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UV light for general disinfection is becoming increasingly popular. There are UV sterilization kits in hairdressers and beauty salons, and UV sterilization boxes for your cell phone.
And now you can even use ultraviolet light to purify water. But how exactly do you do that?
We are going to run you through the basics of how UV water purification works, and how you can set up and maintain one in your home.
Ultraviolet light is a form of radiation that comes from the sun, as well as artificial sources like UV lamps. UV light has three types, UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. Shortwave UV-C is used in UV water disinfection, as it is germicidal. When used correctly, UV light is capable of disinfecting a water source with a 99.9999% rate of effectiveness.
When water is exposed to UV light, provided it is done under the right conditions, it is deadly to most organisms. Exposure to the rays destroys DNA cells, preventing an organism from replicating and causing diseases.
This requires short exposure to UV light to be emitted at a wavelength of 254nm. To do this, there cannot be any particulate in the water, as it can reduce the effectiveness of the UV light.
A UV water purification unit is attached to the household plumbing as the final step in disinfection. Water passes through the unit, and is exposed to the UV lamp inside, killing the microorganisms before the sanitized water comes out of your faucet.
UV water purifiers need clear water in order to function effectively. This means that there can be no particulate floating around in the source water. It also works best with water that has low hardness. This is why a UV purifier is usually recommended for use with a pre-filter for a couple of reasons,
Before using your water purifier, have your water tested to see if it meets the following requirements, so you can determine which pre-filters or treatments you may need :
UV water purifiers are very easy to maintain, especially compared to other water filters and treatment systems. All you will really need to do is replace the UV bulb every year, clean the quartz glass sleeve every year, and replace the quartz glass sleeve every 2 years.
A UV bulb works for around 375 days, after which its effectiveness can have dropped by more than 60%. This is an issue, as you may not know that your water is not being properly sanitized until you get sick. And it’s why it’s important to stick to the maintenance schedule, even if you think your UV light bulb is still working.
The UV quartz sleeve should be cleaned every year, and replaced every 2 years. You will need a soft cloth, gloves, and a mildly acidic cleaner.
If you need to replace the quartz sleeve instead of cleaning it:
It is also important to note that maintenance means making sure your pre-filters are also well-maintained and working effectively. If the source water is not being filtered adequately, it can mean more frequent maintenance for your UV purification system.
UV purifiers deactivate bacteria, viruses, cysts, fungi, and algae from water supplies, but they do not actually remove anything.
Contaminants such as sediment, chemicals, and heavy metals will remain in the water unless pre-filtration is used.
If you have any questions about the use of ultraviolet light in water treatment please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
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