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What Is Ultraviolet C (UVC)?

February 17, 2017 |

UV Light Chart

One of the most comon requestes we get when discussing applications of UVC light in commercial buildings, healthcare facilities, and educational facilities is to define UVC.  This makes sense as it would be difficult to understand the applications and why you would want to use this technology without first knowing what is uvc.

Simply put UVC is a specific wavelength of light, more specifically the Ultraviolet C Band of light, this is why you will commonly see it referred to with a dash between the UV and C like this: UV-C.  The sun provides us with Ultraviloet light, with the A and B bands making it to the surface of the earth, but rarely the C band becasue it is filtered out by the ozone layer.

All three bands have germicidal properties that make them beneficial for multiple applications in facility amangement including:

  •  Coil Irradiaion in HVAC systems to boost energy efficiency and reduce maintenace
  • Air Disinfection through the use of Upper Air Germicidal Irradiation units, which is very effective at controlling the spread of influenza virus, the common cold, and most every other airborne pathogen.
  • Surface Sterilization is a newer application and there are a variety of devices sold that claim to do this.  Although the technology is sound the efficacy of how the different systems deliver the UV-C light to the surfaces to be sterilized/decontaminated is questionable.

So How Does UVC Work?

It was discovered way back in the 1890's that the Ultraviolet C Band of light had germicidal properties due to it's ability to break apart the DNA of organic matter.

UVC Photon Reacts with DNA HelixThis is important because it is the reason that UV-C is effective at not only deactivating or killing bacteria and fungus but also Viruses.  Because anti-microbial agents, handwashes, and sprays do not work on viruses UV-C presents a unique benefit that other controls can not offer, and as more companies manufacture these systems the costs have become very reasonable.  In HVAC Coil Irradiation applications, introduced in 1996, in particular the ROI based on only the increased energy efficiency is often only a few months - Even in the cold Midwestern climates that we typically serve here at Filtraiton Systems.

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Tags: UVC UVGI IAQ FAQs

Written by Ben Klawitter