Do I Need A UV Disinfection System?

E Coli Outbreak Map from CDCIf you are considering a UV disinfection system for your home or business, you undoubtedly have a whole list of questions.  As such a system oftentimes requires a larger upfront investment, you may have questions related to UV disinfection system cost.

You may also have questions related to how UV disinfection system technology works, its level of efficiency and whether a UV system is truly more effective than disinfectant chemicals such as chlorine.

While the questions above are valid ones that we’ll try to answer below, the true determination regarding whether you need such a system can better be expressed in a checklist format, rather than an FAQ.  For your reference, we’ve created just such a checklist below.

If you find after going through this list that a UV disinfection system is your best option for keeping your drinking water as far from contamination risk as possible, we would encourage you to next browse the selection of systems offered on our online store here – or if you need additional help – to call our customer service team at 1-800-277-3458:

__I use well water
In our experience, well water users – whether commercial or residential – are the ones that will benefit most from the installation of a UV disinfection system.  The answer as to why relates to just what well water is – and just what UV disinfection technology does.

Water from a private well is subject to infiltration by all manner of runoff, from melted snow and decayed organic matter to animal waste and septic drainage.  Especially in the case of animal waste, common for those wells in close proximity to animal farms, this runoff can contain dangerous levels of bacteria, including E. Coli and Cryptosporidium.

Without getting too heavily into the science, UV disinfection technology destroys this type of bacteria by leveraging the power of UV light to non-chemically and permanently change the DNA of these nasty little lifeforms, rendering them sterile and unable to spread infection.

For those more interested in the scientific details, we would encourage you to visit the website of Viqua, a technology company that offers UV sterilizers and disinfection systems from brands including Sterilight and Trojan (both of which are proudly offered on our site here.)

650647 Trojan UVMAX Pro 10 UV Disinfection System

__I use municipal water but receive frequent boil water alerts
More common in the southern part of the US, a boil water alert is announced by a municipality in the event of contamination, a break in a water main, or any other incident that leaves a city’s water supply at risk of contamination.

Sometimes a boil water alert is over within 24 or 48 hours, after a municipality is able to confirm that there is no longer a contamination risk.  Other times, as was seen with the water contamination incident earlier this year in West Virginia, an occurence can trigger boil water alerts for weeks.

If you live in a municipality where boil water alerts are frequent, from monthly to quarterly, a UV disinfection system is one of the wiser investments you can make when it comes to safeguarding your drinking water.

__I operate a business or school that uses a private well or is located in a city with frequent boil water alerts
Last year, E. Coli contamination forced several restaurants in Buckeye, AZ to temporarily close.  Another E. Coli incident impacted Pasadena Park Elementary, just earlier this year, in Spokane Valley, WA.

Many of the reasons for equipping your school or business with a UV disinfection system are the same as equipping your home but with one big distinction: the number of people’s lives, young and old, that could be impacted by the water you serve.

__I have a septic system that has been failing
Groundwater contamination can be the result of many factors, including a failing septic system.  Within a septic system live an incredible variety of the type of bacteria we’ve been discussing above – in other words – the type of bacteria that should keep you awake at night for fear that they may find its way through your tap.

602855 Trojan UV Max UV Lamp
602855 Trojan UV Max UV Lamp

Unless, of course, you have a system in place that will kill it before it even comes close.

__I live in close proximity to an animal farm
We have an interesting relationship with animal farms in this country.

In a sense, we need their output to remain heavy to support our way of way of life.  In another, heavier output means more bacteria-rich waste that must go somewhere.  And oftentimes, this ‘somewhere’ is the local groundwater supply.

If you are in close proximity to a larger or growing animal farm, a UV disinfection system is one of your more powerful lines of defense.  If you operate an animal farm, this is probably a system you should get in place to hydrate all those that live with you in your home.

__I live at the base of a mountain
Viqua comments on their website, in regards to the perceived purity of mountain spring water, that this “pure” water picks up contaminants on its journey down the mountain that can create a need for disinfection.  Water contamination maps, including the one published by the CDC at the top of this post, shows that mountainous Colorado is among the states where E. Coli is most heavily reported.  The exhaustive article linked above confirms that contaminated food – and drinking water – are the most common culprits.  Regardless of how that pure mountain stream looks, if it’s feeding into your water supply, a UV disinfection system will be a favorable purchase.

__I live in an area where Cryptospodrium, E. Coli or Giardia has been found in the water supply
Not all boil water alerts or contamination incidents are created equal.  You may be asked to boil water simply as a safety precaution during a planned cleaning or unexpected main break.  In fact, this may be the one and only incident you experience.

S12Q-PA Sterilight UV Water Sterilizer System
S12Q-PA Sterilight UV Water Sterilizer System

But if you receive frequent warnings, and hear the names Giardia, E. Coli or Cryptosporidium again and again, we would strongly recommend an investment in a system that will kill off these small and potentially deadly life-forms as quickly and easily as possible.

To note, contamination related to these types of bacteria can happen anywhere.  Read our blog post from earlier this year to learn more about E. Coli contamination in New York City’s drinking water, by some accounts, some of the cleanest municipal drinking water in the world.

__I am not comfortable using chlorine or other chemicals to disinfect my water
In municipal water supplies, chlorine is a common disinfectant used to help ensure the safest possible drinking water for a community.  Private well water users, on the other hand, oftentimes will add this or another type of chemical disinfectant on their own.  And while disinfection is necessary, not all are comfortable using chemicals to do so.

If you find yourself needing to add disinfectant, and are not comfortable handling or storing chemicals, non-chemical disinfection courtesy of a UV system is one of your better options.

__I am comfortable with a higher upfront cost if it means lower ownership costs over a lifetime
A UV water sterilizer or disinfection system will be a larger initial investment, ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending on whether you are looking at a small residential or large commercial setup.

After installation, however, annual maintenance costs are extremely competitive with other types of filtration systems or disinfection methods.  In a white paper developed by the Canadian Agricultural Department, they state in response to a question about the annual maintenance costs of a UV disinfection system:

S36RL Sterilight Water Sterilizer System UV Lamp
S36RL Sterilight Water Sterilizer System UV Lamp

“The bulb may need to be replaced once a year or sooner depending on the water quality, costing approximately $50 – $100, depending on the size and model of the UV unit. Pre-filters and other filtration devices will most likely require replacement once a year or more; again, the frequency of replacement depends on the water quality. These costs should be relatively small but will depend on the type, size, and number of filters being used. Electrical costs will be approximately equivalent to the continuous use of a 60 watt light bulb.”

For a system that kills off virtually all harmful contaminants, rather than just filtering out most of them, this represents a significant value.

__I have water that meets the right quality parameters
The final word on whether a UV disinfection system is right for you has to do with your water quality parameters.

Viqua provides the summary and insight below:

To ensure the best performance from a UV disinfection system in a residential or commercial application, your water should meet the following quality parameters:

  • < 0.3 PPM iron
  • < 7 grains per gallon (120 PPM) hardness
  • > 75% UVT (UV transmission through water sample)

Note that we are happy to offer water test kits on our site that can help you measure against these parameters.  If you find your water is outside of these parameters, the recommendation is to connect with a water treatment professional – several of whom you can reach in our customer service department at 1-800-277-3458.

If the checklist above has you considering a UV disinfection system, we would encourage you to browse our selection (once again, linked to here) or pose any follow-up questions you have to our customer service team at the number above or via a comment below.

We invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or +1 us on Google+ to be the first to learn about exclusive new deals and products.

Are you a veteran, currently serving in the Armed Forces, or are you buying a gift for a veteran or soldier?  Use the discount code ‘VETERAN’ at checkout to take 5% off your entire order!

Valerie Mohler

Valerie Mohler

Valerie Mohler provides support for customers of As a proud working mother of two children, Valerie offers tips, insight and advice that helps her readers provide the cleanest tasting drinking water, freshest indoor air and healthiest environments for themselves and their families. Valerie has been recognized by the Water Quality Association as a Certified Water Specialist since 2013.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Google Plus

Posted in UV Disinfection and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *