There are several ways that one can reduce the potential for mold growth in a home. In addition to controlling moisture and using a proper air filter, another way to maintain a clean environment is with a UV light.

The Infamous Tanning Bed

Ultraviolet lights made famous by sunburn and North American tanning beds, give off electromagnetic radiation. Interestingly enough, the rays are called Ultraviolet because the shortest wavelengths of radiation are actually violet in color. UV comes in many forms, from the most natural being the sun, to manufactured sources such as Wood's Lights, Fluorescent Lamps and LEDs to name a few. Furthermore, UV has applications in several industries including Security and Forensics. Even in the industry of mold remediation, UV has its place.

UV can be an effective bactericide and germicide, which makes it a perfect addition to anyone's home. Since the mid-20th century, Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) has been used in places like hospitals and other facilities requiring sanitation. UVGI has also been used to sterilize drinking water and most recently, has been applied to air sanitization. The way that UV works in these mold and bacteria ridden environments is by converting harmful micro-organisms into inert byproducts. Most indoor pollutants, including mold spores, are carbon-based. When exposed to high intensity ultraviolet light, these pollutants break down and thus, are unable to reproduce or grow. In addition, ultraviolet light is considered "germicidal" when light is emitted at short range. Put simply, it is similar to a human receiving a sun burn. Micro-organisms such as mold, however, are not equipped to deal with prolonged exposure to UV and hence, break down.

UV Germicidal Lamp

Germicidal lamps are best used within a UVGI system but can also be added to your property's HVAC system (Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning system). Germicidal lamps are most effective when used within a controlled environment, where the wavelengths are measured and the airflow is continual and forced to ensure exposure. To ensure the effectiveness of a germicidal lamp within a duct system, the air would have to circulate continuously to promote maximum mold removal. UV germicidal lamps work best when placed within a system that does not restrict airflow and when used in conjunction with a reflective surface like aluminum. To maintain optimum effectiveness when killing mold, UV lights must be replaced annually as dust buildup will decrease the maps effectiveness.

Moldy Ductwork

To purchase a UVGI system or just a UV germicidal lamp, there are several online stores that one can access via the internet. If you decide to purchase the UV lamp only, make certain to purchase one that is a germicidal lamp and not just a UV lamp. A final note, UV germicidal lamps will definitely help maintain a pollutant environment; however, to ensure your property remains without mold, there are several steps you need to take to reduce the likelihood of mold growth in your home, including controlling relative humidity and moisture levels.