The Best HVAC UV Lights – Keep Your Air Clean

Most homeowners might think that an HVAC filter is the only way to improve the indoor air quality of their homes. However, Ultraviolet (UV) light within your HVAC system can kill a significant portion of germs, bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. 

If you’re looking for an HVAC UV light for your home, it is vital to understand how they work, how much they cost, and how their various features and capabilities compare. Continue reading to learn more!

glowing HVAC UV lights

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HVAC UV Light Summary Table

Use this table to compare the best HVAC UV light options for your home. You can quickly make a comparison of each UV light’s upfront cost, installation cost,  specifications, and more. 

Scroll past the table for detailed information on the best HVAC UV light options for your home.

ProductDetailsWhere to Buy

Power R600 UV Light Coil Cleaner
Power R600 UV Light Coil Cleaner

Bulb size: Single 14” bulb
Bulb Lifespan: 1 year
Voltage / Wattage: 120V or 220V / 25W
Mounting Bracket: Magnetic, easy bulb removal
Filter Included: No

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Bio Shield UV-C antimicrobial air sanitizer
Bio Shield UV-C antimicrobial air sanitizer

Bulb size: Single 17” bulb
Bulb Lifespan: 1 year
Voltage / Wattage: 120V / 20W
Mounting Bracket: Mounting ring, easy bulb removal
Filter Included: No
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Honeywell UV2400U1000 UV Air Purifier
Honeywell UV2400U1000 UV Air Purifier

Bulb size: Single 16” bulb
Bulb Lifespan: 1 year
Voltage / Wattage: 24VAC / 16W
Mounting Bracket: Snap mounting base, easy bulb removal
Filter Included: No
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Honeywell UV Air Purifier with AirBRITE
Honeywell UV Air Purifier with AirBRITE

Bulb size: Single 16” bulb
Bulb Lifespan: 1 year
Voltage / Wattage: 24VAC / 16W
Mounting Bracket: Snap mounting base, easy bulb removal
Filter Included: Yes
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Pure Air UV R-18D Air Purifier Dual UV-C Light
Pure Air UV R-18D Air Purifier Dual UV-C Light

Bulb size: Dual 8” bulbs
Bulb Lifespan: 1 year
Voltage / Wattage: 120V / NA
Mounting Bracket: Screwed onto base, difficult bulb removal
Filter Included: No
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OdorStop OS72PRO UV Air Purifier
OdorStop OS72PRO UV Air Purifier

Bulb size: Dual 12” or 16” bulbs
Bulb Lifespan: Over 1 year, bulbs turn off when HVAC system is off
Voltage / Wattage: 120V / 72W
Mounting Bracket: Screwed onto base, difficult bulb removal
Filter Included: No
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D200 Dual Lamp Air Purifier
D200 Dual Lamp Air Purifie

Bulb size: Dual 7” bulbs
Bulb Lifespan: 1 year
Voltage / Wattage: 120V / NA
Mounting Bracket: Screwed onto base, difficult bulb removal
Filter Included: Yes
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What Does a UV Light Do In Your HVAC System?

how a HVAC UV Light works

Ultraviolet (UV) lights for HVAC systems purify the air within your HVAC system. How do they do that? It is actually quite simple; long UV bulbs inside your ductwork or HVAC unit produce UV-C light, killing germs, bacteria, viruses, mold, and other pathogens. 

By reducing the number of pathogens within the HVAC system to nearly zero, UV lights improve indoor air quality. As such, they can make your home feel less stuffy, reduce respiratory irritation, and prevent the spread of infections. 

For the most part, UV lights for your HVAC system are affordable and easy to maintain. However, many options are available with different pros and cons, which we will outline in our reviews below after explaining how the technology works.

Why UV Lights Work

light spectrum visible light

Ultraviolet lights for HVAC systems produce a specific wavelength in the ultraviolet spectrum, UV-C. UV light is part of the larger electromagnetic spectrum, which also includes gamma rays, x-rays, infrared, microwaves, radio waves, and visible light. 

UV light is between 100 nm to 400 nm wavelengths and has four distinct regions: 

  • Far UV– 100 to 200 nm 
  • UV-C– 200 to 280 nm 
  • UVB– 280 to 315 nm
  • UVA– 315 to 400 nm 

So, UV-C is just the wavelength range in the UV light spectrum that these HVAC lights use to disinfect your air stream. Interestingly enough, the light that reaches us from the sun is 95% UVA and 5% UVB, and no detectable amounts of UV-C from the sun ever reach Earth. 

Therefore, you might be wondering why HVAC UV lights even use the UV-C range to disinfect the air. Well, the reason has to do with how UV-C affects DNA.

Both DNA and RNA absorb UV-C light and become inactive! In other words, when you expose germs, viruses, bacteria, and mold to UV-C for long enough periods, it will kill these pathogens and prevent them from replicating.   

The UV-C wavelength of 200 to 300 nm just happens to be the sweet spot that disables and kills these nasty organisms.

How UV Lights Work

It is remarkable that something as simple as light can kill microorganisms, but how UV-C lights work is far from simple.

Info: HVAC UV lights look similar to the long fluorescent bulbs common in supermarket markets and office spaces. However, UV-C bulbs use a much more complex design.

UV-C bulbs contain a small amount of mercury vapor within the light tube, which is filled with argon gas at lower pressures, between 1 and 10 Pa. When you apply electricity to the bulb, it arcs through the argon gas and excites the mercury. 

When mercury vapor gets excited, it emits UV light around 254 nm, the perfect germicidal wavelength for killing pathogens. 

The UV-C light at this wavelength is not visible to the human eye. However, HVAC UV lights also produce light within the visible spectrum in a cool blue color. 

Since HVAC UV-C lights disable the DNA and RNA of pathogens, it is helpful against bacteria, mold, coronaviruses, the flu, and E.coli.

Do UV Lights Produce Ozone?

UV lights do not produce ozone (O3). However, photocatalytic filters, sometimes paired with HVAC UV lights for additional air purification, can make a trace amount of ozone. 

Having an air purifier produce ozone is troublesome and ironic because ozone itself is a toxic air pollutant

But alas, all air purifiers (including the photocatalytic filters we’ll touch on later) follow strict FDA guidelines. This means they always produce less than 0.05 parts per million of ozone, far below safe levels.

UV Lights Vs. Air Filters

Air filters and UV lights are effective methods of reducing contaminants in your air and improving its quality. However, you shouldn’t use just one! 

HVAC systems always need an air filter to remove dust and particulates from the air. UV lights do nothing to these types of particulates. They don’t replace filters. If you did not have an air filter, your HVAC system would be recirculating lots of dust all throughout your home. 

As such, you should still always use an air filter along with your UV light.

How UV Lights Are Installed

Installing a basic UV light with one bulb into your HVAC system is very simple. All you have to do is cut or drill a small hole into your ductwork and then attach the UV light’s base with self-tapping screws or magnets.

Then, you slide the UV light tube (bulb) through the base and hole and lock it into place. Most homeowners can DIY install a UV light tube in an hour or less. It’s just as easy as putting a straw in your fountain drink; it can’t get much simpler.

On the other hand, more complex HVAC UV lights are a bit more tricky to install. For example, dual bulb UV lights, UV lights with photocatalytic filters, and smart UV lights that tie into your thermostat require additional installation steps and considerations.

For example, if you’re installing a UV light designed for use near your evaporator coils or your whole house dehumidifier, you’ll have to verify the dimensions to make sure it will fit.

How Often Do You Need to Replace the UV Bulb?

On average, UV bulbs last around 1-year of usage before you have to replace them. They typically cost between $50 to $110, depending on the model.

Most HVAC UV lights have a small sight glass so you can see if the bulb is providing light without having to remove it.

The Best UV Lights For HVAC Systems

It should be clear that UV lights for your HVAC system will improve your home’s indoor air and combat the spread of viruses, germs, and bacteria. Plus, installing a UV light in our HVAC system is pretty easy to do yourself.

However, choosing the best UV light for your home can prove challenging. That is why we put together this list of the top seven units available after our detailed research and testing. There are many minor differences between each, with some including extra features and accessories.

Power R600 UV Light Coil Cleaner

Power R600 UV Light Coil Cleaner

Key Specifications

  • 14-inch UV-C bulb
  • Magnetic mounting bracket
  • 1-year warranty

The Power R600 UV Light Coil Cleaner is the simplest  UV solution for your HVAC system. It has a 14” long bulb and comes with a magnetic bracket for a quick and straightforward installation. The Power R600 also includes a six-foot 120 VAC power cord.

It produces UV-C light at a wavelength of 253.7 nm and has a coating on the inside of the quartz tube to prevent any ozone from being created.

Installing the R600 is easy and includes detailed step-by-step instructions. You’ll need a wide drill bit to make a hole in your ductwork. After drilling the hole, you simply attach the magnetic bracket, slide the UV bulb in, and plug the unit into a wall outlet.

The R600 meets EPA standards and comes with a one-year warranty. It is a great entry-level UV light and has a very attractive price. However, depending on the size of your home, it may not purify the air fast enough to make a difference.

Pros

  • Affordable cost
  • One year warranty
  • Easy installation with magnetic bracket
  • Readily available replacement bulbs

Cons

  • Might be too small for larger homes
  • Power cord only 6 feet long

Bio Shield Antimicrobial Protection UV-C

Bio Shield UV-C antimicrobial air sanitizer

Key Specifications

  • 17-inch UV-C bulb
  • Snap mounting bracket
  • Includes drills bits for installation 
  • 1-year warranty

The Bio Shield UV-C antimicrobial air sanitizer is another affordable HVAC UV light with a single bulb. It has a 17-inch UV-C lamp that kills pathogens that cause respiratory issues like allergies, colds, flu, and sinus infections.

It zaps away biofilm, which keeps the coils inside your air conditioner cleaners for longer periods. Plus, cleaner coils improve airflow, which means better efficiency and lower energy costs. This Bio Shield light mitigates airflow issues, a common problem with air conditioners.

Like the Power R600, the Bio Shield UV light is easy to install too.

  1. First, tape the included cut-out template paper onto the duct where you’ll install the UV.
  2. Then, you drill the hole for the light and mount the unit base with screws.
  3. Lastly, you plug in the power cord into the wall, and the UV light begins to brighten up the place and improve your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ).

Bio Shield UV-C light is a versatile product with a longer than average probe, which means it produces more UV-C light and disables more pathogens than a shorter one. Plus, it’s affordable and includes extra hardware like circular drill bits that further simplify installation.

Pros

  • Affordable cost
  • One year warranty
  • Simple installation
  • Includes a hole saw and drill bit for installation

Cons

  • Bulb might be too long for certain ductwork

Honeywell UV2400U1000 UV Air Purifier

Honeywell UV2400U1000 UV Air Purifier

Key Specifications

  • 16-inch UV-C bulb
  • Hard-wires to power transformer in air handler
  • Easy snap bracket
  • 5-year warranty

The Honeywell UV2400U1000 UV Air Purifier is another cost-competitive unit, but from a reputable company – Honeywell. Honeywell is a U.S.-based manufacturer and has over 135 years of experience manufacturing sensors and components for the HVAC industry (and many others).

This model has a 16 inch light bulb that produces UV-C and is rated for 16 watts. Honeywell claims that it reduces surface mold by 99%. Like other single tube UV lights, you install the UV2400U1000 in a similar fashion:

  • Cut a hole with the included cut-out template
  • Screw the snap base over the hole
  • Slide and snap in the light tube
  • Wire it to an existing transformer in your air handler

This Honeywell UV light’s significant difference over other brands is that it connects directly to a transformer within your air handler. That means you won’t have random cords coming from your HVAC unit to a power outlet, but you will have to complete a few extra steps.

First off, to hardwire it in, you’ll need to tap into an existing 24V power transformer inside the air handler cover. Secondly, you’ll need to verify the transformer can handle an extra 16 watts (or 16 VA).

This sounds simple, but you do need some basic electrical skills. If hardwiring sounds like it’s out of your wheelhouse, get an HVAC contractor to install it or get one that plugs into an outlet.

However, if you want the reliability, the Honeywell name carries without the hassle of inconvenient power cords going to a wall outlet, strongly consider the UV2400U1000.

Pros

  • No power cord from the air handler to an outlet
  • Affordable cost
  • High quality
  • Simple bulb replacement
  • Five-year warranty

Cons

  • Requires hardwiring to a transformer

Honeywell UV Air Purifier with AirBRITE Odor Absorption

Honeywell UV Air Purifier with AirBRITE

Key Specifications

  • 16-inch UV-C bulb
  • Includes photocatalytic filter to remove VOCs
  • Hard-wires to power transformer in air handler
  • Easy snap bracket
  • 5-year warranty

The Honeywell UV Air Purifier with AirBRITE includes a 16 inch UV-C light bulb and Honeywell’s proprietary AirBRITE odor absorber.

Note: The UV-C light bulb and assembly are exactly the same as the standard Honeywell UV2400U1000 UV air purifier. However, the base is different to accommodate the odor absorber too.

The AirBRITE odor absorber removes smells and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that UV-C light cannot remove on its own.

The odor absorber is an activated carbon system that captures odors from paint, aerosols, cooking, pets, and more. As such, most homeowners notice vast improvements in their homes’ indoor air quality within the first few days after installation.

The combination of the UV-C bulb and the odor absorber provides many benefits, including:

  • Odor and VOC removal
  • Disinfection
  • Keeps AC coils clean
  • Kills the majority of mold spores

The installation steps are similar to the Honeywell bulb without the AirBRITE. The main difference is the mounting. Here is how to install this HVAC UV light with odor absorber:

  1. First, you use the cut-out template to trace the section you need to cut out of the duct.
  2. After cutting a square hole for the odor absorber and a round hole for the UV-C bulb, you secure the snap base over the hole with screws.
  3. Then, you snap in both the AirBRIGHT Odor Absorber and the UV-C light into the base.
  4. Finally, you will need to wire it to a 24 V power transformer within the air handler.

Pros

  • No power cord from the air handler to an outlet
  • Filter eliminates odors and VOCs
  • Simple bulb replacement
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • Requires hardwiring to a transformer
  • Costly

Pure Air UV R-18D Air Purifier Dual UV-C Light

Pure Air UV R-18D Air Purifier Dual UV-C Light

Key Specifications

  • Dual 8-inch UV-C bulbs
  • LED indication to easily check bulbs
  • 3-year warranty

The Pure Air UV R-18D Air Purifier Dual UV-C Light is a highly efficient dual UV-C light with germicidal filtration. This powerful UV-C light has two 8-inch bulbs rated for use in 1 to 5-ton capacity HVAC systems.

That means the R-18D is perfect for use in homes of all sizes– from tiny homes to large ones. Pure Air claims this dual UV-C light will kill up to 99.9% of mold, mildew, and airborne pathogens.

Note: The installation of the R-18D has basically the same steps as its single bulb counterparts. Expect (if you haven’t guessed it) instead of cutting one hole– you’ll need to cut two holes (one for each UV-C light).

Thankfully, Pure Air makes the installation easy by including a paper cut-out template that allows you to easily cut the holes for the light tubes at the correct sizes and spacing. Then, you slide the entire assembly into the holes, secure it with four screws, and plug it into a wall outlet with the included 6-foot cord for power.

The Pure Air R-18D has a three-year warranty and an LED indication to easily check that it’s producing light. Like the other UV-C lights in this guide, the bulbs last around a year (10,000 hours average life) and are easy to replace.

Pros

  • Affordable cost
  • 3-year warranty
  • Simple installation
  • Dual bulbs
  • Long, 9-foot power cord

Cons

  • None

OdorStop OS72PRO UV Air Purifier with Airflow Sensor

OdorStop OS72PRO UV Air Purifier

Key Specifications

  • Dual UV-C bulbs, available in 12-inch or 16-inch lengths
  • Includes airflow sensor to shut off bulbs when HVAC system is off
  • LED indicators to verify bulb operation

The OdorStop OS72PRO UV Air Purifier is an easy-to-install dual-bulb UV-C unit with a convenient, energy-saving feature. It includes an accurate airflow sensor that detects when the air conditioner or furnace (or heat pump) runs.

When your HVAC system is off, the dual 12 or 16-inch UV-C lights are on and when the HVAC system is off, so is the OS72PRO.

Not only is the airflow sensor an outstanding energy-saving feature by only running when your HVAC system is blowing, but it also extends the life of the bulb too.

The UV-C bulbs are rated for around a year of life, but since they’re only on when the HVAC unit is running, they typically last much longer than a year. The OS72PRO has an LED light on the outside that tells you when the UV lamps go out.

Note: While the OdorStop OS72PRO has excellent energy efficiency, it is a bit more complicated to install.

It includes a cut-out template to make the two-holes for the light tubes, which is similar to most UV-C light. However, you also need to cut out a section between the holes with snips for the airflow sensor to fit.

It is a bit more cutting, but it is not too complex with the template guiding you. After cutting out the appropriate holes in your duct or plenum, you slide the OS72PRO in and secure it to the sheet metal with eight screws.

The UV-C bulbs are easy to detach from the socket but to replace the bulbs, you have to remove the entire unit (and the eight screws) to do so.

Pros

  • Better energy efficiency (bulbs are on only when the HVAC system is on)
  • Less frequent bulb replacements
  • Dual UV-C bulbs available in 12 and 16-inch sizes
  • LED indicator shows bulb function

Cons

  • Higher upfront cost
  • Difficult to replace bulbs
  • More complex installation

D200 Dual Lamp Air Purifier Whole House Filter UV Light

D200 Dual Lamp Air Purifier

Key Specifications

  • Dual 7-inch UV-C bulbs
  • Includes photocatalytic filter to remove VOCs
  • Sight glass for bulb verification
  • 3-year warranty

The D200 Dual Lamp Air Purifier is an exceptionally low-cost dual bulb UV-C light with a photocatalytic filter for your HVAC system. It is easy to install, ozone-free and uses high-quality Philips UV-C bulbs made in Europe.

Like most HVAC UV lights, it produces UV-C at the wavelength of 253.7 nm, which is perfect for killing germs, viruses, bacteria, and mold. Installation is also simple– you cut the duct with the included template, slide the assembly in, secure it with screws, and plug it in.

The bulbs last about a year, and you have to remove the entire unit to replace them. Thankfully, the front has a small sight glass, so you can check if the bulbs are not lit and need replacing.

The photocatalytic filter is efficient at removing most odors and VOCs from the air. For example, it works well on cigarette smoke smell, and many homeowners attest that it improved the smell of their homes in two days or less.

Pros

  • Filter eliminates odors and VOCs
  • Short 7-inch bulbs fit into areas with space constraints
  • Uses high-quality Philips UV-C bulbs
  • 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Difficult bulb replacement
  • Bulbs may be too short to work effectively in larger HVAC systems

HVAC Ultraviolet Light Comparison Table

ModelCostBulbWiringFilterAutomatic Shut Off
Power R600 UV Light Coil Cleaner$Single bulb, 14-inchStandard OutletNoNo
Bio Shield UV-C antimicrobial air sanitizer$$Single bulb, 17-inchStandard OutletNoNo
Honeywell UV2400U1000 UV Air Purifier$$Single bulb, 16-inchHard wires to transformerNoNo
Honeywell UV Air Purifier with AirBRITE$$$Single bulb, 16-inchHard wires to transformerYesNo
Pure Air UV R-18D Air Purifier Dual UV-C Light$Two bulbs, 8-inchStandard OutletNoNo
OdorStop OS72PRO UV Air Purifier$$Two bulbs, 12 or 16-inchStandard OutletNoYes (via airflow sensor)
D200 Dual Lamp Air Purifier$Two bulbs, 7-inchStandard OutletYesNo

HVAC UV Light Buying Guide

a technician checking a HVAC system

Determining which HVAC UV light is right for your home can be challenging. We put together some details on the best UV lights available above, but here are some things you should consider when making your selection.

Installation

Almost all HVAC UV lights take less than an hour to install, but some are more difficult than others.

Mounting and Drilling

All HVAC UV lights have to penetrate the wall of your ductwork or plenum. That means you will need a power drill and will have to cut into the duct wall with a circular drill bit. For some products, you’ll even have to snip some sheet metal away with tin snips.

Since the single bulb devices just require a single hole, they are the easiest to install. The Bio Shield UV light even includes the drill bits to simplify installation. Dual bulb units are the next easiest to install; you just do the same steps twice.

On the other hand, HVAC UV-C lights with filters like the Honeywell UV Air Purifier with AirBRITE and D200 units require a bit more work. You’ll not only need to drill, but you’ll need the tin snips to cut away the square openings for the filters.

Powering

The easiest way to power an HVAC UV light is directly into a wall socket with a power cable. However, if you don’t have an outlet near your HVAC unit or in a convenient location, a power cord could be an eyesore or a trip hazard.

The alternative is to power the UV light directly straight from a transformer within the air handler itself. That’s precisely how the Honeywell UV2400U1000 and Honeywell UV Air Purifier with AirBRITE are powered.

Sure, hardwiring is another step and takes some basic electrical skills, but it prevents you from having a pesky cord going from your HVAC unit across the room to the nearest outlet.

Installation Location

Generally, you should install your HVAC UV light in two locations in your HVAC– under the coils or in the ductwork. If you are unsure where to install yours, you can consult with a local HVAC technician for help.

Ductwork Location

Installing an HVAC UV in the main trunk of your HVAC system will ensure that all of the air in your home blows past the light and gets disinfected.

Coil Location

An HVAC UV light operating near the evaporator coil of your air conditioner will disinfect all the air that blows through the HVAC system and prevent mold growth on the coils.

When the evaporator coils remove heat from the air, excess moisture condenses on them, making them the perfect environment for mold to thrive until you shine some UV-C light on them.

Length of Lamp Life

How long your UV light lasts is important to most homeowners– you probably don’t want to buy replacement bulbs and replace them frequently. Thankfully, manufacturers of UV-C bulbs have, for the most part, maximized the lifespan of the bulbs to between 9,000 to 10,000 hours (around a year).

So, for the most part, all UV-C bulbs have around the same lifespan. However, if the light is not running 100% of the time, it will last longer– that’s where some extra features can help.

Extra Features

Sure, an HVAC UV-C light on its own does fantastic work at disinfecting the air and decreasing the spread of pathogens in your home, but some extra features can make it even better.

For example, the photocatalytic filters on the Honeywell UV Air Purifier with AirBRITE and the D200 Dual Lamp Air Purifier remove VOCs and bad odors, making the indoor air quality of your home the best around.

Another useful feature is the energy-saving airflow switch on the OdorStop OS72PRO, which only turns the light on when the HVAC blower is on. There’s no reason to “tan” the inside of your ductwork when the HVAC system isn’t running, and this innovative unit recognizes that and saves you money on your energy bills.

Let There Be UV Light

There’s no question that the UV-C wavelength kills over 99% of dangerous and contagious microbes; many studies show just that. And with the threat of COVID-19 still on many homeowners’ doorsteps, it is a great time to take the plunge and update your HVAC system and improve your home’s air quality.

About The Author

Jonathon is a mechanical engineer with over ten years of experience in the HVAC industry. He has hands-on experience with all types of HVAC systems.

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