Best UV Water Purifier in 2022? 6 Filter System Reviews + Guide

Author: Jason Hollow - Published: 2022/03/25 - Updated: 2022/04/27

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If you want to clean your water from harmful microorganisms including bacteria, viruses and cysts you need to install an ultraviolet light water filter.

There are both whole house and point of use systems that give you access to disinfected drinking water at home, protecting your health.

Installing and maintaining a UV water filter is easy, too. Plus, there are no chemicals being used. It’s a safe process that doesn’t mess with how your water tastes or smells.

So, here is our collection of the 6 best UV water purifiers. Enjoy!

Contents

Best UV Water Purifiers – Top Picks

UV SystemSpecs & FeaturesWhere to Buy
#1 for Whole House
SpringWell SPRW-UVC5-15 UV Water Purification System SpringWell SPRW-UVC5-15 UV Water Purification System

SpringWell SPRW-UVC5-15

★★★★★
  • Price: $$$
  • Type: Whole House
  • Flow Rate: 15 Gallons Per Minute (Up to 6 Baths)
  • Wattage: 50
  • Best For: UV Disinfected Water in Entire Home

Coupon Code (5% Off): Masterz5

Or read our review

#1 for Single Tap
Acuva ArrowMax 2.0 UV-LED Water PurifierAcuva ArrowMax 2.0 UV-LED Water Purifier

Acuva ArrowMax 2.0

★★★★

  • Price: $$
  • Type: Point of Use
  • Flow Rate: 0.5 Gallons Per Minute
  • Best For: UV-Disinfected Drinking Water

Or read our review

Pentair Pelican Standard UV Disinfection System Pentair Pelican Standard UV Disinfection System

Pelican Standard UV

★★★★☆
  • Price: $$$
  • Type: Whole House
  • Flow Rate: 8.9-15.8 Gallons Per Minute (Up to 6 Baths)
  • Wattage: 25-40
  • Best For: POE Applications

Or read our review

Best UV Water Purifier Reviews

The order of the following reviews for the best UV water purifiers is deliberate. Our favorite products are at the top.

1. SpringWell SPRW-UVC5-15 UV Water Purification System

Coupon Code (5% Off): Masterz5

The SpringWell SPRW-UVC5-15 is, in our opinion, the best UV purifier for your home in 2022. This is because it is a whole house filtration system: the UV system works throughout the entire house to purify water, eliminating 99.9% of potentially dangerous organisms such as viruses, bacteria and other waterborne diseases. Knowing that all the water in your house is safe will give you peace of mind, and that’s a great reason to purchase this whole house filter!

The SPRW-UVC5-15 may be a bit of a mouthful to pronounce, but it couldn’t be easier to fit and install. This UV disinfection system is simple to operate and comes equipped with a performance monitoring system that allows you to operate it and check how much life is left in the UV filter lamp.

(We’d also recommend using SpringWell’s fantastic PF-10 or PF-20 sediment pre-filter along with this product for maximum effectiveness.)

SpringWell SPRW-UVC5-15 UV Water Purification System

★★★★★

See More Product Images at springwellwater.com

Main Specs

  • Price: $$$
  • UV filter type: Whole house filter
  • Flow rate: 15 gpm (up to 6 bathrooms)
  • Wattage: 50
  • Lamp life: 9,000 hours
  • Annual bulb replacement cost: $110

Pros

  • Effectively kills 99.9% of potentially harmful organisms like viruses and bacteria, and even clears out fungi and algae!
  • The necessary UV dose to eliminate most harmful pathogens is doubled with the SPRW-UVC5-15. At 30 mJ/cm² (megajoules per square centimeter) there is a large safety margin which ensures that even the nastiest of organisms won’t be making it through your water supply (even E. coli, which typically only needs 6 mJ/cm² to destroy 99.9% of it!)
  • Simple to install, simple to operate.
  • All components of the system are NSF-certified. This means they are lead free!
  • The UV disinfection system controller provides important information such as the remaining life left in the UV lamp, performance monitoring data and also helpful troubleshooting diagnostics if problems ever arise. (You also have the option to later upgrade to a UV sensor which monitors the UV intensity.)
    • Additionally, it comes in a splash-proof case and is also easy to use!
  • A great thing about the bulb in the UV system is it won’t need to be replaced more than once a year. While it’s affordable enough at a cost of $110, it helps to know it’ll only be an annual fee and not more frequent!
  • Should you need to avail of it, the customer service you receive with SpringWell is excellent.
  • Great additional bonuses with the purchase:
    • Lifetime product warranty.
    • A 6-month satisfaction guarantee.
    • Free shipping – good value!

Cons

  • An important note about product warranty: if you happen to install the UV purifier before installing a sediment water filter, be warned that the product’s warranty will then be void. However, it’s worth adding that using a 5-micron sediment filter is recommended, so this shouldn’t be a problem if you do!
  • Lots of water sources will have varying conditions (e.g. more iron, less hardness) so therefore no UV water filtration system will be compatible with all water supplies. The SpringWell SPRW-UVC5-15 is not compatible with these water conditions:
    • Iron greater than 0.3 ppm (parts per million)
    • Hardness greater than 7 gpg (grain per gallon)
    • Turbidity greater than 1 NTU (nephelometric turbidity unit[1])
    • Tannins greater than 0.1 ppm
    • Manganese greater than 0.05 ppm

2. Acuva ArrowMax 2.0 UV-LED Water Purifier

For point of use UV systems, you won’t want to overlook the Acuva ArrowMAX 2.0 which, if you have a slightly bigger budget, is a fantastic option.

This ultraviolet water purifier will not only improve the overall taste and odor of your water, but also removes up to 99.9999% of viruses, bacteria and harmful contaminants.

Acuva ArrowMax 2.0 UV-LED Water Purifier

★★★★

See More Product Images at amazon.com

Main Specs

  • Price: $$
  • UV filter type: POU
  • Purification capacity: 31,700 gal of water (7+ years)
  • Filtration capacity of pre-filter: 4,000 gal or 12 months
  • Flow rate: 0.5 gpm
  • Annual filter replacement cost: $50
  • NSF: 55

Pros

  • The ArrowMAX 2.0 makes use of LED UV lights to eliminate 99.9999% of all harmful organisms, ensuring your water is safe to consume. The NSF/ANSI standard 55 certification (Class B) is testament to this.
  • The system’s pre-filter removes 99% of chlorine (as certified by the NSF) and also dangerous elements such as mercury, lead, nickel, and chromium 6 which you absolutely do not want to be consuming. Acuva also states it will remove 95% of fluoride, while lowering levels of other contaminating elements like asbestos.
  • Turbidity is also decreased by the filter as it traps sediment for a more accurate and effective UV treatment.
  • Drinking water becomes much healthier to drink, and also with a more pleasant taste and smell!
  • The Acuva ArrowMAX UV system is easy to operate and simple to install!
  • There is virtually no maintenance. All the water within range of the UV purifier is sanitized with a “UV burst”. The only thing that needs changing is the pre-filter, either after 12 months or after 4,000 gallons of water.
  • There is also an optional brushed nickel smart faucet, which indicates the unit is properly working and effective by glowing blue.
  • 30-day return policy should you need to, and 1 year warranty.

Cons

  • It’s the most expensive model in this category.
  • The water flow rate of 0.52 gpm (gallons per minute) may be seen by some people to be a little on the low side, but it can still fill a standard cup full of clean water pretty fast.

3. Pentair Pelican Standard UV Disinfection System

A worthy alternative choice to the SpringWell system is the Pelican Standard UV Disinfection System from Pentair.

The purification provided by the UV filter will give you peace of mind, as the disinfection system rids your home’s water of dangerous bacteria, viruses and any other microorganisms that would otherwise be harmful if ingested or made contact with. Depending on the size of your home, you’ll get a choice between the Pelican PUV-8-P (best for smaller households) or the Pelican PUV-16-P model (better for larger households).

Pentair Pelican Standard UV Disinfection System

★★★★☆

See More Product Images at pentair.com

Main Specs

  • Price: $$$
  • UV filter type: Whole house filter
  • Flow rate and wattage depend on which filter size you choose
    • PUV-8-P: 8.9 gallons per minute flow rate (1-3 bathrooms, smaller households), 25W
    • PUV-16-P: 15.8 gpm flow rate (4-6 bathrooms, larger households), 40W
  • Lamp life: 9,000 hours
  • Annual bulb replacement cost: ~$120-135
  • NSF: 55

Pros

  • The UV light stops the reproduction of microorganisms.
  • Certified to be 99.9% effective at disinfection of city water and well water by its NSF/ANSI Standard 55 (Class B) rating!
  • Installation is DIY. It’s no more difficult to install than other household water purifying systems.
  • The LCD display screen tells you the remaining life left in the lamp, its intensity and other performance monitoring information. This includes sound alerts and warning lights that indicate if maintenance may be required, but overall it is virtually maintenance free.
  • Child safe – there is a safety cap to prevent children from accessing electrical parts.
  • The lamp only needs to be changed once per year, thanks to the 9,000 hours of lamp life. The sleeve of the lamp should be changed every 2 years. The combined cost of replacing both is between $150-170; considering the effective job that this UV water treatment system does, this is a great deal!
  • Pentair also provides excellent warranty for the parts of the purifier, including:
    • 1 year warranty on the UV lamp, the quartz lamp sleeve and the sensor.
    • 3 years warranty on electrical hardware and other components.
    • 10 years warranty on the UV chamber itself.

Cons

  • Like other UV water purification systems, the water has to meet certain conditions in order for Pelican UV water filters to be compatible. The following conditions are required:
    • Hardness of less than 7 gpg (grains per gallon)
    • Iron of less than 0.3 ppm (parts per million)
    • Manganese of less than 0.05 ppm
    • Tannins of less than 0.1 ppm
    • Turbidity of less than 1 NTU (nephelometric turbidity unit)

4. Crystal Quest CQE-UV-00101 1 GPM Ultraviolet Water Sterilizer System

If you’re looking for a slightly more affordable point of use UV light water purifier, an excellent alternative to the Acuva model is the Crystal Quest CQE-UV-00101 Ultraviolet Water Sterilizer System.

It’s only our opinion, but the very affordable price coupled with its highly effective water purification for use in any room makes it a top choice when it comes to choosing between UV filtration systems.

Crystal Quest CQE-UV-00101 1 GPM Ultraviolet Water Sterilizer System

★★★★

See More Product Images at crystalquest.com

Main Specs

  • Price: $
  • UV filter type: POU
  • Flow rate: 1 gallon per minute
  • Wattage: 11
  • Lamp life: 9,000 hours
  • Annual bulb replacement cost: $80

Pros

  • Crystal Quest claims that 99.99% of bacteria, viruses and protozoa organisms are all eliminated by the system.
  • There is an option to choose between 110v or 220v voltage.
  • It’s a great addition to pre-existing, under-sink water filtration systems.
  • The 304 stainless steel reactor chamber is long lasting and very durable.
  • Installation is made easy thanks to the detailed installation instructions provided.
  • The UV filter doesn’t require any attention to operate after it’s been installed.
  • If the lamp fails, a loud sound will notify you so you don’t miss any faults.
  • There are other point of use systems, but the 1 gpm flow rate provided by the Crystal Quest model is a much superior rate compared to flow rates of most of the competition (such as the Acuva). A large cup or container can be filled with clean water within seconds!

Cons

  • Important note about warranty: if the product isn’t installed by a qualified plumber or licensed professional, the 1 year warranty may be void.

5. US Water Systems Pulsar Ultraviolet Disinfection System

Made in Canada, the USWS Pulsar Ultraviolet Disinfection System rapidly destroys all potentially harmful living microorganisms that would otherwise contaminate your water supply.

Using germicidal wavelengths, the UV light targets and removes all harmful viruses, bacteria and protozoa, leaving your water purified.

US Water Systems Pulsar Ultraviolet Disinfection System

★★★★☆

See More Product Images at uswatersystems.com

Main Specs

  • Price: $$$
  • UV filter type: Whole house
  • Flow rate depends on which filter size you choose
    • 405-PUV-200-10-BGF: 10 gpm (1-3 bathrooms)
    • 405-PUV-200-50-BGF: 15 gpm (4-6 bathrooms)
    • 405-PUV-200-20-BGF: 20 gpm (7+ baths)
  • Wattage: 49
  • Lamp life: 9,000 hours
  • Annual bulb replacement cost: $110

Pros

  • Installation and operation of the system is very straightforward.
  • UV waves transmit at 30 mJ/cm² which safely removes all cysts, viruses and bacteria that may exist there.
  • For trapping of sediment and large particles, there is the optional 1-micron pleated polyester pre-filter. This can be beneficial for stopping shadowing, where some microorganisms hide behind suspended solids and sediments, evading UV exposure. With this filter (also made in the USA), they won’t get the chance.
  • The UV chamber has a prolonged life thanks to its body of stainless, durable steel.
  • The power supply is waterproof and displays the amount of life remaining in the UV lamp. It also contains a visual and audio reminder to let you know when the lamp needs replaced.
  • You only need to replace the lamp once per year due to its life of 9,000 hours. Replacement costs $110, and can be carried out without interrupting water flow rate.
  • There is a lifetime warranty on the UV chamber and 3 years warranty on the electronics.

Cons

  • While very useful, the sediment pre-filter lowers the flow of the output to just 12 gpm.
  • USWS does not offer a trial period on any of their products, so you won’t be able to try before you buy.

6. iSpring UVF55FS Whole House UV Water Filter with Smart Flow Sensor Switch

iSpring’s UVF55FS is another whole house UV filter providing disinfected water to the entire household.

What we like about it is the affordable price, the issues with overall quality not so much.

Side note: iSpring recommends using a pre-filter in conjunction to achieve optimal performance. TDS[2] (hardness) of less than 120 ppm and iron less than 0.3 ppm are required.

iSpring UVF55FS Whole House UV Water Filter with Smart Flow Sensor Switch

★★★

See More Product Images at amazon.com

Main Specs

  • Price: $$
  • UV filter type: Whole house water filter
  • Flow rate: 12 gpm (up to 3-4 bathrooms)
  • Wattage: 55
  • Lamp life: 9,000 hours
  • Annual bulb replacement cost: ~$70

Pros

  • The upgraded ballast features a smart flow sensor switch. It makes it easier to control and monitor system performance.
  • DIY installation is feasible. Mounting clips are included.
  • Lamp life is 1 9,000 hours (12 months) as usual. A water router bypass is recommended to allow easier access to replace the bulb – and for troubleshooting.
  • With iSpring you get a 30-day money-back guarantee, a 1-year manufacturer warranty upon product registration and Atlanta-based tech support.

Cons

  • There have been issues with the overall quality of the entire system. One reviewer said his UV bulb burned out within 24 hours of use. Another reviewer reported his stopped working within 2 days after installation.
  • Problems with installation instructions and leakage.

Best UV Water Filters Comparison Chart

How do the best UV filters perform when directly compared to each other?

System$$$TypeWater FlowWattageLamp LifeAnnual CostBest ForDetails
SpringWell SPRW-UVC5-15$$$POE15 gpm501 Year$110Best UV Water Filter System for Whole House
Acuva ArrowMax 2.0$$POU0.5 gpm?31,700 Gallons$50Best UV Water Filter for Single Faucet
Pelican Standard UV Disinfection System$$$POE8.9-15.8 gpm25-401 Year~$120-135Best for NSF-Certified Whole House Use
Crystal Quest CQE-UV-00101$POU1 gpm11375 Days$80Best POU System for People on a Budget
USWS Pulsar$$$POE10-20 gpm49375 Days$110Best for High Flow Rates
iSpring UVF55FS$$POE12 gpm551 Year~$70Best POE Unit for Small Budgets

Buyer’s Guide – How to Buy a UV Water Purifier (+ How We Tested)

A UV water purifier has many benefits, IF you choose one that’s up to standards. But what does that even mean? Well, here’s our buyer guide with everything you need to know about how to buy the best UV water purifier.

Pre-Filtration and Water Quality

In order for UV water purification to be truly effective, you’ll need to be sure that your water meets specific conditions. Why? Because microorganisms that travel through water (like bacteria and viruses) can actually hide themselves behind normal particles also present in the water, such as sediment. This is known as “shadowing”.

Shadowing is the reason that pre-filters are often required when considering UV water disinfection. Most water supplies don’t even need anything fancy, just a basic pre-filtration system like a 5-micron sediment filter will remove most kinds of particles like sand and dirt that microorganisms could hide behind.

Other sources however, such as wells, may need additional filtration and softening steps before a UV purifier can be used successfully.

So before you compare any UV water purifiers, you should check your water supply to make sure it meets the conditions below, otherwise you’ll need to get it treated before using UV disinfection:

  • Iron of less than 0.3 ppm
  • Manganese of less than 0.05 ppm
  • Hardness of less than 7 gpg[3]
  • Turbidity of less than 1 NTU
  • Tannins of less than 0.1 ppm

UV Dosage

The amount (or dose) of energy delivered by a UV water purifier is measured in a unit called megajoules per square centimeter, referred to as mJ/cm² or less frequently as µwatt*sec/cm².

This UV dose is crucial to the disinfection process; at a high level, the energy from the UV filter lamp works to disinfect water by interfering with all exposed microorganisms, jumbling up their DNA and thereby stopping reproduction. In simple terms: the UV light renders waterborne pathogens harmless by attacking their DNA!

What is the Amount of UV Dose Required for This to Happen?

In the 1960’s, the United States Department of Health and Human Services designated 16 mJ/cm² as the minimum level of UV light intensity needed to be generated from a UV lamp in order to kill bacteria and harmful cysts.

In recent times, this has been increased to 30 mJ/cm² in order to give a larger safety margin to guarantee effectiveness, whilst also ensuring viruses are targeted and destroyed as well.

In terms of specifics, the UV dose required will depend on the particular type of organism you’re concerned about. E. Coli, for example, will require a dose of UV light of at least 6 or 7 mJ/cm² to destroy 99.99% of the bacteria cells.

MicroorganismRequired UV Intensity in mJ/cm²
Rotavirus SA1136
Hepatitis A virus30
Poliovirus Type 130
Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts<10
Giardia lamblia cysts<10
Salmonella typhi8.2
Shigella sonnei8.2
Escherichia coli6 to 7
Vibrio cholerae2.9

Other Additional Treatment

It’s important to remember UV purification will only clear your water’s unwanted microorganisms. If you need other characteristics of your home’s water supply changed (such as the hardness or the chemistry), you would require additional treatments.

For example, if the level of disinfection byproducts is too high, an activated carbon filter would be needed on top of your UV purification system.

Water Flow Rate – Size

trickling faucet

The amount of water that flows through an ultraviolet disinfection system is equal to the size of the system. To allow for adequate water purification, the water needs to experience a high amount of UV light – this is largely down to UV lamp intensity and flow rate.

For faster flowing systems, you’ll need a bigger UV lamp (and bigger flow rate) to ensure all the water is properly disinfected.

This is why, when considering a UV water purifier for purchase, we need to keep the house or building size in mind. Think of how many bathrooms there are and how much water you’ll need purified. The more water that needs disinfection, the bigger the purification system will have to be.

A rough guide is:

  • Homes with 1-3 bathrooms: a flow rate of 10 gpm
  • Homes with 4-6 bathrooms: a flow rate of 15 gpm
  • Homes with 7 or more bathrooms: a flow rate of 20 gpm

Wattage

UV bulbs don’t need a lot of power. In fact, they’re comparable to incandescent light bulbs in terms of wattage needed for use.

Whole home systems typically require a bulb of 25-60 watts.

A point-of-use system requires around 10 watts.

NSF/ANSI Certifications

You’ll see the terms “NSF and ANSI certifications” crop up a lot when you’re looking at most water treatment systems. These are guarantees that a product will deliver the results that it advertises.

While they aren’t quite as pertinent with UV filters, it’s still advisable to look for a UV purifier system that has some sort of certification. There are two main types of certification to look out for:

  • NSF/ANSI Standard 55 Class A – for UV filters which target and destroy harmful microorganisms like viruses, dangerous bacteria and cysts. This is the superior standard.
  • NSF/ANSI Standard 55 Class B – for UV filters that disinfect drinking water by removing some types of bacteria.

Available Space

UV purifiers are relatively smaller than the majority of other filters or water softeners. Making room for them at home likely won’t be too difficult, as they don’t require too much space. The only thing you have to be aware of regarding whole house systems is that they have to be connected directly into your mains water.

Price

Like most things, a higher price usually equals better quality. The following items in particular can be inferior if you opt for a cheaper UV filter:

  1. UV water purifier installation – Leaks tend to be a big problem with cheaper systems, which ends up causing more trouble than it’s worth.
  2. UV lamp life – Most UV filter lamps have a life of 9,000 hours. However, UV lamps of lower quality often don’t reach this, which means you’ll end up replacing them more frequently; costing more money than if you’d just paid for a more expensive lamp to begin with!
  3. UV lamp sleeve – A quartz sleeve that is cheap is weaker and therefore more likely to crack.

Of course, nobody wants to pay more than they need to (or go above their budget). However, it’s our opinion that when opting for a UV water purification system, the very cheapest models aren’t a decent option. If you pay a little more at the start, it will save you money in the long run.

What is a UV Water Purifier?

best UV water purifiers thumbnail

UV filters (or a UV purification system) are water systems that are equipped to disinfect and improve water quality. The main piece of equipment involved is a UV light bulb, which is part of the UV filter. It can inactivate and effectively stop the spread of pathogenic elements in the water such as viruses, bacteria and cysts using germicidal wavelengths generated by the UV bulb.

As a result of the inactivation, the microorganisms can’t reproduce anymore, thus stopping the spread of these pollutants in your water and not making you sick.

In addition to the lamp, standard UV systems will also contain a controller unit, a stainless steel chamber, O-rings and a glass sleeve.

A UV purifier can be used in many environments for numerous reasons. While often used in residential areas for disinfecting home water supplies or well water, they are also used in offices and other buildings, for the treatment of wastewater, and in industries where clean, portable water is needed.

Explaining How a UV Water Purifier Works

The UV lamp is the most crucial part of any UV purifier. The bulb emits UV (ultraviolet) light, which is what disinfects the water via its waves. This UV light is referred to as germicidal, as it can inactivate and scramble the DNA of pathogens like viruses, cysts and harmful bacteria. Wavelengths of exactly 254 nm are needed for the UV rays to have this effect.

With UV disinfection, not only will a water supply no longer be home to the polluting microorganisms listed above, but even to any types of fungi or algae.

Of course, to cover a broader spectrum of harmful pollutants, a higher UV dose will be necessary. The likes of E. coli and other types of bacteria as well as cysts can be inactivated with a relatively weak dose of UV rays; however, to eliminate the threat of viruses (such as Poliovirus, Rotavirus and Hepatitis A) a higher dose of UV rays will be required.

Components of a UV Water Disinfection System

The elements that compose a UV water purification system are few, and quite straightforward. These include:

  1. Stainless steel chamber
  2. UV filter lamp
  3. Quartz sleeve
  4. O-rings
  5. Controller unit

Each part works in tandem to carry out the purification process. Their functions are as follows:

Stainless Steel Reactor

The durable stainless steel chamber is what houses the entire UV purifier.

Stainless steel is used for this as it is a durable, protective material that contains the more fragile elements of the UV system, such as the sleeve and all-important UV lamp. It also stops UV waves from escaping!

Stainless steel is perfect for the job, as unlike cheaper elements such as plastic (which absorbs UV waves), it won’t let any UV rays escape or be absorbed.

The problem with absorption is that it can lead to free radicals, unstable electrons that will eventually wear down material like plastic which gradually turn weak and break apart, allowing UV rays to leak out of it! Stainless steel won’t absorb these rays, ensuring the UV chamber stays intact and no UV waves are wasted.

UV Lamp

UV lamps are technically gas-discharge lamps, powered through the use of what’s known as an electric arc. Vaporized mercury produces this light which allows the system to function.

You may notice little beads inside your UV lamp, which are beads made of solid mercury. This mercury will gradually dissolve, so the UV lamp must be replaced regularly.

uv light bulb

Quartz Glass Sleeve

It’s crucial that a UV lamp doesn’t directly contact water, as it runs on electricity.

Instead, the lamp is contained inside a quartz glass sleeve. It keeps the lamp from getting into contact with the water, but also lets any UV light transmit through. This is how UV light can still permeate through the quartz sleeve and disinfect the water.

O-Rings

An O-ring is simply a gasket used to seal a UV purifier in order to prevent leakage. Usually a few are used together.

Controller Unit

The controller unit of the UV purification system is electronic, and has several functions. It helps maintain and control the UV light intensity, as well as displaying information about the remaining lamp life in the UV unit. It also has a screen for use in conjunction with troubleshooting.

Who Needs a UV Water Purifier?

As we mentioned above, water purification via ultraviolet waves is a form of disinfection applied in many situations, including industrial and residential areas, and anywhere that requires portable water.

Water is treated for algae and fungi, bacteria, viruses, cysts and protozoa.

A UV disinfection system will inactivate these pathogens. However, it won’t affect any other contaminants (like types of sediment) or alter the flavor or smell of your water.

Disinfection of Tap Water

You’ll find that tap water will be disinfected at treatment facilities anyway prior to making its way to your home water source, but some additional protection in the form of UV purification can’t hurt!

Using a UV unit for disinfection in your own home ensures an extra layer of protection from any external factors that cause contaminated water, such as flooding.

Disinfection of Private Well Water

It’s highly important that all private wells should have their water disinfected. UV water purifiers can be used to treat this.

UV Light Water Filtration – The Pros and Cons

Advantages

Clean, Safe Drinking Water

Ultraviolet treatment systems have been scientifically proven to remove all harmful bacteria, viruses, cysts and protozoa, leaving your water safe to consume. Such an easy and cost effective method of keeping your drinking water clean is enough to convince most people to purchase a UV filter system.

No Extra Chemicals

An ultraviolet water filter is the ideal form of water treatment equipment for UV disinfection, as there are no unpleasant elements (such as chlorine) added to the water.

Nothing is actually added or taken away from the water during the UV treatment, with only the harmful microorganisms being inactivated and stopped from reproducing. This makes it a safe, clean way to disinfect your home water supply.

Taste & Smell Remain Unchanged

Following on from the point above – as there are no added elements to UV filtered water, the chemistry remains unchanged, and therefore so does the water taste and smell. The days of dousing your water supply with chlorine are long gone!

Less Maintenance

One of the biggest advantages of UV purification systems is the lack of maintenance. All that’s required is changing bulbs annually and changing of the quartz sleeve, ideally every other year. Simple!

Young woman in the kitchen drinking water

Disadvantages

No Other Contaminants Removed

None of the existing contaminants, be it lead or TTHMs, will be taken out of the water source. The inactivated microorganisms will even remain (they just won’t cause harm anymore).

If you’re looking for a water treatment process to filter out all particles and improve water quality, UV purification won’t be it.

No Taste/Odor Improvement

In the same way that this can be seen as an advantage, it can also be looked at as a disadvantage.

As no contaminants or other elements are removed with UV filters, the water chemistry that contributes to the overall flavor and smell will remain unchanged. An additional filtration device and purification would be required to neutralize harmful chemicals (e.g. our good friend, chlorine) etc. that are responsible for this.

Runs on Electricity

The elephant in the room when concerning UV purifiers is their need to be constantly plugged into an electrical socket, as they run with electricity. This round the clock, 24/7 process will inevitably add to your energy bill.

Water May be Heated

A UV lamp is still a lamp, and will therefore continue to release heat alongside light. The water may become heated (even if you don’t desire it) to the extent where it is quite hot. Remember to keep this in mind when using the water, or if excessively warm water may damage some home appliances.

How to Install a UV Water Filter System

If you’re looking to install a whole house system, this will require plumbing (as it must be connected to your main supply). This naturally won’t suit everyone. If it seems like a little too much, it’s worth calling a professional to install the UV system for you.

However, if you have experience with installing a whole house water filter and are feeling confident that you can tackle a UV water purifier, then you may find it’s easier to install than first imagined. It’s not all that much different from installing any other whole house water system.

(If your UV filtration system happens to be a point-of-use system, it should be a simple enough DIY task!)

plumbing wrench ball valve brass connectors

Here’s a summary of instructions for installation:

  1. Start by turning off your main water supply.
  2. Then, drain any water that may remain in the pipes.
  3. The main water line should then be cut into with an appropriate tool (such as a pipe cutter or saw).
  4. Optional step: For simpler maintenance and system servicing in the future, you can choose to have a bypass installed or a shut-off valve on either side of your system.
  5. Connect the inlet and outlet ports of the UV purifier system to your plumbing. (All ends should be sealed with plumber’s tape).
  6. Insert the UV lamp and the protective quartz sleeve.
  7. Turn your water on again carefully, checking for leaks and any problems.
  8. Finally, plug the controller unit in!

UV Water Purifier Maintenance

Ultraviolet purifiers will eventually need maintenance, the same way any water purifier does. However, the actual work involved in this maintenance is minimal!

Annual UV Lamp Replacement & Cleaning of the Quartz Sleeve

The UV filter lamp should be replaced with a new one every year.

Like we’ve mentioned, the life in the UV lamp should be about 9,000 hours. If the system is running 24/7 (as is ideal) then this will work out at around 365 days.

When the time comes, simply remove the old lamp from the quartz sleeve and replace it with the new lamp. Replacement UV lamps are in the price range of about $100.

The quartz glass, while not something that has to be replaced every year, should be checked out when a new UV filter lamp is being inserted. Take a look at how clean the sleeve is – for UV light to properly pass through, the glass sleeve has to be clean and transparent. If you notice it looking a little cloudy or dirty, carefully give it a wipe!

Quartz Sleeve Replacement (Every 2 Years)

The recommended replacement period for the sleeve is around every 2 years. According to most manufacturers, this will allow for peak performance. At a cost of between $30-$50, it’s certainly a reasonable amount.

Monitoring of the System

Most of the time there won’t be any issues with your UV filtration system (unless a cheaper unit of low-quality was purchased).

However, it’s good practice to check up on the control unit at regular intervals to make sure everything is in good working order.

UV Water Purifiers vs Standard Water Filters

You may be wondering about how UV water purifiers work compared to a standard water filter. There are a few, key differences.

Firstly, while all water filters are technically water purifiers, not all water purifiers are considered to be water filters.

A bit confusing, we know. UV water treatment is simply a method of water purification, but it doesn’t remove particles like sediment, treat the hardness or softness of water, or even improve the taste and smell!

UV purifiers however are made to purify water by deactivating the microorganisms living in the water. In this sense, we can see how the term “water filtration” can be erroneously used to describe a UV purifier.

A water filter however is designed to actively remove pollutants and other harmful particles using different types of filter media. Examples of such filter media are as follows:

  • KDF
  • Ion exchange resin
  • Activated carbon

They can remove chemical agents, including disinfection byproducts and industrial tier solvents, salts, heavy metals and more.

Besides, getting rid of water contamination can improve the overall odor and taste of the water.

And as for what regular water filters and an ultraviolet water purifier have in common? Mainly, the fact that they can both eradicate viruses, bacteria and cysts, thus improving water quality!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FAQ thumbnail

Do I need UV light for well water?

You need some sort of water disinfection or otherwise pathogens might harm your health when ingested.

Is UV water safe to drink?

UV water is safe to drink from a microbial standpoint if properly disinfected. This does not mean, however, that UV water is automatically free from other types of water contaminants such as heavy metals and chemicals.

Which water is better for drinking RO or UV?

They both can serve the purpose. UV-purified water is free from microorganisms but may still contain other harmful contaminants. RO water should be free from said contaminants but might not be microbiologically safe.

What is the advantage of using UV to disinfect water?

There are a couple of advantages. Most importantly, UV water purifiers don’t use chemicals and thus don’t alter how your water tastes and smells.

How much does a UV water purifier cost?

Decent whole house UV water filters cost about $600 or more, depending on their size. For a POU system you need to invest about $100 to $200.

Conclusion

A UV water purifier can make a great addition to your home. You just need to install one of the right size and quality. Our first choice for whole house applications is the SpringWell SPRW-UVC5-15. For POU, we recommend the Acuva ArrowMAX 2.0.

If you have any questions about these or other UV purification systems please leave a comment below!

Further Reading

Resources

Meet Jason Hollow

Jason Hollow Jason is the founder of Water Masterz and head of content creation. After six years in the industry, he has tremendous knowledge and first-hand experience on all things related to water treatment.

His credo: Not a single American should have to drink unhealthy water at home.

Get in Touch with Jason

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