk for developing skin cancer.

There are two main types of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer and can be deadly if not caught early.

Non-melanoma skin cancers are less serious but can still cause problems if left untreated.

UV Light and Eye Damage

Exposure to UV light can lead to a number of problems, including cataracts, macular degeneration, and cancer of the eye. Even short-term exposure to UVB rays can cause pain and irritation of the eye.

John Hopkins Medicine encourages protecting your eyes from UV damage by wearing sunglasses or other protective eyewear when outdoors or around other types of UV lights.

By taking simple precautions, you can help protect your eyes from the harmful effects of UV light.

UV Light and the Immune System

Recent research has shown that UV light can have an impact on the immune system. In particular, exposure to UV light appears to boost the activity of certain immune cells, making them more effective at fighting off infections.

However, it’s important to note that too much UV exposure can also suppress the immune system, making a person more susceptible to illness.

The National Library of Medicine goes into great detail about UV exposure and its negative effects on the immune system.

Therefore, it’s important to strike a balance when it comes to UV exposure.

How Much Do UV Lights Cost?

The cost of a UV light for an AC unit will vary depending on the size of the unit and the specific features that you are looking for. However, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $500 for quality UV light for central air conditioning systems.

Some factors that will affect the cost include the brand, the wattage, and the features.

For example, higher-end UV lights may come with additional features such as timers and remote controls.

In general, however, a UV light for an AC unit is a relatively inexpensive way to keep your air conditioner unit running smoothly and efficiently.

Do I Need a UV Light in My Air Conditioner?

While UV lights are capable of killing bacteria, viruses, and mold, there are other effective ways to clean the air in a home without investing in UV lights for an AC. For example, regular cleaning of air filters can help to reduce the number of pollutants in the air.

In addition, regular maintenance of the AC unit can help to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.

Ultimately, whether or not to invest in a UV light for an AC unit depends on the specific needs of the home and the preferences of the homeowner.

However, there are a number of effective ways to clean the air without using UV lights.

Final Thoughts

While investing in UV lights for an AC is not necessary for clean air in a home, they are effective at killing bacteria and viruses. However, they are costly and may not be worth the investment for some people.


Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those interested in the air quality in and around their homes. Trina writes content about things she’s passionate about, such as safe, in-home air, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.