Rogelio Alvarez

By: Rogelio Alvarez on August 2nd, 2023

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The Pros and Cons of UV Light Water Filters

Water Filtration & Purification

Although there hasn’t been a water-related illness outbreak in Los Angeles, many homeowners aim to improve their drinking water quality with additional filtration, like UV filters. Ultraviolet (UV) water filtration is one of the best ways to kill any waterborne germs that can make you feel ill, but are there other advantages or disadvantages to having this filter installed in your home?

From smaller, under-the-sink filters to whole-house water filtration systems, we’ve stayed educated on various types of water treatment and have installed them throughout the Los Angeles area. At Monkey Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Air, we’ve worked with UV light filters, and after servicing them since 2007, we gained an understanding of their pros and cons. We believe in sharing our knowledge with homeowners so they can better understand how these systems work for their houses. 

If you’re interested in a UV light water filter, here are the pros and cons.


  • UV light is germicidal.
  • UV light filters do not use chemicals.
  • UV light filtration requires little maintenance. 


  • Limited water filtration 
  • Affected by water turbidity 

After diving deeper into these pros and cons, you will have a clearer idea of whether or not UV light water filters are suitable for your home. 

Let’s jump right in. 


Pros of UV Light Water Filters 

UV light water filters are sought-after thanks to their multiple advantages. This filter can treat water by using a UV lamp powered by electricity. The water is sterilized with a special type of UV radiation used, UV-C light. 

The UV-C light has a specific radiation wavelength measured at 254 nanometers (nm) that allows it to perform its primary function, kill germs. 


UV Light Water Filters Kill Germs

The term germicidal may sound like the name of a rock band, but it’s also the perfect way to describe how UV light filters operate with water. UV radiation targets the genetic makeup of germs, bacteria, viruses, and fungi and ultimately destroys them, effectively eliminating these microbial contaminants. 

As soon as water enters the chamber inside the filter, it is immediately affected by the UV light emitting from a lamp enclosed in a quartz casing. In seconds, the UV light kills 99.99% of germs lurking in the water. Here’s a list of some impurities removed by UV light water filtration.

  • E. coli: A type of bacteria that causes food poisoning.
  • Fecal coliform: This is a bacteria that can cause an intestinal infection.
  • Hepatitis A: An infectious virus that affects the liver.
  • Influenza: A virus that causes the flu.
  • Salmonella typhi: A bacteria that causes Typhoid Fever. Symptoms from this bacteria include high fever, headaches, and diarrhea. 
  • Strep: A type of bacteria that is responsible for strep throat. 
  • Staphylococcus aureus (staph): This is another type of bacteria that can cause food poisoning and Toxic Shock Syndrome. 

The tap water in Los Angeles is tested annually for all kinds of contaminants, including harmful microorganisms. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, water suppliers and local authorities must monitor and meet drinking water quality standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Despite regulatory efforts to keep drinking water safe, it’s still possible for these microbes to end up in the water. UV light water filters can give people peace of mind knowing they have extra protection from these harmful germs. Another advantage of these filtration systems is that they are germicidal without the need for chemicals. 


UV Light Filtration is Chemical-Free

Ultraviolet water filtration does not rely on chemicals to treat water from microorganisms. Chemicals are an alternative method to killing and removing unsafe microbes from drinking water. 

The downside to using these chemicals is that they can affect the taste and smell of water and create disinfection byproducts that can harm people. With a UV light water filter, you can ensure your water stays disinfected without worrying about changes to taste or byproducts affecting your health. But a UV filter is not a substitute for the chemical treatment done by Los Angeles County. 

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) uses two chemicals to treat water in water in the area, chlorine and chloramine. Under EPA standards, only safe amounts of these chemicals are added to public water systems without causing any long-term effects on people drinking the water. 

The most commonly used water disinfectant is chlorine. Chlorine targets and destroys the chemical bonds of viruses and bacteria. Another common disinfectant chemical used is chloramines, a combination of chlorine and ammonia. It is effective in disinfecting drinking water and tends to last longer than chlorine. 

Disinfectant chemicals are helpful in water treatment like UV filters, but what does maintenance look like for a UV light water filtration system? We’ll go over that in-depth in the following section. 


Minimal Maintenance 

One added benefit of owning a UV light water filter is that it requires little maintenance. Maintenance for a UV light water filtration system involves routine cleaning and UV light bulb replacement. 

It is recommended to clean the filter once every month. Routine UV light filter cleaning involves wiping off any dust on the outside surface and cleaning the quartz sleeve inside the filter. 

The filter must be powered off, and the water line connected to it must be turned off. Once that’s done, the filter top can be unscrewed. The quartz sleeve is fragile and must be handled with care as it is cleaned and inserted back into the filter. 

The UV lamp should be replaced once every year. Like any regular light bulb, the UV lamp will run out and lose its ability to decontaminate water. It’s recommended to use special care when replacing the bulb since the quartz sleeve is sensitive and prone to breaking if not enough care is applied. 

The low maintenance required for UV light water filtration systems combined with their other upsides sounds enticing, but there are a few drawbacks worth reviewing first.


Cons of UV Light Water Filters

Although there are many pros to owning a UV light water filter, there are still a few downsides associated with this filter. We’ll start by reviewing how this filter isn’t designed to remove all contaminants lurking in the water, and then we’ll see how turbidity affects a UV light water filter’s effectiveness.


Limited Filtration 

UV light water filtration is only designed to kill and remove microbial contaminants from the water. It is not able to filter out other contaminants found in water. Here’s a list of some impurities a UV light water filter does not remove. 

  • Sediments such as dirt, soil, rust, and other dissolved physical particles
  • Chlorine and other chemicals
  • Hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell)
  • Magnesium and Calcium (minerals that cause hard water)
  • Lead
  • Iron

Since UV light water filtration systems do not remove these contaminants, manufacturers provide multi-filtration systems that target the impurities UV light cannot remove. Although UV light water filters are sold independently, it’s possible to get one that includes other types of water filters. A common multi-filtration system homeowners typically choose includes a sediment filter, a carbon filter, and a UV light water filter. 

Besides being unable to filter every contaminant in water, UV light filters are also affected by turbidity or water cloudiness. 


Impacted by Water Turbidity 

UV light water filters are affected by water turbidity. Water turbidity is a way of measuring water clarity and quality. Quality water should be clear, so the more cloudy its appearance, the more turbidity it has. 

Cloudy-looking water indicates that it is heavily contaminated with suspended particles. The effectiveness of UV light’s germ-killing radiation is impacted by water turbidity. The more cloudy water appears, the less effective a UV light water filter will function. 

One way to overcome water turbidity is installing a sediment filter with a UV light filtration system. When used as a pre-filter, sediment filtration can help capture dissolved physical contaminants before they travel with the water into the UV light filter. 


Are UV Light Water Filters Right for Me?

When reviewing what UV light water filtration is, it helps to understand its pros and cons. By comparing a UV light filter’s advantages and disadvantages, you will be better positioned to determine if this water filtration system is the right fit for your home. 

Since 2007, we have worked with different water filtration systems, including installing and servicing UV light filters. At Monkey Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Air, we know that every home is different, yet each home in the Los Angeles area can benefit from installing a water filtration system. That said, which system is right for your home is entirely up to each homeowner. 

If you have any questions regarding UV light water filters, please feel free to contact us using one of the buttons below. You can also book an appointment using our water filtration scheduler