Types of Water Filters & When to Change Them

Types of Water Filters

What You Need to Know About Water Filters

Water is a life-sustaining fluid, but if you’re drinking yours straight out of the tap, it might contain more than just H2O. Even “clean” drinking water that flows from the tap isn’t what most of us would think of as clean. It’s traveled through miles of pipeline, picking up contaminants and runoff along the way.

There’s a common saying, “Use a water filter, or you’ll become one.” The idea behind this pithy saying is that unless you filter the contaminants in your water with a filter before it comes out of the tap, it will end up in your body and your organs will have to deal with it. C&J offers many different types of filters, based upon your needs. This post will describe the types of filters and give you some guidelines on how often they will need to be changed.

Sand Trap & Sediment Filters

If your well suddenly starts to pump sand and sediment, this may indicate that the well is filling with sand or your water well pump is sitting too low in the well. Sometimes we can simply pull up the water well pump 10 to 20 feet to eliminate sand uptake, but more often than not, a simple filter will mitigate the issue. The more water you use, the more you will have to change the filters.

Sediment filter

A sediment filter is a replacement cartridge used to remove large particles from the water supply to protect other water treatment equipment. Usually, you should change your sediment filter every six months to one year. More frequent changes might be required if there is more than typical sediment in your water well. The best way to know when you’re due for a filter change is to observe your water pressure. When your pressure begins to drop, you need to change the filter. After the filter has captured enough sediment, water will struggle to pass through the filter at the same flow rate, causing water pressure to decrease. At this point, you’ve maximized the holding capacity for the filter and it should be changed. If you do not change it, the filter will become so burdened with dirt and debris that water will altogether cease to flow through it. 

Sand Trap

The sand trap is a unique way to separate and settle out larger-sized sand, shale, and oxidized organics found in some water supplies. We are able to do this by running the water through an internal swirl chamber then into a diverting plate. This will allow the heavier particles to settle to the bottom of the tank for blowdown. While this filter has no moving parts, no filter cartridges to clean or replace, and no backwashing is needed, the purge valve needs to be opened and purged every 3-6 months to remove particulate build-up.

Reverse Osmosis Filter

Reverse Osmosis is a filtration system designed to remove dissolved solids, organic and inorganic forms, that a water softener cannot. RO removes metals like arsenic, aluminum, copper, lead, chromium, and many others. It also removes inorganic forms such as nitrates, phosphates, chlorides, sulfates, and more. RO works by forcing water from your home’s supply through the RO membrane. This membrane contains thousands of tiny holes, just large enough to allow water molecules to pass through. Anything bigger than a water molecule is trapped and cannot fit through the membrane. C&J offers a 4-stage RO unit with a sediment filter, an activated carbon block prefilter, RO membrane, and a polishing filter that removes residual tastes and odors. We recommend the sediment, carbon, and polishing filters be changed at least annually, and the RO membrane approximately every five years. 

Air Induction Oxidation Filter

If you have higher-than-normal concentrations of iron, manganese, or sulfur in your water, you may need an air induction oxidation unit (AIO). When your water is underground in your well, it is usually clear in color, even though it may contain high levels of iron. This is known as ‘ferrous’ or clear water iron. AIO filters take this clear iron and transform it to rust or ferric iron in the process known as oxidation. These trapped particles are periodically and automatically backwashed out to drain, usually at least three times per week. AIO filters remove both clear water iron and ferric iron (rust). The AIO valve uses a unique process to create an air bubble at the upper portion of the tank to oxidize any ferrous iron prior to being filtered by the media. Our main purpose for this unit is to remove low concentrations of dissolved hydrogen sulfide and manganese from water. This media typically needs to be replaced every 5-7 years, depending on water usage.

Ultraviolet Light

While it’s not a filter, per se, ultraviolet light will mitigate bacteria in your water. UV is a disinfection method by the use of Ultra Violet Rays. It deactivates the DNA of pathogens such as undesired pathogens such as e. coli, coliform, cryptosporidium, giardia, fecal bacteria, etc. This is done by a UV bulb that is recommended to be replaced annually.

What About Filter Size?

An important part of any filtration system is the filter’s micron rating. It helps determine the amount and size of debris that gets filtered or removed from liquids. Micron ratings can give important information in their number alone. Being able to effectively read and understand micron ratings allows you to easily decide between different filtration options. The smaller the micron rating, the faster the filter fills up.

What micron rating do I need?

The answer to this question depends on how much sand/sediment your well is pumping into your home. Filters with a 5-micron rating remove a large amount of debris from liquid. The average size of the openings between pieces of the filter media are represented in microns. For example, a 20-micron filter has larger openings than a 5-micron filter. Consequently, the 20-micron filter element will let larger particles pass through the filter than the 5-micron media would.

While there are other, smaller micron ratings, those filters below 5-micron are prone to intense clogging or quick debris buildup. Filters with a 10-micron rating can remove some unseen materials from liquid but not bacteria or viruses. However, 10-micron is still very small and can benefit many industries, from oil to chemical plants, because of their ability to filter so much. Like other lower micron ratings, 10-micron rated filters tend to clog quickly.

A 25-micron rating has the ability to filter out anything larger than the size of a white blood cell. The 25-micron filters work well in chemical processing industries, as well as many others due to their ability to filter small particles without clogging badly. If you are experiencing low water pressure, the first thing to check is your filter. It could be clogged because it’s the wrong micron size for the amount of sediment/debris you have coming in from the water source. Often, this happens because the filter is purchased from a big-box store and that is the only size they have in stock. It is imperative that your filter is properly sized and you only replace it with the same micron rating. If you have any questions about your filter’s micron size, give C&J a call and we can help you out.

Water filtration is a simple way to support your health, and there are many ways to do it. I’ll drink to that—contact us today for more information!