UV-C Light Fixtures Explained
July 14, 2020
UV lamps and fixtures come in a variety of different models. However, your intended purpose affects which lamp and fixture is best for you. Below, the experts here at Action Services Group explain the different types of UV lamps and UV-C fixtures and how they might apply to you.
The Different Types of UV Lamps
When it comes to man-made ultraviolet (UV) light, there are many different options that produce different results that you need to be aware of. Today we will look at the most popular, which are blacklight blue, blacklight, and germicidal lighting.
When most people think about blacklights, they picture parties with dim blueish lighting that causes light colors, particularly whites, to become iridescent. These UV lamps, actually called blacklight blue (BLB) lamps, emit light in wavelengths measuring between 370-400nm, putting them in the UV-A bandwidth. BLB lamps create that iridescent reaction with colors due to a blue or purple filter within the lamp. These filters are clearly present and make the lamps themselves appear black when not in use. While they are most commonly sold as straight or curved fluorescent lamps, BLB lamps are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Just on the border of visible light, BLB lamps do not emit UV wavelengths that are considered hazardous to your health. Common applications for BLB lamps include anti-theft protection, detecting forged currency, detecting stains in carpet for cleaning and forensic purposes, nightclub lighting, and within UV nail fixtures.
Blacklight lamps have wavelengths between 350-370nm. Not to be confused with BLB lamps, the most common blacklights available are BL350 and BL368. Blacklight lamps emit a blend of visible and UV light. Because of this, they create a luminous glow that is blue in color. When not in operation, the bulbs will appear a milky white as with your other standard lights. Blacklight UV lamps are often sold as straight or curved fluorescent lamps. Blacklights are safe for human eyes and skin. Although blacklight lamps still fall within the UV-A bandwidth, they have different uses than their BLB counterparts. Common blacklight applications include bug zappers, polymerization, and tanning beds.
Germicidal lighting falls into another category altogether. Known as UV-C lighting, germicidal bulbs emit light with wavelengths between 200-280nm. UV-C lamps are typically fluorescent-style lighting. They look no different from your standard light bulb. However, they do come with certain health risks and should not be used in residences. UV-C lamps are most commonly used in industrial or professional environments. While UV-C light is invisible, it can irritate eyes and skin and should not be applied to either. (For this reason, UV-C lamps are typically operated only when protective clothing is worn, or a room is unoccupied.) UV-C lamps, however, emit a light that damages the DNA and RNA of microorganisms, causing them to be unable to reproduce. Because of this, UV-C lamps are most commonly used to disinfect or sterilize air, food, surfaces, and water.
If this is your first time reading about UV lighting and you would like to learn more about germicidal lighting specifically, we suggest reading Does All UV Light Act as a Disinfectant? Then you can read our full UV Lighting series, where we focus on UV-C Germicidal Lighting. If you don’t find the answer to your question, email us at [email protected] and we will have our UV-C lighting experts reach out and answer them, or you can Schedule a Call by clicking the button below.
The Different Types of UV-C Light Fixtures
Any UV lamp you choose will need a fixture in order to operate. Let’s take a look at the three most common UV-C light fixtures to help you determine which might be the best fit for you.
UV-C fixtures can help us breathe easier. HVAC fixtures, which target airborne microorganisms, can be installed within the air handling system. Often, these fixtures can be installed without having to replace an HVAC unit or the connecting ductwork. This can help limit the spread of airborne toxins. Unlike UV-C light fixtures that address surfaces below, HVAC fixtures can be run non-stop without concern of exposure. Because they are overhead and contained, there is no threat to the eyes and skin below.
Mobile Disinfection Units
In some cases, portable UV-C fixtures may be ideal. For example, schools and hospitals may have hundreds of spaces where UV-C disinfection is needed. However, outfitting each room with a mounted fixture is likely cost-prohibitive. Portable fixtures, therefore, may allow for fewer units to be purchased, but offer facilities the same benefits. Often on wheels or tripods, mobile disinfection units come in a range of sizes that can fit your particular needs. From disinfecting an entire room to minor surface sterilization, these mobile UV-C fixtures offer a tailored approach to your needs and are often the most affordable solution.
Mounted ceiling fixtures appear no different from your standard fluorescent version. As with the later, UV-C ceiling fixtures can be mounted in or hung from your ceiling. (Wall mounted version are also available!) Not only does this help save floor space, but these fixtures can also be tied to your lighting control systems. From automated, scheduled applications to motion sensors – ceiling and wall fixtures can be tied to devices that ensure human eyes and skin are not in the room when the UV-C lamps come on. Ceiling fixtures are not only conveniently off the floor – they also allow for calculated and appropriate coverage of an entire area. Based on the size of the room, the level of disinfection required, and types of surfaces within the area, ceiling, and wall fixtures offer a permanent solution.
While this article gave you a basic understanding of the different types of UV lamps and fixtures, we are sure you have more questions. Have you read our In-depth Look at UV Germicidal Lighting which can be found in our Education Center?
UV-C Light Fixtures with Action Services Group
How you intend to use your UV lamp affects which version is right for you. Action Services Group can help answer any questions you may have regarding which UV lamp and fixtures are best for your specific purposes. Contact us today by calling 610-558-9773, email [email protected] or Schedule a Call by clicking the button below.
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