In part one of this ten part series we identified some broad categories of water. Treated and untreated, potable and non-potable. Before going any further you need to categorize your water. Remember, treated only deals with proper disinfection for microorganisms, and potability deals with all types of contaminants and whether or not they exceed EPA regulations. So, now that you’ve categorized your water, you need to identify your specific water problem. For this we created four more categories; sediment, taste & odor, high level contaminants, and the nth degree. The remainder of this article will deal with sediment filters.
Let’s start with basic sediment problems. There are lots of ways that sediment appears, and each situation is unique. So, where do you start? At the most basic level you need a whole house filter system. Why whole house? Because sediment affects everything. It’s not just a drinking water issue, though you certainly don’t want to drink it, but it collects in hot water heaters reducing their efficiency, it wears on internal parts in your washing machine, and prohibits you from getting really clean clothes etc… It’s a whole house issue, so you need a whole house sediment filter system.
Before I show you an example of a whole house sediment filter system, we need to talk about system size. Unfortunately, for reasons passing understanding, many water filter housing manufacturers label their smallest water filter housings as “whole house” water filter housings, yet nothing could be further from the truth. There are five industry standard water filter housing sizes that obviously receive industry standard size water filter cartridges. They are (based on cartridge size) 5? x 2.5?, 10? x 2.5?, 20? x 2.5?, 10? x 4.5?, and 20? x 4.5? (see our previous post for more details). Far too many homeowners suffer from a water filter housing that is just simply too small. A larger housing is better in every possible way. Flow rates will be better, pressure loss will be less, time between cartridge changes will be longer, and water filter cost will be lower per square inch of media (kind of like buying the bigger bottle of ketchup). For whole house applications do not use the 5? x 2.5? or the 10? x 2.5? water filter housings, they are only appropriate for much smaller applications like RV’s or drinking water systems designed to supply a very small drinking water faucet. Having said that, here are some examples of water filter housings of the size appropriate for whole house applications: 20? x 2.5?, 10? x 4.5?, and 20? x 4.5?.
Now we move on to water filter cartridges. This is where your earlier categorizing work pays off. If you have untreated water you absolutely must avoid cellulose media. Cellulose is most often found in pleated cartridges, but some manufacturers also produce pressed cellulose cartridges. Cellulose is derived from plants and is therefore a feast of food for any microorganism lucky enough to find your filter, where he will live, grow, multiply and potentially cause serious threats to your health. Untreated water requires the use of a bacteriostatic filter media. Bacteriostatic simply means that microorganisms will not live and grow on the filter. The most common bacteriostatic media is polypropylene, though polyester is also bacteriostatic. There are two common types of polypropylene water filters; string wound and spun. The string wound water filters look just like the name indicates; a spool of tightly wound string. The spun are made from the same polypropylene, but the poly is melted and blown out of a gun and spun onto a cartridge, sort of like cotton candy. They have nearly identical performance, and are perfect for sediment removal from untreated water. Here are examples of each in a typical 5 micron porosity: 20? x 2.5? poly string wound sediment water filter, and 20? x 4.5? poly spun sediment water filter. For better flow and lower pressure loss consider a pleated polyester sediment water filter. The pleats give the filter more surface area than a poly string wound or poly spun water filter.
For treated water you could use any of the filter types already mentioned, but there’s no reason to look any further than pleated cellulose. As mentioned previously, the pleats offer more surface area, thus better flow with lower pressure loss. Pleated cellulose water filters are almost always the best choice for treated water. Here is a 20? x 2.5? pleated cellulose sediment water filter. Lastly, I don’t want to forget to mention RUSCO water filters. They are sediment filters designed for large particulate over 75 microns. RUSCO’s are used as whole house water filters, and are commonly used to filter irrigation water to protect the sprinkler heads from clogging. Above all, the RUSCO’s most popular feature is reusability. RUSCO’s are designed with a flush valve to purge out the collected sediment and rinse off the cartridge. No replacing cartridges, but they don’t work well with sediment smaller than 75 microns.
In our next installment we’ll discuss micron rating, complex sediment issues, and why iron bearing water is often mistaken as a sediment problem. Stay tuned!
Please feel free to post comments or questions! We would love to hear your thoughts!
Related posts:How to Choose a Water Filter Part 3 of 10: Sediment FiltersHow to Choose a Water Filter Part 4 of 10: Taste & OdorHow to Choose a Water Filter Part 1 of 10Water Filter: Standard Size vs. Quick ChangeEasy Tips to Keep Your Water Filter System in Great ShapeTagged as: sediment filter, sediment water filter, water filter, Water Filters, Whole house filter, whole house water filter