In UV Systems, Blue Doesn't Mean Go

AHR Expo took place January 22 in Chicago, and it is absolutely massive. Here's one nugget of information that stuck with me from my conversations with manufacturers across the HVACR industry: in UV systems, the lights might be burning blue but that doesn't mean all is well. 

Ultraviolet lamps have been deployed for years now in germicidal applications. They can be used to sanitize rooms in hospitals or they can be mounted on cooling coils to wipe out biofilm, which clogs up the systems. However, in order to maintain rated performance, lamp manufacturers recommend lamp replacement ever year, with typical rated useful life for lamps at 9,000 burn hours. The trick of it is that the UV lamps continue to burn blue, which gives the mistaken impression that they are still cranking out the UV wavelengths at same rate as when they were installed. The blue visible light is actually coming from the argon plasma in the tube. The UV comes from vaporized mercury. And now you know. 

Were you at AHR? What stuck out for you?

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