should I purchase a UV meter?
UV Meters are a very wise
investment for any salon. They help determine when it is time to change your
Also, UV Meters should be used
to check UV transmission through acrylics. Over a period of time, the
acrylic will begin to block a larger percentage of UV light. Using a meter
lets you know when you should replace your acrylics.
How accurate are UV meters?
Pocket size lamp meters
provide a comparative reading, not an absolute reading. They are helpful
when comparing original readings to current readings.
Each manufacturer calibrates
their meter to give you a reading relative to the original calibration.
Therefore, each brand will give you different readings.
UV meters only read from a
small portion of the spectrum of UV light. Different lamp manufacturers
design their lamps to emit UV rays from a particular section of the
spectrum. The UV meter may or may not read those rays. Therefore, readings
will vary between each brand of lamp.
To get a truly accurate
reading of the spectrum of UV emitted from a tanning lamp, you would need
highly specialized (and very expensive) laboratory equipment.
How do I take UV readings on my lamps? When do I replace my lamps?
Since UV readings vary
dependent upon meter brand, lamp brand, ballasts, voltage, age, and acrylic
transmission, lamps need to be measured when new to determine what they
should read in OEM equipment.
Since it takes a "burn
in" periods for tanning lamps to evenly distribute the gases and
mercury, you may want to wait until you have 10 or more hours on the lamps
before taking your first reading.
To take readings, allow the
unit to run for a warm-up period of at least 3 minutes.
With the acrylic in place,
take a reading in the center of the lamp.
Take readings from 2 or 3
different lamps in the same manner. The lamps you choose should be in the
center of the unit.
From the 3 lamps you have
taken readings from, figure the average of those three figures. Record this
reading for this unit, as well as the date and current lamp hours.
Periodically perform this same
procedure, recording your findings each time.
When the readings reach 70% of
the original readings, its time to replace your lamps. Use these readings in
accordance with your lamp hours to determine the lamp replacement schedule
that is best for your salon.
If my lamps are not new, how will I know what they should read?
If you are taking readings on
existing lamps in your unit, you cannot tell if they are "good" or
"bad" by the reading that you get. You have no original reading to
compare it to.
Replace two adjacent lamps
with new ones of the exact same brand.
Compare the readings taken
from the old lamps to the new ones to determine the difference.
Please keep in mind that lamps
will perform differently in different equipment. Therefore, Brand X in Bed A
may give different readings than Brand X in Bed B.
How can I tell if my acrylics need replacing?
Most UVB should pass through
acrylics. As acrylics age, they will begin to block or absorb those UVB
Using a meter will help you
determine how much UV transmission your acrylic is blocking.
See the instructions on taking
readings in Question 3 above.
Follow those instructions with
the acrylics removed.
Compare the first readings to
the second readings with the acrylics off.
If there is a 20% difference,
replace your acrylic.
For more information on
acrylic replacement, see our FAQ section on acrylics.
Does it really matter where I hold the meter when taking readings?
Above, we recommend that you
take meter readings in the center of the lamp.
However, it really does not
matter. As long as you measure every time in the same place and at the same
distance from the lamp.
This keeps measuring locations
constant and provides more accurate comparisons.
How do I know which UV meter I need? What is the purpose of each model?
The UV meters featured on
FSParts are manufactured by SolarTech. They come in several different
models: 5.0, 6.0, and 6.5. (They also manufacturer a 7.0 and 7.5 model which
we do not carry.)
Model 5.0 is the most commonly
used meter. It reads UVA + UVB. The primary use of this meter is to measure
overall lamp intensity vs. aging.
Model 6.0 takes UVB readings.
The primary use of this meter is to measure UVB intensity and acrylic
transmission. You can determine the % of UVB if you divide the 6.0 reading
by the 5.0 reading.
Model 6.5 is for UV index
readings. It measures solar intensity and is primarily used for outdoor
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