How To Maintain A UV Water Filter System

UV water filter system for purified water

Technical Helps for Maintaining an Ultraviolet Water Disinfection System

Like all water treatment systems, a UV water filter system needs routine maintenance. With a UV water sterilizer, care and maintenance is especially important because safety is at stake.

Waterborne diseases afflict millions of people each year. Injesting water that contains bacteria or viruses can cause diarrhea, vomiting, muscle cramps and vomiting.

By following a few simple steps to care for your UV water disinfection system, the system will be able to protect against harmful waterborne microbes 24/7.

5 Tips for Maintaining Your UV Water Disinfection System

1st tip for maintaining UV water disinfection

Change Lamp on Schedule

UV disinfection lampA UV Lamp is the heart of the UV sterilizer system and should be well maintained to ensure harmful viruses and bacteria are kept out of your water.

The frequency of UV water filter lamp replacement depends on several factors, including the specific UV system you're using, the quality of the lamp, the intensity of use, and the manufacturer's recommendations. Generally, UV lamps for water disinfection have a lifespan of around 9 to 12 months of continuous operation. Changing the UV lamp every 9-12 months is the most important aspect of maintaining a UV water filter system.  

Be aware that a UV lamp's light decreases with time, which makes keeping up with the lamp replacement schedule important. Many UV water sterilizer's control panel or display will show a countdown timer indicating the remaining lifespan of the UV lamp. This helps users anticipate when the lamp will need to be replaced.

Also, if your water source contains high levels of suspended particles, minerals, or contaminants, the lamp's effectiveness could decrease more quickly. In such cases, you might need to replace the lamp more frequently.

2nd tip for maintaining UV water disinfection

Clean UV Sleeve

UV sleeve to protect ultraviolet light bulbMinerals in water can slowly coat and build up on the sleeve of your UV water filtration system.

This build up can cloud the sleeve and reduce the amount of UV light that reaches the water, which then allows microorganisms to pass by without being killed or inactivated.

To keep the quartz sleeve clean and operating well, the glass must be cleaned regularly. At minimum, the sleeve should be wiped down with CLR, Lime-Away or similar product at the time of annual lamp change. More details on how to clean a uv quartz sleeve.

However, cleaning may need to occur more often than once a year, depending on water quality. It is also recommended that the sleeve be replaced every 2-3 years.

3rd tip for maintaining UV water disinfection

Monitor UV Light Dosage to Make Sure UV Lamp is Working

Many UV systems are equipped with light intensity meters or sensors that indicate the penetration of UV light through the glass sleeve and the water. These sensors provide a warning signal when the UV dose is too low to provide adequate disinfection.

If a UV system does not have a sensor, you may want to do UV transmittance testing. UV transmittance refers to the ability of water to allow UV light to pass through it. You can use a UV transmittance testing kit to measure how effectively the water is transmitting UV light. Lower UV transmittance indicates higher levels of impurities in the water that can potentially reduce UV dosage. Regular monitoring of UV transmittance can give you an idea of changes in water quality that might affect UV sterilization.

We also recommend a visual inspection of the quartz sleeve. The quartz sleeve that encases the UV lamp can accumulate deposits over time, reducing the effectiveness of UV light penetration. Regularly inspect the sleeve for signs of fouling, cloudiness, or deposits. If the sleeve is dirty, cleaning it according to the manufacturer's instructions can improve UV dosage.

4th tip for maintaining UV water disinfection

Change UV System's Pre-filters

Ensure that the water entering the UV sterilizer is pre-filtered to remove any particulates, sediment, or organic matter. These contaminants can reduce the UV light's effectiveness by shielding pathogens. A well-maintained pre-filtration system prolongs the life of the UV lamp and enhances water disinfection.

As an alternative to separate prefilters, rack-mounted UV systems that incorporate prefilters have become increasingly popular. For example, the Viqua IHS22-D4 has integrated prefilters (sediment filters and carbon filters).

5th tip for maintaining UV water disinfection

Monitor O-Rings and Seals

Regularly inspect and maintain the O-rings, seals, and connections in the UV system. Any leaks or worn components can compromise the system's performance. Lubricate O-rings with food-grade lubricant if necessary, and replace them if they show signs of wear.

Expert Tip

A UV system is designed to operate continuously. Unlike household lights that are turned off to save energy, a UV lamp should NOT be turned off, even when you're away from the home or cottage. If the system is shut down for a time, water could flow past the UV system without being disinfected--and that water could potentially make household members ill. A UV bulb uses very little energy, and it is best to keep the lamp on continuously.

Keep water cleaning by regularly changing UV light bulb and cleaning sleeve

How Often Should a UV Water Sterilizer Lamp be Replaced?

The UV system calculates the expected lifespan of the UV lamp based on factors such as the lamp's quality, intensity, and usage patterns. This calculation is usually based on hours of operation, but as a general rule, UV lamps should be replaced annually.

It's important to replace the lamp on schedule. Over time, the UV light dosage will decrease, potentially to the minimum dosage needed to effectively kill bacteria. At this point, the UV lamp should be replaced.

Key Takeaways: Monitor Your UV System

Water chemistry and contaminants can change over time, even if from the same water source or well. Because of this, water should be tested for bacteria every six (6) months.

When test samples are taken, we recommend taking samples of the water before and after the UV water filter system. This way, you can know if your UV water sterilizer is performing properly. Learn more about what's in your drinking water. 

Top-Selling UV Water Disinfection Systems

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VIQUA IHS22-D4 UV Water Treatment System
  • The Viqua IHS22-D4 inclues two integrated prefilters to improve the taste and odor of your water.
  • LED Status system indicator.
  • All-in-one UV solution boasting added layers of water filtration and treatment.
  • Safeguards ALL the water coming into your home.

Sold out
  • Compact, yet powerful design treats water with UV light, plus includes an
  • Integrated pre-filter that can remove sediment, dirt and rust for improved taste.
  • Includes a lamp replacement timer.
  • Proven UV system with premium-quality parts at a value price.
  • Treats up to 9 gpm, perfect for a home with 1-3 bathrooms.

Ultraviolet Water Filtration FAQs

What if UV System Power Goes Out, Does UV Operate?

Generally speaking, UV equipment is turned on and left on to fully sanitize water that passes through it. However, if the power goes out, many UV manufacturers have created Lamp-Out-Circuits (called “LOCs”) that notify the user of a power failure. Options include audible alarms to notify the user by sound, and solenoid valves that will shut off the water flow automatically. Each of these options relate to a valve that is ‘normally open’ or ‘normally closed’ (as noted by ‘NO’ or ‘NC’). To install an audible alarm, you would need a unit listed as LOC NO, and for a solenoid valve you would need a unit that features LOC NC. For any additional questions, please contact us.

During Installation Can UV System Be Installed Using PVC Pipe and Fittings?

UV systems should not be installed directly on PVC pipes but need a minimum 12" span of steel or copper pipe before PVC to allow dissipation of UV light waves. PVC will 'sun-rot' if left outside, and so will the internal lining of PVC pipe if exposed to direct UV light from the lamp. The 12" span of metal pipe allows UV light intensity to weaken.

How to Find the Owner's Manual for Your UV System?

While most UV systems share many similarities, there are often some differences in maintaining a particular system. Specific information from a system’s manufacturer will be critical to maintain your system from year to year.
Always closely follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and instructions to avoid compromising the UV system. Proper maintenance will ensure your system’s effectiveness for years to come. If we carry your brand and model UV system, you can find your owner's manual here. Owner's manuals are also found on product pages for all systems.

Note: Please contact the manufacturer or retailer directly if you did not purchase your UV water disinfection system through ESP Water Products.

Top-Selling UV Water Filter Systems

Viqua VIQUA VH410-F20 Model 18 GPM Combo UV System VH410-F20-
  • Economical UV Treatment

  • Lamp Life LED Display

  • 9 gpm UV for Small Home

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Viqua VIQUA D4 Model 12 GPM UV System - 650694-R 650694-R-
  • Color LCD Screen

  • Lamp Replacement Timer

  • 12 gpm Monitored UV
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  • Includes 5-Mic Pre-Filter

  • Lamp Life LED Display

  • 9 GPM Water Treatment

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