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The lighter side of germs...

September 24, 2008 11:11 AM 9/24/08

So in thinking about preserving things and survival it occurs to me that there’s something I could build quite easily for the basement that would help a lot. My mother actually reminded me that they use UV light for sterilization in different cases - hospitals, ponds, pools, etc.

So what I came up with in my head is a UV “light box” so to speak. (The idea I have here could be cut down to make a “jug sterilizer” if need be.)

Take one of the 2 gallon refillable refrigerator water jugs - the kind that have both a handle and a spout. They have to be of clear plastic. Measure the jug.

Cut and design a plywood box with the dimensions suitable to store several of those jugs with a shelf stop so there’s a little space behind them for a lighting fixture.

At the back of the box put several short-wavelength UV bulbs and fixtures rigged with a safety switch so that when the front door of the box is open the lights are off. WARNING! I’M NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOU LOOK DIRECTLY AT A UV BULB! THEY ARE DAMAGING TO YOUR EYEBALLS! DON’T DO THAT!

Anyway this whole box should be able to get rid of most of any bugs in the water jugs.

One problem I have to look at though is power consumption. One fixture I was looking at took 18W just to run one small bulb. That adds up quickly. Here’s where I wonder if they have short-wavelength UV LEDs or not. A bank of those on each wall of the box would likely do the job nicely and use less power.

A couple of friends of mine I posed this idea to just gave me two good suggestions:

If you want UV bulbs then cheap eprom erasers are a good source. Though the one friend pointed out that they are 250nm and don’t have as good an absorption rate in water as they could.

Put mirrors on the inside of the box to reflect the UV light so you can use less bulbs.

Anyway like I said this could work on a smaller scale as well. Make the box small enough to hold one or two jugs and then you can sterilize them and use them or store them elsewhere.

I’m not sure how long water stores once sterilized by UV rays. I’ll have to check into that because it might be that you could sterilize the water and then store it where it would be used. Though storing it in the cool basement area makes a lot of sense.

In fact my friend reminded me that plastics decay under UV fairly quickly so maybe it’s best to make a simple single-jug sterilizer. Glass jugs are also going to resist UV penetration.

Wow. This looks like it’s one of those ideas that sounds good at first until you dig into it. More thinking is definitely needed.

I don’t want to go with a tank, a pump, and a pool sterilizer because those are hard to move in an emergency but for a house system that might be the best way to go...

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
siliconshaman
Sep. 25th, 2008 09:55 am (UTC)
Suggestion. Polycarbonate tube, which doesn't decompose under UV, sealed at one end. [silicon-sealant!] UV bulb/strip light inside tube...and put the tube in the water thereby increasing it's effectiveness and you don't have to worry about the glass jug.

The little UV-B tubes they use in portable tanning lamps are quite cheap, fairly energy efficient and would do the job perfectly.

or you could just get one of these
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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