Are you looking for the best UV light to kill mold in your HVAC system?
The best UV lights are powerful, easy to install, and require minimal maintenance.
In this product review guide, I will go over…
- My #1 top pick for the best HVAC UV light
- How UV lights increase the efficiency of your furnace
- Why hospitals use ultraviolet lights to kill microbes and reduce infections
Let’s get started with this guide!
My Overall #1 Rated Pick
- Kills mold, mildew, and bad odors to give clean air
- Four 16" UV-C light bulbs for maximum mold-killing strength
- OdorStop is a leading and high quality manufacturer of UV lights
- Uses air flow sensor to turn on only when needed (saving energy)
- OdorStop has several different models (and prices) to choose from
My overall #1 top pick for the best UV light for HVAC is the OdorStop UV Light With Air Flow Sensor. This OdorStop UV light uses four 16" light bulbs to give it a maximum surface area to kill mold and mildew—giving you clean air. This top pick for the best UV light for HVAC has a unique feature in that it only turns on when your HVAC is on, saving you money.
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Reko Lighting R2000
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REKO With Magnet
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Top 5 Best UV Lights For HVAC
My shortlist of the best UV lights for HVAC systems are designed to emit a special light wavelength that will kill mold, mildew, and other microbes. The best UV Light for HVAC will automatically kill mold, bacteria, viruses — and stop odors at the same time.
These top rated HVAC UV lights can simply be plugged into a standard outlet, but you can also wire them to be connected to your HVAC system. When I picked the best UV lights for HVAC systems, I made sure that they were easy to install, can be plugged into an outlet, and are specially designed to emit UV-C light that will kill harmful microbes like mold, mildew, and viruses.
Here are my top picks...
How To Pick The Best UV Light For HVAC?
In my view as a licensed inspector, there are basically two different types of UV lights that you can install for your HVAC system: surface treatment and air treatment.
In addition to UV lights, the company RGF makes a line of HVAC air purifiers that uses a weak solution of hydrogen peroxide that is sent throughout the entire home. You can read my review on RGF air purifiers for HVAC systems right here.
#1. Surface Treatment UV Lights
Surface UV lights are installed above or next to the evaporator coil of the interior air handler.
These UV lights are meant to kill and prevent microbial growth on the surface of the coil, the ductwork, and anything else the light can reach such as the drip pan or blower fan.
Surface UV lights are great at preventing the growth of so-called biofilms on the furnace surfaces especially the evaporator coil. Biofilms are basically a slimy film of microbes that live together as a single community. Biofilms can release hazardous mold spores into the air and can also seriously decrease the efficiency of the HVAC system.
Read Also: What Are Signs of Black Mold On Air Vents?
#2. Air Treatment UV Lights
Air treatment UV lights are installed on the return side of the air handler which is basically the opposite of surface treatment UV lights. When it is installed on the return side, these UV lights kill microbes that are actually in the air, and not just on the surface.
Many of these air treatment UV lights come equipped with air flow sensors so that the light only turns on when the furnace is actually running --- significantly extending the longevity of the light bulb.
In addition, since the UV light is installed on the return side, it is less likely to damage some of the plastic components of the furnace such as the wiring and the drip pan.
Light Bulb Size
There are generally two types of UV light bulbs — long and short.
If the unit you are buying has a longer bulb, it may be more difficult to install if your furnace is in a very small utility closet. However, with a longer bulb, there is more “surface area” so the light may shine along more areas increasing it’s effectiveness.
Read Also: Does UV Light Really Kill Mold?
Sheet Metal Drill Bit
Another factor to consider is the equipment that comes with the purchase. Some UV light systems come with everything you need for the installation including the sheet metal drill bit that you will need to make holes in the ductwork.
Almost all UV air sanitizers will come with a few screws and a paper template in order to mount the system onto the duct.
Another thing to consider is the cord length. Most UV light systems come with a power cord that is 6′ to 8′ in length. If your utility closet doesn’t have a regular 3-pronged outlet, you may need to buy an extension cord that will go to the closest outlet.
And again, you can also wire the ultraviolet purifier into the air handler electrical system, and even wire it so it turns on only when the system is on. An electrician or contractor may be required for custom wiring.
What Wattage of UV Light Is Needed?
Most UV lights will have wattages in the range of 12-watts (low side) and all the way up to around 40-watts. You can also install two separate lights to double the wattage.
I don't know anyone who actually measures the surface area of the coil, but ASHRAE advises roughly 8-watts per square foot of coil surface area (or 100 µW/cm2). But this recommendation by ASHRAE is only for surface treatment UV lights.
If you currently have a mold infestation, then you may want to opt on the side of more wattage such as 36-watt units in order to prevent re-growth of mold. Just remember to clean your air handler of all visible mold prior to the UV light installation.
How To Install a UV Germicidal Light On Your Air Handler?
Homeowners with some DIY skills should able to install an HVAC UV light without too many issues.
The main tools you will need for the install include:
- electric drill
- paper template
- hole saw drill bit
- metal foil tape
HVAC UV lights are mounted onto the duct of your indoor air handler or furnace --- usually with sheet metal (self-tapping) screws. Most UV light sanitizers will come with a paper template for the mounting procedure. I recommend following the size and placement of the holes on the mounting template for your UV light system.
Using A Hole Saw
You will first need to drill a pilot hole at the install spot, and then you will need to use a 2-3 inch hole saw bit, and drill in the hole.
The light bulb(s) will go through the hole in the sheet metal duct, and the UV light unit is secured to the ductwork with screws. You can also cover the seams of the UV light with metal foil tape to give it an air tight seal.
Usually, the unit will just be plugged into a regular outlet in your utility room or closet but you also have the option of wiring the unit with your furnace (an electrician may be required for that).
Read Also: How To Install HVAC UV Lights? (Full Guide)
What Do HVAC UV Lights Do?
A UV light purifier is basically a light bulb that is designed to emit a specific frequency that research has found to stop microbial growth. It has been known for decades that specific frequencies of light can harm microorganisms.
Most research has been done in medical settings to help prevent contagious diseases. The most commonly used UV light frequency is 253.70nm which is the frequency when light passes through mercury vapor.
Ultraviolet light at this frequency has been clearly shown to destroy viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
24-Hour UV Light
UV light is typically shining light 24 hours a day inside of your air conditioning ductwork. Most units will have a sight glass that allows you to see if the light bulb is on and still working. You never want to get UV light on your skin or eyes.
The ultraviolet bulb will need to be replaced in a year or two depending on the system. UV air sanitizers can have anywhere from one to four UV bulbs --- the most common is one to two bulbs. The lengths of the UV bulbs can also vary.
Read Also: What Are The Best Honeywell HVAC UV Lights?
How Does An HVAC UV Light Kill Mold?
UV light bulbs stops mold growth by damaging their DNA. UV light has been in use for decades to sterilize air, water, and food.
A recent study concluded that UV light sanitized about 98% of microbes in hospital rooms, encouraging further use of UV light in intensive care.
UV Light Harms DNA
When an organism’s DNA is damaged by UV light, the genetic instructions for the cell to build proteins and other necessary parts is damaged. The organism will die, and it won’t reproduce.
The environment of the indoor air handler is a perfect place for microorganisms to grow because it is dark, contains moisture, and has a food source in the form of dust.
The furnace air filter is great for filtering indoor air, but it will not stop mold growth on the A/C coil, the surface of the ductwork, and other surfaces. The UV light shines on the ductwork and the coil, and it will stop and prevent microbial growth.
A published scientific study has proven that UV light can greatly reduce germ contamination in air handing units in buildings. Contaminated air ducts with bacteria is known to be related to serious health problems such as…
- Allergic rhinitis
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
- Acute toxicosis
- Cancer from exposure to mycotoxins
Read Also: How To Install An HVAC UV Light?
What Does Mold in The HVAC Look Like?
Here are some pictures from an inspection that I did this year. As you can see, it is pretty obvious when there is mold growing in your air handler.
If you are suspicious about your indoor air quality, just taking off the cover to your furnace can be “enlightening”.
Can UV Light Damage My HVAC System?
Depending on the strength and location of your unit, it is well known in the industry that UV light may damage plastic and rubber parts.
- Cooling Drain Pan
- Wire Insulation
- Pressure Switch Hose
- Flexible Ducting
Aluminum Foil Tape
If the UV light is in direct line of sight of any plastic or rubber parts of your A/C, it is a good idea to shield those rubber parts with aluminum foil tape. Or at least make sure the direct line of sight is 3-feet or farther from the UV light bulb.
It's also a good idea to make sure that the UV light isn't in a location where someone may get exposed to UV light during HVAC maintenance.
Read Also: How To Prevent Mold In Your Air Conditioner?
How Much Do HVAC UV Lights Cost?
The average cost for a germicidal UV light for an HVAC system will cost on the low side $100 to $200 and on the high side it can cost as much as $500.
The higher priced UV lights usually have more wattage, more light bulbs, and advanced features. Higher end UV lights can have sensors that will tell you when you need to clean the bulb, replace the bulb, and other "smart" features.
And many of the higher end OdorStop UV lights have air flow sensors that will turn on the UV light only when the HVAC system is actually running. The air flow sensors can significantly extend the life of the bulb. In fact, the usual cost of maintenance is replacing the UV bulb every year at a cost of $50 to $75 per UV bulb.
The labor costs to install a UV light will also depend on the complexity. If the UV light is just plugged into an outlet, and isn't complicated, then you can hire an HVAC contractor to install it for $100 to $200. You can also have a handyman or air duct cleaning company install it.
However, if the UV light has to be hardwired into the HVAC system, or if you also have to connect a separate transformer — you can expect to pay more — probably in the $150 to $300 range, and I recommend you hire a licensed HVAC contractor or electrician.
Where To Buy UV Lights For Your Air Conditioner?
Unfortunately, there aren't many retail stores that actually sell HVAC UV lights for homeowners. There are really only two places to buy them, either online or directly from a contractor.
The two most common types of contractors that sell and install HVAC UV lights are HVAC contractors and air duct cleaning companies. Likewise, you can also buy a UV light online, and then hire a HVAC contractor to install the UV light.
Though, many of my picks for HVAC UV lights are pretty easy to install, and then you just plug it into a standard outlet. All of my top picks can be purchased on Amazon.
What Are The Best UV Lights For The HVAC?
Here are the pros and cons of my top picks for the best UV Light...
My hands down #1 pick for the best UV light for HVAC on the market is made by OdorStop.
This UV light comes with four ultraviolet light bulbs for extra strong mold-killing power.
The OdorStop UV light also comes with a special air flow sensor so that the light only shines when the HVAC is actually on---saving energy.
It comes with a 6' power cord and installation template --- installs in a few minutes.
This is the Honeywell UV air purifier UV2400U5000 that comes with the AirBRITE Odor Absorption system.
This UV light will kill microbes like mold and at the same time it will remove odors.
This is one of the best UV light for HVAC systems and it will kill and prevent mold on your A/C coil at a 99% efficiency. And it will remove VOCs (volatile organic compounds) up to 90%.
The UV light renews the carbon filter so it is maintenance free.
The REKO Lighting R2000 UV Light is an affordable choice to purify your air ducts from microbes such as mold.
The unit comes with two bulbs --- a dual lamp system.
The R2000 is rated for A/C systems from 1-5 tons and it uses a 120-volt outlet.
The R2000 also comes with a 9-ft power cord for an easy install.
In my view, the REKO is the best UV light for HVAC if you want a budget friendly option.
The REKO Lighting uv light with magnet is a budget friendly UV light.
It comes with a magnet that will stick to your furnace for an easier installation.
The bulb is 14-inches long and is designed to kill mold on your evaporator coil, blower fan, and ducting.
This unit needs to be hardwired to your furnace and connected to a transformer.
The OdorStop OS72PRO is a premium ultraviolet for HVAC systems that features one 16-inch 36-watt light bulb.
With its special frequency of UV light, it will kill and prevent mold and foul odors.
This unit also has indicator lights so you can know that it is working properly and the bulb is functional. It is easy to install and includes the template and rubber gasket for a tight fit.
OdorStop UV lights are some of the highest quality UV lights on the market and are pretty easy to install.
My Top Pick: OdorStop HVAC UV Light System With Air Flow Sensor
OdorStop is the leading manufacturer of UV Lights and they are designed to be powerful and effective.
With not one, but four 16" bulbs, this product will kill mold on the surface of ductwork and your A/C coil, but it also kills a high amount of airborne bacteria.
This OdorStop UV Light comes with a special air flow sensor so that it turns on only when your HVAC is running...saving you energy. You also won't have to replace your bulbs as often.
Read Also: How To Prevent Mold In Air Conditioners