As preppers, we understand the importance of having a reliable water purification system as part of our contingency plans.

In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore the intriguing world of UV water purifiers and their role in ensuring access to clean drinking water for preppers as a part of overall food and water storage prep.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the science behind UV water purification and its effectiveness
  • Gain insights from a month-long experiment using a UV water purifier
  • Learn the pros, cons, and practical recommendations for preppers

Through a detailed account of a month-long experiment, you’ll uncover the shocking results, unveiling the purifier’s real-world performance, limitations, and potential drawbacks.

Whether you’re considering implementing a UV purification system or simply want to expand your knowledge, this article will provide you with valuable insights and actionable recommendations tailored specifically for preppers.

What are UV Water Purifiers?

How UV Water Purifiers Work

UV water purifiers harness the power of ultraviolet (UV) light to disrupt the DNA and RNA of harmful microorganisms, effectively inactivating and rendering them unable to reproduce or cause disease. As water passes through the purifier, it is exposed to a specific wavelength of UV light (typically between 200-280 nanometers) that penetrates the cell walls of bacteria, viruses, and protozoan cysts, preventing their replication and survival.

The effectiveness of UV water purifiers in killing microorganisms depends on several factors, including the intensity and duration of UV exposure, water clarity, and the specific types of contaminants present.

Benefits of UV Water Purifiers

One of the primary advantages of UV water purifiers is that they do not require the addition of chemicals or other substances to treat the water. This not only preserves the natural taste and odor of the water but also eliminates potential health risks associated with chemical byproducts.

UV water purifiers are also relatively low maintenance compared to other purification methods. Once installed, they typically require minimal upkeep beyond periodic replacement of the UV lamp and occasional cleaning of the quartz sleeve that houses the lamp.

Furthermore, many UV water purifiers are designed to be compact and portable, making them an attractive option for preppers who may need to transport or set up water purification systems in various locations or during emergencies.

Key Benefits of UV Water Purifiers:

  • No chemical additives or byproducts
  • Low maintenance requirements
  • Compact and portable designs available
  • Effective against a wide range of microorganisms
Microorganism TypeUV Effectiveness
Protozoan CystsHigh

While UV water purifiers offer several advantages, it’s crucial to understand their limitations and potential drawbacks, which we’ll explore further in the upcoming sections.

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The Experiment

To truly evaluate the performance and reliability of UV water purifiers, I decided to conduct a month-long experiment using one in my daily life. As a prepper living in a rural area with a well water source, ensuring access to clean drinking water is a top priority.

Setup and Methodology

My living situation consists of a small homestead with a family of four. Our daily water needs include drinking, cooking, and basic sanitation. For the experiment, I installed a countertop UV water purifier from a reputable brand, the Aqua-Pure AP801, which is designed to treat up to 12 gallons of water per minute.

To assess the purifier’s effectiveness, I collected water samples before and after treatment at regular intervals throughout the month. These samples were tested for the presence of common contaminants, including:

  • Total coliform bacteria
  • E. coli
  • Turbidity (cloudiness)

Additionally, I maintained a daily log to record any observations regarding water quality, taste, and any issues or unexpected events during the purification process.

Day-to-Day Observations

During the first week of using the UV water purifier, I noticed a slight improvement in water clarity and a reduction in any residual chlorine taste from our well water.

However, on the fifth day, the purifier’s UV lamp indicator light began flashing, indicating a potential issue.

Upon further investigation, I discovered that the quartz sleeve surrounding the lamp had accumulated some mineral buildup, which can reduce the UV light’s effectiveness. After cleaning the sleeve, the purifier operated smoothly for the remainder of the month.

As the experiment progressed, I observed consistent water quality, with no noticeable changes in taste or odor. However, it’s important to note that my well water had relatively low levels of contaminants to begin with, which may have influenced the results.

Overall, the day-to-day experience of using the UV water purifier was positive, with minimal maintenance required beyond the initial sleeve cleaning.

UV Water Purifier Effectiveness

To comprehensively evaluate the UV water purifier’s effectiveness, I employed both professional lab testing and anecdotal feedback from my family’s experience.

Lab Testing Results

The water samples collected throughout the month were sent to a certified laboratory for analysis. The test results revealed the following:

ContaminantBefore TreatmentAfter UV Treatment
Total Coliform Bacteria8 CFU/100mL0 CFU/100mL
E. coli0 CFU/100mL0 CFU/100mL
Turbidity0.8 NTU0.3 NTU

CFU: Colony-Forming Units, NTU: Nephelometric Turbidity Units

As the data shows, the UV water purifier effectively eliminated total coliform bacteria and maintained the absence of E. coli in our water supply. Additionally, it reduced turbidity levels, improving water clarity.

However, it’s important to note that while UV purifiers are highly effective against bacteria and viruses, they may have limitations in treating certain protozoan cysts, such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia, which can be more resistant to UV light.

Anecdotal Feedback

Throughout the experiment, my family and I did not experience any adverse health effects or digestive issues related to the treated water.

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In fact, several members commented on the improved taste and clarity of the water compared to our untreated well water.

Additionally, the convenience of having a constant supply of purified water readily available at our kitchen sink was a significant advantage, eliminating the need for constant monitoring or batch treatment processes.

While our anecdotal experiences were positive, it’s essential to recognize that individual results may vary based on the specific water source and contaminant levels.

Pros and Cons of UV Purifiers

Like any water purification method, UV water purifiers have their advantages and potential drawbacks that preppers should consider before implementation.

Advantages of UV Water Purification

Cost-efficient over time

While the initial investment in a quality UV water purifier may be higher than some other methods, the long-term operational costs are relatively low.

With no need for recurring purchases of filters or chemicals, the purifier can provide a cost-effective solution, especially for households with high water consumption.

Environmentally friendly

UV water purifiers are an eco-friendly option as they do not introduce any chemicals or additives into the water supply or the environment. This makes them an attractive choice for preppers who prioritize sustainability and minimizing their environmental impact.

Versatility for different water sources

UV purifiers can be effective for treating water from various sources, including wells, streams, and even rainwater catchment systems, provided the water is relatively clear and free of excessive sediment or turbidity.

Potential Drawbacks

Limited chlorine resistance

If the water source contains high levels of chlorine, such as municipal water supplies, the UV light’s effectiveness can be reduced. This may necessitate pre-treatment or the use of additional filtration methods.

Need for pre-filtration

While UV purifiers are effective against microorganisms, they may not adequately address other contaminants like heavy metals, chemicals, or particulate matter. Pre-filtration or additional treatment steps may be required to ensure comprehensive water purification.

Upfront cost of quality units

Investing in a high-quality UV water purifier from a reputable manufacturer can be more expensive than some alternative purification methods. However, this upfront cost can often be offset by the long-term savings on recurring expenses.

Comparing to Other Purification Methods

To make an informed decision, it’s essential to understand how UV water purifiers compare to other popular purification methods.

UV Purifiers vs. Filters

While filters can remove sediments, chemicals, and some microorganisms, they may not provide the same level of disinfection as UV purifiers.

UV purifiers are generally more effective against viruses and bacteria. However, filters may be more adept at removing protozoan cysts like Cryptosporidium and Giardia.

In terms of maintenance, filters typically require more frequent replacements, while UV purifiers only need lamp replacements every 6-12 months.

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UV Purifiers vs. Chemical Treatment

Chemical treatment methods, such as chlorine or iodine, can effectively disinfect water but may leave undesirable tastes or odors. They can also pose potential health risks if not used correctly.

UV purifiers offer a chemical-free alternative but may be less effective against certain contaminants that chemicals can neutralize.

UV Purifiers vs. Boiling

Boiling water is a time-tested purification method that can effectively eliminate microorganisms but requires a significant amount of fuel and effort, especially for larger quantities of water.

UV purifiers, on the other hand, provide a more convenient and energy-efficient solution, although they may not remove all contaminants as effectively as boiling.

Recommendations for Preppers

When to Use UV Purification

UV water purifiers are well-suited for preppers in the following scenarios:

  • Treating water from natural sources (streams, lakes, rainwater catchment)
  • Purifying well water or other groundwater sources
  • Ensuring a reliable, chemical-free water supply during emergencies or off-grid living
  • Supplementing existing water treatment systems for added protection

Choosing the Right UV Purifier

When selecting a UV water purifier, consider factors such as:

  • Flow rate and capacity to match your household’s water needs
  • Certifications and adherence to industry standards (NSF, EPA, etc.)
  • Ease of installation, operation, and maintenance
  • Alarm systems or indicators to monitor the purifier’s performance
  • Availability of replacement parts and lamps

Combining With Other Methods

For optimal water purification, it’s recommended to combine UV purifiers with other methods, such as:

  • Pre-filtration to remove sediments and larger particles
  • Carbon filters to address chemical contaminants
  • Chemical treatment (chlorine, iodine) for added disinfection or long-term storage

Diversifying your purification plan can provide comprehensive protection against a wide range of contaminants and ensure a reliable supply of clean water in any situation.


After conducting a month-long experiment with a UV water purifier, the results were both enlightening and, in some ways, shocking.

While the purifier effectively eliminated bacteria and improved water clarity, it highlighted the importance of understanding its limitations and combining it with other purification methods for optimal protection.

The key pros of UV water purifiers include their cost-efficiency over time, eco-friendliness, and versatility in treating water from various sources.

However, potential drawbacks, such as limited chlorine resistance, the need for pre-filtration, and the upfront cost of quality units, must be considered.

When compared to other purification methods, UV purifiers offer distinct advantages and disadvantages.

They excel in disinfection capabilities without introducing chemicals but may fall short in addressing certain contaminants that filters or chemical treatments can handle more effectively.

For preppers, UV water purifiers can be a valuable addition to their water purification arsenal, particularly in scenarios involving natural water sources or well water treatment.

However, it’s crucial to select a reputable model, understand its specific capabilities, and consider combining it with other methods for comprehensive protection.

Ultimately, ensuring access to clean, safe drinking water is a critical aspect of preparedness.

I encourage all preppers to thoroughly research and explore various purification options, including UV water purifiers, to develop a well-rounded and reliable water purification plan tailored to their specific needs and circumstances. For more water storage and purification insights, visit

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