Steril-Aire UVC Technology

With over 20 years experience in HVAC Hygiene, Clean-Air understands that keeping the HVAC system clean is an ongoing process.

steril aire uvc technology 1

While regular maintenance can look after the mechanical issues and HVAC Hygiene inspections and servicing can address the build-up of dust and debris in ducts. There is another issue - Coils and air handling equipment are a source of micro-biological contamination due to the constant moisture present. Regular cleaning can assist but there is always a threat of re-contamination.

There is now a solution to maintain the micro-biological cleanliness of Coils, Drain Trays and air handling equipment. Steril-Aire provides a germicidal UVC technology which was developed specifically for the HVAC Industry. Steril-Aire is renowned world-wide as the leading provider of germicidal UVC technology specifically engineered for operation in cold moving air with over six times the output of its nearest competitor. Integration of Steril-Aire’s patented UVC emitters into your buildings Air Conditioning system is proven to provide the best performing permanent solution for; improved IAQ, continuous coil cleaning, microbial control, maintenance cost reduction, reduction in carbon footprint, combined with an attractive ‘Return on Investment’ through energy savings.

Through Steril-Aire’s emitters ability to eliminate 99.9% of mould spores, bacteria and virus’s other benefits/applications include; reduction in absenteeism, food technology applications, sterile cleanrooms, pandemic control and in hospitals, the reduction of ‘hospital acquired infections’.

Benefits of Using UVC

Steril-Aire's systems-engineered germicidal UVC Emitters installed in HVAC systems provide a proven and cost-effective tool to reduce energy consumption and operating costs while improving indoor air quality. Installed at the cooling coil and drain pan in an HVAC system, UVC eliminates surface biofilm — a complex matrix of mould, bacteria, viruses and debris.

Why should you consider using Steril-Aire UVC in your building?           

  • Energy Savings: Lowers energy costs by improving HVAC system heat transfer and increasing net cooling capacity.
  • Maintenance Savings: Continuously cleans coils, drain pans and plenums, reducing or eliminating manual cleaning and the use of harmful chemicals.
  • Improved Indoor Air Quality
  • Water Conservation: Condensate Water can be reclaimed for cooling tower makeup, irrigation or grey water flushing – this reduces water costs.
  • Extended food shelf life: Reduces food spoilage
  • Rapid Return on Investment: Offers a ROI in a little as 2 years.

About Steril-Aire

Sustainable solutions for healthier buildings

Founded in 1994 after a decade of intensive research and development, Steril-Aire launched an industry with its multi-patented UVC Emitters that are systems-engineered specifically for the cold, moving air of an HVAC system. Today, Steril-Aire remains the unrivaled leader in IAQ improvement in commercial and residential heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems.

The devices have earned numerous awards and patents for their innovation and proven abilities to improve HVAC system cleanliness and efficiency, building comfort and energy conservation, while solving a variety of operational problems. All products are manufactured in an ISO 9001-2008 facility. Key markets for Steril-Aire devices are the healthcare, commercial, industrial, residential and institutional sectors. The products are sold through a network of worldwide manufacturer's representatives, distributors, original equipment manufacturers and direct efforts. Steril-Aire maintains corporate and manufacturing headquarters in Burbank, California.

From reducing energy consumption and controlling costs, to optimizing both human and mechanical productivity, UVC solutions from Steril-Aire pay measurable dividends to your bottom line.

Our Mission

To produce innovative, technological solutions, backed by science, that enhance our customer's image, save money and create a better environment to live, work and breathe.

See Steril-Aire UVC and Commercial Buildings

steril aire uvc technology 3

Steril-Aire Video Links

Why Choose Steril-Aire?

Steril-Aire's UVC Emitters™ work better and last longer. Independent testing proves that our UVC Emitter output is significantly higher than the competition at all temperatures.

Only Steril-Aire delivers:
  • 3-4 times longer life: The Steril-Aire UVC Emitter has a 12-month service life — and even after a full year, it has 2-3 times greater output than competitive devices deliver on day one! As a result, only Steril-Aire can ensure the germicidal performance you need, with no return of microbial growth up to 4 times longer than the competition.
  • Independently verified output: Steril-Aire has been independently tested to deliver an average of 6 times the output of other ultraviolet devices under HVAC operating conditions. The U.S. EPA/Department of Homeland Security reports that Steril-Aire UVC devices achieved 99.96 % destruction in a single pass on airborne bacteria, 99% on viruses and 96% on spores.
  • A patented state-of-the-art solid state electronic power supply for enhanced reliability and performance.
  • High performance construction, including stainless steel housings with high spectral aluminium reflectors, and thick-wall quartz tubes.
  • A full array of lamp sizes and configurations to fit the widest range of applications — externally mounted, internally mounted, and portable.
  • Complete technical and engineering support with in-house expertise in both HVAC technology and microbiology, delivering real science for clean air. Our patented installation ensures the germicidal performance for your application.

The service life and germicidal effectiveness of UVC devices relate directly to how much output or intensity they deliver. There are many UVC products on the market today that claim to work just like Steril-Aire. But in truth, their performance claims are derived from tests conducted at 32°C still air rather than 7° C moving air.

Buyer beware: In cold/moving air, output of these competitive lights is much lower than the advertised output at 32° C.

steril aire uvc technology 2

Steril-Aire FAQs

1. What is UVC?

UVC is a type of ultraviolet (UVC) energy in the 260-nanometer frequency. The "C" wavelength is the most germicidal in the UVC spectrum.

2. How does it affect HVAC biofilm?

The "C" wavelength targets the DNA of microorganisms, causing cell death or making replication impossible. The UVC energy kills or inactivates microbes, eradicating surface biofilm.

3. Does it work?

Yes, Steril-Aire UVC Emitters continuously clean coils, drain pans and plenums. It improves product quality, shelf-life and yield in food processing plants.

4. Does UVC relate to UVGI?

The two terms are basically synonymous. Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) is a term used by U.S. Federal Agencies such OSHA, NIOSH and the CDC when referring to UVC.

5. What is UVV?

UVV light refers to another wavelength in the ultraviolet spectrum. Some UVC devices also produce light in this wavelength. The manufacturers of these devices promote UVV as an added tool for IAQ control, saying that UVV attacks microorganisms, chemicals, and odours. While this may be true, it is important to understand that UVV (unlike UVC) will also "attack" occupants in treated spaces by adversely effecting human lungs! The reason for this is that the shorter (185 nanometers) wavelength of UVV light actually generates ozone. This occurs because UVV light reacts with oxygen to break it into atomic oxygen, a highly unstable atom that combines with oxygen to form O3 (ozone). The American Lung Association states that "exposure to ozone causes a variety of adverse health effects, even at levels below the current standard." The U.S. Food & Drug Administration says: "In order for ozone to be effective as a germicide, it must be present in a concentration far greater than that which can be safely tolerated by man and animals." The longer (254 nanometers) wavelength of UVC light, by contrast, provides highly effective air, surface, and water disinfection without producing any harmful ozone. The materials and methods of UVC lamp construction determine whether a given UVC device will produce both UVC and UVV light or only the safer UVC wavelength. Steril-Aire devices do not produce any UVV.

6. What's the difference between UVC Emitters™ and conventional tubes?

Steril-Aire devices work better and last longer. Independent testing proves that UVC Emitter output is significantly higher than the competition at all temperatures, especially under real-life HVAC operating conditions. Only Steril-Aire delivers 3-4 times longer life; independently verified output; a patented state-of-the-art solid state electronic power supply; high performance construction; many sizes and configurations; complete technical and engineering support; and the lowest life-cycle cost of any UVC product.

7. Can UVC save energy?

Yes. Steril-Aire devices degrade organic build-up in coils, keeping coils continuously clean. This lowers HVAC energy costs by improving heat transfer and increasing net cooling capacity. Steril-Aire has a Life Cycle Cost program that provides an excellent way to predict energy and operational savings.

8. Will UVC kill dust mites?


9. Does it produce ozone?

No, Steril-Aire devices do not produce ozone or other secondary contaminants. Ozone generating air cleaners are not safe.

10. How will I save money with UVC?

In commercial, industrial or institutional buildings, a Steril-Aire UVC installation offers the most rapid payback in the industry. A typical installation can pay for itself in less than two years and save thousands of dollars thereafter in energy and maintenance costs. This is possible because the devices continually clean coils, drain pans, plenums and ducts, reducing or eliminating costly cleaning programs. HVAC energy costs are lowered by improving heat transfer and increasing net cooling capacity. General IAQ is improved for better productivity and less absenteeism. Product quality, shelf life and yield in processing plants are improved as well.

11. Does it replace filters?

No, a UVC fixture is an air conditioning component that is used in addition to other system parts. These include the coil, fan, dampers, filters, etc. All are designed to do some form of work within the air handler or on the air.

12. Do I need UVC if I use antimicrobial filters?

UVC is not a replacement for filters. UVC addresses the problem of coil "biofilm" which is usually downstream of the filters. Antimicrobial treated filters rely on direct contact to kill the microrobes. As the filter builds a layer of dirt on it, this direct contact is eliminated and the microorganisms will not be affected by the chemical treatment. Therefore, treated filters will not accomplish the task of eliminating the growth on the coil.

13. Where is it installed?

Most Steril-Aire fixtures are designed specifically for installation in HVACR applications. On existing systems, infestations always exist. Therefore, the best results are obtained when the light is located downstream of and facing the coil. In this location the user can expect the highest efficacy in eliminating surface (coil and plenum), drain pan and airborne microbes. On new systems, it can be placed either up or downstream of the coil and aimed at the coil.

14. What are the limits of temperature, humidity and velocity?

Limit rules of thumb are 0 - 76°C, 99% RH and 5 m/s Coil Face Velocity, respectively.

15. Can UVC be installed in packaged rooftops?

Yes, Steril-Aire offers NEMA 4x (water and rustproof) style fixtures using single ended Emitters that are easy to install in rooftop systems.

16. Can Steril-Aire fixtures withstand moisture?

The SEN fixture is a NEMA 4x style designed for outdoor installation, and is water resistant. All others are designed for 99% relative humidity and function properly and predictably under those conditions.

17. Can UVC be installed in small units?

Yes, unit ventilators, heat pumps and fan coil units, etc. are often the most inefficient HVAC systems. Steril-Aire offers a variety of Emitter lengths as well as special unit ventilator and fan coil retrofit kits that allow easy installation of UVC, to make these systems cleaner and more efficient.

18. How will the customer know it is working?

There are several ways to demonstrate the many things taking place: One is to use a contact plate containing specialized agar before the lights are installed. Thirty days after the lights are installed repeat the procedure and compare results.

  • A visible reduction of mould will be seen in a very short period of time.
  • Coil pressure drop will fall, and can drop as much as 30% in 30 days or less (depending on coil cleanliness and water activity). The system's airflow will usually increase as a result.
  • Drain pans and drain pan water become significantly cleaner.
  • All line-of-site surfaces, i.e. insulation, will start to look like new.
  • Most of the space odor will disappear and the air will seem fresher.
19. Is UVC harmful?

UVC is only harmful under prolonged direct exposure - which is not generally an issue, since the devices are installed inside air conditioning equipment or are otherwise shielded to prevent exposure. Use of safety goggles and gloves is recommended as a precaution during installation to protect the eyes and skin.

20. Should the Emitters be cycled with the fan or run continuously?

For optimum IAQ and most efficient performance, the devices should be run continuously if possible.

21. If I see a blue light, does that mean the UVC Emitter is working properly?

Not always. The blue colour does not come from the UVC energy but rather from argon gas inside the Emitter. A blue glow indicates that the Emitter is turned on, but it does not provide an accurate measurement of UVC output. That's why you should use a Steril-Aire radiometer to measure output, or change Emitters annually - even if the blue glow still appears to be bright.

22. Do Emitters need cleaning?

UVC Emitters do not require cleaning as part of normal operation; however, cleaning is recommended if the quartz has been touched during installation. Use 99% pure alcohol and a lint-free cloth, or a Steril-Aire cleaning kit.

23. How do you know when to change the Emitters?

For large or critical applications, change out should be performed when Emitter output decreases by 40% as measured by our radiometer, after about 9,000 hours or 12 months. For installations with no radiometer, change Emitters annually (after about 9,000 hours).

24. How do you dispose of the used Emitters?

Dispose of them as you would any fluorescent tubes, in compliance with your local or state codes.

25. What is the warranty?

The fixtures and Emitters are warranted for 1 year.