Can UV lights be used in swimming pool? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Hi everyone!

I know this one is strange but I have confidence that someone out there will be able to help me. I love this forum!

I have chemical sensitivities and cannot handle chlorine. We are putting in a pool and my boss (from the pet store) suggested using UV lights to keep it clean. It would kill bacteria and algae (like it does in the store tanks) I'm just not sure if it will work on a bigger pool or if it will be cost effective. Planning on an 21' x 52" round.

I looked into the "new" chemicals but they also bother me. The silver would be too much since for my healing I am taking silver under my doctor's care.

Thanks so much

-- Dee (, July 03, 2000


Well, Dee, I'd have suggested you go to a pet store to look for help. Guess that won't work for you. I'd think that if it did work, you'd probably have to pump the water into a smaller cleaning tank to get it under the lights, then send it back out into the pool. You should have access to information about the big salt water aquarium systems. That would probably be your best chance of finding information. Pool/spa suppliers might also have more information. Given the potential problems with bacteria, you're going to have to do something. Maybe even your doctor has some sources for more information. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (, July 03, 2000.

I've always understood that UV doesn't penetrate water very well. I'd guess it would be absorbed within the first few millimeters.

-- charles (, July 03, 2000.

UV lighting is commonly used on the final effluent (treated, therefore clean) water from municipal wastewater treatment plants instead of chlorine systems to control bacterial growth. They are very effective, but require regular constant maintenance. The lights must be absolutely clean. They have a tendency to get a crusty buildup on them which takes a good hard cleaning to get off or the use of a strong solvent. I have heard that there are self cleaning lights on the market, but I have yet to see one. UV is damaging to eyes and when the lights are cleaned they must be turned off. That may sound like a given, however I know of at least one person who didn't heed that warning and burned his eyes. They healed, but hurt in the meantime. Also the intensity units which are used to determine their effectiveness have a tendency to go bad. Wastewater treatment plants continually monitor their water through chemical analysis so they can tell without the intensity meter whether the lights are working. The UV system consists of the intensity meter and controls, the lights and a tank or pass through for the water where it can pass under the lights at a speed where the UV is effective. I have never heard of UV lights being used on swimming pool water, but that doesn't mean that it isn't done or can't be.

-- R. (, July 03, 2000.

You might also look into ozone (=hydrogen peroxide) treatments - I'd think it'd be less likely to give you problems than is chlorine - at least it's more natural.

O3 Water Systems has some information - follow their "Articles" link, and also their links to swimming pool treatments.

-- Don Armstrong (, July 04, 2000.


I am going to ask a distributor when I go to work tomorrow at the pet store. I think they have large ones for fish ponds now. I saw in a magizine a pool that had salt water instead of chlorine. I was going to get the information on my way out and forgot. Will look into that too.


-- Dee (, July 04, 2000.

Saltwater chlorinators make chlorine, so I doubt that would be your solution if you are sensative to chlorine. Have a look at There is a whole lot of techincal information about their product. I hope it helps.

-- Carol (, July 02, 2001.

many restaurants use uv lights to meet water purity standards also. you may be able to find one with enough gpm volume to handle a pool. most of the time you only need to soak the tube in vinegar occasionally to remove deposits. the light itself needs to be replaced from time to time, usually yearly, even if it hasn't burnt out, it loses effectiveness over time.

-- somebody (, July 03, 2001.

Check with your pool supplier, of search the net. Ultraviolet works well to kill bacteria. The water needs to be pumped through the purifier, of course, These systems have gottem much more cost effective, because there are now plastic pipes which can be used in place of what was formerly quartz tubing.

I don't know how well ultraviolet works on other impurities.

I have a spa, and I am able to get by with only an automatic silver ion injector and an ozonator (why did you call it hydrogen peroxide, Don?). I also have to adjust the pH every week or so. This is most important, and I don't think you'll be able to avoid balancing the pH in your pool, Dee. My spa's pH tends to rise, and so I add sodium bisulphate. If the pool's pH is too low, you'd use sodium carbonate to raise it.

You also need a filter to take suspended paricle out.

Good luck,


-- jumpoff joe (, July 03, 2001.

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