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The UV Light is on so I'm protected..right?

by Charlie Dietz June 20, 2013 4 Comments

In a water treatment system, ultraviolet light (UV) is used to disinfect the water by destroying bacteria. The UV light penetrates the water stream and destroys the micro-organisms. This process is based on intensity of the UV light and the ability for the UV light to pass through the water stream.

The intensity of the bulb is an important part of the process and after time the intensity degrades and the disinfection capabilities are hampered. The common practice is to change the bulb every year or every 9000 hours. This is the designed bulb life for most UV systems. There is always a possibility of failure when dealing with equipment, and in this type of system a failure isn't always evident. There are obvious failures, such as the bulb is out or there is an audible alarm. The hidden failure would be a bulb that is on but is not producing the intensity necessary to destroy bacteria. There is always the possibility that the bulb has degraded before its' expected life span.

The good news is there is a way to monitor the bulb intensity. Some of the more professional UV systems offer intensity meters that monitor the nanometers required to destroy bacteria effectively. The threshold for these meters is 254nm. If the threshold is reached the intensity meter will sound and audible alarm. These systems can also be set up to control a solenoid valve that will shut off the water if this alarm occurs. This ensures that untreated water does not reach the end user. These systems were generally expensive in the past and most people did not buy them because of the cost. US Water Systems is now offering an affordable way to do this with the Luminor Blackcomb Series UV Light. This system is equipped with filtration for added protection.

These are top-notch systems at half the price of a comparable competitor. These systems are available with or without the intensity meter. They also offer the solenoid shutoff valve. Click on the picture to go to the information page. You will find a brochure and manual there as well.

The other thing that makes an intensity meter so important is that it not only monitors the bulb but the entire chamber.

UV systems usually have a quartz sleeve the isolates the bulb from the water stream. Some of these are straight glass tubes and some are closed on the end similar to a lab test tube. If there are contaminants in the water that stain this quartz sleeve can become coated and serve as a tint to the glass. When that happens, the UV light cannot penetrate the quartz sleeve and pass through the water stream. Again the good news is that because the intensity meter detects the light intensity and is strategically located on the outside of the quartz sleeve, it can also detect a deficiency in light intensity due to a staining on the sleeve. If you want an added sense of security I highly recommend an intensity monitoring system. Some states require intensity monitors on UV Light systems and now US Water Systems is able to provide a cost effective solution. If you use a private well as a water source, you are rolling the dice without bacteria protection. The Luminor Blackcomb is a system that will provide assurance that you are using bacteria free water. I you have any questions about the UV Light treatment process or system please give us a call at 1.800.608.8792.

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June 23, 2013 Sam

We live in the Bahamas and catch rain water in a Cistern. For seven years we have used the UV light in conjunction with other filters. This summer the light was making a high pitched noise. We unplugged the light and changed the bulb as we do every year or 9000 hours The high pitched noise is constant. We thought the bulbs may have been defective so we ordered new bulbs. Still noisy as ever any suggestions.????

June 26, 2013 Lynn

My uv-12 is making high pitched beeps and the lamp is not working. Is the lamp or the ballast?

June 28, 2013 Charlie Dietz


It could be either. Typically it is the bulb and that is where we would start. The bulbs are rated for 9000 hours (approximately 1 year) of continuous service. When the time has eclipsed, the ballast will sound an alarm to let you know the bulb needs to be changed. Your problem sounds like a bad bulb. I would try that first.

July 01, 2013 Mark Timmons

It sounds like the alarm and/or the ballast could be bad. Now you know part of the reason people are moving to Silecte Quantum Disinfection – No Bulbs, No Sleeves, No Ballasts, No Electricity, No Chemicals, No Kidding! Check it out before you spend more money on UV:

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