The Mysteries of Germicidal and Disinfectant Lighting
Our VP of Construction, Stephen Shepps, LC, tackles the Mysteries of Germicidal and Disinfectant Lighting.
UV Disinfecting devices are being sold all over social media and on most online shopping resources. Everything from replacement light bulbs to desk lamps to magic wands that allegedly disinfect anything you wave it over. The claims of these products stem from the truth that, for decades, UV Lighting has been used as a sterilization and disinfection tool for hospitals and other institutional facilities. But that truth can be confusing if you don’t understand the science behind the types of UV light.
During this current pandemic, many have escalated fears of the virus running rampant in our society. Unfortunately, I am seeing, as we see in many tragedies, companies trying to cash in on the public fears.
My experience is in the lighting industry, and we’ve seen some exciting opportunities to apply germicidal and disinfectant lighting commercially. Those solutions can help us reduce the number of bacteria and viruses in the future. However, what I see happening right now, is people looking to these sources as a magic bullet to kill COVID-19. The truth is that these products are not that magic bullet. And worse yet, some of these lighting sources, when misapplied, can do substantial physical harm to people and animals as well as fabrics and finishes in your home or business.
I am not a scientist, but I know enough about this subject to give you a little guidance. Our lighting specialists here at Schaedler Yesco can work with you and our manufacturers to provide a safe and effective solution if disinfectant or germicidal lighting is genuinely the right solution for you.
What I also hope to do by posting this information is to help educate you and keep you safe from injury and ill effects from certain products by, what I feel, are irresponsible sellers.
UV Disinfecting devices are being sold all over social media and on most online shopping resources. I’ve seen everything from replacement light bulbs to desk lamps to magic wands that allegedly disinfect anything you wave it over. The claims of these products stem from the truth that, for decades, UV Lighting has been used as a sterilization and disinfection tool for hospitals and other institutional facilities. But that truth can be confusing if you don’t understand the science behind the types of UV light.
All types of UV listed above have too many negatives to be used residentially or in most commercial applications. They are mainly suited for institutional or industrial applications. The potential injury to humans and the damage and degradation to the materials and fabrics in your home or business make them a less than desirable means of disinfection.
Many of these products you are seeing advertised are not authentic UV and will not disinfect anything. And if they are, in fact, real UV, they will be dangerous to use without professional direction. Therefore, in my opinion, none of these UV products being advertised for personal use are worth the risk when effective, safer, more simple alternatives in surface cleaning products exist.
Yes, UV has its place both commercially and residentially. It is widely used in water and air applications, such as in air returns inside your ductwork and water line filtration. The key to those solutions, however, is that the light is contained. You don’t see, and you’re not exposed to it.
Click here to view some of the authentic disinfectant lighting solutions that we are promoting and selling for commercial and institutional applications. But be aware that even in commercial and institutional applications, detailed room layouts and calculations are necessary, so the applications are safe and effective. The effectiveness of even these products is tied directly to distance from the objects you are trying to dissenfect, so detailed layouts are a must.
When looking for a disinfectant lighting solution, there is a safer alternative to UV. Just above the 400nm associated with UV lighting is a newer technology. At 405nm, this technology is on the visible light spectrum and offers similar disinfectant qualities as UV-A. It is significantly safer and a very effective solution to continuously cleaning specific areas of a building over a given period of time.
In conclusion, UV lighting, in any form, is just not an appropriate DIY project or a simple solution. Understand the facts and work with a professional to stay safe and have positive results.
Stephen Shepps, LC is the VP of Construction at Schaedler Yesco, responsible for the company’s lighting and gear programs as well as the Construction Solutions Team of specialists and outside sales representatives.
Steve has accrued 33 years in the electrical industry, starting his career as an electrical contractor, where he earned valuable field experience as well as Estimating and Project Management skills. Prior to joining Schaedler Yesco, he spent time in Electrical distribution as an outside sales rep and then multiple years in the lighting industry as Lighting Manufacturers Sales Representative. He is an LC accredited member of NCQLP National Counsel of Qualified Lighting Professionals, a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Steve lives in Mechanicsburg, PA with his wife and children.