Understanding How UVGI Works

Understanding How UVGI Works

For quite some time, plenty of hospitals have been using UVGI or otherwise known as Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation in inactivating TB (tuberculosis). Experts have maximised the use of this disinfection method. Many infected individuals have seen an increase in help from UV light purification. Today, it has found renewed application in other aspects, including air purifiers.

Now, what is this disinfection method? How does this work? In this article, we have outlined what you need to know about UVGI.

What Is Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI)?

An effective method of disinfection, UVGI uses short-wavelength ultraviolet light (UV-C) to inactivate or kill microorganisms and pathogens. The UV light with sufficiently short wavelengths is used to disinfect surfaces, air, and water. It has been widely recommended or used by many agencies and companies for the isolation of disease and bio-defence systems for buildings.

The effectiveness of Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation depends on the length of time a microorganism is exposed to UV and the intensity and wavelength of the UV radiation.

If you want to get the most of the effectiveness of UVGI, it is important to understand the difference between sterilization, disinfection, and decontamination. Often, these terms are incorrectly used. So, it is ideal to know their differences to avoid confusion and any potential legal ramifications.


First, sterilisation describes a process that destroys and carries out all forms of microbial life through physical or chemical methods.


Second, disinfection is a process that involves the elimination of many or all pathogenic microorganisms on inanimate objects.


Third, decontamination describes a process that makes an object or area safe. It involves removing, neutralising, or destroying any harmful substance. Basically, it is the outcome of the processes of sterilisation and disinfection.

Essentially, disinfection and sterilisation make sure that medical and surgical equipment do not transmit infectious pathogens to patients. Since the sterilisation of all patient-care instruments is not necessary, it is important for healthcare policies to identify, primarily based on the items’ intended use, whether cleaning, disinfection, or sterilisation is indicated.

How Does UVGI Work?

Now that you have an idea what Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation is, the next thing you need to know is how it works.

UVGI is a specific method of sterilisation that uses UV lighting to kill germs. Since time immemorial, UV disinfection lighting is known to kill bacteria. There was even a time when it was popular in hospitals because of its ability to kill tuberculosis. When antibiotics came to light, the concern for disinfecting everything lessened. However, antibiotic-resistant infections (not to mention viruses) surface today. As a result, the interest in Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation has been renewed.

Application of UVGI in Air Handling Units (AHU)

Generally, the cooling coils present in air handling units are the heat exchangers where heat and mass transfer take place. These coils are constructed of closely spaced aluminium fins, which are attached to rows of copper tubes, that increase the airside surface area, and ultimately, the heat transfer.

In addition to humidity and moisture being constantly present, this phenomenon promotes microbial growth and leads to the formation of Biofilms. If biofilms and closely spaced fins combine, they make cooling coils very susceptible to airside fouling. If the biofilm blows off into the airstream, it causes a deteriorated and harmful Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in the entire buildings.

Situations like these lead to chillers operating under non-optimum conditions while using more energy than usual.

Application of UVGI in Ducting System

Nowadays, airborne transmission of diseases through HVAC systems is much more prevalent than previously encountered. Airborne contamination comes from various sources. It mainly circulates through the HVAC system. In-duct ultraviolet germicidal irradiation systems treat moving airstreams in heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems by inactivating airborne microorganisms found within.

A great deal of hospital-acquired infections has cost healthcare providers huge sums of money per annum. Even if robust cleaning regimes have been adopted, the spread of Tuberculosis, Meningitis, MRSA, Clostridium difficile, Chickenpox, Influenza (H1N1 and avian), Aspergillus, Pseudomonas, and even COVID-19 continue to grow. These infections affect more than 10% of patients. Some cases are even fatal.

If you think that this UV disinfection lighting technology should be used by more hospitals, especially with the current coronavirus pandemic, then you are right.

Wrapping Up

Certainly, UVGI helps reduce respiratory infections when applied in crowded spaces. This disinfection method also works in preventing spaces containing the ultraviolet equipment from getting infected.

While studies of the health benefits of applying UVGI systems have inconsistent results, there have been a few successful studies of UVGI in HVAC systems outside of health care facilities. With the evidence of potential health benefits, the Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation warrants further research.

If you want to benefit from UVGI light, call Power Up Enterprises! We are one of the country’s leading provider of premium quality products. When you choose to purchase from us, you can trust that you can get the right sustainable solution for your HVAC system. Contact us today!