How to Make a DIY UV Water Purifier at Home

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You want to disinfect your water with the help of a UV water filter? You are a DIY type of guy?

Why not try and build your own homemade UV water purifier?

Enter our step-by-step DIY guide on how you can do exactly that!

Key Takeaways

  • If you want to ensure maximum effectiveness, making your own at-home UV water purifier is really just buying all the different components and putting them together yourself.
  • A 5-micron sediment pre-filter will usually need to be set up before the UV system.
  • You should choose a strong UV light source to ensure you reach a high enough UV dosage required by the types of germs in your water.
  • Solar water purification is another method that can be used to disinfect your water, but it is a much lengthier and riskier process.

How to Make Your Own DIY UV Water Purifier

First things first:

If you are planning to make your own at-home UV drinking water purifier, it certainly could be a little bit cheaper, but keep in mind it may not be as effective as purchasing one already made.

And while you cannot really build your own unit completely from scratch, what you can do is buy the different components found in regular UV water treatment systems and put them together yourself.

Sounds good? Then let’s dive right in!

Parts and Tools You Need

  • Utility knife/PEX cutter
  • (PEX) tubing
  • Tape measure
  • UV light system
  • 5 x 10-inch sediment filter housing
  • 5 x 10-inch sediment filter (5-micron)
  • Faucet connector
  • Fittings
  • PFTE Tape
  • Mounting bracket

Component 1: Sediment Pre-Filter

This is vital for the effectiveness of your DIY UV water purifier. If you have any sediment in your water, microorganisms can hide behind it, and your UV light won’t be able to reach and kill them.

That’s why appropriate pre-filtration needs to be installed to make sure that the water passing through your purifier will indeed get properly disinfected.

sediment water filter cartridges

Component 2: UV Light

Selecting the correct UV light source for your DIY system is imperative. The bulb size needs to be right to make sure the water is exposed to it for long enough, and the UV intensity output needs to be strong enough for it to kill microorganisms in the time the water is exposed to it.

UV light intensity and exposure time determine the final UV dose germs will receive. Different types of germs need varying levels of UV doses. Bacteria and cysts need relatively low dosages. Viruses are more stubborn; not to mention fungi and algae.

All in all, in order to keep things simple, we recommend you get the strongest UV light bulb available. 30 mJ/cm² should be the minimum.

The Setup

Once you have everything prepared, drawn up, and laid out ready to go, it’s time to put it all together.

  1. Start with the sediment pre-filter. The inlet port must be connected to the water source, in our case a standard-sized kitchen or bathroom faucet. Push the tubing of your choice onto the faucet connector. Connect the other end of the tubing to the filter using an appropriate fitting.
  2. The sediment filter’s output port must be connected to the UV filter’s inlet.
  3. Next, attach another tube to the system’s output port. This is where you will draw your filtered and disinfected water from.
  4. Finally, mount the UV light and the sediment filter onto a bracket. Make sure you leave enough space to easily access the UV light bulb and sediment filter for their yearly replacement.

Putting Your Homemade UV Water Filter to Work

  1. Attach your DIY UV water filter to the faucet of your choice.
  2. Slowly open the faucet and check for leaks.
  3. Wait for water to flow out of the filter setup. Wait for 2-3 minutes and allow the system to flush.
  4. Plug the UV light bulb into a power source and turn it on.

Before you start using the purified water, we recommend you conduct proper pathogen testing. You can compare the unfiltered with the filtered water to find out how effective your homemade UV water purifier really is.

Solar UV Water Purification

It is also possible to disinfect water using the sun’s rays alone, though this can be a lengthy and somewhat risky procedure if not done the right way.

The basics involve filling a transparent container with water and exposing it to the sun for a certain amount of time. If you use the right kind of container that allows UV rays through, and it is a relatively sunny day, disinfection can occur in around 6 hours. If it is cloudy, or your holding container doesn’t let the UV rays in properly, it could take at least several days. This method is called SODIS (Solar water disinfection)

It is suggested that you use a PET plastic water bottle no bigger than half a gallon, as any larger could cause disinfection to be ineffective. The bottle must be clear, clean, and laid down on its side rather than standing up in order to maximize the depth of penetration.

Bacteria & germs killed from sunlight in optimal conditions, exposure at 6 hours:

  • E. coli
  • Vibrio cholera
  • Salmonella
  • Shigella flexneri
  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • Yersinia enterocolitica
  • Giardia
  • Cryptosporidium (needs 10 hours exposure)
  • Rotavirus

Giardia lamblia parasite

If you have any questions about how to make a UV water purifier at home please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

About the Author Alexandra Uta

Alex is a content writer with an affinity for research and a methodical attention to detail. Since 2020, she has fully immersed herself into the home water treatment industry only to become an expert herself. Alex has been using water filters and similar products for years which has gained her lots of hands-on experience.
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