Do UV Lights Use a Lot of Electricity?

April 20, 2022 5 min read

UV light bulbs are everywhere, from home lighting to outdoor lighting and more. They’re even used in tanning salons and spas for skincare! UV lights have their fair share of pros and cons, but if you've ever considered buying one, you may be asking: do UV lights use a lot of electricity? Are they expensive to run? 

What Are UV Lights?

UV (ultraviolet) lights are commonly found in tanning salons, spas, and other beauty establishments. These lights are used to help the body produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. The sun is the best source of this vitamin because it contains the most ultraviolet rays, which our bodies need to produce vitamin D. However, some people don't get enough vitamin D through the sun alone, so there are UV lamps that can be used to supplement the sun's rays.

UV light bulbs can also be used in lighted signs, backlighting, UV curing, and even phototherapy. 

How Do UV Lights Work?

UV lights work by emitting ultraviolet radiation at a specific wavelength. This wavelength is between 290-315 nm, which is why UV light bulbs are often referred to as “UVC” or “UVB”. UVA light bulbs emit wavelengths between 315-400 nm, while visible light bulbs emit wavelengths between 400-700 nm.

When these UV light bulbs are turned on, they emit UV radiation at a very high intensity. When used in tanning salons, this intense level of UV radiation causes your skin cells to absorb the energy and convert it into heat. As a result, your skin will begin to burn and blister, causing a reddening effect. The blisters then heal over time, leaving behind an attractive tan.

UV-A, UVB, AND UVC Lights: What Are They?

There are three types of UV light bulbs: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVA light bulbs are also known as broad-spectrum bulbs since they emit both UVA and UVB rays. Broad-spectrum bulbs are typically used in tanning salons and spas. UVC bulbs only emit UVC rays and are primarily used in tanning salon equipment like tanning beds and tanning booths.

The difference between UVA and UVB is important to know before choosing a bulb type. For example, UVA light bulbs tend to cause less damage than UVB light bulbs. If you want a UV light for tanning, select a UVA lamp instead of a UVB lamp.

Are UV Light Bulbs Expensive?

Yes, UV light bulbs are expensive, especially when compared to regular incandescent bulbs. But they last longer, meaning fewer replacements are needed. Check with your manufacturer to know how long a particular bulb lasts. 

How Much Electricity Does A UV Light Use?

A typical household uses about 1 kWh per day. 

That means that a single UV light bulb would only cost around $0.10-$0.15/day to operate. If you were to purchase 10 UV light bulbs, you could save hundreds of dollars each year. 

However, keep in mind that UV light bulbs aren't cheap. So, before purchasing any, make sure you really need them. You should also consider whether you'll be able to afford to replace the bulbs regularly.

How Long Do UV Lights Last?

Most manufacturers recommend changing out UV light bulbs every 6 months, depending on the model. Higher wattage bulbs generally last longer.

What Kind Of UV Bulb Should I Buy?

You may want to look for a model that has a higher wattage rating, such as a 100W or 200W. These bulbs can run up to 50% more watts, so they'll last longer. However, keep in mind that even though they're rated higher, they still consume a lot of power.

If you're looking for something cheaper, try searching for a 60W or 80W UV light bulb. Unfortunately, these bulbs don't produce nearly as much heat, making them perfect for home use.

Bulb Wattage and Electricity Costs

To calculate the amount of money you'll spend on electricity, multiply the number of watts by the price per kilowatt-hour (kWh). For example, a 100W UV bulb costs around $1.50/watt. To figure out how many kWh it takes to pay off the bulb, divide the total cost by the number of hours it's been running. For example, if a 100W UV bulb runs for 8 hours a day, it'll take approximately three days to pay off the bulb.

Buying an Energy Star Product

Some UV lamps come with an energy star label. This means they've met certain standards set by the government to help reduce energy consumption. The most common standard is a 40% reduction in energy consumption compared to other products.

This doesn't necessarily mean that the product will save you money. Many energy saving products actually cost more because they require extra parts. They're also harder to find.

UV Bulbs vs. CFL Bulbs

If you've been considering buying a UV light, you've probably also heard of CFL bulbs. So let's take a closer look at what these are, and whether you should choose one.

CFL bulbs are compact fluorescent light bulbs. They're often used in places where there isn't enough space for traditional bulbs. They're also ideal for small spaces like bathrooms and kitchens.

They contain mercury, which makes them hazardous to dispose of properly.

They're also less efficient than regular bulbs. They use 30-40% less energy. That means you'll need to replace them more frequently.

The best type of UV lamp to use is one that comes with an inverter. An inverter converts AC current into DC current, allowing you to plug your UV lamp directly into the wall outlet.

An inverter is also essential when using your UV light indoors. If you leave your UV lamp plugged into the wall, it could overheat and cause damage to your house.

UV Lights and CFL Lights: Similarities and Differences

Both CFL bulbs and UV bulbs work by emitting ultraviolet rays. Both types of bulbs emit UVC radiation. They both also have similar benefits.

However, there are some differences between the two. Here are some things to consider before choosing between CFL bulbs and UV bulbs:

  • CFL bulbs tend to be brighter than UV bulbs.
  • You can only buy CFL bulbs from specific retailers. There aren't any generic brands available.
  • CFL bulbs tend not to last as long as UV bulbs. They usually last about 10 years.
  • UV bulbs are easier to install. You won't need special tools or skills to install them.
  • UV bulbs are safer to use. They're made to withstand high temperatures.
  • UV bulbs are better for plants. They don't produce much heat, so they won't harm your plants.
  • UV bulbs are better for cleaning carpets. They don't leave behind residue.
  • UV bulbs are cheaper to run. They consume less power than CFL bulbs.

Final Thoughts

Do UV lights use a lot of electricity? Well, actually, no. It depends on the wattage of the bulb. A 100W UV bulb uses about 0.5 kWh of electricity per year. So yes, it does use a bit of electricity, but it's still a good investment. So if you want your UV bulb to be as cost-effective as possible, we recommend shopping around and trying to select a bulb that's an 'energy star' product.