Get out your sunscreen! UVC is coming!
Updated: Jul 25
There is some new action in the disinfection front – several options are being promoted for in-room UVC disinfection, which is exciting primarily because the other best option, increasing filtration and air flows to rooms, is high cost due to the need for upgraded HVAC equipment to accommodate higher air flows.
Currently in wide usage medically, are UVC generators that operate inside AC units or ducts, and destroy pathogens as the air they float in passes through the duct or machine that the light is inside. These can be moderately priced, and can be relatively non-invasive installations.
New devices are hitting the market - the most recommended option is a UVC generator that shines from one wall to the other, near the ceiling, which should not impact the occupants of the room below, but will kill the pathogens in the upper part of the room, reducing the overall viral load in a room. These fixtures are designed for use in hospital rooms, although they would function in most spaces. The main drawback, aside from the potential safety risk, is that there is no disinfection of surfaces, since the UVC rays remain above the occupied areas of the room.
Other UVC solutions utilize relatively lower power bulbs, along with motion sensors and timers to prevent exposure. These bulbs will irradiate the entire room, which adds disinfection of surfaces, although the disinfection takes more time than the high power bulbs available for shielded applications. Typically a timer will turn them on during low usage periods, and an interlock or motion sensor will shut them off if tripped.
Finally, work is being done to determine safe wavelengths of UVC light that can be employed around occupants as they go about their duties. Studies have been conducted to indicate some specific wavelengths are safer than others, but much work remains to prove safety and efficacy for these options.
Last but not least, particularly since you may have been working from home for the last few months, there are residential options for your air conditioning system that are inexpensive and easy to DIY or have your local HVAC firm install for you, that will reduce any microorganisms that float through your air system.
Lots of options for increasing the safety of interior air, without replacing or upgrading fans, filters and other pricy equipment.