By Michael Morrison on Wed 25 May 2022
Why should you be thinking about UV-C?
UV-C applied correctly, can stop the SARS-Cov-2 virus in just 9 seconds.
Bold statement, but when you realise that as a population we have been using UV-C as the single most effective way to disinfect water for nearly 2 centuries, it should then come as no surprise at how advanced and efficient this technology is.
What is UV-C?
You may be aware that UV-A, UV-A, and UV-C are forms of ultraviolet light rays that naturally occur within the world around us. What you may not know is that they all have different effects.
UV-A has the longest wavelength and therefore is the less dangerous with the highest penetration, this makes up a lot of what we get through from the sun. Whilst it may be the least dangerous it is responsible for most forms of skin again like wrinkles, age spots and because it penetrates deeper it is linked with cancer.
UV-B has the second shortest, or longest depending on how you look at it, wavelength and would be would be the largest cause of sunburns. It is strong enough to damage to the top layer of your skin within as little as 15 minutes and as such there is a very strong link with cancer.
UV-C had the shortest wavelength and is by far the most dangerous, what this does mean is it penetrates the least meaning a standard pane of glass is usually enough to stop it. We don’t usually get much damage naturally from UV-c as it is not strong enough to penetrate the ozone layer and therefore gets absorbed before reaching us. That being said man-made sources can be very dangerous and therefore it is best to use the right equipment at all times. Using this knowledge we are able to use UV-C to break down the molecular bonds of viruses and bacteria, destroying their ability to reproduce and therefore rendering them harmless.
How do we use UV-C
Over the past 18 months or so there have been massive leaps forward in germicidal UV-C research and application. With this, there tends to be a few main ways in which you can apply these unbelievable cleaning rays. What is really encouraging to remember is that there are no harmful toxins or harsh chemicals used in any of them.
UV-C Disinfection Boxes
These are usually small, desktop-sized boxes, although larger are available, that you can place your objects to be disinfected into, switch on, let run for a couple of minutes and then hey presto, they will come out fully disinfected with no effort from the user and no chemicals in sight, nevermind on the products, your hands, or in the air where it can cause even more issues!
HVAC Filter Cleaner
These are a bit more specialised and only applicable to those that have air conditioning within their building. Most of the time these will be UVC lamps held over the actual filter where they will constantly clean the filter of any microorganisms, essentially increasing the life cycle of the unit by several times. Granted, they won’t get rid of large pieces of debris, dust, etc, but they do stop the biological infestations.
UVC Air Exchange units
Around for a number of years and particularly popular within the medical sector. These units are specialised bits of kit that will be within a room and using either the natural convection of the room or mechanical assistance (powered suction fan) they will treat the volume of air within a room. They do this by pulling the air through a chamber which will have UVC lamps pouring light into it, out of the way of human or animal contact, cleansing the air within of anything biological and then pushing it out the other end. There tends to be 2 categories of these units, mobile and stationary. The mobile units are used in the likes of schools or hospitals where they can be moved around depending on the demand on the room they are being used in. Stationary models are best suited to the likes of open offices, waiting rooms, etc. Anywhere that knows it will always have footfall and people within it that just need the air being turned over regularly.
Here at Lamp Source we actually have a number of these units in operation within our own offices. The real reason for this was in relation to Covid-19 and the returning to the office of all staff, and we must say, so far so good. Some might even go as far as saying that the air does actually feel better once the machine has had a full run. We’ve had less time off for the likes of colds and flus this year to boot!
BONUS - UV-C cleaning robots!
These state of the art robots are being used in hospitals across the world to sterilise and clean operating theatres before surgeries, without the need for potentially damaging chemicals. They are remote-controlled by an operator outside of the room and with wand-like extensions, they glide around the operating room washing all surfaces and equipment in the UV-C light killing off any threats that could harm a surgery or slow, if not endanger a patients recovery.
So there you have it, a quick round-up of some of the options available when it comes to UV-C and cleaning. Now you know that contact with UV-C light kills basically anything biological stopping viruses in their tracks. Therefore the next time a customer wants to talk about air purification or surface cleaning, don’t forget to give old UV-C a shout!