Looking to invest in a simple and convenient UV disinfection system for your home, cottage or cabin? It's important to ensure that the well or lake water you're using is free of harmful bacteria for you and your family's safety. But which system is right for you? We've got you covered with all the information you need to make the right choice.
Families with their own well or lake water source are using Ultraviolet or UV Disinfection to make sure that the water at their home, cottage or cabin is safe and bacteria-free. Minirack UV systems have become very popular especially with the DIY crowd because they come preassembled, so they’re very easy to install since you don’t need to connect the pre-filters to the UV itself. All you do is cut your plumbing, run the water line into and out of the UV, and plug it in! What could be easier?
However, since this is a long-term investment for your family, you need to choose wisely. Follow along for all of the information you need to decide whether the Hum Safe Water 10, Viqua IHS12-D4, Luminor LBH5-Z22 or the Purifiner Duplex 8 gpm Minirack UV system is or isn’t the best choice for your family.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Not sure how one of these UV systems work? I have a great YouTube video here that explains the whole process.
MINIRACK UV SYSTEM COMPARISON
4th Place – Purifiner Duplex 8 gpm Minirack
Although this Chinese Minirack system is one of the lowest cost ones here, the Purifiner Duplex 8 gpm Minirack suffers from being horrible to maintain and confusing to install. The design of the sleeve and Stainless Steel housing causes the O-rings to get wedged between them so when it comes time to do the annual service on this Minirack UV, you need to dig out that o-ring with a small sharp object while being very careful not to crack, chip or break the sleeve. This is very difficult to do! Once you have cleaned the sleeve and put it all back together, the sleeve protrudes such a small amount on each end of the Stainless steel housing, it’s almost impossible to close it up without getting a leak. Worse yet, that leak may not become evident for a few days after the service when you aren’t around to fix it!
Installation is complicated by the fact that this system comes with two installation manuals, one for the UV and the second for the filter housings manifold. You need to figure out for yourself or check out my installation video here on how to marry those two components together. Although, since the UV lamp is serviced to the side instead of through the top, if you have limited height for service, this one will work better than the ones which require the lamp to be removed through the top.
This system can be reversed but you would need to do considerable disassembly — including removing and reinstalling the pressure gauges — to make it work.
When in use, this is the only one of the bunch that has no tolerance for any color or tannins in your water, so they require a UVT % of 100%. The others will still work if oversized for the flow rate at up to 75% UVT.
The very limited range of sizes, only 6 or 8 gpm, means that if you need something larger, you’re out of luck for this brand. This is the only one of the 4 that comes with pressure gauges, which might seem like a great addition to help you know when to change the filters but, in fact, you’ll never end up using those pressure gauges because you’ll notice the drop in flow due to dirty filters in your home long before you’ll notice the pressure reading differential from the gauges.
It should also be mentioned that this Purifiner Duplex Minrack UV is the only one of the bunch that isn’t Made in Canada, this one is Made in China. We have experienced considerable concerns with the UV lamps for this Minirack uV not lasting the entire 12 months before requiring replacement and failing unexpectedly.
Plus – Relatively inexpensive, lower height necessary for installation, nice stainless steel bracket.
Minus – Poor installation manual, Nightmare to service. – Equals – Better choices elsewhere for about the same money.
3rd Place – Luminor Blackcomb LBH5-Z22 UV Rack System
A major improvement over the Purifiner Minirack and very close to the second finisher is the Luminor Blackcomb LBH5-Z22 UV Rack System. In fact, if not for the confusion regarding the replacement UV lamps, it would have finished 2nd by a long shot! More about that later. These are well-engineered and are the most recent entry into the Minirack UV race. They offer fully incorporated 3-piece filter housings with drain ports to make removing those very heavy 20” BB filter housings easier and offer lots of great optional extras like solenoids and external monitoring systems that are compatible, if you’re into those things.
Now I need to specify, as long as you get the Luminor Blackcomb version of the LBH5-Z22 and not one of the Proprietary versions they make for Culligan, Water Depot, Nelson and others, these are a great choice.
The problems are with the proprietary systems because the UV lamps used in those systems come with a key that will only unlock if you get the proprietary version of the replacement lamp. In other words, if you have a Culligan version of this system and you purchase the replacement lamp for the non-Culligan version (because it is less costly) it will not work in your Proprietary Luminor system. Not only is this very confusing, but the folks that sell the proprietary replacement lamps can also charge whatever they want because you can only get the correct version of the replacement that will work in their system from them!
The Luminor brand version’s (non-proprietary) lamps, sleeves and filters are available just about everywhere, so they’re easy to find.
These Luminor Rack systems (they insist they are not called Miniracks) are only available in 8 and 15 gpm sizes. If you need a different size, you’ll need to go elsewhere.
They are easy to install and are reversible, with a little disassembly and reassembly to get them there. Lamp and sleeve replacements are easy to accomplish and quite straightforward. When you replace the lamp you also replace the key which automatically resets the timer. All of the other systems require you to manually reset the timer. Also, the lamp last 420 days compared to all the other systems whose lamps only last 365 days.
Also, the lamp is changed to the side, so if you have limited height available this is an asset. This Luminor LBH5-Z22 is also the second most expensive for your initial investment and for the replacement UV lamps and sleeves. Because they use 10” and 20” BB filters those replacement filters have more capacity but you’ll still need to replace them at least once per year and you may not need that capacity, especially at a cottage or a cabin where you would be fine with the less costly slimline filters used in other Minirack systems.
Plus – Modern technology, easiest and most versatile to install and easiest service.
Minus – Confusion about replacement lamps, costly replacement lamps, sleeves and filters.
Equals – Great choice if short on installation height availability BUT make sure you get the Luminor Blackcomb version and not the proprietary ones.
2nd Place – Viqua IHS12-D4 Minrack UV System
Viqua’s IHS12-D4 Minirack UV System has been the premium Minirack UV in this segment for a long time and here has scored just above the Luminor system. The 3-piece filter housings with their drain ports are easy to use and very convenient. They are relatively easy to install but a big drawback is that this system is not reversible. So, if your water flows right to left, you’ll need to go past the unit before doubling back to connect. The same at the outlet.
You will need at least 20” of space above for changing the UV lamp in the future because glass does not bend. Some folks have struggled when replacing the UV lamp with the gray sleeve bolt and have found it difficult to get it to seal properly.
Replacement filters, sleeves, ballasts and lamps are very easy to find but are by far the most expensive of all the systems reviewed here. Also, I have found the ballasts and lamps are not as reliable as you would expect, considering their high cost.
Viqua technical support and customer service is by far the best in this group.
Plus – Established product that is well proven, non-proprietary, easy to install and service. Replacement parts are readily available.
Minus – Not reversible, most expensive and not the most reliable.
Equals – Good choice if you want a system that you or your plumber is easily familiar with and don’t mind paying up for it.
1st Place - HUM Safe Water 10 Minirack UV System
The HUM Safe Water 10 Minirack UV is manufactured for us by UV Dynamics and is 100% non-proprietary and rebranded under the HUM name. We promote the Safe Water 10 and its little brother Hum Safe Water 6 as the most commonly used 10 and 6 gpm UV Minirack disinfection systems under our own HUM brand name, but these are available right up to 16 gpm flow rate capacity in both 10” and 20” filter housing sizes and with slim line and BB diameter filters.
The HUM Safe Water 10 is the easiest to install since it’s fully reversible without any disassembly, easy to service and due to its low initial investment and much lower replacement UV lamp cost it is the winner in this group! And did I mention that it’s Made in Canada?
But all is not perfect. If you have limited height available for installation make sure you allow 20” above this system for UV lamp and sleeve service. Although all of these Minirack UV systems have built-in countdown timers, this HUM Safe Water 10 is the only system that does not have a digital “Days Remaining” display, it just flashes the number of months remaining.
Those lower-cost slimline replacement filters typically have more than enough capacity between filter changes for most families, but they do not have the same capacity as the Big Blues available on the Purifiner system.
Plus – Trusted, extremely reliable product that is well proven, non-proprietary, easiest to install and easy to service. Replacement filters and lamps are readily available.
Minus – Needs 20” of space above system for maintenance, no digital display.
Equals – Best choice if you want a system that you or your plumber can easily install and service. Lowest investment by far over the life of the system
Check out our complete HUM Safe Water 10 review here!
Gary the Water Guy's Overall Opinion:
For most families, the HUM Safe Water 10 is the best choice. Easy DIY installation and lowest cost. If you are looking for more filtration capacity, have height restrictions, or want more versatility for extra bells and whistles, the Luminor Blackcomb is your best choice. If getting the established premium system is important to you, you can’t go wrong with the Viqua IHS12-D4.
No idea why anyone would go with the Purifiner Duplex unless you got it for an incredible deal and have someone else to service it for you.
Check out my handy comparison chart below to see all the details!
There you have it. Hope this comparison review has helped with your decision-making for the best UV system to put in your home or cottage!
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