In line water filters/softners

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Time1992, Aug 11, 2007.

  1. Time1992

    Time1992 New Member

    Do they work and what type or brand would you recomend for a hose bib, washing machine, drinking water etc. that can be connected easily, or should I consider a whole house system and if so what kind etc. 4 person, 3 bath, 2800 sq ft. home. Thanks, Tim
  2. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Beginning with is it from a well or a municipal system, the water experts here will likely want to know more about your water before making any detailed recommendations. In my own case, my water softener needs a sediment filter in front of it, and that filter helps to keep my aerators clear at the sinks. Other than that, my water softener does whatever it does to my well water for whatever reason my wife appreciates!

    Oh, and especially if you have a septic tank and/or drain field of your own, the discharge from your washing machine should be filtered for lint removal. Over time, that lint can plug up a drain field.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2007
  3. Time1992

    Time1992 New Member

    In line water softner

    We are on a well
  4. smhowell

    smhowell New Member

    We had the shower plumbed for an inline chlorine remover; I'd be very interested in recommendations on brands/types.
  5. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    What and how much of it is in the water? Is the water ever visibly dirty? If not you shouldn't need a filter.

    Some softener control valves can't handle even invisible dirt buildup but most can and a prefilter will cause more harm than good. The harm is reduced water flow and pressure and less than optimum backwash of the resin.
  6. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    New Hampshire
    I install filters to treat lake and spring water for small "community" water systems such as for residential summer camps and very small communities.

    All of the filters are installed between the pump and the system and there are no problems.

    However, it must be done right and it MUST be maintained by the owner.

    First, wells generally have a very small load of suspended solids so they usually don't require filtering. However, some contain silt or even very fine sand from the aquifer. It usually looks like mud or silt when collected on the filter.

    If there are no suspended solids (dirt) then adding a filter does nothing good or bad. If there are no suspended solids then it never plugs and the pressure loss will be about 1 psi.

    If you install a "whole house" filter then you should consider trying to separate irrigation water from the household supply to avoid having to filter it. If you use less water outside than you do in the house then it is probably not worth the trouble to separate it.

    Whatever filter you install should have lots of capacity. Most of my system use string-wound cartriges that operate at about 0.5 GPM per equivalent 10" length. That gives very long life even on lake water (which is worse than well water) and the cartridge cost is usually about $0.20 per 1000 gallons of water.

    In very small household systems I have installed pleated polyester cartridges. The cartridge cost is greater but depends on the amount of dirt in the water. Annual cartridge cost is less if you add more filters. Doubling the number of units will cut the annual cost (cost per unit of water filtered) by at least 1/3.

    Most submerisble well pumps have a lot of excess head at low flow and you can install the filter between the pump and the tank if you take proper precautions. That is a heretical statement to some, but it works if you do it right and it doesn't affect the performance of anything downstream of the tank.

    Filters between the pump and the tank (The pressure switch is at the tank) MUST HAVE a relief valve to protect the filter housing, and must be equipped with pressure gauges so you can monitor the pressure loss across the filter. The cartridges must be changed when the pressure loss across the filters reaches about 25 psi.

    Cartridges come in ratings from 1 to 50 microns. I would recommend something in the 5 to 20 micron range, which will remove particles smaller than you can see.

    I use the 20" long cartridges and put as many as necessry in parallel. I get generic "Big Blue" size housings from a place in California. They are about half the cost of housings from Harmsco.

    You can also get back-washable sand filters but they are not as effective as cartridge filters unless you are using chemical pretreatment. For example, swimming pool filters work well because they use chemical pretreatment of the water.

    Small "water softener size" sand filters that must be backwashed usually don't use pretreatment and aren't as effective as most cartrtidge filters in removing small particles. They have relatively small area (a 9" tank is about 0.44 square ft, compared to about 0.54 square ft for a single 2.5" diameter x 10" string wound cartridge) so they must be backwashed frequently if they are collecting a lot of dirt. That backwash process us usually automated.
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    The vast majority of homeowners want to do it right but... don't want increased maintenance and baby sitting and eventually will not do the maintenance.
    You usually can't see silt or fine sand in well water and if it's clear... there is no visible 'dirt' and there is no need for any type of filter; yes EVEN IF there is a softener (except for Kinetico and rotary disc type control valves such as Ecowater and the big box store brands they manufacture: Kenmore, Whirlpool, GE, North Star, etc..
    I disagree with only 1 psi pressure loss across any disposable fitter housing, the fittings alone would have more than 1 psi drop.
    and very bad advice by others..... Speaking from experience as a pump and pressure tank dealer, and 21 years in water treatment.... there is no good reason to filter water before a well pressure tank; absolutely none. And again, getting a homeowner into a situation where serious problems/damage can be done if maintenance is not done properly and on time is at least irresponsible IMO but... what happens if a slug of dirty water comes out of the well after a lightening strike or some other event is that the filter cartridge(s) block up and the high water pressure blows the PR valve and water goes wherever.

    All to remove invisible dirt that harms nothing....
    That increases the cost of materials and installation while requiring a serious increased need for maintenance. Most homeowners don't want that and won't do the maintenance.
    Not true. Any water treatment dealer has backwashed turbidity filters that remove particles down to 5 microns. We use a number of various minerals in addition to "sand"; that are as good and better than "sand".
    "... aren't as effective"!! You are not mentioning/thinking about the bed depth BobNH. The backwashed filter size (in ft3) is only limited by the gpm flow rate of the water system they are installed on. IOWs as long as the well water system can deliver the required gpm for successful backwashing, the filter can be used. The frequency of backwash is dictated by the size of the filter, the amount of turbidity (if you can't see it there's no sense in filtering), the volume of water treated (filtered) and what type of turbidity is being removed. Most backwashed filters will be sized to backwash every 3rd night to once per week. They are automatic and require no maintenance other than possible media/mineral replacement after many years of service.

    Many people mistakenly say they have sand or sediment problems in their plumbing when it actually is little balls of water hardness scale, and it does not come in with the water, it forms in the pipes and aerator and washing machine screens etc..

    Also, IIRC, most wells in the US are rock bores, not screened sand and gravel types.
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