Understanding The Working of Ultraviolet Germicidal Light

Every day we come in contact with multiple surfaces that are inundated with germs and bacteria. Over time, microbes have developed a resistance towards the conventional methods of disinfection and sanitization. They are more potent now and we are all at risk of developing serious diseases and infections.

For better sanitation and disinfection, UV-C light has been used as an effective germicide for the past 40 years. The outbreak of Novel Coronavirus has shed new light on the effectiveness of UV-C light for combating bacteria and viruses. Let us take a look at the working and effectiveness of UV-C light.

What is Ultraviolet Light?

In the light spectrum, UV rays are sandwiched between x rays and visible light. They are powerful rays with high frequency and low wavelengths. UV rays are further classified as the following:

  • UV-C, from 100 - 280 nm (highest penetrating power)

  • UV-B, from 280 - 315 nm

  • UV-A, from 315 - 400 nm

How Does UVC Light Act As A Germicidal?

The germicidal properties of UVC light are illustrated as follows:

  • Due to its high penetrating power, UVC light penetrates the DNA of bacteria and viruses. It deactivates the DNA and destroys its ability to procreate.

  • UV-C light alters the nucleic acid of microbes by forming covalent bonds between adjacent bases rather than complementary bases.

  • This change in the DNA’s structure prevents it from being unzipped and replicate. The organism is unable to reproduce and if it tries to do so, it dies.

However, the following constraints should be kept in mind regarding UV lights germicidal abilities:

  • UVC is most effective if the virus is directly exposed to the radiation. Viruses that are covered in dust, bodily fluids, and soil may evade the germicidal effects of UV rays.

  • Most residential UV lights emit the rays in low doses. Hence, they will take a longer time to sanitize a surface completely.

Beneficial Uses of UV-C Light in Everyday Life

UV light is being used as a disinfectant in the following areas:

  • In water filters for water purification.

  • For the disinfection of ambient air, it is used as a part of air purifiers.

  • As germicidal UV lamps and lights. These devices emit UV rays which are targeted at sanitizing and disinfecting the surfaces.

What Are The Risks of UVC Lights and Lamps?

The germicidal properties of UVC lights ensure clean, healthy, and sanitized living. However, UV lights come with their own set of risks, especially if they are not installed properly. When using a UVC light, be mindful of the following:

  • Avoid direct exposure to the eyes and skin. UVC lights have high penetrating power. Looking straight at them, even for a brief period of time, can be injurious to the eye. Likewise, direct exposure to the skin can cause pain and a burning sensation. Whenever a UV light is operational, it is recommended to keep a safe distance from the rays, not look directly at the source and avoid exposure for prolonged periods.

  • Some UVC lights generate ozone as a byproduct. Inhalation of ozone can irritate the airways and eyes. Before purchasing a light, read labels for ozone generation.

  • UVC can be damaging to household items such as plastic, polymers, and dyed textile.

  • In some cases, mercury is used for the manufacture of UV lamps and lights. Mercury is a highly toxic material so extreme care should be taken in handling and disposing of a broken lamp that may ooze out mercury.

For the installation of UV germicidal lights, contact Heritage Air Services. We provide repair, maintenance, and installation services in Waxahachie, Texas, and nearby areas. Call us at (817) 330 4156.


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