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UV disinfection has emerged as one of the leading solutions for water purification. Like all other methods available on the market, it has its advantages and disadvantages. As such, understanding the safety implications of using a UV water purifier is important before investing in one.
As long as necessary precautions are observed, UV water purifiers are completely safe. However, a UV purifier alone might not be enough to cleanse a household’s water supply to a safe level. Since it does nothing to remove solid particles and non-biological contaminants, it must usually be combined with other treatment methods to be truly effective.
So, is UV water purification safe?
When used and maintained correctly, UV water purifiers are among the safest and most effective water disinfection methods on the market. They offer many advantages over other purification methods. For example, no chemicals are mixed into the water, and no water is wasted in the process.
UV purifiers are also safe for the environment for the same reasons. They use less power than some alternative purification methods, further adding to the small size of their environmental footprint.
The main downside of UV water purification is that it’s often not enough to completely purify a water supply on its own. UV water purifiers kill microorganisms with a high rate of effectiveness – 99.99% of all microorganisms in the water supply are deactivated under optimal conditions.
But when it comes to chemicals and other unwanted water contaminants like heavy metals, a UV purifier does nothing. Not only that, but the effectiveness of UV purifiers may decrease when the water that passes through them is not sufficiently pre-filtered.
The bare minimum for pre-filtration is a fine sediment filter used to capture particles and remove them from the water supply before it reaches the purifier. Filtering water at the purifier’s output can be recommended as well. While a UV water purifier is very effective at killing microorganisms, it doesn’t physically remove their dead bodies from the water.
UV water purifiers work by exposing water to UV light. This kills microorganisms in the water supply by scrambling their DNA. Due to its simple operation, a UV purifier doesn’t need any complex mechanisms or moving parts. This makes it easy to maintain, even for users with little to no mechanical experience.
A UV light bulb sits in the middle of a UV water purifier, encased in a quartz glass sleeve. This sleeve prevents the bulb from coming in contact with water while still allowing UV light to pass through. The sleeve is specifically made of quartz and not regular glass to maximize its UV transmittance.
The quartz glass sleeve is surrounded by a larger encasing chamber, typically made of stainless steel. The chamber acts as a pipe, allowing water to pass through the purifier and around the sleeve. UV light is emitted from the bulb, radiating out in all directions.
A sealing ring at each end of the UV purifier serves as a connection point. Valves may be installed at the input/output to allow the filter to be more easily disconnected from the water supply for maintenance.
UV water purification specifically targets microorganisms. It’s highly effective, killing them with a 99.99% or higher success rate under normal circumstances. These include proper pre-filtration and regular maintenance of the quartz glass sleeve and UV light bulb.
It’s important to note that UV water purifiers don’t actually remove anything from the water supply though. Not even microorganisms. While UV light scrambles their DNA and effectively kills them, their bodies still remain in the water supply.
Therefore, additional filtration is often necessary to ensure that the water is thoroughly cleansed. In some cases, the purifier will not work properly unless water is treated before being fed through it.
If the water has a high concentration of solid particles, this will decrease the effectiveness of the purification system. Those particles create shadows that microorganisms can hide behind, evading the effects of UV light. With time, dirt can also start to build up on the quartz glass sleeve, reducing its light transmittance.
Most households require some form of water filtration. UV purifiers are ideal when biological contamination is the primary concern. UV disinfection is the most effective approach to decontamination in those scenarios, while other filtration methods can be added to the system to remove other contaminants from the water.
A UV purification unit should be one of the last elements in the filtration chain in most households. Ideally, water should pass through a variety of other filter stages to minimize the number of solid particles suspended in it and to reduce its hardness.
Hard water is another problem that must be dealt with separately. A UV water purifier does nothing to soften the water, and it can actually operate less effectively if the water supply is too hard. This will cause a build-up of scale on the quartz glass sleeve over time, reducing its ability to transmit UV light.
If you have any thoughts about the question, is UV water purification safe, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
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