As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools and other businesses have been forced to reevaluate their existing HVACR infrastructure, specifically ventilation. Guidelines from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Guidance for Building Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic recommend improved ventilation as a key way to reduce the viral transmission risk factors when indoors. This includes increased maintenance of central air filtration systems, improved outdoor ventilation to indoor areas, running the HVAC system for longer periods of time, installation of portable air purifiers, and the use of germicidal UV lights among other recommendations.
What is a UVC lamp and does it kill SARS-CoV-2? A UVC lamp is a germicidal light that has been used as a disinfectant for air, water, and other nonporous surfaces for a number of years. According to the FDA, UVC radiation has been proven to be effective as destroying the protein coating of the SARS-Coronavirus leading to the deactivation of the virus. UVC radiation may also be effective at deactivating SARS-CoV-2 (virus that causes COVID-19), but unfortunately, there is limited published data on its effect on SARS-CoV-2. Please note that not all UVC lamps are the same so always be sure to refer to the data provided by the manufacturer.
The FDA recommends the air ducts as the most effective place to install a UVC lamp for air disinfectant purposes. Since skin exposure to UVC radiation should be limited due to concerns of irritation, the air duct is also the safest place to install a UVC lamp. Please note that not all UVC lamps are the same so always be refer to the instructions and guidelines provided from the manufacturer for best practices on use and care.