How Germicidal UV-C Works

Control Garbage Pathogens with UV-C Irradiation

UV-C is a spectrum of ultraviolet light which is invisible to the naked eye. ‘Germicidal’ UV-C generally refers to a specific bandwidth of light (approx 253.7nm) which has been shown as the most effective for killing life at the micro-organic level. This includes bacteria, viruses, mould spores etc. The speed in which the Germicidal UV-C light can kill these organisms (i.e. sterilise the air), will depend on the organism itself, and the intensity of the UV-C light.

Germicidal UV-C can often be confused with the UV light which is used to make Ozone – and it’s not hard to see why, as a lamp which produces Germicidal UV-C light looks identical to one that creates Ozone.

What is the difference between Germicidal UV-C and Ozone producing UV light (V-UV)?

Germicidal UV-C light kills pathogens by a process called ‘irradiation’ – which disables the DNA of the bacteria, and effectively kills it.  It is important to understand that Germicidal UV-C only treats the air which is exposed to this UV-C light i.e. only air which passes inside the purifier will be treated.

When Ozone is created by UV, it is not the UV light which kills pathogens. Instead, the UV light is used to create Ozone from a small portion of the Oxygen in the ambient air. The Ozone is then dispersed into the area needed treating, where it provides odour and germ control by a processes called ‘oxidation’.

So in summary; Germicidal UV-C treats air which is exposed to the light, whereas a UV Ozone generator will use the UV light to create Ozone, and it is the Ozone which provides the treatment – not the UV light itself.

An example of Germicidal UV-C and Ozone inside an air purifier

We have noted a growing trend of Ozone manufacturers who say their product uses Germicidal UV-C and ‘irradiation’ in addition to Ozone. This might technically be correct, as most Ozone lamps also emit some UV-C light from the germicidal spectrum. But this does cause confusion with customers. This is because, to be effective, the Germicidal UV-C should be in an entirely separate chamber to the Ozone producing lamps. For more information on why this is true, please read our ‘Dual Air purification Systems vs other Air Purifiers’ section of this website. In the meantime, here is how Germicidal UV-C and Ozone created by UV work in our Garbage Doctor® Si-Zone® 5000:

Garbage-Doctor-Sizone-5000-How-WorksAir Purifier #1
Air within your garbage room is continually circulated through the Garbage Doctor® Si-Zone 5000's upper sterilisation chamber, where it is treated by two very powerful germicidal and deodorisation technologies;

1) Germicidal UV Light; is a highly effective air steriliser that is deadly to forms of life at the micro-organic level, which includes most airborne pathogens (bacteria), viruses and mould spores.

2) Photo Catalytic Oxidation (PCO); is one of the safest air purification methods for human occupied areas. Originally developed by NASA this technology is used on the international space station, and world-wide by hospitals, governments and in households. The PCO process has been proven as highly effective in breaking down; garbage odours, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), bacteria, viruses, fungi, mould spores and other airborne micro-organisms.
Air Purifier #2
Designed for harsh garbage environments, the Si-Zone® generator disperses ultra-clean Ozone into targeted areas close to the garbage odour and pathogen source (this is usually the garbage chute and bin/compactor).

The Ozone then travels through your garbage system providing further odour and germicidal control by oxidation (not by masking odours).