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UV Disinfection: How Germicidal Light Bulbs Work

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If you’re like most people, you’ve never heard the term, “germicidal lamp” in your life. This is completely understandable, as ultraviolet light bulbs are not particularly common in household light fixtures. However, there are many benefits of using germicidal UV light as an alternative to chemical sterilizers in labs, hospitals, schools, restaurants, pools, fish tanks, nurseries, and many other environments that are notorious for hosting bacteria, fungi, and viruses. At SOS LightBulbs, we find UV disinfection fascinating and offer a range of germicidal lamps for sale, which is why we are dedicating this blog post to UV light sterilization and its many uses.

What Is Germicidal UV Light?

Essentially, germicidal UV light is a type of UV light that kills bacteria in an environment by interfering with its ability to multiply and spread disease. But not all forms of UV light kill bacteria — out of the three types, UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C, only UV-C is known as a disinfecting agent. But why? Well, it all comes down to where the ultraviolet light is located on the wavelength spectrum, and UV-C light is found between 100 nanometers (nm) and 280 nm, which is known as the germicidal wavelength zone.

The next step up from x-ray wavelengths, UV-C light can be found in a variety of germicidal light bulbs, which typically fall under either the low-pressure mercury discharge lamp or medium-pressure mercury discharge lamp categories. The main difference between these types of germicidal lamps is that the low-pressure ones closely resemble fluorescent tube light bulbs, yet without the fluorescent phosphor, and are typically made of a fused quartz material. This allows the UV-C light to be produced by the internal mercury arc and pass through the germicidal lamp without modification.

The medium-pressure germicidal lamps, on the other hand, appear more like high-intensity discharge lamps, which emit an overwhelming amount of radiation due to the electrical gas-discharge components inside, rather than a traditional light bulb filament. Because of this, medium-pressure germicidal lamps produce an intense, white light in broadband radiation, as opposed to the small amount of light that low-pressure germicidal lights produce.

How Does Germicidal Disinfection Work?

Germicidal UV light works by interrupting the DNA replication of bacteria by damaging the nucleic acid inside the organism, which is responsible for forming bonds and causing it to multiply. In the scientific community, a microorganism such as a fungus or virus that cannot replicate is considered dead, since it is unable to spread. In other words, when UV light kills germs, this is because the bacteria is inhibited from replicating and has no host to latch onto and infect.

Practical uses of germicidal UV light include sanitizing drinking water, food processing plants, medical facilities, and a number of other industries. Some of the most common uses of UV light to kill germs are:

  • Water Purification
    • Ice making for restaurants & commercial uses
    • Swimming pool & hot tub sanitation
    • Wastewater disinfection (water wells, cisterns, pond & lake water, etc.)
    • Water purification for aquariums, fisheries, farms, greenhouses & nurseries
    • Boat decontamination (algae, zebra mussels, etc.)
  • Food Processing
    • Breweries, wineries, distilleries & restaurants
    • Soft drink manufacturing plants & bottling
    • Dairy farms & animal breeding
  • Medical Facilities
    • Chemical laboratory sanitation
    • Operating room disinfection
    • Hospital & delivery room sanitation
    • Pharmaceutical production

Shop Our Germicidal Lamps For Sale At SOS LightBulbs

Now that you know a little more about how UV light sterilization works and how UV light kills bacteria in a number of industries, we welcome you to check out our collection of germicidal lamps for sale at SOS LightBulbs. As the number one place to buy energy-saving bulbs, LED replacement bulbs, and more, we have a diverse selection of light bulbs for sale online. Click here to shop our germicidal bulbs today!