THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A UV SYSTEM
Before purchasing a UV water sterilizer, it's important to understand what prefiltration may be required, how to buy the right size system for your home, and more. Take time to educate yourself about ultraviolet water purification to make sure UV technology is the right solution for your water treatment needs.
1 How to choose the right Ultraviolet (UV) Water Filtration System?
Know How Much Water You Use: In order to provide peace of mind and daily protection from microbiological contamination of your water, it's important to select the right size ultraviolet light treatment system.
UV System Flow Rates: UV water purifiers measure water flow rates in “gallons per minute” or GPM, indicating how much water can flow through the system.
Since water may not be effectively treated if the system cannot handle the flow rates for your home, we tell customers that it's better to oversize a UV water treatment system rather than under size.
Flow rate guidelines for a Whole-Home UV Water Sterilizer System:
1 Bathroom: 6 gallons per minute flow rate
2 Bathrooms: 9 gallons per minute flow rate
3 Bathrooms: 12 gallons per minute flow rate
4 Bathrooms: 15 gallons per minute flow rate
5 Bathrooms: 18 gallons per minute flow rate
UV Dose: The amount of UV energy from the lamp to the water as it flows through the system is the “UV dose” expressed as millijoule per square centimeter or mJ/cm2. E. Coli, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium typically require a UV dose of 10 mJ/cm2 to become inactivated.
The typical whole-house UV system has flow rates of 30 mJ/cm2, which is sufficient for most residential applications. Flow rates for products with NSF Class “A” certification are rated at 40 mJ/cm2. NSF Class “A” certified systems are typically only used for specific commercial applications.
If you’re on a private well, it’s especially important to know exactly what’s in your water. Private well water is not regulated by municipalities. It is therefore recommended that you find a lab that can provide a water analysis services including testing for E.Coli, bacteria, and the contaminants listed above.
UV Water Filter Installation and Space Requirements:
Some UV system installations take up a lot of space and some are more compact, even though they are rated at the same flow rates.
One style is not more effective at treating water than the other, but more compact UV systems often use a brighter lamp and may be slightly more expensive. UV systems are typically installed vertically, but can also be installed horizontally.
When determining the space needed for installing a UV system, make sure to allow at least double the size of the UV system dimensions so that there is plenty of room for replacing the lamp and sleeve. Also, consider the space needed for any pre-filtration systems.
Image courtesy of Viqua
Optional Features Available: Most UV systems come standard with an end-of-life countdown display indicating how many days remain until the lamp needs to be replaced. Other systems come with controllers that have LED lights indicating proper function of different system components. Some newer systems come with touch screen displays. However, UV systems can come with a variety of options and add-ons. The most common option added by homeowners is the sensor. Commercial applications are more likely to add a solenoid shutoff valve and flow meter. For more information on these options and UV system components, CLICK HERE.
Video courtesy of Viqua
2 Are Prefilters Needed for a UV Water Sterilizer System?
Prefilters Can Protect your UV System & Improve UV Efficacy
Prefiltration may be necessary: If water is cloudy, a pre-filter should be used. Otherwise, UV light cannot effectively reach and destroy microorganisms because the rays are blocked by particles in the water.
Also, hard water can cause scale build-up on the UV lamp which decreases the efficacy of the ultraviolet process. "Hard water" means the water coming into your home is high in calcium or magnesium. Hard water should be treated with a water softener before the water enters the UV chamber. If left untreated, these minerals can coat the quartz sleeve and
To understand what's in your water, refer to the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) (also known as an Annual Drinking Water Quality Report) available from your water supplier July 1 each year. If you're on a private well water, we highly recommend testing your water. Learn more about water testing from the EPA website.
Quality of Water Before the UV System - To keep a UV system functioning at peak performance, it’s important to know what contaminants are in your water before installing a UV water filter system.
For example, high levels of hardness, iron, and sediment may not allow the UV system to properly treat the water. Thus, we recommend that incoming water to the UV system meet the following parameters:
- Hardness < 7 grains per gallon
- Iron < 0.3 parts per million
- Manganese < 0.05 parts per million
- Turbidity < 1 NTU
- Tannins < 0.1 parts per million
- UV Transmittance > 75%
If your water does not meet the above parameters before entering the UV chamber, then pre-treatment equipment may be necessary.
Installation NOTE: When you have multiple filters such as a water softener or "Big Blue" water filter in place, the UV system is usually installed last in the lineup.
Prefilters Improve UV Effectiveness
Sediment found in city and well water can be large enough to create shadows for bacteria to hide behind and thus, hinder the systems' ability to effectively treat water. UV manufacturers highly recommend a pre-sediment filter be installed before the UV system to ensure proper water treatment.
To understand what’s in your water and what contaminants need to be removed, you can request a copy of your city or county’s annual water quality report from your municipal water supplier. All municipal water suppliers in the U.S. that serve more than 25 customers must comply with federal Safe Water Drinking Act regulations, which requires regular water quality testing and treatment, as well as making their reports accessible to the public. A good place to start is on the EPAs Consume Confidence state reporting page.
What Does a UV Water Filter Remove?
A UV system is primarily used for removing viruses and bacteria from water. An ultraviolet water disinfection system cannot remove sediment, hardness, iron, lead or chlorine. That's why pre-filters are often installed before a UV system.
UV light can only eliminate microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria. UV technology is remarkable, but it does not address contaminants such as heavy metals, salts, chlorine, pesticides, arsenic, rust, petroleum products or pharmaceuticals. Other filtration methods (or a combo UV system) should be employed with UV to ensure that all contaminants are removed from the water.
Overall, UV water treatment is an outstanding way to meet your water purification needs.
3 UV Light Filter for Well Water
If you’re on a private well, it’s important to know exactly what’s in your well water. Because private wells are not regulated by municipalities, contamination in the water can go undetected. That’s why having a sampling of your water tested by a lab is imperative, and really the best way to understand what’s in your water, although bacteria levels in well water can fluctuate due to many external factors such as flooding, spring runoff or even simply a heavy rainstorm. If your well is older, there are also many ways that surface contamination could affect your drinking water.
Well Water Treatment Considerations
If you’re on a private well, it’s important to know exactly what’s in your well water. Because private wells are not regulated by municipalities, contamination in the water can go undetected. That’s why having a sampling of your water tested by a lab is so important, and really the best way to understand what’s in your water, although bacteria levels in well water can fluctuate due to many external factors such as flooding, spring runoff or even simply a heavy rainstorm. If your well is older, there are also many ways that surface contamination could affect your drinking water.
Shocking a Well vs. UV Water Disinfection
Many well owners "shock their wells" with chlorine to address bacteria issues.
Well Shocking means high levels of chlorine are introduced into the water source and plumbing system for a temporary period in order to kill bacteria. While shock chlorination is a relatively economical, "quick fix" to treat bacteria in a well, the solution is only temporary and not always reliable. It also requires re-testing, which can become very expensive.
As an alternative, UV Disinfection can protect the whole home from the threat of illness-causing microbes in water.
- UV provides a long-term reliable method of treating well water by running the water over a UV light that kills bacteria and viruses.
- This process of exposing water to UV light is simple but effective, and destroys 99.99 percent of harmful microorganisms, including some that are chlorine resistant (such as Cryptosporidium and some forms of Giardia).
- No chemicals added with UV disinfection, so there is no change to the taste or odor of your water. And, with UV, you don’t have to handle noxious chemicals, monitor the chemicals, or worry that someone in your home will become sick.
- Well Treatment with a UV Disinfection system (like the Viqua IHS12-D4) provides peace of mind that your well water is being disinfected continuously, 24/7.
We highly recommend you read this article on Well Water Contamination by Viqua.
Image courtesy of Viqua
UV Pretreatment Needs for Well Water Applications
Incoming water to the UV system should meet the following parameters:
- Hardness < 7 gpg
- Iron < 0.3 ppm
- Manganese < 0.05 ppm
- Turbidity < 1 NTU
- Tannins < 0.1 ppm
- UV Transmittance > 75%
If the water does not meet the above parameters, then pretreatment (a prefilter) and possibly a water softener may be necessary. Because well water often has a high level of organic matter and dissolved solids, a prefilter is used to prepare the water for the ultraviolet disinfection process. If a prefilter is not used and the turbidity level is high, the UV rays will be blocked by particles in the water making the UV treatment process less effective. Turbidity is the quantity of suspended solids in water which often causes cloudiness. While all UV Water Purification Systems will work for well water applications, many systems come with a prefilter or combination sediment and carbon prefilters to prepare the well water for UV treatment in an all in one system.
Video courtesy of Viqua
4 Rainwater UV Filter Considerations
Rainwater harvesting is becoming increasingly popular. It’s a great way to lower utility bills and help the environment. But it’s important to understand that just because water came from the sky, doesn’t necessarily mean the water is clean or safe to drink.
First of all, rain barrels may collect more than water, such as animal excrement, leaves and dirt particles. Pollutants in the air may also affect the water quality. For example, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can reduce the pH of rainwater, making the water aggressive on household fixtures or piping.
Just because water came from the sky doesn't mean it's clean and drinkable.
Water sitting in storage barrels is also susceptible to bacterial growth and exposure to the elements, not to mention the attraction for mosquitoes and other insects.
For these reasons, it is best to treat the collected rainwater prior to consumption. This way, you can best guard against becoming sick. Ultraviolet water purification system is an effective way to treat stored rainwater to guard against waterborne bacteria, viruses, and pathogenic disease-causing microorganisms such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia. In fact, viruses that are known for being highly resistant to chlorine (commonly used in municipal water treatment), such as the hepatitis virus, can be easily eliminated with ultraviolet treatment.
Why Choose Ultraviolet (UV) for Rainwater Treatment:
- UV is environmentally friendly
- UV requires very little maintenance
- UV is a safe, natural process that uses no chemicals
- UV doesn’t affect the taste of water
- UV safeguards against waterborne bacteria and viruses
- UV systems can come with 12 volt option for use with solar power supplies
Considerations Before Purchasing UV for Rainwater Harvesting:
Turbidity is the quantity of suspended solids in water which often causes cloudiness, and should be a consideration when treating harvested rainwater. Water collected from roofs and gutters, may also contain leaves, roofing debris, and dirt particles. These suspended solids may require that a prefilter be installed prior to the ultraviolet purification process, as UV will not work effectively if turbidity has not been properly addressed.
5 Where to Buy a UV Sterilizer?
ESP Water Products has been in the drinking water industry for over 25 years – we know water and the products that make water great. We’ve identified the top UV system manufacturers, with the highest-quality UV disinfection systems designed to meet all of your water treatment needs.
The brands we sell on this website are industry leaders and we are confident these products will perform as expected, day in and day out, to protect you, your family, your business --and anywhere the systems are used.
We’re also proud to carry one of the largest inventories of premier brand UV replacement bulbs, lamps and components. Here are a few reasons you can shop with confidence at ESPWaterProducts.com:
- 25+ years of experience in water filtration & purification means we understand water
- We’ve researched the options out there to bring you the best
- We’ll send bulb and lamp replacement reminder emails --to help maintain your system
- We provide one of the largest online selections of UV systems and replacement lamps/sleeves.
- We have competitive pricing on top-selling and premium-quality systems
- We pride ourselves on excellent customer support