UV Light: The Superior Pool and Spa Sanitizer
Imagine enjoying the pool all summer without the corrosive consequences of chlorine-heavy water – irritated eyes, nasal passages, and skin; dry, damaged hair; and stretched, faded swimsuits. Thanks to UV (ultraviolet) sanitation technology, this dream can become a reality! UV spa sanitation systems provide a physical disinfecting process instead of a chemical one, which means there are no harmful side effects to people or animals, and the process is much friendlier to the environment.
How Does It Work?
UV has a longer wavelength than X-rays, but shorter than visible light. Its water-sanitizing ability was first discovered over a century ago when European scientists found that the top layer of lake water was sterile because it was exposed to sunlight. The results of this discovery allowed scientists 30 years ago to start sterilizing drinking water using UV technology, and in the past decade this method of disinfection has expanded in use for drinking water and wastewater.
The UV pool sanitation system is a chamber that is installed onto your pump where the water flows back into the pool or spa. Inside this chamber is a powerful UV lamp that instantly eliminates any chlorine-resistant microorganisms and other aquatic pathogens like algae, bacteria, and viruses including E.Coli, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia. The high-intensity UV rays cause irreparable damage to microorganisms’ DNA almost instantaneously, rendering them unable to reproduce and proliferate.
Because the light only works on water that flows through the chamber, water in zones that see little to no circulation isn’t treated. So some chemical sanitation is still required, but in much smaller amounts.
It is important to keep in mind that while UV sanitation systems are exceptional at keeping your pool sanitized, your pool will still need a minimal level of chlorine present in the water. The amount of chlorine you will need is .5 PPM (parts per million). That is actually close to the legal limit of chlorine that can be found in running water from your faucet or shower. Even with this level of chlorine in your pool, it will be very difficult to know that chlorine is even present!
Is It Safe?
UV pool and spa sanitation is considered one of the safest sanitation methods available. The UV lamps are held in a solid, separate chamber. By its nature, UV light does not remain in the water once it leaves the chamber, and so it never enters the pool or spa.
The benefits of UV sanitation are many and varied. As mentioned earlier, because the process does not involve chemicals, it’s much easier on the environment. There are no residual effects on humans, animals, or plants, and it minimizes the need to handle and store poisonous chemicals.
In addition to improving water quality, the air is cleaned as well because the UV light removes chloramines – which are formed when chlorine reacts with organic material in the pool. Chloramines cause foul-smelling air near the pool’s surface, irritate our skin and respiratory system, exacerbate asthma, and can damage HVAC systems (if the pool or spa is indoors). But UV light eliminates chloramines before they can form, preventing them from evaporating and tainting the air.
Are There Other Options?
Ozone is another non-chemical sanitation option, but the systems are much more complex and expensive, in both capital cost and the cost to keep it running. They also tend to degrade over time, leading to costly repairs and frustrating ineffectiveness. Ozone is also very toxic to breathe, so if there is ever a leak, this leads to a whole host of other health and safety issues.
UV sanitation is considered superior because of its simplicity, lower cost, and equal or better effectiveness. Maintenance is required less often, is cheaper, and does not generally change with age.
UV Technology in the Public Eye
Research shows that in typical chemical sanitation, 90% of the chemicals are used for oxidation, and only 10% for sanitation. UV sanitation, on the other hand, takes care of both necessary processes. Regarding UV technology, the EPA has said, “UV has been found to be an effective disinfectant…simplicity of installation, ease of operation and maintenance, and low cost relative to chemical disinfection make UV a useful technology. Some states are even starting to mandate the installation of UV systems in public pools. New York, for example, now requires UV technology at all public splash pads.
Contact us today for more information about our UV sanitation options.