KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — According to the CDC, ultraviolet light can be a useful tool in reducing the spread of bacteria and viruses like COVID-19. Some East Tennessee businesses in our area are now installing UV air purification systems in heating and cooling units.

Are the systems effective?

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is one of several businesses that have installed UV air purification and disinfectant systems throughout its buildings.

Director of Maintenance and Engineering for Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Jay Bryan, said, “as air comes through our building, and goes through our air handlers to recirculate, it passes by these large UVC lights that kill the germs.”

As the pandemic continues they’re doing everything they can to keep their employees, animals, and visitors safe.

“We try to do our best to make sure our facilities are clean but obviously Covid-19 has provided new challenges in that regard,” Bryan added. 

They say this system is another layer of protection.

Owner of the Hotworx Knoxville franchise and CASPR distributor Robert LeBus is using the “CASPR IN-DUCT” air purifying system from Complete Disinfectant Solutions in all of his buildings. The system also uses UV light.

LeBus says: “it’s up to 99.6 percent effective in killing mold mildew, viruses, and bacteria so it really covers the whole spectrum so I was like I got to put these in my businesses.”

All three Hotworx Knoxville locations have the CASPR IN-DUCT installed into the HVAC system. Complete Disinfectant Solutions says it’s an innovative “no-touch” disinfection technology that helps create Hydrogen peroxide oxidizers that kill pathogens and combat against bacteria, viruses and mold – as well as odors.

After seeing the results at their Hotworx studios, Robert LeBus bought the local distribution rights – and they’ve offered the system to others such as Knox Area Rescue Ministries (KARM) and also donated the system to a Bearden High School sports facility.

Allergy specialist Dr. Don Ellenburg explains that ultraviolet radiation stops the development of micro-organisms on surfaces.

“The ultraviolet light has been incorporated into heating and air conditioning systems in an effort to try and sterilize and disinfect the air,” Ellenburg said. “Unfortunately, it takes a very good size dose of ultraviolet-c radiation in order to kill many of the bacteria and viruses.”

But he adds that more studies need to be done: “We don’t know how much is necessary or the length of time that it’s necessary.”

Either way, businesses that do have these UV air purification systems say they feel better having it than not.

“I wanted to make sure my (Hotworx) employees were working in the safest possible environment and that our clients were able to come in and be confident that they were in the safest possible environment,” LeBus said.