How to Choose a UVC Light
Why should you install a UV light?
UV lights significantly reduce the quantity of microbes on surfaces, in ductwork, and in airspace. UV lights kill bacteria and viruses and can be used in the home, in schools, and in the workplace.
In 1903, the Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to Niels Finsen for his application of UV radiation to a terrible skin infection, lupus vulgaris. In the USA, the use of UV light to treat water dates back to 1916 and it is now used to treat drinking water, wastewater, surfaces, indoor air, and hospitals.
There are many available UVC light options, so how do you decide which one is best suited for you?
This convenient guide will help.
- Match the effective area of the light to size of the area being sanitized.
- Choose a light based on its intended use: Light Duty or Commercial Grade.
- Ozone enhancement provides the most thorough sterilization, with the added benefit that the light does not have to span every surface to be sterilized. However, it does require that the sanitized area remain unoccupied and ventilated for a minimum of 30 minutes after the light is turned off.
- If you will need to re-enter the sterilized area after less than 30 minutes, choose a light without ozone enhancement. However, when ozone enhancement is not used, it is essential to understand that the light must span every surface to be sterilized.
- Regardless of which UVC light you choose, when the light is operating, the area being sanitized must be clear of people, pets, and plants (and must remain unoccupied for a minimum of 30 minutes after using UVC with ozone enhancement).
For a more complete understanding, please read the following guide:
Answer the following questions to understand which light is your best option:
- How big is the area that you need to sanitize?
This is a key factor. Each of our lights has a specified maximum effective area listed, ie. 1500 square feet. Just match this area to the room that you need to sanitize.
- Are there many different surfaces and are they at different heights?
Knowing this will help to determine how tall the light needs to be, and whether you need to utilize Ozone enhancement. See ozone enhancement section below.
- How soon after the UVC light goes out do you need to re-enter the sanitized area?
If you need to reoccupy the area quickly, less than 30 minutes after the light is turned off, then Ozone enhancement is not a good choice.
- How often do you need to sanitize?
If you will sanitize once per day, then which UVC light you choose is more flexible. However, if you plan to sanitize between patients, clients, or classes, then Ozone enhancement will not be the best option.
- What type of environment will you be using the light in?
If the light will be used at home or in an office environment, then most UVC lights will work well. However, if you will be using the light in an industrial environment, you would be better to choose a commercial grade light. For areas that may involve moisture (but not be wet), such as a dentist’s office, the stainless steel UVC light would be most appropriate.
- Do you need it to be portable?
This is another key factor. If you need to move your UVC light between areas, then you will not want a mounted unit. Ideally, choose one that is on wheels, or at least one that is quite easy to move.
One of the most important questions to ask is about ozone enhancement. The information below will help you find the correct answer.
What is Ozone enhancement, and should you have it?
First, what is Ozone?
Throughout Earth’s atmosphere, ozone is present in low concentrations. Some researchers refer to this chemical as “good up high, but bad down low.” The ozone layer protects our Earth’s stratosphere, for example, and without it, the ultraviolet radiation from the sun would make Earth uninhabitable. At surface level, however, high concentrations of ozone are toxic to plants and animals. Ozone can cause nausea, irritate nasal passages, and prolonged exposure can result in lung inflammation. However, it is also extremely effective for killing germs and viruses.
Ozone, also called UV Vacuum (UV-V), is a gas molecule which contains three (3) oxygen atoms instead of (2). It has a destabilizing effect on oxygen in the air, and is therefore a danger to humans. This is why one must ventilate the area after using UVC with ozone enhancement.
Types of UVC Lights
Ozone vs. No Ozone, Which to Choose?
The answer will depend on your required application and the desired results, as there are pros and cons with each option.
UVC lights used to sanitize produce wavelengths between 250 and 300 nanometers (nm) and do not produce ozone. Ozone is produced when the wavelength is <200nm. However, many UVC lights include an ozone enhancement, which produces a shorter wavelength of <200 nm (most are about 185nm).
Lights with Ozone enhancement
The benefit of UV lights which utilize Ozone is more thorough sterilization. This is because the light need not come in direct contact with every surface to provide sterilization. This is ideal for areas with irregular surfaces, or areas where there are obstacles to the use of UVC light.
The downside of ozone is that the area that has been sanitized must remain unoccupied and be ventilated for 30 minutes after the light turns off, which extends the time required for the sterilization process. For example, if the light will be on for 15 minutes, then the area to be sanitized will need to be unoccupied for a total of 45 minutes (15 minutes for the light sterilization and 30 minutes for the ventilation).
Lights without Ozone enhancement
The benefit of lights which do not utilize ozone is that the sanitized area does not require 30 minutes of ventilation after the light has been used.
The downside is that the UVC light must directly hit each surface for it to be thoroughly sanitized. This is why the number of different surfaces, and at what height, directly impact which light you should choose.
If your space has many different surfaces, at varying heights, but you do not want to use ozone enhancement, you will need to ensure that the UVC light comes into contact with every surface. Therefore, you must choose a light that is tall enough, and you may also need to use multiple lights, positioned at different angles and heights.
Once again, while ozone is highly effective at killing germs and viruses, it is not safe for humans and animals to breathe, therefore nobody may enter the area for at least 30 minutes after the UV light goes out. This amount of time allows the ozone to dissipate and the room to re-oxygenate. If you do this, you will be fine.
We hope this guide to choosing a UVC light has been helpful. If you have questions or need further assistance with choosing the correct light, please contact us. We are here to help!
To save lives and prevent pain and suffering by mitigating the transmission of bacteria and viruses, including influenza virus and coronaviruses, by providing effective UVC sanitizing light technology.
We have solutions to meet almost any need, including:1. Our continuous sanitizing option, the BioTech-C550;
2. Portable units, such as the BioTech-P1500A, which can sanitize areas of up to 1500 sq. ft.;
3. Our T5 and T8 overhead lights which offer a fixed solution;
4. And our BioTech-A1000, our continuous room air sanitizer.
- A = Air sanitizers
- C = Continuous sanitizing
- LEDB = LED Bulb
- P = Portable
- T = Tabletop
We understand that every client has specific needs; we will work with you to understand your requirements and make specific recommendations to meet your needs.Contact us today and will work with you to solve your sanitizing needs
Quick reference guide – Our models
A quick reference to understand our product model numbers, ie. BioTech-T430A
The first letter stands indicates the type of sanitizer:
The number indicates the Maximum Effective Area of the UV light. For example, a BioTech-P1000A is a portable light with a maximum effect area of 1000 sq. ft.
The last letter, in the example above, “A”, indicates the specific model.
Understanding this structure should allow you to make a quick comparison of our different UV light products.
Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation: Current Best Practices
"Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) is the use of ultraviolet (UV) energy (electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light) to kill or inactivate viral, bacterial, and fungal species. The UV spectrum is commonly divided into UVA (wavelengths of 400 nm to 315 nm), UVB (315 nm to 280 nm), and UVC (280 nm to 200 nm). The entire UV spectrum can kill or inactivate many microorganisms, but UVC energy provides the most germicidal effect, with 265 nm being the optimum wavelength."
"Scenario: Workers using ultraviolet (UV) lamps may have skin or eye exposure to stray ultraviolet light emissions. Such workers need to know acceptable levels of irradiance (measured in milliwatts per square centimeter (mW/cm2)) and how to monitor for stray radiation. The exposed UV dose would be in units of millijoules per square centimeter (mJ/cm2). [In most cases, the UV lamp would be a low pressure mercury lamp, so almost all the UV light is at 253.7 nanometers (nm).]"
"The ionizing radiation standard covers alpha, beta, gamma, and X-rays; neutrons; high-speed electrons and protons; and other atomic particles; but does not include sound or radio waves, or visible, infrared, or ultraviolet light. Therefore, there are no OSHA-mandated employee exposure limits to ultraviolet radiation."