UV Technology

Clean the air in your home with UV?

A healthy home buzz that has been going around is installing ultraviolet (UV) lights in air returns in your home to kill germs, viruses, mold, and bacteria before circulating back into your home. The UV lights in air returns can be effective but here is a list of drawbacks:

  1. They are limited by the velocity of air flow through the blower. The indoor air pollutants must travel through the duct at a slow enough speed to be affected. The faster the air flow, the less time the UV light has to work on a pollutant.
  2. The indoor air pollutants must find there way into the air ducts. Due to air flow patterns in buildings most do not, but rather more readily find there way into the lungs of building occupants.
  3. If air pollutants do happen to enter the air ducts, they must come within 2 to 6 inches of the light bulbs to be rendered non-viable. Most pollutants will not come this close to the light bulbs because of the interior size of the ducts.
  4. The UV bulbs must be relatively new in order to be effective. The effectiveness of the light bulbs diminishes over time. Just because the bulbs light up does not mean that the bulbs are effectively working on air pollutants.
  5. The area in the air return where they are installed does not offer any benefit in the A-coil area. This is the most contaminated area in all ducted HVAC systems.
  6. The daily operational cost of the UV is at least double that of technology, which is not only effective inside the ducts but also covers the entire indoor environment.


Bob Beisbier, owner of BK Home Inspection, is a Certified Master Home Inspector who has been providing professional and thorough home inspections in southeast Wisconsin for over 12 years. Bob is Infrared certified, DILHR Certified, and provides Home Energy Tune-ups, Environmental Data Reports, Pre-sale Home Inspections and Pre-offer Home Inspections.