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How Do UV Lights Work?

Just about everyone has observed the magic of UV lights, yet few of us truly understand how they work. UV lights, also known as “black lights”, produce long-wave radiation. These lights appear a dark shade of purple, yet the light they generate is from the ultraviolet range of the light spectrum.

The Basics of UV Lights

UV light is short for ultraviolet light. This light is a form of electromagnetic radiation similar to X-rays, radio waves and gamma-rays. Plenty of people link UV lights to black-light posters, yet UV light also has the potential to cause a sunburn or tan. Though the human eye can't see UV light, it is naturally emitted by the sun throughout the day. About 10 percent of the sun's light is UV light.

UV light's electromagnetic radiation travels in waves or particles at varying frequencies. Its frequency is between 3 x 1016 cycles per second and 8 × 1014 cycles per second. UV light wavelengths are between 380 and 10 nanometers. This unique light is generated in the long-wave form with the assistance of mercury vapor. As a result, pigments and dyes look fluorescent when exposed to the light. As an example, black-light tubes contain mercury and are lined with a purple filer material to prevent visible light from entering the interior. This unique light creates quite the pronounced fluorescent glow when shone above white materials including human teeth and nails.

Why UV Lights are so Popular

Your HVAC technician may recommend using UV lights for your HVAC unit to help prevent mold growth in your air ducts or if your family suffers from allergies. Ultraviolet light can kill microbes in the atmosphere as they pass through your system, improving your indoor air quality. For those suffering from allergies at home, particularly if they live in hot, humid climates, UV lights may offer some relief.

If you think UV lights may be just the solution you’re searching for, contact the professionals at Westberry Heating and Air Conditioning.


How Do UV Lights Work?