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uv light sterilizer for home water supplies

Ultraviolet (UV) Light Sterilizers for Home Water Supplies

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation produced from the sun or from artificial light sources is a powerful wavelength of light. In nature, UV light kills bacteria and pathogens when those organisms are exposed to the rays. In the home,  Ultraviolet Light Sterilizers have the same power, disinfecting and sanitizing the water you and your family drink, bathe, and cook with. These systems can be used to sterilize both municipal water supplies and as water piped in from private wells.

What is Ultraviolet (UV) Light?

Radiation from the sun is comprised of waves or particles at different wavelengths or frequencies. The collection of these waves is referred to as the electromagnetic spectrum and is arranged in order of decreasing wavelengths to those at higher frequencies and energy levels. Typically, the electromagnetic spectrum is divided into seven regions:

  • Radio waves
  • Microwaves
  • Infrared (IR) light
  • Visible light
  • Ultraviolet (UV) light
  • X-rays
  • Gamma rays

UV light is invisible to the naked eye and ranges in wavelength from 10 nanometers to 380 nanometers. There are three bands of UV light: UVA, UVB, and UVC, classified by the unique wavelengths in each band. UV light is the solar energy responsible for producing sunburns. It also excites phosphorescent and fluorescent pigments, which is the phenomenon that makes black-light posters glow. 

UV light possesses the ability to break bonds between chemicals, which gives it the power to disrupt cellular activity. Ultraviolet systems for water disinfection harness these unique radiation wavelengths to purify water. 

uv light water sterilizer

UV Systems in the Home

Ultraviolet UV Disinfection Sterilizer Water Systems are used in both residential and commercial applications. They are especially beneficial for those who receive their water from wells, as these wells may be contaminated with pathogens and bacteria that can lead to severe illnesses. A UV water treatment system is installed between the water supply and the plumbing fixtures in the home. In simple terms, the water passes through a chamber in which a powerful UV light source shines on the water before the disinfected water moves to faucets or other fixtures. 

UV sterilizers have the power to neutralize or kill:

  • Bacteria, including Listeria, E. Coli, and other infective strains
  • Viruses
  • Protozoan cysts (Giardia and Cryptosporidium)

The system uses the UVC wavelength, which disrupts the genetic material in bacterial cells and viruses to prevent those cells from reproducing. This action either kills the bacteria and viruses or renders them inert, making them unable to infect someone drinking the water. One potential drawback of an Ultraviolet Water Sterilization is that the water must be clear to ensure adequate disinfection. If the source water is turbid or cloudy with dissolved sediments, the light source may be unable to properly sterilize the water. To prevent this issue, UV sterilizers are often used in conjunction with whole house water filter systems and whole house reverse osmosis (RO) systems. The water is pre-treated by filtering or processing through an RO system, then piped to the UV sterilizer. 

UV Water Sterilization vs. Water Filtration

When comparing water treatment systems for the home or for commercial applications, many people wonder about the differences between options. Water filters, such as whole house water filtration systems, use filters or membranes with tiny holes that allow water to pass through while straining contaminants. The microscopic pores in the filter element or membrane are effective but may still allow certain bacteria and viruses to pass through. A UV water sterilizer, on the other hand, is incredibly effective at killing or neutralizing harmful pathogens. What a UV purifier cannot do, though, is to remove suspended sediments, silt, or contaminants like pesticides, petroleum residues, or heavy metals. If water supplies are contaminated by these substances, a water filtration system or combination reverse osmosis/water filter system is an excellent choice. 

For the utmost in pure, fresh drinking water, processing the water through a three-stage whole house water filtration system, then passing the water through a UV water purifier is the ideal solution. 

Are UV Water Sterilizers Effective?

UV water sterilizers are effective at killing or neutralizing harmful pathogens from drinking water sources. They are also cost-effective, costing only the purchase of the system and the electricity used to run it. These water sterilization systems can safely and effectively disinfect thousands of gallons each year. They are chemical-free, they are virtually clog-proof, and typically the only maintenance required is to periodically change the UV light source, which is a bulb not unlike the light bulbs in your home lighting fixtures. Simply swap out the UV-emitting bulb according to the sterilizer manufacturer’s recommendations and continue to enjoy clean, pure, pathogen-free water for cooking, drinking, and bathing. 

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