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What Is a Sediment Water Filter Cartridge?

A sediment water filter cartridge is a cylinder-like filter part that has the purpose of removing large particles such as dirt, sand, or silt from the water. Sediment filter cartridges are made from fine polypropylene in melted form. A sediment filter cartridge is important when it comes to reducing unwanted sediments. Sediment water filter cartridges are different from other filter cartridges because they have another micron level. Designed for large sediments, they are mostly used as pre-filters. The average sediment filter cartridge costs around $10, but pack cartridges that cost between $20 and $30 are also available.

How Does Sediment Water Filter Cartridge Work?

sediment water filter cartridge working principlesThe working principle of the sediment water filter cartridge relies on mechanical filtration. This process will physically block unwanted particles such as dirt, alga, or any larger contaminants from entering your water system. The sediment filter is exposed to contaminated water, and as the water goes through the housing of the cartridge, it finishes by passing through the main filter element. From that point on, the water will move onto the next, finer filters.

What Are the Types of Sediment Filter Cartridge in Piping Systems?

There are four types of sediment water filter cartridges in the piping system:

  • Surface filters (pleated) cartridges
  • Depth filters
  • Adsorptive filters
  • Spin-down filters

1. Surface Filter (Pleated) Cartridges

The surface filter (pleated) cartridge is the first type in the piping system. Surface filter cartridges were invented to stop sediments from going through the surface. The surface cartridge was made in a pleated shape so that the filter ability would increase, holding a larger number of sediments.

What Are the Advantages of Surface Filters (Pleated) Cartridges?

Compared to different types of sediment filter cartridges in the piping systems, surface filters (pleated) cartridges have the following advantages:

  • Increased Dirt Holding Capacity: Since it was made from a thicker filter material, a pleated cartridge is more efficient in retaining particles as compared to other types.
  • Longer Life: Since the material is typically thicker, surface filter cartridges also have a longer life. Fewer replacements will be needed.
  • No Binders or Additive: This will reduce the foaming that may otherwise occur in the filtering process.

What Are the Disadvantages of Surface Filters (Pleated) Cartridges?

Surfaces filters (pleated) cartridges have the following disadvantages:

  • Potential Water Wastage: Surface filters filter pleated cartridges gather sediment in the membrane. This may eventually lead to the wastage of water.
  • They Collect Only Large Sediments: Since they have a weaker filtering capacity compared to other cartridges, pleated cartridges only gather sediments around 50 microns and above.

2. Depth Filters

depth filter cartridges for water treatment Depth filter cartridges from the piping systems make use of filtration mediums with a porous surface to hold the particles. Depth filter cartridges are different from surface filters (pleated) cartridges, which only catch particles on the surface. The notable feature of depth filters is the fact that they use sand filters with significantly higher filtering rates compared to other types of cartridges.

There are three types of depth filters that may be installed:

I. Melt-blown Filters

Melt-blown filters are cartridges with a cylindrical shape made from fine polymer fibers. These fibers were melt-blown and then collected over a rotating spindle. Commonly, a melt-blown filter is made from polypropylene that can filter finer sediments. Since melt-blown filters are porous, they are important because they can filter through gases and liquids alike.

II. String-Wound Filters

String-wound filters are made through the process of weaving microfiber yarn around the core. Compared to other subtypes of depth filters, a string-wound filter has a honeycomb weave shape. Thanks to this gradient process, string-wound filters tend to have better filtration properties.

III. Bag Filters

Bag filters are used for purifying water with smaller particle loads. Bag filters are essential for reducing sand, silt, and dirt amounts from the water. The difference between bag filters and the other types is that a bag filter can reduce particles even at a high water flow rate.

What Are the Advantages of the Depth Filters?

The advantages of depth filters are:

  • Low Chances of Microbial Growth: The membranes of depth filters are thin, which means the chances of microbial growth are very thin.
  • Cost-Effective: Compared to other types of filter cartridges, depth filters are less expensive, and therefore, more convenient to replace.
  • Easy Maintenance: Depth filters are easier to install as compared to other filter cartridges. This means that their maintenance will be easy to handle.

What Are the Disadvantages of the Depth Filters?

The disadvantages of depth filters are:

  • Low Dirt Handling Capacity: As a result of surface retention, depth filters usually have a low dirt handling capacity. Only cleaner water may be used, with the purpose of removing potential microorganisms.
  • Larger Particles May Block the Flow: Particles that are bigger than the pore size will not be able to pass through depth filters. This may restrict the flow of the water through the passage.

3. Adsorptive Filters

Adsorptive filters are the third filter from the cartridge system. Adsorptive filters will drive the water from the bottom to the top, causing the liquid to be in contact with the filter for a longer time. This is important because it leads to a more efficient filtering process.

Adsorptive filters are essential when it comes to catching smaller contaminants that float above the water. One example of such a contaminant is oil. Adsorptive filters are typically made from carbon, which gives them increased oil absorption properties.

What Are the Advantages of Adsorptive Filters?

The advantages of adsorptive filters are:

  • Fungus Removing Ability: Since adsorptive filters are made from carbon, they have substantial fungus removing abilities. This makes adsorptive filters a good choice for filtering water from wells or fungus-prone water sources.
  • Odor Elimination: The activated carbon element also has the ability to remove odors from the water. These odors may be either organic (bacteria) or chemical (chlorine).
  • Effective at Catching Contaminants: Activated carbon adsorptive filters are slightly electro-positively charged, which means impurities and chemicals will be attracted to them. The filter will act in a similar way to a magnet, keeping the contaminants from passing through.

What Are the Disadvantages of Adsorptive Filters?

The disadvantages of adsorptive filters are:

  • High Cost: The cost of absorptive filters is typically higher in comparison to depth filters or other types of filters. This is because the cost of materials and manpower is higher.
  • High Maintenance: The adsorption system of adsorptive filters works by chemically binding the sediments to the carbon, trapping them there. This means that the impurities will stay there, and the cartridge will have to be replaced regularly, lest there is a risk of contaminants flowing back into the water.

4. Spin-Down Filters

Spin-down filters are made to capture larger contaminants such as dirt or rust, often used in water systems that pull water from the well. They have an important role in the piping system, as spin-down filters are mainly created to do the heavy lifting.

The water is pushed down in a centrifugal manner through the filter housing and down the sediment trapper. The filtered water will go back up and straight into the pipeline, all filtered out now.

What Are the Advantages of the Spin-Down Filters?

The advantages of spin-down filters are:

  • Reusable: Spin-down filters are typically reusable, which means people may put them back in the filter system after they are properly purged and cleaned. Made from a polyester screen, they are durable enough for reuse.
  • Easy to Maintain: Spin-down filters typically have clear covers that allow a full view of the sediment buildup. This will tell the user precisely when it is time to purge and clean them. For maintenance, users just have to press the flush valve.
  • Easy to Install: Spin-down filters need no mounting brackets, making them very easy to install. They are lightweight, meaning that they may be supported on the pipe on which they are installed.

What Are the Disadvantages of the Spin-Down Filters?

The disadvantages of spin-down filters are:

  • Expensive Purchase: While spin-down filters can save money in the long run, the initial purchase may be fairly expensive.
  • May Reduce Flow Rate: Spin-down filters are highly effective when it comes to filtering sediments from the water, but the downside is that they will reduce the flow rate.

What Are the Sediment Water Filter Cartridge Materials?

The sediment water filter cartridge materials are as follows:

  • Wound string – cord: affordable, high availability, prevents bacteria growth
  • Polypropylene: resistant to diluted acids, multiple design options, high filtering properties
  • Glass fiber: high pH change resistance, filters smaller particles, usable with high temperatures
  • Ceramic: reusable, prevent microorganism growth
  • Cellulose: biodegradable, recyclable, affordable

1. Wound String – Cord Cartridge Filter

Some sediment water filters are made mainly from wound string. By availability, wound string-cord cartridge filters are the easiest to come across, as they have been going around since 1930. These filter cartridges feature a string wound that is wrapped around a perforated core, creating a diamond pattern made of layers.   

In the early stages, the wound string was made from cotton. Later on, they moved towards synthetic fibers to prevent the growth of bacteria. Wound string filters may easily catch particles that are at the surface, as well as smaller particles from the center core. Since they are so common, wound string filters are also among the cheapest options.

2. Polypropylene Sediment Filters

As their name suggests, polypropylene sediment water filter cartridges are made from polypropylene. Compared to other plastics, polypropylene is a low-density synthetic polymer and is more resistant to diluted acids, making it a good choice for highly acidic water.

Filter cartridges made from polypropylene may take a variety of forms. Polypropylene filters can be made to look like foam, non-woven, pleated, nano-spun, and even melt-blown depth filters. Polypropylene is not very expensive compared to other materials but compared to wound string, it is slightly higher priced.

3. Glass Fiber Filters

Glass fiber is used in filter cartridges so that it may filter out smaller particles. Made usually either from quarts or borosilicate, glass fiber filters have a high resistance to pH changes, making them a good option for chlorinated water. Typically, glass fiber can catch particles between 0.3 and 1 micron.

Glass fiber is mostly used in depth filters, as the fiber is denser and captures particles much easier. Glass fiber filters can also be used at high temperatures, going from 400 to 500 degrees Celsius. This makes glass fiber filters suitable for industrial purposes.

4. Ceramic Filters

Made out of diatomaceous earth, ceramic filters are mostly silica-based. To form the ceramic, the diatomaceous earth is subjected to high temperatures so that it may be turned into a cartridge or a ceramic filter candle.

Ceramic filters are mainly used in order to filter out potential microorganisms. Often, the ceramic is infused with silver as well to prevent the growth of the microorganisms that are trapped within the filter.

Ceramic filters are a popular choice for convenience, as they are reusable. The user simply has to brush off the sediment layer at the top before placing it back. Replacement of ceramic filters is necessary, as even a reusable cartridge has to be changed at least every year.

5. Cellulose Filters

Cellulose filters are made using plant cellulose. Cellulose filters are natural and can be both quantitative and qualitative. Since they are biodegradable and recyclable, cellulose filters are a very popular choice nowadays.

The full filter system is made from a variety of materials. It features a cellulose surface with a pleated design, a polyester layer, and a polypropylene core. Cellulose filters are also one of the least expensive options.

How Does a Sediment Filter work?

sediment filter working principlesThose wondering how water filters work should know that they can either have an axial flow or a radial flow. Regardless of the option, sediment filters work by pushing water through a membrane and capturing the sediments. 

1. Axial Flow Sediment Filters Cartridge

Axial flow sediment filter cartridges have the water enter from one end of the cartridge, pass through the filter and then exit through the other end. The filtering material of axial flow sediment filters is situated between the two ends, and as the water flows through it, the material will capture the sediments. Axial flow sediment filters are loosely packed so that the water may easily go through the material.

2. Radial Flow Sediment Filter Cartridge

Radial flow sediment filter cartridges are very common, usually sold in the form of wound string filters. Rather than having the water move from one end to another as it happens with axial flow filters, radial flow sediment filters move the water from the cartridge wall and take it into the core. In other words, the water enters from the side rather than the edges.

How Do I Change a Sediment Filter Cartridge?

Even if the user is not a professional plumber, they should be able to learn how to replace a whole-house water filter sediment cartridge. Ideally, a sediment filter cartridge should be replaced every 6 to 12 months. To change a sediment filter cartridge, all that has to be done is turn off the water supply (or shut the valve, depending on the filter system), take out the housing, and remove and discard the dirty cartridge. Use some clear silicone to lubricate the O-ring and then add the new cartridge.

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