Keeping HVAC Systems Running at Top Performance With New Technology

Maximize HVAC system performance with UV-C lamps designed to kill and prevent the growth of microorganisms.
Keeping HVAC Systems Running at Top Performance With New Technology
UV-C lamps can return HVAC systems to their original design performance standards, or as-built conditions.

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Ensuring HVAC systems maintain optimal performance is a constant challenge. Over time, they inevitably become less energy-efficient as mold, biofilm and other organic compounds accumulate on cooling coils, restricting airflow and shortening equipment life. Evidence shows that up to a 25 percent drop in capacity can occur within five years or less of startup.

As coil performance degrades, the ability to maintain temperature setpoints can be compromised, due to a decrease of heat transfer and restricted airflow brought about by increased coil pressure drop. In an attempt to clean coils, facility managers often resort to manual pressure washing or chemical treatments — these methods are costly, labor-intensive and, worst of all, temporary. The coils will foul again and require further attention.

A much more efficient and permanent solution to coil fouling and the inefficiencies it brings is ultraviolet-C (UV-C) technology, which uses light in the UV-C spectrum to kill and prevent the growth of virtually all known microorganisms.

Installed downstream of the cooling coil in the direction of airflow, UV-C lamps can return HVAC systems to their original design performance standards, or as-built conditions, in as little as 90 days. Improving heat transfer efficiency and reducing coil pressure drop slashes energy use by 10 to 25 percent on average.

Applied in new systems, UV-C lamps prevent the buildup of organic material, thus maintaining the original heat transfer capacity, design pressure drop and the amount of energy needed to provide the necessary amount of cooling and ventilation.

Installing UV-C lamps in HVAC systems can, therefore, achieve the following benefits:

Level 1 — HVAC system efficiency: Removing/preventing the buildup of organic material on the surfaces of cooling coils, drain pans and interior duct surfaces to improve airflow, return and maintain the heat transfer levels of cooling coils to as-built conditions and reduce maintenance. 

Level 2 — Indoor air quality: UV-C improves airflow levels and eliminates organic material on surfaces, which helps improve indoor air quality by reducing airborne pathogens and odors. This improves occupant productivity, boosts comfort levels and reduces sick time.

Level 3 — Economic impact: The impact UV-C has on mechanical systems and occupants translates into substantial economic benefits. These savings include reductions in energy consumption cost and related carbon emissions, reductions in hot/cold complaints and maintenance actions associated with occupant comfort, reductions in system downtime and staff time needed for chemical or mechanical cleaning, and increased occupant satisfaction and productivity.

Costing as little as 8 cents per cfm, UV-C’s expense is more than compensated for by the improved energy efficiencies and reduced labor and maintenance it makes possible. For example, an installed price for adding UV-C technology to a 10,000 cfm system could be a low as $800. The systems are also simple to install and maintain. In fact, product designs are emerging that allow installation of UV-C in air-handling units in under an hour.

Overall, UV-C improves efficiency and lowers operating expenses, and it’s more effective than pressure washing and chemical treatments. As HVAC specialists, it’s technology you should be familiar with, and it’s a solution your customers should know about. 


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