A UV water filter uses high-frequency light that is thrown upon the water passing through the element. It is able to kill any micro-organisms and thus remove impurities from the water. It is an excellent sterilizer but it is impossible to know if the filter is working without performing specific tests. Learning to install it properly will reduce the risk of actually drinking impure water. It is important to learn how to use and maintain the filter.
Step 1 - Decide on Wattage of Your UV Filter
A UV filter that treats 10 gallons per minute should usually be enough for normal household needs. However, if you need more flow of water, a higher wattage would be needed. The UV rays would have to be stronger and thus more power is needed. Always keep a balance between costs (keeping a low wattage for your UV filter) and safety (making sure that all bacteria are killed). It is better to stay on the safe side and buy a UV filter with a little extra wattage. You would be surprised by the volume of water you could end up using in a particular period of time.
Step 2 - Determine Where the Filter Should Go
Usually a UV filter is not placed by itself. In reality, there should be a series of filters that perform separate tasks. The usual arrangement for a complete functioning system, from water source to tap is: well pump (if water source is from a well), pressure tank, water softener, 5-micron filter, and the UV filter. The 5-micron filter does not permit any particles; be it bacteria or simply a minute stone, larger than 5 microns in diameter to pass through. If you are receiving water that has been already treated to your tap, a UV filter by itself should suffice.
Step 3 - Plumb the UV system with Copper
Plastic is not ideal for plumbing when dealing with UV radiation. It is not recommended to plumb the UV system with plastic or PVC. The optimal material is copper. This does not degrade with UV rays. Putty or Teflon tape can be applied to act as a good seal at joints of the piping system. Make sure the UV light tube remains accessible after the installation as it needs to be changed on a regular basis.
Step 4 - Run Bleach Through the Plumbing of the Household
Dilute some bleach with water, and pour the mixture through the piping system. This will kill any bacteria present in the pipes after the UV filter. Then wash the system several times with water, until the water gushing out of your tap does not have the faintest whiff of bleach.
Step 5 - Replace UV Lamps Yearly
Even though the UV lamp might still be working after one year, it is advisable to change it after this stipulated period. The actual suggested lifespan of each UV lamp varies, however the general make lasts for 12 months. After this time passes the UV lamp will no longer emit UV rays with such intensity. Thus the purity of the water can be compromised.
UV water filters are an ingenious way of purifying water. However, due to their lack of screening function, you should be always on the lookout for changes in taste and color of the water you consume or use. Maintenance and care during installation is a must.