Power Output and Why It Matters

The power output of your phototherapy device affects the amount of time it will take you to get your treatment. The concept might be easier to understand if we imagine that delivering your dose of UV is a job that needs to be done. Like filling a pail of water. If we barely open the spigot, it will take a lot longer to fill the pail than if we open the spigot all the way. While you can’t control the “spigot” in phototherapy.your power output is what it is.the point remains, the higher the output, the less time it will take to accomplish “the job”.

There are no home units on the market where you can dial up the power output. Purchasing a device that has inherently higher output is important if time is of the essence.

Here are a couple of rules of thumb: First, the larger the number of lamps, the greater the power output. An eight lamp unit will have more power than a six or four lamp unit. Second, look for units with higher wattage lamps. While almost all full-body units use 100 watt, six-foot lamps, smaller devices such as hand/foot units can use a variety of lamps ranging in wattage from 20 to 36: The higher the wattage, the greater the power output. Third, look for new technologies such as the “double stick” PLS or PLL lamps now being introduced. A longer lamp inherently has more power output and these lamps take advantage of this phenomenon by doubling back on themselves; twice the length in a compact space with greater power output.

Once you have your device, there are a few additional rules with respect to power output. First, keep the lamps clean. Dust or other particles block UV, making the lamps less efficient and may even cause them to run warmer and less efficiently. Second, if your device is in a very small area, ventilating the area may keep the lamps from getting too warm, again losing efficiency. Finally, new lamps will be more powerful than old lamps. Change your lamps when they get old. Most phototherapy lamps will lose power rapidly for the first 20 to 25 hours of use and then gradually lose their potency.