Does a UV Water Purifier Come with High Maintenance Cost?

Author: Rory Mullan - Published: 2022/03/22 - Updated: 2022/06/17

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Water purification can be done in a number of ways, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. There’s no single solution that removes all types of contaminants from your water supply.

A UV water purifier is great in situations where bacteria and other pathogens are your primary concern. It uses UV light to destroy microorganisms with a high level of efficiency.

And like all water purification and filtration systems, a UV water purifier requires some maintenance in the long term. If you’re wondering how much that would cost you on average, read on.

So, here is our guide on the maintenance cost of a UV water purifier!

UV Water Purifier – Basic Overview and How It Works

insides of a UV water purifier

Unlike chemical-based water purification methods, a UV water purifier relies entirely on ultraviolet light to kill any harmful microorganisms residing in the water, including many types of viruses and bacteria.

The method relies on the fact that most microbes associated with waterborne diseases are highly sensitive to UV light of a particular wavelength – 254 nm.

Exposure to this type of light disrupts their DNA and inactivates them, with a higher level of disinfection than most other methods on the market. A good UV water purifier kills off at least 99.9% of microorganisms in the water that passes through it.

What’s Inside a UV Water Purifier?

The main component of a UV water purifier is the UV lamp. It’s sealed inside a quartz sleeve which insulates it from the water while still allowing UV light to pass through. Water runs around the sleeve, getting exposed to the light emitted from the UV lamp as it flows through the purifier.

The entire setup is encased in a larger container, commonly made of stainless steel. This isn’t always the case though – when treating corrosive water, for example, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) may be used instead.

At each end of the container is a leak-proof outlet for connecting the purifier to your water supply.

UV Water Filter System Maintenance Tips

Getting the most out of your UV water purifier requires some regular maintenance. All of the required procedures are simple and straightforward, and only have to be performed once a year at most.

1. Replace the UV Lamp Every Year

While UV lamps don’t burn out like regular light bulbs, their performance still declines over time, as the short-wave filters used in the lamp degrade with use. This reduces the amount of light that can pass through the filter, lowering the strength of the lamp itself.

Most UV lamps lose about 40% of their intensity after 9,000 hours of continuous usage, which is just a little over one year. Thus, make sure to replace your UV lamp annually.

2. Clean the Quartz Sleeve Every Year

A good UV purifier will inactivate almost all microorganisms in the water, but it does nothing about the various types of debris commonly found in most domestic water supplies.

Even if you don’t live in an area with particularly hard water, for example, and you use a separate softener system, you can still expect some amount of build-up on your quartz sleeve as water continuously runs over it.

This will eventually reduce the transparency of the sleeve, allowing less light to pass through. How often you’ll have to clean your sleeve to prevent this depends on your water conditions, but in most cases, you should give it a thorough cleaning at least once a year.

3. Replace the Quartz Sleeve Every Two Years

Even with regular cleaning, your quartz sleeve will eventually get covered with a permanent dirt film that will get progressively thicker. At some point, you’ll want to completely replace the sleeve with a new one.

Again, the ideal frequency of this depends on the quality of your water. Replacing it once every two years should be enough for most homes.

4. Change the Pre-Filter

Water running through your UV filter likely passes through an additional pre-filtration step to remove sediment, iron, tannins – you name it. You may also have a water softener hooked up, ideally before the UV system.

Most of this equipment will need regular replacing if you want to avoid reducing the performance of your UV water purifier.

What’s the Average Maintenance Cost of a UV Water Purifier?

UV water purifier maintenance cost thumbnail

Using a UV water purifier comes with some maintenance costs, but if you’re responsible and make sure to replace everything in due time, you won’t have to deal with any unreasonable expenses.

The main contributing factor to your maintenance costs will be replacing the UV lamp. Most lamps lose a large percentage of their intensity within around 9,000 hours of use, requiring a yearly replacement. A good UV lamp will set you back between $80 and $120, with the price occasionally going higher for more advanced whole-house models.

Other than that, you’ll also want to swap out the quartz sleeve every two years at most. Most quartz sleeves cost around $40-60.

This brings your total annual cost for replacement parts to $100-$150, provided you don’t run into any unexpected problems that require additional repairs.

Replacing the UV lamp and quartz sleeve are both simple tasks that you can do yourself after reading your manual and watching a couple of tutorials.

But if you don’t feel comfortable messing with your UV water purifier yourself, you can also call an expert to do all of that for you. It’s hard to estimate how much that would cost you, considering you’re usually charged for the time it takes to drive to your place and not just the repair itself, but you can expect anywhere between $200 and $400 as a rough estimate.

UV Water Purifier Pros and Cons

UV water purification is one of the best methods for removing microorganisms from a water supply. No water treatment solution is perfect though, and like its alternatives, UV purification has its pros and cons.

Pros

  • High purification rate. With a 99.9+% success rate in eliminating microorganisms, this is one of the most effective purification methods on the market.[1]
  • No chemicals involved. Water is purified in a “contactless” manner. No chemicals are being used.
  • Good for the environment. Some water purification methods produce various types of waste that have to be disposed of properly, or they may waste a percentage of the water that goes through them. Neither is true for UV water purifiers.
  • Easy to install and maintain. Hooking up a UV system to your water supply is straightforward, and ongoing maintenance requires minimal effort and no specialized skills.

Cons

  • Only eliminates microorganisms. UV water purifiers are great at eliminating microorganisms in your water supply, but that’s all they do. Debris, heavy metals, and other unwanted elements have to be removed by a separate filtration system. Ideally, this should be done before water is fed through the UV purifier in order to avoid unnecessary wear on the components.
  • Requires electricity to run. A UV water purifier can’t run without electricity, unlike models based on simple filters or chemical treatment. If you experience a power outage, you’ll be left without disinfected water.
  • Warms your water. Depending on how often you use water in your home, it might come out a warmer than usual if it’s been close to the UV lamp for a while.

Conclusion

In conclusion, two things contribute to UV water purification maintenance cost: UV light bulb replacements and UV quartz sleeve replacements.

UV lamps which require annual changing come in at around $100.

A new quartz sleeve costs $40 to $60.

If you can’t to the maintenance yourself for any reason, expect to pay $200 to $400 in labor cost for hiring a professional.

Further Reading

Resources

Meet Rory Mullan

Rory Mullan Rory has joined the Water Masterz team as a contributing writer. He has covered all sorts of topics in the last several years.

Outside of his writing work, Rory enjoys photographing the Irish landscape and making music!

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