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Ultraviolet-UV Pool Sterilizers

Sterilizes without chemicals and reduces chemical usage.
The Pool and Spa Informational Website

Sterilizing and Sanitizing With Fewer Chemicals


Scroll down to browse through some archived SWIMMING POOL questions and answers.  Please click the Pool Topics Link, on top of every page, to access a complete listing of Pool Problem subjects, an alphabetized Website Table of Contents, Pool Equipment Information, About Alan Biographic Material and a Pool Glossary. Use the other links to access additional subject information. More information about some new and unique products, for pools and spas, can be found by visiting The Website Store. You'll never know what you'll find and that's always fun. Be better prepared and avoid costly problems!

Ozone Water Purification Systems Model SR Salt Chlorine Generator, for all types of Pools.
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The Circulator improves pool water circulation. Ultraviolet sterilizers/sanitizers can kill some of the most chlorine-resistant pathogens.  However, it cannot be used as a stand alone sanitizer and has to be used with an oxidizer, and persistent sanitizer, such as chlorine or bromine. When used in this manner, kills resistant microorganisms that chlorine or bromine can't eliminate. One of the ColorQ all-digital, pool and spa water analyzers.

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How to use ultraviolet (UV), as part of an alternative pool sanitizing program?  Ultraviolet (UV) light can be used as an alternative sanitizing method to very effectively destroy microorganisms in swimming pool water. Up to 99.9% of the microorganisms can be destroyed, as the pool water passes through the UV unit. This dramatic reduction, in the microbial populations, helps to better maintain proper sanitary pool water conditions: reducing the amount of chemical sanitizer needed to maintain proper, sanitary water quality and keep the underwater surfaces free of bacterial or algal growth. A UV Sanitizer must be used in conjunction with another sanitizing product: chlorine, ionizers or mineral purifiers. In addition, oxidation of waste products must be accomplished with the use of chlorine, ozone, shock or hydrogen peroxide. Most commonly a UV Sanitizer is used with chlorine or bromine and can reduce their usage by a considerable amount. Typically, an Ultraviolet Sanitizer is plumbed inline and operates with the filter pump cycle. Water passing through the cell is efficiently sanitized, as the UV light passes through the microorganism's cell membrane.  UV Sanitizers are capable of killing resistant, pathogenic microorganisms, such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium. If problems arise, refer to the Pool Problems Page, as a source of problem-solving information, broken down into various categories.  Scroll down the page and click on the linked keywords, catch phrases or images, in the archived answers below, to access additional information, on that topic or product.

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▼     Helpful, Problem-Solving Information, in a question and answer format.     ▼

Ultraviolet, Ozone And A Salt Chlorine Generator?

I live in North Cyprus and we are really struggling to set up our system because there are no other Ozone systems here and the company doesn't have a clue what they are doing. Initially we had the ozone installed on its own and were told nothing else was necessary. A few days later the pool was green with algae. We were told to sweep it and it would disappear once the ozone system was established for a week. Not true. We shocked the pool with chlorine and it was better. Then the algae came back. After looking online we saw that a UV light might be beneficial. The company told us to install the UV before the ozone. Now after reading the internet again I think that's wrong. After further research we're thinking of installing a salt chlorine generator along with the ozone and uv. Please can you give some advice about the order of the three pieces of equipment within the swimming pool system.  I will be forever grateful for any help. Thanks.

Julie, Cyprus, 5/21/2016

Ozone and UV are very effective, but there are limitations. Ultraviolet Sterilizers kill almost everything, passing through the cell, but do not oxidiz
Unltravioloet (UV) sterilizers, for all ypes of residential pools and spas.e wastes or have any effect, on what might be growing in the pool.  Ozone generators also have a very high kill rate and it oxidizes wastes. However,  its time in the pool is very short lived.  It may not reach out to all areas of the pool.  Chlorine, on the other hand, is more persistent and reaches all areas of the pool. It sanitizes and oxidizes, but has negatives. It forms odorous and irritating byproducts, called chloramines. The good news is that both ozone and UV destroy chloramines, as water passes through either of these units. With good turnover circulation, the chloramine content should be kept low.  So far as order of installation, I would put the UV first, ozone second and a salt chlorine generator last. The first two will allow you to operate the salt chlorine generator at a very much lower setting, to maintain any given level of free chlorine.  This would be my suggestion, but you should check with the individual product manufacturers, as to the suitability of their units, used in this manner.  I hope that this will be helpful.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 5/21/2016

Ultraviolet Reducing Chlorine Requirements?

I have been searching for a pool sanitizer system that can give me low maintenance and reduce chemicals usage, have a crystal clear water so I can give some maintenance myself, have a clean and save water for my kids and family.  I have a screened pool, very little or no debris to the pool, salt system and a pool heater so I want to know what would you recommend to use in combination with the present equip that can be affordable and relatively easy to install.  By reading on the internet I lean more towards a UV light system. Please let me know if that is not the best option to go for because I also read that UV system can stain the pool and bring the copper to unhealthy levels to swimmers.  (I don't know if that is true).  So, I will be grateful if you can share your thoughts about it.  Thank you.

Daniel F., Miami, FL 2/23/2016Unltravioloet (UV) sterilizers, for all ypes of residential pools and spas.

An ultraviolet sterilizer will do exactly, what you are looking for. It will reduce chlorine usage, eliminate odorous forms of chlorine and not add anything else to the water. It will have absolutely no effect on copper pipes or heaters. None!  Anyone telling you otherwise is mistaken.  By adding a variable speed you will not only save electrical costs, but you'll get results.  I hope that the information provided was helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 2/23//2016

Hello Alan and thank you again.

1-So just confirming, the nUVo 3000 has no restrictions to work with pool heater and salt system correct?

2-I am switching to a conventional 2 speed motor that will run high/low 3450/1750. I assume the UV system will turn on only when pump turns on and will be efficient on long hours in low speed. Does it make sense?

Daniel F., Miami, FL 2/24/2016

It will have no effect on the pool heater or salt chlorine generator.

It has to be wired into the same electrical line, as the pump, so that it only operates, when the pump is running.  It kills virtually everything passing though the cell, including microorganisms, that normal levels of chlorine might not kill.  The longer it runs, the better.  I hope that helps you make an  better informed decision.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 2/24/2016

NOTE:  Shortly after this last email was send, Daniel placed the order.

UV And Reducing Chlorine Usage And Odors?

Good morning. We are working on a municipal pool project where we are recommending a UV sanitizer to improve indoor air quality. The pool consultant is questioning the reduction of chlorine as a result of the UV sanitizer. I was wondering if you had any articles or studies with a quantitative analysis or comparison of reduction of chlorine as a result of the sanitizer. I have seen numbers of 50% -70% reduction but can't seem to find anything to back this up. Any help in this matter is appreciated. Sincerely.

Kathleen, 3/7/2014

Switching to bromine will improve air quality. It is chloramines that cause the odor and, when bromine is used,
bromaUnltravioloet (UV) sterilizers, for all ypes of residential pools and spas.mines are formed and they are odorless. Ultraviolet (UV) Sterilizers will reduce chlorine or bromine usage, by a considerable amount.  The microbial population, in the water passing through the cell, will be close to zero. That means fewer bacterial and algae, left to grow in the pool.   UV Sanitizers won't eliminate microorganisms growing on the underwater surfaces and that is why some chlorine or bromine must be used. UV offers the advantage of killing chlorine resistant pathogens such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Both are heath hazards and difficult to control without UV. In my opinion, every commercial or municipal pools showed be UV equipped, because it kills the worst of them and prevents runaway explosions of algae and other microorganisms.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/8/2014

Cryptosporidium and Giardia?

I recently returned home, from a Central American vacation and found out that I had a cryptosporidium infection, as a result of swimming pool use. I found out that cryptosporidium, unlike bacteria and algae, is hard to kill and is resistant to chlorine. How do I sanitize my pool? Would a UV unit be a good choice, as we do travel often? Reducing chemical usage would be a pleasant bonus. Thank you.

Jo B, 12/2/2011

Ultraviolet (UV) sanitizers are one of the most effective ways to eliminate of potential problems caused by protozoa, such as Cryptosporidium or Giardia. It is certainly one of the worst offenders, all of which are usually killed by UV. Bacteria and algae are generally inactivated, by chlorine disinfectant, in properly maintained swimming pools and spas, in less than an hour at a minimal
Model SR salt chlorine generator, for all types of pools. concentration. Protozoa, especially Cryptosporidium, are highly resistant and can survive for up to 10 days at typical chlorine concentrations in pools.  You can't use UV alone, because it does not oxidize, will not kill microorganisms on the walls and is not persistent. Most often it is used with chlorine. It kills virtually everything in the return flow and chlorine eliminates the wastes and provides persistent continuing sanitation. If reduced chemical usage is the intent, UV sanitizing is the place to start! How much will be required will depend upon actual bather demand. More bather usage will require more chemicals. In order to assure that adequate oxidation and sanitation exist at all times, I suggest that you try and maintain a level of chlorine, at about 1/2 the normal level. Using a salt chlorine generator, as the chlorine source, would provide convenience and help you avoid the build up of calcium or cyanuric acid. The UV unit will help decrease microbial populations and reduce the amount of chlorine, necessary to maintain any given PPM level, by a considerable amount. Over time, charting the amount of chemicals added, the bather usage and the chlorine level will provide the best indication of actual chemical requirements. I hope that this information will be helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 12/2/2011

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How Does UV Sanitize?

I am interested in getting away from all the chlorine and the odors associated with the product. I know there are several types of alternative pool water sanitizers available, which can reduce or eliminate chemical usage. I've read up on some of them, but am not really clear about Ultraviolet. Is this the same as Ozone? How does it work? Thanks for the help.

Adam J., 11/2/2012

Ultraviolet (UV) Sanitizers are not ozone. Some ozone generators utilize UV to produce ozone, but not as a sanitizing agent. UV rays
Pool Ozone Water Purification Systems destroy the microorganisms ability to survive and function, after passing through the cell membrane.  An ultraviolet sanitizer unit is plumbed inline and effectively sanitizes the water, as it passes through the cell. This has the net effect of reducing the overall microbial populations and reducing the amount of sanitizer necessary to maintain optimum water quality and to keep the pool algae-free. UV will reduce the microbial population, but requires a traditional sanitizer to help keep it that way and to help the underwater surfaces free of algae. Chlorine is well suited, in this role, and lower quantities of chemicals will be required because of the lower microbial populations. Good water circulation is important and a robotic pool cleaner would be a worthwhile addition, helping to keep the underwater surfaces in algae-free condition. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 11/2/2012

Wondering About UV Sanitizers?

I have a salt water aquarium and use a UV light to control bacteria. I have heard of UV units for pools. Does it work the same way?

Bill E., Ramsey, NJ, 5/1/2009

Yes and No! In both cases the ultraviolet (UV) light is used to destroy bacteria and keep the populati
ons down. In an aquarium, there must be aUnltravioloet (UV) sterilizers, for all ypes of residential pools and spas. viable bacterial (beneficial types - not pathogens) population, in order to decompose and recycle the wastes from the fish and plants. In a swimming pool, the best bacteria are dead ones. The UV light is used to keep the bacterial populations as low as possible, so that the task of pool water sanitizing is easier. Chlorine or other sanitizers should be maintained, at the appropriate levels, in order to provide ongoing sanitation. However, the presence of an ultraviolet sanitizer will allow for a reduction of as much as 70%, according to the manufacturer, in the amount of chlorine or bromine required. The Ultraviolet Sterilizer unit will make sanitizing easier and involve fewer chemicals and there's nothing fishy about that. When used in conjunction with a salt chlorine generator, it will provide greater convenience and eliminate the odors, handling, storage and buildup problems, that are frequently associated with chlorine usage. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/13/2009

Ultraviolet (UV) Or Ozone?

My wife and I want to use something to sanitize the pool that will reduce the chemicals needed. We are considering ozone or UV, as neither adds chemicals to the water. What are the advantages or disadvantages? Waiting to hear.

Pete and Roberta, 6/12/2007

It is true that both systems do not, by themselves, add chemicals to the pool water. However, both of thes
Model SR salt chlorine generator, for all types of pools.e sanitizing methods require that the overall pool water chemistry - pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, etc. - be maintained for bather comfort and to reduce possible corrosive effects. Ozone will require that a sanitizer such as, chlorine, Salt Chlorine Generator, or ionization, be used as a sanitizer backup. The ozone generator will reduce the amount of chemicals used in this backup role. Ultraviolet sanitizers, for most consistent results, requires a backup sanitizer. Chlorine seems to make the most sense, inasmuch as it, also, acts to fill the needed oxidizer role. The UV sanitizer will greatly reduce the amount of chlorine needed to act in this backup role and will destroy irritating and odorous chloramines. Both ozone and UV have the advantage of reducing sanitizing chemical requirements. With proper pool water management, there should be no disadvantages, as compared to a traditional pool water sanitizer. I hope that I have helped in the decision making. Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/12/2007

UV And Chlorine Destruction?

If the Sun's UV rays destroys chlorine and bromine, what happens with a UV sanitizing unit?  Where should my chlorine feeder be placed? Thanks for the opportunity to ask a question.

Ryan, 8/17/2005
Unltravioloet (UV) sterilizers, for all ypes of residential pools and spas.

Sunlight is UV-A and this wavelength does destroy chlorine and bromine. All residential UV sanitizers use UV-C wavelength, (254 nm) which is
different than Sunlight. Thus, the need to install all chemical feeding downstream of the UV sanitizing unit. A small amount of chlorine or bromine will be destroyed by UV-C. However, it is far less than UV-A loss and the net result of the reduction of chlorine usage is still far greater than the 2-5% chlorine loss to UV-C. Install the chlorine feeder last in line. I hope this information is helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 8/17/2005

Chlorine Savings?

Do uv sanitizers save as much chlorine as they say they do?

Gary B., 3/30/2013

It certainly seems that way. All of the water passing through the cell has its microorganism population reduced to nearly zero. All you need is some free chlorine to help keep it that way and to destroy accumulations of organic wastes. With the UV Sanitizer killing and controlling algae and bacteria, about considerably less chlorine is required, under proper circumstances. In a chlorine pool, odorous and irritating combined chlorine (chloramines) forms and this requires adding shock treatment. A UV sanitizer is not a stand alone sanitizer and is frequently used with chlorine, to great advantage.  As the chlorine used up, chloramines are formed and then are destroyed by the UV, without additions of chlorine. The end result is a chlorine pool that looks and smells better. I hope that this information is helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/30/2013

UV Sanitizing And Ozone Together?

Is there any systems in which you can use an ozonator and UV? So no need for Chlorine or Bromine. Also what are your feelings on Steel vs. Concrete pools under the vinyl? Thanks.

John S., 4/27/2008

The easy one first. I would choose concrete: it stronger, doesn't rust and the walls will not bow or flex. You ca
The Circulator improves pool water circulation.n add UV Sanitizing and an Ozone Generator, but as two separate units. It will virtually assure you that the return flow will be devoid of living algae and bacteria. However, the pool walls and water can still support algae and bacteria. Keeping a low level of chlorine, about 1 PPM, will prevent growth in the pool and on the walls. The ozonator will carry the burden of oxidizing wastes and very little chlorine will actually be required. The odorous form of chlorine will be destroyed, as the water returns to the pool. There should be little or no sensation of chlorine. The fact that you will be able to maintain this low level of free chlorine, with only minimal amounts of chemicals, will act as conformation that proper conditions exist and that everything is functioning properly. If you add the relatively inexpensive Circulators, to your returns, that will eliminate any dead zones that could promote algal and bacterial growth. I hope that you will find this information helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/27/2008

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