What is UV?

Water utilities must meet high quality standards, but the water supply still can be contaminated after it leaves the treatment plant. At Pelican Water, we’re experts on the various methods used to treat and disinfect your drinking water and shower water. One popular type of filter is a UV filter. You may vaguely remember the term “UV light,” or ultraviolet light, from your grade school science class. But what exactly is it? And how does UV light factor into water filtration and treatment?

What Does a UV Filter Remove?

It’s important to note that, while UV treatment doesn’t necessarily remove pathogens and organisms, it does render them useless by altering their DNA. Unable to reproduce, the various bacteria and viruses that can lurk inside your drinking water are made inert, ineffective, and harmless when treated with UV light.

Some of the most worrisome microbial contaminants that UV filters protect your family from include:

E. Coli

E. Coli is associated with agricultural runoff and sewage, as the bacteria lives largely in the intestines of cows. The specific strain that is known to cause severe health problems, 1057:H7, produces a powerful toxin that can cause extreme gastrointestinal illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As the CDC attests, UV filters like those we sell at Pelican are effective in eliminating the danger of bacteria in your drinking water like E. Coli.


Cryptosporidium are microscopic parasites that can cause a diarrheal disease called cryptosporidiosis in anyone who ingests it. Due to its outer shell, the parasite is mostly impervious to the standard chlorine treatment used in drinking water. This means that it can make its way into your drinking water unless additional precautions are taken.

In order to protect your family from “crypto,” invest in a UV filter that will effectively destroy the parasite. The CDC asserts that UV filters eliminate most protozoa, including cryptosporidium.


A similar microscopic parasite to cryptosporidium, giardia also causes severe diarrheal disease if it makes its way into a human’s intestines. It can survive in the environment and in your body for great lengths of time to the protection from its outer shell. Giardia infection is a common cause of waterborne disease in the United States.

Giardia is like cryptosporidium in the sense that its outer shell means that chlorine disinfectants have minimal effect. The CDC recommends UV filters to effectively reduce giardia in your drinking water.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a liver disease that is contagious and results from coming in contact with the Hepatitis A virus. According to the CDC, the disease ranges in severity and can last from several weeks to a few months. Water systems around the country can become contaminated with Hepatitis A if even a microscopic amount of fecal matter from an infected person makes its way into the water supply.

The CDC supports that UV treatment of infected water will remove many viruses present, including Hepatitis A.

How to Disinfect Water Using UV

By installing a UV filter system at your water’s point-of-entry (POE), you can protect you and your family from viral and bacterial infections. The system uses ultraviolet light to deactivate the DNA of harmful microorganisms. Here’s how the process works within the UV filter:


Water moves through a stainless steel reactor where it is exposed to a UV lamp.


UV light renders the bacteria in the water unable to reproduce or function, eliminating the risk of infection.


Once the water has passed through the chamber, safer filtered water is distributed to every tap in your home.

Since UV light is considered particularly powerful, many consumers may wonder: Is UV safe?

  • UV light has germicidal properties that make it a trusted disinfectant.
  • Pelican Water Premium UV systems are certified by the NSF, a non-profit organization that ensures the safety of water filtration systems.
  • UV systems provide chemical-free water disinfection, which means no chlorine or chemical byproducts.
  • The UV treatment does not impact your water’s taste or odor, ensuring that your family enjoys clean, tasty water year round.

What is the Best UV Water Filter?

There are multiple models of UV water filter systems. Choosing the best water filter for your home is a matter of determining the required dosage and flow rate for your dwelling. Luckily, Pelican has the perfect UV water filter for every home and need.

Follow these steps to find your ideal UV water filter:

Choose Your Water Source


City/Municipal Water: 95% UVT

Well Water: 85% UVT

Surface Water (lakes, streams, ponds, springs): 75% UVT

What is UVT? Why is it important?

UVT is a measure of how well the water is able to transmit UV light, or Ultra Violet Transmittance. The quality of the water affects the intensity of UV light that is able to transmit through it. It is important to know your UVT when purchasing a UV water filter system as it will affect the dosage your UV system is capable of producing.

Determine the Proper dosage


Dosage is defined as the intensity of UV light that is able to penetrate each liter of water measured in millijoules per liter (or m/J) that passes through the UV chamber. The dosage required for proper disinfection is determined by the UVT of your water supply.

  • 16 m/J - This is standard UV disinfection and is acceptable for city water.
  • 30 m/J - This will provide UV disinfection for well water with unknown or high levels of bacterial content or where well water is known to contain high levels of bacteria.
  • 40 m/J - This is the EPA and NSF standard for dosage to remove all bacterial contamination on all water supplies including city, well and surface water.

If you have hard water, you should also invest in a Water Softener as well for pretreatment, otherwise the UV water filter system may not fully remove microbial contaminants.

Calculate Your Flow Rate


In order to quickly figure out the flow rate you need, just count the amount of bathrooms in your home that are regularly used. Count any half baths as a full bathroom.

  • 1 bathroom = 4 gallon flow rate (per minute)
  • 2 bathroom = 6 gallon flow rate (per minute)
  • 3 bathroom = 10 gallon flow rate (per minute)
  • 4 bathroom = 12 gallon flow rate (per minute)
  • 5 bathroom = 13.5 gallon flow rate (per minute)
  • 6 bathroom = 15 gallon flow rate (per minute)

Which system type should you choose?

Non-Monitored Systems: This system is the most commonly used system for residential homes and in most cases is all a homeowner needs to disinfect their water.

Non-Monitored Class B NSF Systems: If your local county or state dictates that you purchase a NSF Certified Class B UV System, then you are required to choose a UV system that will produce 16m/J dosage. All UV Max Validated models are NSF Certified and produce a 16 m/J dosage. These systems are designed for supplemental bactericidal treatment of public drinking water or other drinking water, which has been deemed acceptable by a local health agency. Use the chart below to choose the validated model based on your flow rate.

Monitored Class A NSF Systems: If your local county or state requires that you purchase a NSF Certified UV System, then you should choose a UV system that will produce 40m/J dosage. All UV Max Pro models are NSF Certified and produce a 40 m/J dosage. These systems are designed to disinfect and/or remove microorganisms from contaminated water, including bacteria and viruses, to a safer level. Use the chart below to choose the Pro model based on your flow rate.

99.99% Disinfection Requirement Your Flow Rates (gallons per minute)
UTC Required Dosage 4 6 10 12 13.5 15
Non-Monitored Systems - UV Max
City Water
30 m/J PUV7 PUV7 PUV7 PUV14 PUV14 PUV14
Surface Water
40 m/J PUV7 PUV7 PUV7 PUV14 PUV14 PUV14
Non-Monitored Class B NSF Certified Systems - UV Validated
City Water
75% - 100%
16 m/J PUV8 PUV8 PUV16 PUV16 PUV16 PUV16
Monitored CLass A NSF Certified Systems - UV Pro
All Sources
75% - 100%
40 m/J UV Pro 10 UV Pro 10 UV Pro 10 UV Pro 20 UV Pro 20 UV Pro 20