large backyard pool and spa with green trees and a metal deck nearby

What Is A Pool UV System? Pros, Cons, Cost

If you are looking at alternatives to the standard options of chlorine or salt generated chlorine, you’ve undoubtedly heard of UV.  If you are considering a pool UV system and you’re not sure what they’re all about or why you might want one, this article is for you.  When buying a pool uv system there are a few considerations like how big should it be?  Also, what should you expect from your pool UV system?  What other systems should you combine with a UV system to create an ideal disinfection system for your pool?

How Do UV Pool Systems Work?

Whether you have a salt chlorine generator, an erosion chlorinator, or just a floating chlorinator in the pool, you will benefit from adding a UV system.  First, UV light is known to kill microorganisms on contact.  Certain dangerous bacteria like cryptosporidium are rendered inert when exposed to UV light.  There’s only one problem with UV systems, they don’t shine in the whole pool.  

Unless you want to burn your eyes and get a sunburn while you swim in your pool, you don’t want to shine UV light in the pool itself. Instead, a pool UV system is designed to be a closed system located at the pool equipment area. As the pool water is circulated, the water passes through the UV chamber where the water is exposed to UV light.  

What Is A Pool UV System?

Depending on your pool UV system design, the UV chamber will be designed to handle different flow rates and have differing strengths of UV light.  In most cases UV systems are designed based on the gallons of the swimming pool.  Larger commercial units may have designed flow rates, bulb cleaning systems, and so on.  Residential units are quite simple, with a minimum and maximum flow rate.  

blue and gray inground pool in backyard with a uv pool system and stone waterfall in it

UV Pool Systems Disadvantages

Every year or two you should change the UV bulbs.  Just because the UV bulb is on doesn’t mean it’s doing its job.  UV light bulbs diminish in intensity as time goes on, so you shouldn’t wait for the bulb to burn out before replacement. 

Just choose a replacement timeline and stick to it.  We recommend replacing the bulbs every other swim season.  Yes, this can cost around $200 each time to replace the bulbs, but it’s cheap insurance to be certain your bulbs are running at their maximum intensity at all times.

Despite these additional costs, there are very few UV pool systems disadvantages. Now let’s discuss the glowing pros of owning a UV pool system.

UV Pool Systems Advantages

Instant disinfection of your pool water is the main benefit of the UV system.  When combined with the constant non-chemical shock of an ozone system your chlorine use goes way down below the typical needed level.  You no longer need to maintain high levels of chlorine when you have the supplemental systems in place. 

The major benefit of introducing a pool UV system or a UV with Ozone disinfection system is the reduction in chloramines.  Eliminating chloramines equals a lack of burning eyes, itchy skin, and green hair.  Using less chlorine is an added benefit.  

If you have a salt chlorinator, you will need to produce less chlorine. This will lead to using less acid to balance your PH.  Additionally, this means your salt chlorine generator itself will last far longer.  

If you’re using a chlorine system, you’ll use less chlorine over time. Lastly, there’s another convenience benefit that cannot be quantified in dollars. You’ll have less downtime because you’ll need to chemically shock the pool far less frequently

How Much Does A Pool UV System Cost?

A pool UV system typically retails for around $1,000 plus installation.  Installation can vary widely, but usually runs around $500 to $1,000. This total range can vary widely depending on your pool, it’s demands, and the gallons you need to treat, in addition to the condition of your existing plumbing system.