Rogelio Alvarez

By: Rogelio Alvarez on July 20th, 2023

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What Is a UV Light Water Filter?

Water Filtration & Purification

Germs are an everyday part of life, and that means that they also occur naturally in our home's water line. Luckily, there’s a purification system designed to kill these germs before you accidentally drink them with your water. Ultraviolet (UV) water filters are the best response system, but what exactly are they, and how do they work?

Since 2007, Monkey Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Air has served Los Angeles and the surrounding areas by installing and servicing all kinds of water filtration systems. Throughout our experience, we’ve come across UV light water filters and seen how they operate.

By the end of this article, you’ll better understand how a UV light filters water and what it removes, and we’ll also throw in some maintenance tips. 

Let’s start by explaining how UV filters work.


How Does UV Light Filter Water?

A UV light filter uses ultraviolet radiation emitted from a bulb to kill any microbes found in the water. The type of radiation these filters use is called UV-C, and it is a highly regarded germicidal.

The special wavelength of UV light targets and completely disrupts the DNA structure of microorganisms, which ends up killing them. Bacteria and viruses rely on their DNA structure to reproduce and multiply. By absorbing the UV light, the microorganisms are not able to spread and are eliminated from the water completely. 

UV light water filters function the same regardless of their size. Here’s a breakdown of how UV water filters work.

  1. Water, either from the water mainline or from a point-of-use system, like under a kitchen sink, enters the filter through the filter’s inlet. 
  2. The UV light lamp emits radiation to kill the bacteria as the water flows between the inner wall and the quartz sleeve enclosing the lamp.
  3. In seconds, the purified water is ready for use and exits the filter through the outlet. 

The system relies solely on UV light and does not require chemicals like chlorine to disinfect the water. The UV light requires electricity, and these filters must be connected to an outlet to supply power to the system. 

The main component of this system is the UV light lamp. Without this lamp, the filter is not able to emit UV light that targets microorganisms in the water. In the following section, we’ll examine what this special light does and more.


What Is Ultra Violet Light?

Ultraviolet light is a type of electromagnetic radiation that isn’t visible to the human eye. This type of light can be generated with electricity and special light bulbs, and it occurs naturally in the form of sunlight, also known as UV rays.

Different forms of UV light have different wavelengths measured in nanometers (nm). UV-C, used for water purification, has a wavelength of 254nm which is just enough radiation to kill bacteria. 

To protect people from the effects of radiation, the UV light filters are covered in a protective case that blocks the radiation. The filter’s outer surface helps keep a person’s exposure to UV light at a minimum. The UV lamp is powered off when it’s time to replace the bulb, so a person rarely is exposed to direct UV light. 

The only thing exposed to the light will be the microorganisms that can cause harm. But what makes the germs targeted by UV light water filters a risk to a person’s health?


What Does a UV Light Water Filter Remove?

UV light water filters remove waterborne germs that can make you sick. Besides bacteria, UV filters are 99.99% effective at eliminating viruses, fungi, and other pathogens. Here’s a look at some of the potential dangers caused by microbes killed by UV light.

  • Step throat
  • Food poisoning 
  • Toxic shock syndrome
  • Typhoid Fever
  • Influenza
  • Hepatitis of the liver 
  • Intestinal infection
  • Diarrhea 

Municipal water plants are already dedicated to treating the public water supply from these harmful microorganisms. But, there’s still a slight possibility that these microbes can contaminate water after it’s been treated and heading toward homes. 

The chances of bacterial contamination in your water are low. With a UV light water filtration system, any small possibility that these germs are in your water is reduced to zero. To continue providing protection, UV light water filters require routine maintenance. 


How Do You Maintain a UV Light Water Filter?

UV light water filters are simple to care for and require little maintenance. The special UV bulb, on average, needs to be replaced once a year. The quartz casing protecting the UV lamp from the water must also be wiped clean from the inside so that the UV light can penetrate any germs in the water. 

The UV light sleeve that keeps water away from the bulb may also need to be replaced yearly or biannually, depending on its condition. Any cracks on the casing should be identified immediately to prevent mechanical failure due to water mixing with the electricity. 

Some UV light water filtration systems come with a control unit that can include a UV sensor to detect when it’s time to replace the bulb. These head units may also have warning lights whenever the system detects an issue with the filter.


Is a UV Light Water Filter Right for Me?

UV light water filtration helps ensure that water has no microorganisms that can harm people. Now that you’re aware of how these filters rely on radiation to kill microbes and what these microbes can potentially do, you can decide whether this filter is the right fit for your home. 

From servicing to installing different water filtration systems, we’ve seen how the quality of water in Los Angeles can be improved upon. At Monkey Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Air, we know that not every homeowner is familiar with water filtration, so we’re dedicated to sharing our knowledge to help them make easier decisions on their water needs. 

If you have any questions concerning any water filtration systems, contact us using one of the buttons below. You can also book an appointment through our water filtration scheduler

Now that you have an idea of what UV light water filtration is, it might help you get an even better understanding of these filters by exploring their pros and cons.