Ultraviolet Sanitation Systems for Pools and Spas
What is UV Sanitation?
Ultraviolet (UV) sanitation is a method of cleansing water using UV light. UV light kills or neutralizes microorganisms, producing safer water for drinking, washing, and swimming.
How does a UV pool sanitation system work? First, the water goes into the pool’s existing filtration system, then into a graphite compartment where it passes through a beam of UV light. The UV light wipes out microorganisms by attacking cell walls and damaging nucleic acids, effectively ripping apart their DNA. This either kills the organisms or leaves them unable to reproduce or carry out basic cellular activities, keeping us safe from these contaminants. These microorganisms include algae, spores, viruses, and bacteria.
UV vs. Chlorine Sanitation
Using UV light as a water cleanser has been practiced for some time and is regularly used to treat drinking water and wastewater. Today, most new pools and spas today are equipped with a UV sanitation system, but is that the right choice for you?
While most new pools and spas are made with a UV sanitation system, chlorine is still the most common pool sanitizer. Why is that, and what should you choose for your pool? We’re going to look at some pros and cons for UV and chlorine and give you our professional opinion.
Pros & Cons of UV Pool Sanitation
Pros of UV Pool Sanitation Systems
- Easier to use, requires less monitoring, and needs less maintenance than chlorine cleansing systems
- Does not cause chemical buildup and will not damage pool materials and structures over time
- System is enclosed, so swimmers never come into contact with UV rays, and it’s not impacted by weather
- Produces extremely clean water without any chlorine odor, buildup, or irritation
Cons of UV Pool Sanitation Systems
- Does not clean the pool itself, only the water that passes through the system – you’ll need to have chemical cleansers on hand to keep your pool or spa’s walls, floors, and other structures clean
- While we design our pools to recycle the water through the filter system, we can’t guarantee when or if the dirty molecule of water will make it into the system
- All UV systems are not maintenance-free forever; the UV light source will weaken over time, so you need to make sure to replace it periodically so that bacteria and parasites can’t survive in your pool
Pros & Cons of Chlorine Pool Sanitation
Pros of Chlorine Pool Sanitation Systems
- Works into the entire pool of water, not just when it passes through a compartment containing a UV ray; this allows chlorine to attack bacteria everywhere in the pool, immediately
- UV light is excellent for disinfecting pool and spa water, but it does not oxidize. Inanimate substances remain whole and harmful in water if they are not oxidized. Chlorine does this by either adding oxygen molecules or removing electrons from the substance, breaking it down
- Chlorine systems are easy – the automatic chlorinator systems we install are nothing like the old school chlorine you used to work with
- Helps keep the pool surfaces and equipment clean, not just the water, and is necessary to keep the pool free of bacteria growth
Cons of Chlorine Pool Sanitation Systems
- Requires more regular upkeep than UV, as keeping a good chemical balance is key
- Need more monitoring – chlorine levels must be checked regularly
- Chlorine itself is caustic – without proper setup and handling it could cause irritation, or even damage to equipment
- Some parasites, like cryptosporidium, can withstand chlorine
Why you need BOTH UV and Chlorine in your Pool
While the world debates whether one is better than the other, the systems really do complement each other, which is why we recommend both. Using both gives you two different levels of protection that reinforce each other to make sure your pool is as clean as possible. Using UV light means you can use less chlorine while still guarding against contamination at all times and keep your pool structures clean.
There are many UV systems available in the market. We install and recommend the Paramount UV2 system which kills off 99.9% of micro-organisms.