Maintaining the Quartz Sleeve
Certified Viqua Installer Mike aims a disapproving eye at a customer’s quartz sleeve during a service call in Flower Mound, TX
An essential part of any ultraviolet water purification system is a clear tube that looks like glass but is really made of quartz. It forms a barrier between the UV lamp and the water being treated. The tube is called a quartz sleeve. The UV lamp is housed inside the sleeve and the water is on the outside, so the lamp’s UV dosage that actually gets to the water depends on how clean and clear the quartz sleeve is.
Ultraviolet units are normally preceded by a five micron sediment filter to assure that the water being treated does not contain particles large enough to provide shade that would protect microbes from the germicidal lamp. The filter, however, does not remove minerals in the water that can form scale on the outside of the very hot quartz sleeve. The most common scaling agents are hardness (calcium and magnesium) and iron.
Regular maintenance of a UV system includes examining, cleaning, and, if necessary, replacing the quartz sleeve to assure maximal UV transmittance. Recommended cleaning is with a clean, lint-free cloth soaked in vinegar or another mild acid. It is also highly recommended that you handle with care, don’t leave finger prints, and don’t break the sleeve. Especially don’t break it.
Manufacturers’ quartz sleeve recommendations vary, some recommending sleeve change with every second lamp change even if the sleeve appears clear to the eye. This is because UV light can degrade the quartz and block efficient UV transmittance even if the sleeve appears to be crystal clear.