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3 Things to Know About UV Pool Sanitizers

Pool Water
When it comes to pool sanitization, the traditional method is to regularly shock the pool water with large doses of chlorine. Yet chlorine can be highly irritating to swimmers and may even contribute to health problems for those who suffer from asthma. As a result, many homeowners have turned to sanitizing methods that reduce or eliminate the need for harsh chemicals.

One such method that continues to gain traction is UV pool sanitation. These sanitizers use the power of UV light to destroy unwanted microorganisms and keep your water clean. If you have considered installing a UV sanitizer, keep reading. This article provides three key pieces of information you should know before investing in a UV pool sanitizer.

1. UV Light Destroys Over 60 Types of Pathogens

Ultraviolet light has been used for the sterilization of bacteria for well over 100 years now, with numerable applications in the worlds of industry, manufacturing, and medicine. Only more recently, however, has UV light come to be used as a germicidal agent in swimming pools. There it proves just as effective at destroying a wide range of disease-causing microorganisms.

UV light proves such a capable disinfectant that, when correctly implemented, it can kill over 60 different species of waterborne pathogens. Of course, not just any UV light can achieve these results. The bulb must release light with a wavelength of 254 nanometers for maximum germicidal power according to Aquatics International.

At this wavelength, UV light rays easily pass through the cell walls of pathogens, disrupting their DNA and ultimately causing them to die. UV light also helps to break down any chloramines in your pool. Chloramines are the chlorine products that give a pool its customary — and often bothersome — smell.

2. UV Sanitizers Can't Replace Chemicals Entirely

The benefits of UV pool sterilizers should not be understated. Yet you should also realize that UV systems cannot entirely replace traditional forms of pool sanitization. That said, a properly installed UV sanitizer can effectively reduce the amount of chlorine you consume by up to 50 percent. As a result, the ill effects associated with chlorine will be much less pronounced.

As noted above, UV sanitizers can kill most, if not all, of the microorganisms living in your pool. The main drawback of UV sanitizers has to do with their inability to carry out the process known as oxidation. Oxidation helps to break down organic and inorganic substances present in your pool water — in other words, everything besides living microorganisms.

Fortunately for those who want to avoid the use of chlorine altogether, alternative methods of producing oxidation do exist. One of the most exciting goes by the name of advanced oxidation process, or AOP. AOP involves the combination of a UV sterilizer with an ozone generator. This method produces powerful oxidizing agents while still providing unparalleled sterilization results.

3. UV Sanitizers Work Best With Low-Flow Pumps

UV light systems come in a number of different sizes, each of which pertains to a different bulb strength. Higher wattage bulbs naturally cost more than lower wattage ones. Your pool pump's flow rate forms the primary factor in determining what size of bulb you need. Generally speaking, the higher the flow rate, the more powerful a bulb you'll need.

A simple reason exists for this: faster water will pass by the UV light more quickly, giving it less time to accomplish its disinfection. As flow rate decreases, the UV light rays have a longer window of time in which to shine of the water. In some cases, it may be more cost effective to install a low-flow pool pump than to invest in a more powerful UV light system.

UV light forms a potent weapon for those who want to reduce or eliminate their pool's chlorine intake. For more information about how a UV system can benefit your family's pool, please contact Reno's pool pros at Timberline Pool & Spas Inc.