How Much Electricity Does a UV Sterilizer Use? - An Expert's Guide

When selecting an appropriate UV Sterilizer it is important to consider factors such as power consumption, flow rate requirements, tank size requirements and type of organism being targeted for elimination.

How Much Electricity Does a UV Sterilizer Use? - An Expert's Guide

Point of entry systems operate with 25-60 W in. A typical household consumes around 1 kWh per day. When it comes to UV sterilization, not all types of UV rays are effective. To be a bit more technical, ultraviolet (UV) means “beyond violet” and refers to a range of electromagnetic waves with a shorter wavelength (higher frequency and energy) than visible violet light.

UV rays are divided into three types: they reduce wavelengths and increase energy. They are UVA, UVB and UVC. For UV sterilization, only UVC (100-280 nm) has a high enough energy to effectively kill microorganisms. When you buy a UV sterilization product to test in your home or business, make sure that its UV wavelength is in the UVC range (100-280 nm).

Choosing the right UV sterilizer can be a bit confusing because you have to consider the power and what exactly you want to achieve. Then, you have to accommodate that UV sterilizer with the proper flow rate, which may not be as easy as you originally planned. Before selecting the right power, look at the two different brands of UV sterilizers. Pentair Aquatics and Aqua UV are the leading manufacturers of saltwater UV sterilizers that will withstand your saltwater aquarium.

They are designed for use with salt water and are also effectively marketed for this application. They provide you with the necessary information about the flow rate and speed of sterilization you need to specifically treat the particular ailment you need to eradicate. The more power you have, the more sterilizing power you get. The greater the power, the greater the physical size of the UV. With that in mind, always use the manufacturer's recommended tank size requirements.

Don't buy a UV sterilizer that has a smaller maximum tank size than your aquarium system. You can go bigger, but don't go smaller because it just won't work. What if you need to attack the parasites but you still want to make the UV work with your return pump? This can be achieved by increasing the power of the sterilizer. See the table below for the 50-watt UV. You can now reach the recommended flow range for parasites (protozoa) with your 330-600 GPH return pump.

You won't need to delay your return, which reduces the efficiency of filtration, and you can still reach the rate of sterilization by parasites. While it can be safely said that this UV is too large for your 120 gallon tank, you adapt to your particular installation and achieve the same level of sterilization. With each UV sterilizer, you'll get specific recommendations for flow rate, which is how fast water must flow through UV rays to achieve a particular level of sterilization. If you want to focus on protozoa, you'll probably have to buy a separate specific pump to install the UV sterilizer in the viewing tank and adapt to that slower flow range. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), UVC is the highest-energy UV ray of the three used in UV disinfectants. UV disinfectants destroy viruses and bacteria by using their lights to emit UV rays, attacking proteins and genetic material (DNA and RNA).

Since UV sterilization uses UVC energy to destroy biomolecules, its effectiveness depends on the total energy applied, which is affected by the length of exposure time and the distance from the light source. UVA bulbs emit wavelengths between 315 and 400 nm, while visible light bulbs emit wavelengths between 400 and 700 nm. Since your 120 gallon tank probably already has a return pump that moves between 360 and 600 GPH, attacking algae and bacteria should be easy by installing the return pump in line with the return pump. Because they replicate and mutate much faster than other types of organisms, Dobos added, many microbes will naturally have some adaptation or resistance to UV light. Another point to keep in mind when it comes to personal UV disinfectants is that the energy your lights emit decreases over time. Installing a UV system in a municipal water supply provides peace of mind when an aging municipal infrastructure fails. The slower you go, the higher the sterilization rate, since you will have a longer contact with UV rays with each pass through them.

The CDC also points out that UV lights are not on List N, a list of all disinfectant products that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expects to wipe out SARS-CoV-2 virus. This wavelength is between 290-315 nm, which is why UV bulbs are often referred to as “UVC” or “UVB”.In conclusion, when selecting an appropriate UV Sterilizer, it is important to consider factors such as power consumption, flow rate requirements, tank size requirements and type of organism being targeted for elimination. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that UVC is most effective for killing microorganisms and that energy output decreases over time.

Bryan Berschauer
Bryan Berschauer

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