UV sterilisation: products that work (without the risks)

Lighting manufacturer and distributor, Red Arrow Electrical Distribution, explain how UV sterilisation products work, and how to choose the right product for your premises...

UV sterilisation products from Red Arrow.

UV light can kill 99% of airborne viruses, making it a powerful tool in the fight against Covid-19. Yet while UV devices are already widely used in medical settings to disinfect equipment, operating theatres and PPE, their mainstream use has been limited: until recently. Since the beginning of the pandemic, demand for UV sterilisation in commercial and public spaces has surged, and the number of UV solutions on the market has climbed with it. 

However, not every device claiming to offer UV sterilisation is created equal. Both safety and efficacy vary wildly and, unfortunately, some products are being sold and used incorrectly.

So how can you correctly harness the power of UV light in the fight against Covid-19 for your commercial customers? As lighting specialists, Red Arrow has selected the safest and most effective UV air filtration products to enable electricians and contractors to offer their clients UV solutions that work, without jeopardising wellbeing.

There are three types of UV light: UVA, UVB and UVC:

• UVA (long wave ultraviolet) makes up about 95% of sunlight. It’s linked to skin damage and ageing.

• UVB (short wave ultraviolet) is at the middle of the UV light spectrum, and makes up about 5% of sunlight. It contributes to sunburn and skin cancers.

• UVC is the most energetic, and the most damaging, but is largely absorbed by the Earth’s ozone. It is this type of light that is most effective at killing viruses, bacteria and pathogens. In a study published by the American Journal of Infection, exposure to UVC light from man-made sources completely inactivated coronavirus in nine minutes. 

How UVC works in sterilisation
UVC is used in germicidal lamps and devices for its photolytic effect on DNA: in simple terms, it damages the DNA of micro-organisms (bacteria, viruses, mould) to either kill or inactivate them.

UVC devices can be a practical and more consistent alternative to using sprays and fumigators on a daily basis. They continue working throughout the day, replace the need for harsh chemicals and have lower maintenance costs (you don’t need someone to manually operate them, aside from turning a device on or off). 

Buying the right UVC Products
As effective as UVC light is at destroying viruses, bacteria and pathogens, it’s important that it’s used correctly to keep people safe: not just from Covid-19, but from harmful UV rays. Direct exposure to UVC, such as from an exposed source like a lamp, can cause eye and skin damage, as well as potentially causing some textiles and plastics to degrade over time. Some UVC lamps can also emit small amounts of harmful UVB radiation, or even generate ozone that can aggravate respiratory problems. 

UVGI air filtration
The safest way to utilise UVC lighting is as a component of air sterilisation. When UVC technology is built into a UVGI air filtration system, microbes are exposed to UV rays, but people are not.

The KTII Medical Grade Dual Mobile Air Sterilisation System, available from Red Arrow, uses a multiple barrier approach to air purification. Combining the largest medical grade HEPA14 filter (18m2) and an Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation Chamber (UVGI), the KTII first filters and captures 99.97% of viruses, bacteria and pathogens before rupturing, disrupting and destroying microbial DNA within the UVGI chamber to sterilise the air. With a coverage of 150m2, it’s suitable for use in boardrooms, meeting rooms, social spaces, open plan and cellular offices.

The KTIII Medical Grade Air Steriliser also offers dual technology: combining a UVGI chamber and a medical grade HEPA13 filter, it is best suited to slightly smaller spaces, with a 90m2 coverage.

Red Arrow has partnered with So Pure Air, investing heavily in predictive Sterilised Air distribution software ‘SPA tm’ to ensure that clients can make informed decisions about the correct number of units and positioning in their businesses.

T: +44 (0)114 279 8999
E: Graham.lewis@redarrowelectrical.co.uk