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Viqua Sterilight (UV) Ultraviolet Disinfection System Review

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Summary

This Viqua Sterilight (UV) Ultraviolet Disinfection System scored a 90/100 during this review. Check out the video and blog post to see why!!

 

Ultraviolet disinfection systems, like the Viqua/Sterilight systems we are discussing, have become a popular choice for home owners and cottagers that are not on serviced by municipal water sources.  These are whole house systems that ensure all of the water flowing into your home or cottage is bacteria free and safe for your family.  If you do not take these pre cautions about your water no one else well.

The Viqua/Sterilight S5Q-PA Ultraviolet (UV) water sterilizer is a popular and economical choice for small cottages requiring flow rates of up to a maximum of 6 gpm while the S8Q-PA is far better suited to smaller homes where the maximum flow rate is limited to 9.  For larger homes Viqua's new VH410 provides 18 gpm.

These UV’s (part of Sterilights' Silver Series) include many popular convenience features including a visual "lamp on" light, and an audible lamp failure alarm. They feature stainless steel reactor chambers, fire-polished domed quartz sleeves, and Viquas’ popular Sterilume™-EX coated low pressure germicidal UV lamps. They use Viqua's ICE controller which automatically senses line voltage between 100 and 240 volts for consistent UV output and performance in varying electrical operating conditions and has an LED countdown timer which displays days remaining to Lamp replacement.

So how do these Viqua Ultraviolet Disinfection systems compare?

Performance - 10/10  A consistent and proven bacteria kill in both lake and well water.  Viqua/Sterilight UV's are NSF and WQA certified to ensure their consistent performance.

Capacity - 10/10  The capacity in this case is the UV's ability to kill bacteria which is limited to the flow rate.  Since these three models cover up to 18 gpm you just invest in the one whose maximum flow rate is higher than your pumps' flow rate.

Cost to Operate - 9/10  Low 30 Watt (46 Watt for larger S8Q-PA and 60W for the VH410) power consumption to operate.  These replacement lamps, although readily available at a variety of sources, are at the higher end of the price scale for this size UV.

Ease of Installation/use - 9/10  Viqua’s relatively small size and ability to be mounted vertically as well as horizontally make them very easy to install for do it your selfers.  They come with an installation kit as well as easy to follow directions.  The VH410 has the inlet and outlet arranged ports in an S configuration for easier in line plumbing.  Minirack UV systems, which include the pre filters in one manifold with the UV are easier and quicker to install compared to these units. 

Features - 10/10 - These Ultraviolet Disinfection systems have a countdown timer showing the lamp life in days remaining, which is very useful especially for cottage applications, they are straight forward and easy to understand. 

Parts Availability - 9/10  Although parts are readily available from the manufacturer and any number of distributors, any water treatment dealer can get replacement lamps and parts.  Since this is a non proprietary product parts are readily available from any water treatment dealer.

Longevity - 7/10 The ballasts in these UV's have been somewhat problematic, occasionally lasting only a few years before requiring replacement. Due to the short life of ballasts customers have been disappointed with them suddenly quitting rendering the whole system inoperable without notice.

Reliability and Build Quality - 8/10  Due to the frequency of the ballasts having a short life span, customers have been disappointed with them suddenly quitting rendering the whole system inoperable.

Initial Investment - 9/10  These Viqua UV's are quite well priced, although the replacement lamps are a little on the expensive side.  The difference in cost between these 3 models is relatively small so that depending on your installation configuration, if you need to mount this in line with your plumbing you may be better off going to the largest model, the VH410.

Styling/Aesthetics - 9/10  These Ultraviolet Disinfection systems are very well built and look great when installed.  Due to the placement of the serial and model number label it is often difficult for the customer to find in the future when needing access to make sure they are purchasing correct replacement lamp etc. 

                              

Gary the Water Guy Overall Score                                      90/100

Pros:  Low initial investment, very accessible replacement parts, easy DIY install

Cons:  Some past longevity and reliability issues.

So what's the Verdict? 

I rate this as a good choice for any family that needs an Ultraviolet system that, due to the space that is available, can only be mounted horizontally.

Shop Viqua Sterilight S5Q-PA

Shop Viqua Sterilight S8Q-PA

Shop Viqua Sterilight VH 410

Video Transcript

Gary Beutler:
Hi. I'm Gary The Water Guy, and I own The Water Filter eStore and The Water Store in Midland, Ontario. Today, we're reviewing the Viqua Sterilight S5Q-PA, S8Q-PA, and VH410 ultraviolet disinfection systems.


Gary Beutler:
So first of all, why would you need an ultraviolet disinfection system? If you're on a non-municipal water source for your cottage or your home, you need to make sure that the water is bacteria-free. Now, what I mean by non-municipal, that means you're drawing water from a well, a river, or a lake. This series of ultraviolet disinfection systems from Viqua Sterilight have a number of features. They're just different sizes; that's the difference between the three models, basically.


Gary Beutler:
So here I have S5Q-PA, and as you can see, stainless steel reaction chamber. It has this BA-ICE-S controller, which has a countdown timer in LED that actually displays how many days remaining to the time to replace the ultraviolet light bulb. And they even have a sensor window to make sure that the ultraviolet light is on.


Gary Beutler:
So how do these compare? Well, in terms of performance, I rate them as a 10 out of 10. They're a proven and consistent performer to kill bacteria. They're both NSF and WQA-certified, and they're made in Canada.


Gary Beutler:
In terms of capacity, I rate them a 10 out of 10. Again, we have three different-sized units, and they're sized based on your water flow rate. So for example, this one is sized for six-gallons-per-minute flow rate, but the S8Q-PA is sized for a maximum of nine-gallons-per-minute flow rate, and the VH410 is good for 18-gallons-per-minute flow rate. So what you need to do, you need to measure the flow rate that you're getting from your pump and size the ultraviolet light to the next-largest size, to make sure that it's going to kill the bacteria in your water.


Gary Beutler:
In terms of cost to operate, I rate it as a nine out of 10. The S5Q-PA uses only 30 watts of power to operate the ultraviolet light. The S8Q-PA uses only 46 watts of power to operate the light, and the large VH410, only 60 watts. So again, because these lights are on continuously, it's important to see how many watts of power they use. The replacement lamps and quartz sleeves are a little bit on the higher price side, but luckily, they're available all over the place, so that offsets the price somewhat.


Gary Beutler:
Ease of installation: I rate it as a nine out of 10. One of the great features of this ultraviolet light is not only can it be installed vertically, which is always the preferred way for it to be installed. This can also be orientated horizontally. So why is that an advantage? Well, if you're in a crawl space or you have limited space, horizontally might be the only way that it's going to fit. Because remember: Not only do you need this much space vertically; you need the same amount of space again for the ultraviolet light to come out before you take it away, just because it has to come out perfectly straight. So you need twice this height, vertically, and sometimes in cottage situations, you just don't have that.


Gary Beutler:
It also comes with these great mounting brackets that make the installation quite straightforward. The only way an installation would be a little bit easier is if it's a mini-rack type situation, where the pre-filters are installed on the same manifold as the ultraviolet light, so it's one connection on each hand. But other than that, very straightforward for installation.


Gary Beutler:
Features, I rated as a 10 out of 10. Has this great LED countdown timer on the ballast that shows you how many days remain before it's time to replace the lamp, and it's easily resettable. So that's a great feature. And very easy to use; comes with a great manual.


Gary Beutler:
Parts availability, I rated as a nine out of 10. It is a non-proprietary product, so that means any water treatment dealer can get replacement parts. But I've even seen replacement bulbs available in big box stores, occasionally.


Gary Beutler:
Longevity: I rated it as a seven out of 10. The ballast has been problematic in the past. Some folks have only gotten three years' life out of the ballast, and so that kind of lets it down, somewhat.


Gary Beutler:
Reliability and build quality: Again, I rated it an eight out of 10, and it traces back to the ballast again. Folks have been disappointed that the ballast has just quit on them, without any warning. So that's kind of let down the system a little bit in the past, but hopefully, that's behind them now.


Gary Beutler:
In terms of initial investment, I rate them nine out of 10. They're well-priced, and the difference in cost between going from the 5 to the 8 to the VH410 is not all that great. So you can easily move up a model, just to make sure that you're covering off those flow rate issues and any potential tannin issues in the future quite easily and quite painlessly.


Gary Beutler:
Styling and aesthetics: I rate them nine out of 10. They look great when installed. The only part that kind of lets them down a little bit is this is where the label is, on here. And it shows you the model number. It shows you the UV lamp replacement product code, and the quartz sleeve, and the ballast, and that's all great information. The only problem is, where this label is situated when it's installed, sometimes it's very difficult to access. And so that kind of lets it down a little bit, in terms of aesthetics.


Gary Beutler:
The other thing, too, that I should mention, is as you can see, this one has the ports on the same side, so the water would flow in through the bottom and up through the top. But the VH410, it actually has the port on this side. Or this side, I should say. So the water flows in through this end and then comes out through here. So it's kind of an S-configuration. And again, if you've got this in line, that saves a lot of extra plumbing. So you may want to keep that in mind, if you're deciding between the different sizes of models of this unit.


Gary Beutler:
So what's the verdict? Well, I rate it a Gary-The-Water-Guy score of 90 out of 100. The pros are the low initial investment. Accessibility of parts is super easy, but again, this ability to install it horizontally as well as vertically is a big pro. The cons: the longevity and reliability issue of the ballast in the past. Hopefully, that's gone now, but that is an issue. So definitely a recommendation for folks that need ultraviolet light to be installed horizontally. So definitely consider this ultravioletsystem.


Gary Beutler:
If you like what you saw today, please click the Subscribe button. That way, you'll be notified about all the new videos as they become available. And check out our YouTube channel, at garythewaterguy.com. Lots of great videos there and lots of great information. If you'd like some specific info about this product, you can go to our websites. You can either go to thewaterfilterestore.com or thewaterstoremidland.com. And again, I'm Gary The Water Guy from The Water Store in Midland, Ontario. Thanks for watching.

 

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