Feb 16, 2023
Ultraviolet, or “UV” light is everywhere. From the sun outside to the lightbulbs in your bathroom, you are constantly exposed to UV light. But not all UV light is the same. Some UV light is safe, even beneficial. So, what are the different types of UV light? Do you have UV light at home, and if so, how safe is it?
What is UV Light?
UV is light that has a wavelength too short to be seen by humans. Bees, other insects, some birds, and reptiles can see light close to UV wavelengths.
10% of sunlight is UV light. Of that, only about one third of that UV light makes it through Earth’s atmosphere all the way to ground level, where we are. Some UV light is helpful, even healthy, for humans. It increases our melatonin (suntans!) so we get more essential vitamin D. This vitamin is crucial for bone development and overall immune function.
UV light is also powerful enough to cause ionization. This means it can break down chemical bonds, which can be useful for disinfectant purposes.
In astronomy, certain telescopes in orbit use UV light to help scientists study the formation of stars.
Which Light Fixtures Give Off UV Light?
Light fixtures are an essential part of any home design. Whether functional or aesthetic, the lights in your home may emit safe, harmless amounts of UV light. Some of the light fixtures that give off ultraviolet light in your home include:
- Incandescent bulbs
- Fluorescent bulbs
- Black lights
- Halogen bulbs
All of these light fixtures give off different amounts of UV light, but for the most part, it’s such a small amount of UV light that it’s not harmful to use. Regardless of the UV light, however, it’s always important to make sure your home lighting is up-to-date and working as efficiently as possible.
When UV Light is Safe: Benefits of Using UV Light at Home
There are a number of different scenarios in which UV light or UV lamps can have a number of great benefits in your home.
For example, because UV light can break down chemical bonds, it’s a powerful tool for air purification, surface sanitization, and water purification. Using UV lamps can help improve the air quality in your home, and targeted UV light can kill viruses, bacteria, and other germs on surfaces and in water.
At CroppMetalfe, we use UV light as part of our air purification solutions by installing UV lamps in air conditioning and heating ducts.
Additionally, UV light can help with mood disorders. During fall and winter months, when natural UV light is low in many parts of the world, some people may experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Specially-made lightboxes give off safe amounts of UV light that offer relief to those who suffer from SAD. The right lightbox can provide important therapy for those who need it.
Finally, UV light can also help take care of the other living creatures in your home. The right amount of UV light can help keep your plants healthy, for example, by destroying harmful fungi and other causes of common plant diseases. They also make plants heartier and more beautiful. And your pets can benefit, too!
Reptiles, such as lizards, turtles, and snakes, usually require more UV light than they’ll get from just living in the habitat you create for them. It’s a great idea to include a UV light as part of your pet care package and install it in their enclosure to keep them safe, happy, and healthy.
When is UV Light Dangerous?
Like any other tool, UV light in the right place in the right amount is not only safe but beneficial in your home. However, UV can be dangerous in certain circumstances and amounts.
UV-A light penetrates more deeply under human skin than UV-B. Too much exposure to UV-A can cause permanent damage to skin cells, which can develop into skin cancer. This is the light used in tanning beds, which should be avoided.
UV-B light penetrates the surface of human skin and causes sunburns and blisters. Too much exposure to UV-B light can also cause skin cancer.
You can protect yourself from dangerous amounts of UV light by staying in the shade, covering as much skin as possible with clothing, using a strong sunscreen, and wearing hats and sunglasses.
UV lamps at nail salons generally don’t give off enough UV light to be dangerous, but if you get manicures regularly, you might consider air-drying instead. And remember, the lighting inside your house is safe when it comes to UV.
Call CroppMetcalfe Today for All Your Lighting Needs!
With CroppMetcalfe, you can make sure your home has the right kinds of lights for all your lighting needs in the Maryland/Virginia/DC area. Call us today at 888-559-8075 to schedule an appointment, or book us online!