SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — When it comes to keeping things clean, Simi Valley resident Eric Hoff knows a thing or two. “We clean sidewalks, buildings, pools, decks, block walls basically to remove dirt, grime, and also, we remove gum,” Hoff said.
About 25 years ago, he started a cleaning business that uses hot water pressure washers to remove dirt and grime from homes, businesses, and homeless encampments.
Since the pandemic started, Hoff says business has gone up 50 percent, but it also means his exposure to germs has increased. He and his staff now wear face masks and long-sleeved shirts during cleaning to help protect themselves, but Hoff is still worried about potentially catching coronavirus and unknowingly bringing it home to his family.
“I don't know what I was exposed to at work, so we actually established some protocols,” he said. “No shoes past the doorstep. We wash our hands more. We have hand sanitizer everywhere.”
Hoff was also looking for ways to breathe easy at home, especially being around so many germs all day. That’s when he learned about using ultraviolet light technology to kill germs. Experts say invisible UV light can kill bacteria, mold, allergens, and viruses in the air when it’s placed inside a heating or cooling system.
“You put the light in, in the duct system, so when the air conditioning is on, it’s working,” Hoff said. “When your air conditioning is not on, it’s not working.”
Brian Jiminez with Goettl Air Conditioning and Plumbing installs UV germicidal lights. He says before the pandemic, he was installing on average five lights per week in homes. But recently, it’s increased to between ten and 20 lights every week.
“People use their fan, heater, or their A/C, and as air is passing through, it’s getting disinfected,” Jiminez said.
It takes Jiminez about 15 minutes to insert a UV light right inside an air conditioning system and each time it’s turned on, sanitized air circulates throughout the house. Jiminez says it’s best to turn it on for an hour in the morning, afternoon, and night to sanitize the air and it’s more effective than using a portable air purifier.
“In general, an air purifier works around a certain area of your home,” he said. “In comparison, when you turn on your system, it covers the whole home.”
The installation costs Hoff about a couple thousand dollars, but he believes it’s worth it.
“When I’m at work, I get dirty and I feel dirty. It just is gross,” Hoff said. “I wish I could take showers all day long, but I can’t, so when I get home, that is why it is so important to me to have the house as sanitized and as safe as it possibly can.”