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How Does a Water UV Sterilizer Work to Disinfect Water?

Posted by Tai on 9/27/2011

Everyone needs clean potable water to drink. Unfortunately at this particular moment in time, many states are in a drought condition and require water from other sources.  Some who live on well water may be fortunate enough to have their own plentiful water source and do not have to worry so much about outside sources. Well water is very rich in nutrients like Calcium, Magnesium and other minerals like Iron or perhaps salt; but some wells are not so fortunate and have a contaminated well with bacteria infested water. However it’s not the end of the world, there are solutions like UV disinfection.  UV disinfection is usually preferred because it does not add any chemicals to your drinking source.

The visible light spectrum has a wavelength from 400 nanometers (nm) to 700 nm.  To have an effective germicidal UV lamp, it must emit UV-C rays at a wavelength of 253.7 nm to 100 nm. UV light disinfection technically does not kill bacteria, viruses and other organisms.  At this wavelength, the UV light is able to disrupt the DNA of microorganisms disabling their ability to replicate; this allows the body to kill them by building antibodies against the bacteria or virus. 

UV disinfection has its pros and cons. The pros are that it is chemical free, easy maintenance, and that replacement lamps are fairly low cost.  The cons are that pre-treatment of water is most likely necessary, maintaining the pre-treatment in order to ensure that UV system is operating properly could be costly depending on your particular needs, and that if for some reason your power goes out then the water passing through will be contaminated.

You’ll be able to find most UV systems for the home from around $200-$800 depending on the flow rate you choose.  Make sure you choose a UV water treatment system with a flow rate higher than your normal flow otherwise your water may not be disinfected properly. It is highly recommended for anyone that doesn’t have chlorinated water or has a need for extra disinfection. Overall UV disinfection is the only way that is FDA approved for proper disinfection of water without the use of adding harmful chemicals.

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