The rise of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the COVID-19 disease it causes has brought many inquiries to us about the use of Ultravation air and surface disinfection products to help reduce the populations of this micro-organism in indoor environments.

UV light: A pinnacle for disinfection since the 1930s, recognized by ASHRAE, the EPA and the CDC

UVGI (ultraviolet germicidal irradiation) light technology is a seasoned disinfection tool, in use for about 90 years. UV technology for disinfection is recognized and endorsed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the CDC and the EPA. In fact, it is the only air disinfection technology that is supported by ASHRAE as being effective. See ASHRAE Handbook—HVAC Applications, Chap. 62, Ultraviolet Air and Surface Treatment. In ASHRAE’s Pandemic Preparedness online advice, they state: “Consider adding air treatment and cleaning devices such as UVGI (ultraviolet germicidal irradiation) in duct, plenums and air handling units and on the face of cooling coils.” See https://www.ashrae.org/technical-resources/commercial#pandemic

The engineers at Ultravation have been designing and manufacturing germicidal UV-C products for residential and commercial applications for both air and water for over 20 years. Ultravation products reduce or eliminate unwanted biological growth on HVAC internal components such as AC coils, blowers, drain pans and ductwork. We also manufacture commercial systems specifically for HVAC airstream sterilization.

How effective is UV specifically in deactivating SARS-CoV-2?

Germicidal UVC light has been proven effective to inactivate many microorganisms. As noted above, ASHRAE acknowledges UV’s ability to destroy viruses, bacteria and fungi. In testing UV for the elimination of specific microorganisms, it is determined how much UV energy it takes and how long of an exposure time is needed for a given species to be inactivated. In the case of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV that caused the SARS outbreak in 2003, it was shown by 2004 that the virus was highly susceptible to germicidal UV light and kill-rate UV dose calculations were made. New data now exists in 2020 that supports the assumption that the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 has similar UV sensitivity and specifics are being developed, but suffice it to say that UVC light can be expected to deactivate coronaviruses in as little as two seconds of exposure.

Even more effective: A systematic approach

Building a comprehensive IAQ system for HVACs offers many opportunities to use UV as well as other air disinfection technologies for even more effective reduction of not only airborne bacteria and viruses, but all types of indoor air pollution, including allergens, VOCs and odors. The illustration below demonstrates the various opportunities for air disinfection and other benefits, using Ultravation indoor air quality (IAQ) products.

HVAC disinfection opportunities

Air contamination is made up of many distinct pollutants from visible dust and pollen, to microbes, odors, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and micro or nano-particulates. Since air pollution varies so widely in size, there is no single-solution technology for air and surface disinfection and purification. That’s why Ultravation believes strongly in combining multiple complex technologies.The proven power of UV light is augmented by the disinfection capabilities of other technologies including ionization and photocatalytic oxidation (PCO). Even quality filtration plays a role!

Below are two Ultravation commercial products designed specifically for direct air disinfection:

Ultravation UVMatrix logo

UVMatrix™ AS-Series UV for HVAC airstream disinfection. Used in large HVAC installations for air disinfection as air passes through ductwork.

Ultravation BiogardUV logo

BioGuardUV™ FS-Series for convection driven for stand alone UV room air disinfection. Used in public spaces such as restaurants, libraries and hospital rooms to disinfect the air as it circulates by natural convection to the upper part of a room, where occupants will not be exposed to UV.

Below is a summary of residential Ultravation IAQ products for HVAC:

UV Disinfection — Ultravation UV systems: EZUV, UltraMAX, UVC-Advantage

Ultravation high intensity T3™ UV lights excel at disinfecting the HVAC coil, drain pan, blower and other wet internal surfaces and the air passing through the air conditioner. UV prevents bio-growth of the air conditioner that can contaminate the air flowing to living spaces while reducing the number of bacteria and viruses in the air passing through the UV germicidal field around the lamp.

Premium air cleaning for your home with MERV 13 filtration: Ultravation ProgressiveMedia

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) is the industry standard filter performance rating system as developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. Ultravation ProgressiveMedia™ filters are available with MERV 13 level performance which is recommended by the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force as an enhancement for HVAC systems in schools, colleges, and universities. In fact, the State of New York Department of Health requires MERV 13 or better filtration in all malls greater than 800,000 sq. ft. in its document "Interim Guidance for Malls During the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency". Both MERV 11 and MERV 13 rated filters can capture large bacteria, but MERV 13 is much more efficient for both. (See ionization information below to learn how ions can greatly enhance filter capture and have a germicidal impact.)

Air ionization — Ultravation Orion™ Bi-polar ion generator for HVAC systems

Bi-polar ionization contributes to better air in several ways. First, ionization statically charges tiny, unfilterable micro- and nano-particulates in the air which gathers them into groups large enough for filtration capture, reducing airborne pathogens and suspended nano-particulates. Additionally, ions are germicidal––contributing to the disinfection of the airs as it passes through the HVAC system. When installed just upstream of a filter in an HVAC system, a quality filter will capture a much high percentage of pathogens and other nano-particulates. The second benefit is that the emitted ions are germicidal so they disinfect the filter, making a full filter less of a hazard when removing and throwing away.

Photocatalytic Air Purification— Ultravation UVPhotoMAX , UVCatalyst

PCO technology purifies the air by breaking down or oxidizing contaminates. Ultravation PCO purifier surfaces are coated with a patented titanium dioxide (TiO2) formulation that includes both silver (Ag) and zinc (Zn) ions. When the TiO2 absorbs UV light from the system’s UV lamp, the absorbed energy causes a release of electrons which bond with oxygen and water vapor creating strong oxidants that combine with contamination. Microbes of all kinds are then de-activated, and VOCs, odors and other chemical contamination are broken down into harmless water and carbon dioxide molecules.