How long does UV light take to kill bacteria?
The short answer is - minutes - however, it is a little more complicated than that. The effectiveness of UVC light is based on the variables of time (length of exposure), intensity of the source (how "bright" the "light" is), and distance (how far the source is from the target). In addition, because different microorganisms require different levels of UVC to inactivate them, there is not one answer about how long it takes to kill all bacteria, as it also comes down to the way the cell is built for each type of bacteria. The good news is bacteria, and viruses, are very susceptible to UVC energy, especially when compared to a spore former, like C-diff.

Because American Ultraviolet is aware of the complexity of the answer to the length of time needed to "kill bacteria," we take the guess work out of it for our clients by taking into account all of these variables and delivering a calculated dose of energy directly to the target. Our ARTZ 2.0® unit, for example, allows the user to specify the type of microorganism, and the disinfection zone; while our UVC Fixed Mount packages allow the user to select the length of the disinfection cycle needed to target specific microorganisms without having to do the math.

How does UV light kill bacteria?
UV technically doesn't "kill" bacteria, but rather it inhibits replication, or sterilizes it, by destroying the DNA. A more detailed explanation is that the UVC energy is absorbed by the DNA and RNA contained in the cells, and this creates dimers or a "double bond" between adjacent nucleotides (i.e. thymine). The formation of these dimers is what inhibits the ability of the chain to replicate, which in turn leads to the death of the colony.

Is UVC light safe?
With proper PPE, yes. UVC is completely safe when the eyes and skin are protected. 
Without any PPE, prolonged, direct exposure to UVC light can cause temporary skin redness and eye  irritation.

Should UVC be used during procedures?
Absolutely, with proper training.  As part of your UVC OR Fixed Mount Package, American Ultraviolet will provide onsite training regarding proper use of the system during procedures.

Can UVC be used outside of procedures?
Yes, it can be used before and after procedures and as part of a scheduled cleaning program.

Can I set a timer to turn on the UVC OR Package at a certain time and run a cycle?
Yes, you can.  The UVC OR Package offers a "Scheduled Disinfection" cycle.  This functions as a timed daily cycle where a start time and a run time are selected, and the system will turn on and run for the specified cycle time every day.  Want to run a disinfection cycle for an hour at 4am every morning? No problem.

What if someone walks in the room during a timed disinfection cycle?
Every UVC fixture in the room has its own motion, heat, and IR sensor.   If they were to "see" motion, or sense heat, all fixtures will immediately shut down.

Do I need additional staff to use the UVC OR Package?
No, you don't.  With its user-friendly touchscreen, existing staff can easily use the system (once trained) and with the scheduled disinfection cycle, nobody needs to be there at all to start the cycle.

How do I know a cycle actually ran when nobody was there?
Every cycle the OR Package runs is logged in its memory and all data can easily be downloaded via a USB stick from the USB port on the controller.

How do I know when to change the lamps?
Your UVC OR Package uses sensors designed to measure UVC light intensity and will let you know when your lamps are not operating within the desired range of effectiveness.

How long do the lamps in the OR Package typically last?
In a typical OR, the lamps will only need to be replaced about every 5 years.  This can vary based on frequency of use and, again, the controller will let you know if your lamps have reached the end of their useful life.

How do I get replacement lamps?
American Ultraviolet strives to keep an adequate supply of spare and replacement parts on hand to handle our customers' needs quickly.  Typical standard parts like the lamps used in the UVC OR Package generally ship within 24-48 hours and same day shipping is our goal for orders received early enough in the day.

Can I get a tan from the UVC lights used in the OR Package?
No, and you should not expose your eyes or bare skin to the lights.  Your skin will redden and become very dry but will not tan.  This effect is transient and subsides in about 48 hours, but it is also irritating and uncomfortable. 

Does the OR Package need to be connected to Wi-Fi or ethernet to work?
Not at all.  While the fixtures in the package use ethernet cables to communicate with each other, the package functions as its own, independent network.  No connection to the building's network is needed at all.  The only thing required from the building is electricity to power the fixtures.

To learn more about the OR Package, and other healthcare products from American Ultraviolet that will help reduce microorganisms in the environment, please visit our technical library where you can download and print literature.

Visit the Disinfection Update E-newsletter archives (which begin with March 2020) to read helpful stories about the effectiveness of UVC Disinfection.

None of the American Ultraviolet UVC products detailed above are certified, or approved under any applicable laws, as a medical device, and as such, American Ultraviolet, and its Representatives and Distributors, do not currently intend for them to be used as medical devices anywhere globally. Products have not been evaluated by the FDA.