Should You Get an UV Water Filter in 2018?
You’ve set your eyes on an UV water filter, but you’re not sure if it’s a good fit for you? Here we discuss the suitability of ultraviolet water filters for at-home water filtration in 2018.
UV water filters are designed to purify sources of water that have microbiological issues. They’re a safe and effective way to eradicate bacteria, viruses, cysts, and other harmful microorganisms and pathogens.
As opposed to other residential water filtration units, UV water filters have a single application – water disinfection. In this context, you may be wondering if UV water filters are a good choice for residential water filtration in 2018.
How Do UV Water Filters Work?
UV light emitted by UV water filters penetrate pathogens and destroy their ability to infect or reproduce. This is because UV lights damage the DNA of all microorganisms.
UV light is efficient against any and all types of microorganisms, as opposed to chlorine to which some bacteria can develop a resistance.
Ultraviolet water filters are equipped with an UV bulb that emits UV light at wavelengths that destroy bacteria. This wavelength is referred to as germicidal frequency, and it’s around 250 nm. Some bacteria are destroyed at higher frequencies, while other bacteria will require longer exposure times. This is why it’s important to size your UV purification system accordingly.
Should You Get an UV Water Filter?
UV water filters can be used both for residential and commercial purposes.
Given that water companies use chlorination to purify tap water, using an UV water filter to further purify tap water may not be necessary.
In residential settings, an UV water filter becomes a necessity if you’re drawing water from a private source like a lake or a well. In this case, using an UV filter is both healthier and more effective than chlorination.
An UV water filter has many advantages lined up in its favour:
- It’s environmentally-friendly;
- It doesn’t add any chemicals or other substances to water;
- It doesn’t alter the taste of water;
- It eliminates all types of microorganisms;
- Microorganism cannot develop a resistance to UV light;
- It’s low maintenance;
- It’s completely safe: water purified with UV lights has no side-effects unlike chlorination;
- It can be used on its own or in combination with other water filter systems.
Despite all these advantages, UV water filters are not complete filtration systems, meaning that besides microorganisms, ultraviolet water filters do not remove any other types of contaminants, which brings us to the disadvantages of this filter:
- UV water filters don’t solve other contamination issues;
- Water purified with UV lights must be pre-filtered with a sediment filter to remove suspended solids that may absorb UV lights, shield bacteria from UV light or otherwise block UV light from reaching bacteria;
- UV water filters require electricity to operate.
UV water filters are an excellent choice for treating private water sources, however, in order to get a more complete and thorough filtration, you must use them in combination with other filter systems.
How to Choose an UV Water Filter
When looking for an UV water filter, here are a few things to bear in mind:
- Dosage: if the water source you want to purify has serious microbiological contamination issues, you should find an UV filter with a higher UV light dosage. This will ensure that all microbiological issues are dealt with;
- Sediments: if the water source is high in sediments, you should add a sediment pre-filter to your UV system. This will ensure the removal of sediments and the unhindered access of UV light.
- Flow rate: another thing you should consider is the desired flow rate, which is expressed in litres per minute. A typical household would require a 35 litre/minute flow rate, but larger households may benefit from higher flow rates;
- UV lamp life: UV lamps are usually replaced annually, however, some lamps may have a shorter lifespan. Some system are equipped with lamp life monitoring systems, so you’ll know when to replace your UV lamp.
How to Care for Your UV Water Filter
Ultraviolet water sanitising systems are some of the easiest to maintain. Here’s how to maintain your UV water filter:
- Replace the UV bulb at the end of its service life, or whenever the lamp life indicator tells you too, if your system is equipped with one;
- Do not touch the UV lamp with your bare hands as it can leave grease spots on the bulb, which interferes with how UV light passes through the bulb;
- If the quartz sleeve housing the UV lamp is dirty, use a descaler or a vinegar solution to clean it;
- If the quartz sleeve is too dirty to the point where it cannot be properly cleaned, you should replace it;
- Replace the sediment filter cartridge in your UV pre-filter system every 3 to 6 months, or whenever necessary;
- Replace filter cartridges in any other filter system that you use in combination with your UV water sanitiser;
- Observe any other maintenance requirements that your UV filter system may have.
UV water filters are probably the least maintenance-intensive water purifiers on the market. However, just like any other filtration unit, they need periodic maintenance to ensure proper functioning.
The sediment pre-filter is an indispensable addition to any UV water filter. Most UV filters are available without an UV pre-filtration system, and you should purchase one separately for your system, depending on the level of sediments in the water you want to treat.
If you’re going to use your UV system without a sediment pre-filter, you won’t be seeing the same efficiency as with a sediment pre-filter. Bacteria can cause a host of illnesses (gastroenterological issues, infections, etc.), so skipping the sediment pre-filtration system is a risk you should not take.
UV water filters are an excellent alternative to chlorination, but they’re insufficient if you need to remove a variety of contaminant from your water source.
UV purification filters excel at destroying bacteria found in water without interfering with the palatability of water. UV light is a completely safe and an easy way to treat water.
Although it can handle the purification of both tap water and water drawn from private sources, treating tap water with UV lights may be a bit superfluous since water treated with chlorine is already sanitised, and any other remaining bacteriological issues can be dealt with ceramic filters, for example, that will deal with other types of contamination issues as well.
UV water filters can be put to a much better use in sanitising water from a well or lake. Even though UV filters are a strong line of defense against bacteria, they solve a single contamination issue. This means that besides a sediment filter, you should combine your UV filter with other filters as well.