As a landlord, you need to make your home stand out from the pack, right? One way to do that is to offer a healthier environment than the competition, such as one with a furnace UV light. These lights have been used for years in hospitals, research labs, and other sterile environments to help kill harmful bacteria and pathogens. Over the last few years, however, they have become much more common in residential properties.
Supplemental measures incorporated into HVAC systems, for instance, help promote cleanliness in the home by preventing microbial growth in mechanical units. UV furnace lights have been proven to be very effective at getting rid of air impurities to help ensure proper air filtration.
This is the nasty stuff we want to kill.
UV furnace lights are widely available, easy to install, and fairly inexpensive. Even though each model is slightly different, the installation procedures are generally the same for all of them.
STEP 1: Verify that power is available.
Most UV lights for your furnace use a regular 120V outlet. Hopefully your attic (or wherever your furnaces are located) already has an outlet available for you to use. If not, you’d need to consider having an electrician wire one to the area, or find a UV light that uses a different power supply.
This is important to do first before you go purchase a system you can’t use right away!
STEP 2: Get all your tools together.
Some landlords and homeowners make the mistake of retrieving the tools they need one at a time. Instead, it’s MUCH easier—especially if your furnace is up in the attic—to just get everything together before you get started.
Here are the main things you’ll need:
- A power drill
- Duct tape
- The UV light kit
- Phillips screwdriver
Even though you may not use all of these, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Once you have everything ready, make sure you turn off the furnace before the next step.
STEP 3: Drill a hole through the duct.
Assuming the furnace UV light kit requires you to drill a hole into the duct work, it should come with the drill bit you’ll need. It will normally have a bit in the middle, and a cup-shape with the edge lined with saw-like blades. This bit is pretty powerful and should be able to punch a hole through your duct work, whether it’s metal or insulated flex duct work.
The drill bit won’t look exactly like this, but similar.
Your furnace UV light kit should give you some instructions on where to drill, but there are a few other things to keep in mind:
- Watch out for piping! Stop drilling as soon as you’re through the duct/insulation.
- The UV light should be installed on the output side of the furnace.
- Since your duct work probably forks to go to different parts of the house, try to install it before the fork, or at least right at the split.
STEP 4: Install the furnace UV light mounting plate.
This step will vary depending on whether you drilled the hole into soft duct work or metal.
- If it is metal, your kit should include a few screws to hold the mounting plate in place. Once screwed in, it should be very secure.
- If the duct work isn’t metal, simply screwing into the insulation isn’t enough to hold a plate. Instead, you’ll need to use the duct tape to hold the plate in place around the hole.
The light isn’t extremely heavy, but since it will be sitting in the same place for the foreseeable future (probably for years), you want to make sure the plate is held securely before moving on.
STEP 5: Insert the bulb.
The last step is where you finish everything up. It has a few sub-steps, but will only take you a few minutes:
- Insert the UV bulb into it’s “socket.” It will probably give a “click” once it’s in place.
- Carefully slide the tube into the hole in the duct work, then lock it into place on the mounting plate.
- Connect the power supply, verify the light turns on (**DON’T look at the bulb itself—there should be an indicator to show if the light is on.)
- Celebrate being done!
That’s all there is to it. Even though it may seem like a lot of steps, installing a furnace UV light can be done in as little as half an hour once you know the process and have done it a few times.
Good luck, and make sure you let your tenants (and potential tenants) know about this home upgrade. I’m pretty sure they will be quite impressed!