Why Should You Consider an Upper-Room UVGI?
The recent COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath effect has shaken all parts of the world. As the world battles to go back to normal, scientists and some policymakers are trying to derive means to ease the already effect and as well prevent future occurrence of the disease.
The CDC has recommended numerous strategies to help mitigate the spread of this disease. However, one leading solution from both CDC, EPA, and OSHA is adding air purifiers with HEPA filters and Upper room UVGI.
You would need to know that the use of upper-room UVGI has been dated 70 years back in treating airborne diseases. SARS-CoV-2— the virus that causes COVID-19 is no exception as it has similar behavior with other variants such as SARS and MERS. They release droplets, which lingers in the air for an extended period. Hence, disinfection becomes essential.
This article presents you facts about UVGI, why they are important in reducing exposure to COVID-19, and why they need to be incorporated into existing ventilation systems.
What is Upper Room UVGI, and How Does it Work?
If you are hearing the word "UVGI" for the first time, chances are you probably don't understand what it is, its applications, and how it works.
Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) uses electromagnetic radiation to kill pathogenic diseases such as fungi, mold, viruses, yeast, and bacteria. Essentially, it uses short wavelengths to make bacteria inactive or disinfect them in surfaces, air, and water.
Now we understand what UVGI is; here comes the bigger question, "what's Upper room UVGI?" Upper room UVGI systems are systems designed to allow little UV lights to penetrate an occupied portion of a room above people's heads. The fixtures are mounted on walls in occupied spaces.
They are installed above rooms in a manner that will enable air near the ceiling to irradiate to kill or deactivate airborne pathogens causing infectious diseases. They can only be mounted in buildings with ceilings of at least 7 feet high. So, they never in any chance comes in direct contact with our eyes or skin.
Even though the UVGI fixtures are pointed to the air in the upper space of the room, it is still effective in disaffecting the entire air because of the constant air changes. It happens naturally, even without the use of HVAC or a fan. Though HVAC might play a good role in improving the rate at which UV-C energy dissipates to the air.
Using UVGI in HVAC Systems
UVGI can be used in existing heating, ventilating, and air conditioning HVAC systems to irradiate small airborne particles as the air flows through the duct. They have been proven effective in killing and preventing the spread of airborne pathogenic bacteria and viruses such as COVID-19. It also kills mold and fungus, thus providing you with a healthier system.
The HVAC systems and other air purifiers are designed to reduce air pollutants, including the virus that causes COVID-19. By default, the HVAC system and air cleaners are not enough to keep away viruses or protect people from the spread. So, CDC, EPA, and OSHA have recommended incorporating UVGI in HVAC systems to help curb the widespread COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
UVGI in HVAC systems has proven to eliminate 90% of viruses and kill 80% of some airborne bacteria that pass through the HVAC system to homes, including the novel strain of coronavirus.
Yes, the UVGI technology is effective in disinfecting bacteria and viruses and cost-effective and eco-friendly. Its long, rich history in eradicating airborne diseases has built trust as a safe solution in providing you a germ-free environment.
Building Requirement for Upper Room UVGI
The limitations of building upper room UVGI have always been down to its technical requirements. In designing an upper air UV unit, the installation must be done on buildings with ceilings that are at least 7 feet tall. With this height, the UV energy will be dissipated above the heads of the inhabitants.
However, if you have a smaller room with much higher ceilings, they can still be an option to match your room spec. UVGI units have few limitations when it comes to ceiling height requirements. They can be used in crowded areas, lobbies, and waiting rooms.
What to Consider Before Upper Room UVGI Implementation
Upper room UVGI has been in use for decades. It has been safe and efficient when installed properly. It is imperative to know that UV energy installed below or at human eye level can temporarily damage skin or eyes.
Therefore, the CDC has cautioned one to get a trained professional from a reputable UV company to carry out the installation.
Prior to installation, it is also good to designate an electrical switch and ensure they are placed beyond human reach. You can as well place switches in a restricted area. This is to avoid uncontrollably tempering with the control switch and thus allowing the unit to work safely with fear of damage or the unit being powered on during maintenance.
Even though accidental exposure to UVGI can create temporary skin damages, it is also deemed safe in relation to risks in skin-related cancers when compared to UV-A and UV-B. It has shorter wavelengths, which means that the protein in the outer layer of the dead skin cells will absorb the UV-C. Hence, making it harder to penetrate any living cells.
Notably, it is essential to know that the installation of the UVGI unit during the cause of COVID-19 can also be used to fight other viral infections or flu if adequately maintained.