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It’s often something we take for granted: clean water from the tap. More and more homeowners, however, are finding hidden water quality issues that they didn’t know they had, and home water filtration and treatment are becoming a bigger concern.

One technology that’s gaining popularity, both for large municipal water treatment and whole home residential treatment, is ultraviolet purification. The EPA is even calling for UV water purification in addition to traditional treatment tactics in order to address pathogens like cryptosporidium, which are resistant to chlorine treatments.

To give you a better idea of how this technology works, and how UV treatment fits into your overall home water purification, I’ve provided some answers to frequently asked questions below.

How does UV purification work?

A UV system uses large bulbs to produce light in the ultraviolet end of the spectrum (wavelengths around 250 to 270 nm) to neutralize pathogens in your home’s incoming water supply. Ultraviolet radiation (the same wavelengths of light that can be found in sunlight) can change the genetic material of pathogens destroying the ability of microorganisms to reproduce and effectively kill off populations of pathogens in exposed water. The advantage of this is that it’s chemical-free.

Who should use an ultraviolet water treatment system?

Anyone concerned about pathogens can get some peace of mind with a UV system. However, some type of removal of pathogens is vital for people with well water systems, those who need to purify sea water or who are otherwise concerned about pathogens present in their water supply.

Does a UV treatment system remove minerals?

No, the UV light from the bulbs doesn’t affect mineral content of the water. Dissolved minerals like calcium, magnesium and other common constituents of Florida groundwater will pass right through a UV filter. If you want to remove those, it’s best to look into a water softening system that is designed to remove minerals that make water hard.

Should I use UV treatment as my only purification?

No, ultraviolet purification will only address some water quality issues. People here in Florida and across the country typically need other water treatment measures in order to make their water both safe to drink and comfortable to use in their homes. Many municipal water sources do much of their water treatment at the source, providing chemical treatment and filtration. But if you have hard water, or notice discoloration or sediment in your water, you may want to look into systems such as water filtration, water softening and other measures.

Most often, using UV purification as a final stage in your home water treatment will help kill many of the remaining pathogens before you use it for cooking, drinking or bathing. This would be after sediment filters, reverse osmosis filters and any other equipment you have in place.

There are a lot of advantages to using UV light as part of your water purification, but you should be sure to find the right system and have it installed and maintained by professionals. Improper use can lead to injury if you aren’t careful, just as with any other household appliance. Just by examining your options for water treatment at home, you’ll be more knowledgeable about the quality of water your family is using, and that should give you some peace of mind.

When she isn’t showing off her DIY knowledge to help friends out, Amanda Peters is tackling her own projects at home. Whether it’s water filtration and purification or just swapping out old plumbing fixtures, she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty.

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