Do you need a UV pool system? I can’t believe how many people still don’t have one. It would gross you out if you knew as much as I did about what goes into your swimming pool water. Being a certified pool operator (CPO), I know what’s in there, and well understand the limitations and dangers of using just chlorine.
I think the reason UV has taken so long to become popular has to do with how everyone tries to explain it. If you can’t tell something in a quick, straightforward manner, most people shut down.
In writing this review, it is my goal to tell you what it cost, which is the best, and what you need. I will tell you what I would install on my pool if I still had one. All this, without making your eyes glaze over.
UV Pool System Problems
There are only a couple problems when buying a UV system. Making sure you buy the right size, and getting a system that does what it is supposed to. If you are willing to look down at your pump, I can help you buy the right size. As far as buying a decent unit, that’s what this review is all about.
Sizing UV Properly
Having just come from the 2016 Atlantic City Pool and Spa Show, I saw Hayward’s new UV system. I sat through a demonstration.
When we got to the Q & A portion, I asked a naive question I already knew the answer too. I asked what happens if my customer cuts the flow rate in half with their variable speed, or two-speed pump (which I always recommend)? The presenter said it would clean twice as good. WRONG ANSWER!
These are not magic lights; there is actual science behind them. Bigger is not better! I will get into sizing just a little further down in this article.
There is only one company that specializes in UV, has done all the testing, and perfected its product over 16 years. The company is Delta UV (Spoiler alert – DeltaUV is my top pick).
The rest of these UV companies are slapping the UV label on a tube with a bulb, and expecting you to buy it because of the price, or the “brand name”. Hayward is a trusted name in the pool industry, so they have rolled out this unit that looks fancy, sounds fancy, and cost a fortune (if it cost that much, it must be good. right?). The residential model cost like $1900.00??? Crazy!
Then you have all the low ball companies, hoping you will buy it on price. They know people are finally waking up to the fact that they need UV, and there is demand. So, they are manufacturing garbage, and hoping you won’t look deep enough into the technology, or figure one is as good as another, and buy one based on it being the cheapest.
You might think I buy solely from suppliers, but I frequently buy supplies online, at places like Amazon, which is fine, if you know who to trust. I’ll give you some tips later on buying right…
NOTE*: I have not been paid by any Delta UV to represent their brand.
Sizing | Care & Maintenance
UV sanitation is all incredibly simple, that’s what’s so great about it. As a pool builder, It is in my best interest to make caring and maintenance of your pool as easy as possible for homeowners. I hear all the time from other builders, about how often they need to go back to jobs, because of issues with salt systems, chlorinators, etc. Luckily, I have never endorsed salt, and only install it when a customer insists. Or if they sound so hopelessly sold on it.
Care & Maintenance
UV light does not influence the water; it doesn’t knock water chemistry out of balance. There are only three things you need to do. Clean the tube, replace the bulb, and winterize it in colder climates when you close your pool.
For people in climates like mine (Massachusetts), you can run your pool 24 hours a day, for four months a year, and you will only need to replace the bulb once every six years (according to the math). It is recommended to replace it every three years. If you ever touch the bulb during maintenance, wipe it down with alcohol.
The bulb sits in a quartz tube; the tube needs to be cleaned every 4-6 months, for everyone in my neck of the woods, that’s once a year. Just wipe it with a mild descaler, like CLR. For a more natural approach, use some lemon juice and water.
Just drain the housing, and remove the bulb. Or, empty the water, detach the whole unit and bring it indoors. Just have it installed with threaded unions for ease of service.
Sizing Your UV Unit
Its all about flow rate, how many gallons per minute (GPM) does your pump push? For single speed pumps, read the label on your pool pump, it tells you the GPM (gallons per minute). If you own a variable speed, or two-speed pump, and operate it on low speed (like I usually recommend). Just figure out your flow rate. For two-speed pumps, just cut the Max GPM in half. While variable speed pumps can get set to several speeds.
It can get a little more technical based on pump horsepower, the distance of equipment to the pool, plumbing pipe size. But you can pretty much usually just read the label on your pump.
Below I have a couple of straight forward applications. Above ground pools being the simplest. And some recommendations for the most common pool systems.
Above ground pools:
- Single speed above ground pumps use Delta E-80
- Two-speed pumps ran primarily on low speed use Delta E-46
Inground Systems With Pump & Filter Equipment 20 Feet From The Pool
- Single speed inground pumps use Delta E-80 (80 GPM)
- Two speed inground pumps run primarily on low speed use Delta E-46 (46 GPM)
The Best Way To Size Complicated Inground Pools
For complicated systems, with long plumbing runs, or if you can’t read your pump label, add a flow meter to the plumbing system.
Side Note* Flow meters are the best way to tell when to clean your filter too. Long before the filter pressure goes up, your flow starts to fall off. Here is a great flow meter on Amazon for $130.00 that comes with a check valve Click here.
Once you use a flow meter, you will wonder how you ever got along before.
Cost Of A UV Pool System
The Delta UV systems I recommend above cost between $500 and $600. While UV sanitation is more a quality of health product, you will see some savings in your annual chemical bill too. You will need less chlorine, and as UV does not affect alkalinity, you will see a savings in PH and alkalinity chemicals
I will not gross you out or get technical here, BUT, remember the last time you thought your kid’s upset stomach was from the hot-dog or ice cream from the park? Remember those blazing red eyes after them being in the pool? Kids drink an average of one ounce of water, for every hour they’re in the pool (there is so much more I could say).
Let us call chlorine a name you know better. Bleach! Except chlorine is much stronger than bleach. What’s it worth to reduce the number of chemicals our kids are exposed too? What’s it worth instead to swim in water safe enough to drink? Rant Over
Best UV Pool System
Delta UV is the best of the best. I go to swimming pool, and spa trade shows every year, and just in the past few years has competition appeared on the horizon. Delta UV is not only a better product, with several sizes to fit all applications, but it also has parts available if needed. Specializing only in UV Pool Systems, they know, they either get this right, or they don’t eat.
I wrote this article because someone needed to explain things in a simple straight forward way. I have purposefully left out as much of the technology talk as I could.
However. The recommendations I make in this article are for residential outdoor pools only. As a bit of a pool nerd, I couldn’t get away without saying megajoules (MJ) at least once, so there it is. Indoor pools where chloramines are more of an issue require medium pressure lamps with a higher concentration of MJ’s. That’s as techie as I’ll get.
The unit I would put on my own pool is the ES-46. The ES model stands for extra-special (not true). The only difference between the Delta ES and E series is the shiny stainless steel outer casing (true), I’ve recommended the regular E-series in this article because the ES series cost an extra $100.00, and does the same job. I’m a sucker for shiny (like a fish to a lure)… But it is the same unit in a stainless steel housing.
The picture on the left here (PC users), is of me at the 2015 Pool and Spa Show holding the floor display model.
I am going to write an article very soon, and include all the gross reasons chlorine alone is not sufficient. I will probably title it: No Mom Will Ever Again Let Her Child Swim In A Pool Without A UV or ozone system.
- My top choice after weighing all the pros and cons is Delta UV, encase you missed it somehow in this article.
- The size of your pool does not matter… Just the flow rate.
- I weighed 60 lbs less last year at the 2015 show… Uggg
I hope you found this article helpful… If you have any questions, please write them into the comments below, or email me, I will respond when I can.