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Frequently Asked Questions  

 

  1. What is ultraviolet light?
  2. What is germicidal UV?
  3. How does germicidal UV affect germs?
  4. What can germicidal UV kill?
  5. I'm skeptical. Does germicidal UV really work?
  6. Is germicidal UV safe?
  7. How are germicidal UV lights used?
  8. Can germicidal UV save energy?
  9. How can I save money with germicidal UV?
  10. How often do the bulbs need to be replaced?
  11. What effect does germicidal UV light have on surrounding materials?
  12. Can germicidal UV penetrate surfaces or substances?
  13. What companies use germicidal UV?

 

1. What is ultraviolet light?

Ultraviolet light represents a portion of the sun's electromagnetic spectrum. It is the wavelength band immediately beyond the violet end of visible light. The UV range of the spectrum is characterized by wavelengths between 100 and 400 nanometers (nm). It includes the long-wave UV-A (315 to 400 nm), which causes suntan (or burn), medium-wave UV-B, (280 to 315 nm) used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, and short-wave UV-C (100 to 280 nm).
 

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2. What is germicidal UV?

Germicidal UV is a term used to describe UVC. UVC is short-ultraviolet radiation in the "C" band of 100 to 280 nanometers. The germicidal range 180nm to 280nm is lethal to microorganisms.
 

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3. How does germicidal UV kill germs?

UVC light is germicidal - i.e., it deactivates the DNA of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens and thus destroys their ability to multiply and cause disease. Specifically, germicidal UV light causes damage to the nucleic acid of microorganisms by forming covalent bonds between certain adjacent bases in the DNA. The formation of such bonds prevent the DNA from being unzipped for replication, and the organism is unable to reproduce. In fact, when the organism tries to replicate, it dies.

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4. What can germicidal UV kill?

Germicidal UV effectively kills 99.9% of all viruses, bacteria and mold. The following is a partial list of pathogens killed by germicidal UV and some of the diseases they cause.

  • Tuberculosis
  • Hepatitis
  • Influenza (Flu)
  • Pneumonia
  • Meningitis
  • Common Cold
  • Measles
  • HIV
  • Strep
  • Staph
  • MRSA
  • E. Coli
  • Anthrax
  • Avian (Bird) Flu

View an extensive list on the Microorganism page.

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5. I'm skeptical. Does germicidal UV really work?

Yes. In fact, the US government now specifies that germicidal UV be used in all government buildings.  A simple Google search will provide you with hundreds of articles and studies regarding the effectiveness of this technology. Information is also available on our UV News page.

6. Is germicidal UV safe?

Yes. UVtronics’ products, when used as directed, are completely safe. Most of the systems operate in enclosed spaces, so there is no exposure to people. The direct sterilization units, if used as instructed, are perfectly safe as well. Care must be taken to avoid prolonged direct exposure of the lamps to skin and eyes as temporary irritation may result. Careful responsible use will result in total safety.

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7. How are germicidal UV lamps used?

UVtronics' germicidal lamps are used in various applications depending on the needs of your facility. A basic package involves the installation of germicidal lamps inside the ducts of your heating and air conditioning system. This provides continual purification as air is re-circulated throughout your facility. We also offer direct sterilization fixtures, upper room irradiators and portable units. View a complete list of products here.

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8. Can germicidal UV save energy?

Yes. UVtronics in-duct systems break down organic buildup on the coils, keeping them continuously
clean. This lowers HVAC energy costs by improving heat transfer and increasing net cooling capacity.
 

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9. How can I save money with germicidal UV?

In commercial, industrial or institutional buildings, a UVtronics in-duct system offers the most rapid payback. A typical installation can pay for itself in a few months and save thousands of dollars thereafter in energy and maintenance costs. This is possible because the system continually cleans coils, drain pans, plenums and ducts, reducing or eliminating costly cleaning programs. HVAC energy costs are also lowered by improving heat transfer and increasing net cooling capacity.

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10. How often do the bulbs need to be replaced?

Germicidal UV lamps are good for approximately 10,000 hours of continuous use. Generally, lamps should be replaced at least once a year. Remember, the lamp will continue to stay lit for many years. However, the UV effectiveness needed to kill organisms diminishes after about 10,000 hours. You should not wait until the lamp goes out to replace it, as you would with a regular light bulb.
 

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11. What effect does germicidal UV light have on surrounding materials?

Long-term exposure of germicidal UV light to plastics will shorten the shelf life of the plastic by approximately 10%. Example: If the plastic would normally last about ten years, and it’s exposed to germicidal UV light the entire time, it would probably need to be replaced in 9 years. Plant life may be damaged by direct or reflected germicidal ultraviolet rays. Transient dyes and colors may be faded from prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays.

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12. Can germicidal UV penetrate surfaces or substances?

No. Germicidal UV sterilizes only what it comes in contact with. If you have a room sterilizer, such as the TB models, and there are light fixtures or fans hanging from the ceiling, the UV light will stop when it hits these fixtures. This may require additional fixtures placed strategically in the room to ensure complete coverage.

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13. What companies use germicidal UV?

Many companies use germicidal UV in their facilities such as Borden, Inc., Johns Hopkins University, Wyeth Laboratories, Proctor and Gamble, Central Texas Medical Center and Safeway Stores, Inc. For a more in-depth list of companies, click here.

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