Re-doing my Pentec whole house filter (Big Blue)

Users who are viewing this thread

lee_leses

Member
Messages
103
Reaction score
3
Points
18
Location
Pennsylvania
I had a Big Blue installed as a whole house filter with a carbon block filter.

I'm finding I don't like filtering ALL the house water.

I was also told maybe I don't need it because in addition to my water supplier's (Aqua) filtering, they say the water softener I have also acts as a filter?

I do understand the concept of water testing and selecting a three or more stage filtering system for either the whole house or just the kitchen sink -- I don't want or probably need to go that far at this point. My supplied water is probably mostly ok. Mostly interested in any remaining tastes and the chlorine.

So the question is, could I move the whole house filter to filter ONLY the cold side water to the kitchen sink and refrigerator ice maker. Would that make better sense since I'm not starting out with well water?

Lastly, does anyone know of a whole house big blue style filter housing that offers easier filter changes and a built in bypass? Sometimes the big blue is a pain with not wanting to seal and/or not wanting to turn w/o a strap wrench! And also the one I had installed sadly is a Pentek knock-off! The O ring is not seated in it at all like the Pentek O ring is designed and it in fact "sucks" to do filter changes for it. lol
 

Valveman

Cary Austin
Staff member
Messages
13,220
Reaction score
916
Points
113
Location
Lubbock, Texas
Website
cyclestopvalves.com
I would want to filter at least the sediment before the softener. Never tried a big blue, but I would think being a "knock off" is your problem. Must be injecting chlorine? That is why your water taste bad. Do you really need chlorine injection?
 

lee_leses

Member
Messages
103
Reaction score
3
Points
18
Location
Pennsylvania
No, the chlorine is in there from Aqua, my water utility.

Thank you for pointing out filtering the sediment before the softener.

Yes, the knock off sucks! :(
 

Valveman

Cary Austin
Staff member
Messages
13,220
Reaction score
916
Points
113
Location
Lubbock, Texas
Website
cyclestopvalves.com
No, the chlorine is in there from Aqua, my water utility.

Thank you for pointing out filtering the sediment before the softener.

Yes, the knock off sucks! :(
Sorry. I hate city water because of the chlorine. My well water taste MUCH better. I think aeration or charcoal is the best way to remove chlorine. Shouldn't be much sediment in the city water. May not need pre-filtering.
 

Reach4

Well-Known Member
Messages
35,077
Reaction score
3,573
Points
113
Location
IL
I think changing out the existing whole house housing to use a lower-backpressure cartridge makes sense. I think the PENTEK-DGD-5005-20 is good if you have 4.5x20 housing. Keep a spare o-ring on hand. I suspect you could get a year out of that cartridge.

For kitchen cold, your carbon block idea sounds good.
 

Bannerman

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,292
Reaction score
593
Points
113
Location
Ontario, Canada
A carbon cartridge contains too little carbon thereby making it unsuitable for point-of-entry (whole house) filtration. Your BB carbon would be better utilized for the kitchen cold water requirements only.

Carbon removes contaminants by adsorption, and carbon with enhanced catalytic properties (Catalytic Carbon) will also catalyze some harmful compounds into less harmful compounds. These processes require adequate contact time with the media for the compounds to be removed/converted.

Because each compound will be adsorbed or will be catalyzed at a different rate, some will require longer contact time than others. The usual recommended maximum flow rate through the carbon media bed is 1-3 GPM per cubic foot of carbon depending on the compounds to be removed, but longer contact time is always desireable.

As a typical 10" X 2.5" or even a 20" X 4.5" carbon cartridge will contain only a fraction of 1 cubic feet of media, it is easy to recognize a standard carbon cartridge will contain too little media to support the flow rate for an effective point-of-entry system.

For your BB cartridge filter, a separate low flow faucet beside the kitchen sink will reduce the flow rate through the carbon block media, thereby increasing the contact time compared to plumbing the filter to the usual higher flowing kitchen faucet.

While even a small quantity of carbon will rapidly adsorb plain chlorine, there will be other compounds removed when a larger quantity of carbon is utilized, including THMs and other Disinfection By-products (DBPs). 1.5 ft3 of carbon is the usual minimum carbon quantity recommended for a point-of-entry system for a small home, with a greater amount of carbon always desireable. These types of systems will utilize a large tank and backwashing control valve, and will appear similar to a water softener.
 

lee_leses

Member
Messages
103
Reaction score
3
Points
18
Location
Pennsylvania
A carbon cartridge contains too little carbon thereby making it unsuitable for point-of-entry (whole house) filtration. Your BB carbon would be better utilized for the kitchen cold water requirements only.

Carbon removes contaminants by adsorption, and carbon with enhanced catalytic properties (Catalytic Carbon) will also catalyze some harmful compounds into less harmful compounds. These processes require adequate contact time with the media for the compounds to be removed/converted.

Because each compound will be adsorbed or will be catalyzed at a different rate, some will require longer contact time than others. The usual recommended maximum flow rate through the carbon media bed is 1-3 GPM per cubic foot of carbon depending on the compounds to be removed, but longer contact time is always desireable.

As a typical 10" X 2.5" or even a 20" X 4.5" carbon cartridge will contain only a fraction of 1 cubic feet of media, it is easy to recognize a standard carbon cartridge will contain too little media to support the flow rate for an effective point-of-entry system.

For your BB cartridge filter, a separate low flow faucet beside the kitchen sink will reduce the flow rate through the carbon block media, thereby increasing the contact time compared to plumbing the filter to the usual higher flowing kitchen faucet.

While even a small quantity of carbon will rapidly adsorb plain chlorine, there will be other compounds removed when a larger quantity of carbon is utilized, including THMs and other Disinfection By-products (DBPs). 1.5 ft3 of carbon is the usual minimum carbon quantity recommended for a point-of-entry system for a small home, with a greater amount of carbon always desireable. These types of systems will utilize a large tank and backwashing control valve, and will appear similar to a water softener.
Thank you SO much for taking the time to explain that. I'm going to re-read this later at work and might have more questions! Lee
 

Banjo Bud

Active Member
Messages
333
Reaction score
26
Points
28
Location
South Carolina
I have a big blue. The secret for me has been to #1. Put a new O ring on every time, at the very least, every other time. And #2. Don’t overtighten. That way it unscrews easier later. What I do is lightly silicone grease a new O ring, install the new O ring and filter, tighten just snug with my bare hands, then turn the water on and tighten until it doesn’t leak with my bare hands or the wrench only if necessary. Always works like a charm.
 

Fitter30

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,610
Reaction score
404
Points
83
Location
Peace valley missouri
Use Vaseline on the o ring it holds it to the housing for ease of assembly. Stretching the o ring helps. Haven't changed the gasket in 5 years. Still need a housing or strap wrench for removel.
 
Last edited:

Banjo Bud

Active Member
Messages
333
Reaction score
26
Points
28
Location
South Carolina
Vaseline is a petroleum based product. Petroleum products eat rubber. But that’s over a long period of time so as long as you replace the O ring regularly, it’ll be fine.
 

Bannerman

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,292
Reaction score
593
Points
113
Location
Ontario, Canada
Would not recommend a petroleum based lube such as Vaseline. Even if it is possible for the O-ring to tolerate extended petroleum contact without breaking down, not certain how petroleum will effect the filter housings over an extended term.

The appropriate silicone lubricants for O-rings for water treatment applications, will be food-grade.
 

Reach4

Well-Known Member
Messages
35,077
Reaction score
3,573
Points
113
Location
IL
Interesting topic. Those O-rings are made from nitrile / buna-N. Those are supposed to be resistant to petroleum. So petroleum jelly should be fine.

Still, I use Molykote 111 silicone grease for my static O-rings including big blue filter housings. It is good for more materials, in case I am mistaken about the rubber that the O-rings are made of. And I already have Molykote 111 handy, and it is officially approved for use around food stuff.

For those shopping for o-rings for Pentek 4.5 big blue, the official Pentek O-ring is part 151122.
Other part numbers that may be useful are Ace Hardware 4001756 or Ace 49561, American Plumber W 10-OR and 152032. 151122, UPC 33663005082, Culligan OR-100. Same ring for 4.5x10 and 4.5x20 Pentek Big Blue housings.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Pentek-O-Ring-PENTEK-OR-BB/206755424 says "A genuine OE part that should be replaced every third time you change your water filter. For best results, ensure your O-ring is lubricated with silicone grease, prior to installation."

I reuse unless the old one does not fit.

I am also able to bypass in a pinch. No pinch yet.
 

lee_leses

Member
Messages
103
Reaction score
3
Points
18
Location
Pennsylvania
Thanks everyone!

I really should post pictures that show the difference in the way the o-rings are seated in the housings. The Pentek housing is a much better design than the knockoff, and I like having an exact Pentek part number and part so there's NO guess work with the o-ring.

Water based lube all the way! LOL

Reach4 -- how is yours bypassed? Could I see a pic? I'm assuming you made a manifold with three ball valves? See pic

Does anyone make a whole house housing with a built in bypass? :)
 

Attachments

  • Bypass.jpg
    Bypass.jpg
    15.4 KB · Views: 52

Reach4

Well-Known Member
Messages
35,077
Reaction score
3,573
Points
113
Location
IL
The brass valves I got were made by Apollo. They were called Pipemaster, and they have been discontinued. They each serve as both valves and as unions. They were available in 3/4 and 1 inch. The pipe connections for each side were sold separately. They came in solder, PEX, threaded. However you can only use 3/4 inch connections on a 3/4 inch valve.

So those valves let me block the input and output. If I ever have the need, I plan to bypass that filter assembly with a potable water hose. One end will connect to the drain valve at the pressure tank. The other will attach to a boiler drain valve that follows the filters. I will use a double-female hose adapter on one end of the hose.
melnor-hose-fittings-59z-fb-hd-4f_100.jpg
That boiler drain valve was originally installed to refill my solution tank for my iron+H2S backwashing filter. I have since added another boiler drain valve fed by soft water, and I use the soft water to top off my solution tank after pouring in a bottle of bleach.

As a comment, BB housings are not tapped for hanging from the bracket if you buy the housing separately. They expect you to use 5/16 x 1 inch lag bolts. I suggest stainless.

The 20x4.5 inch housings are heavy when full of water. Don't mount so that you need to carry at arm's length.
There are Pentek big blue housings with drain, no bypass, but would save weight to empty.
150686 3/4" #10 Big Blue HFPP w/PR and 3/8" Sump Drain Valve 15.79" x 7.38"
150689 3/4" #20 Big Blue HFPP w/PR and 3/8" Sump Drain Valve 26.08" x 7.38"
150687 1" #10 Big Blue HFPP w/PR and 3/8" Sump Drain Valve 16.34" x 7.45"
150690 1" #20 Big Blue HFPP w/PR and 3/8" Sump Drain Valve 26.26" x 7.45"


Here are my notes on cartridge filters with bypass built in. You can look into these and tell us what you find:

Watts WH-LD Premier Whole House Filter System is smaller (I
estimate the 20x4.5 inch cartridges are about 6.5 times as much
filter surface), and has a clear housing. It has a built-in
bypass, which seems really nice to me. For city water, it may be
more than enough. I have not studied the cartridges, but it might
be worth looking at. As far as I can tell, that accepts the
commonly available 2.5 x 10 nominal sized cartridges.
I think the Watts unit has a proper bypass.

Pentek 655107 20 inch, 655106 10 inch. https://www.pentair.com/en-us/products/business-industry/filters-housings/big-white-with-bypass.html unambiguously states "1/2 turn valve allows you to go from filtered to non-filtered water" which addresses a concern I had. Is there a gotcha I am missing?

Corrected link: https://www.pentair.com/content/dam...310925-pentek-big-white-bypass-spec-sheet.pdf

O-ring seems to be square. Pentek (151254) Big White & Big Clear Filter Housing O-Rings - Square Cut

Culligan WH-HD200-C also looks interesting. I is not going to accept industry-standard cartridges, and like other filters with clear housing, it is not going to use a "filled" (fiber reinforced) sump. I think I would reject this because it has a battery-powered time-out. So does it shut down after a number of hours have passed? I don't know.
 
Last edited:

lee_leses

Member
Messages
103
Reaction score
3
Points
18
Location
Pennsylvania
Will write more later - GREAT post.

Yeah, some of these housings do seem to have square o-rings.

Your one link didn't work, but I get it! Will review - THANK YOU!

"Here are my notes on cartridge filters with bypass built in. You can look into these and tell us what you find:

Watts WH-LD Premier Whole House Filter System is smaller (I estimate the 20x4.5 inch cartridges are about 6.5 times as much
filter surface), and has a clear housing. It has a built-in bypass, which seems really nice to me. For city water, it may be
more than enough. I have not studied the cartridges, but it might be worth looking at. As far as I can tell, that accepts the
commonly available 2.5 x 10 nominal sized cartridges. I think the Watts unit has a proper bypass."
 

lee_leses

Member
Messages
103
Reaction score
3
Points
18
Location
Pennsylvania
It's looking more and more tempting to completely remove the whole house filter since I'm not on well water and just go with the water softener (which I only need to run on a very low salt setting) and a Brita water filter unit on the kitchen sink.
 

Attachments

  • Brita.jpg
    Brita.jpg
    34.6 KB · Views: 42

Reach4

Well-Known Member
Messages
35,077
Reaction score
3,573
Points
113
Location
IL
I would use a cartridge filter, maybe after the softener.

Few people use a cartridge filter on city water. Did you you ever see particle in the screen of an aerator? If there is sediment that can be caught in an aerator screen, there has to be a lot more finer sediment that a cartridge filter would catch.

But your Brita should catch sediment that makes it to the kitchen sink. Not the bathroom or water heater.

Incidentally, have you flushed your WH in the last year or two?
 

lee_leses

Member
Messages
103
Reaction score
3
Points
18
Location
Pennsylvania
I would use a cartridge filter, maybe after the softener.

Few people use a cartridge filter on city water. Did you you ever see particle in the screen of an aerator? If there is sediment that can be caught in an aerator screen, there has to be a lot more finer sediment that a cartridge filter would catch.

But your Brita should catch sediment that makes it to the kitchen sink. Not the bathroom or water heater.

Incidentally, have you flushed your WH in the last year or two?

As always great points.

Used to see a LOT in the screens at my parents house - my house has like no sediment issues at all that I've seen.

I NEED to get the water heater flushed - you're right about that.

I just looked in to the Pentec 655106 -- wow, I think I really like it Reach4. May replace what I have with that! Thanks for finding that.
 
Last edited:

lee_leses

Member
Messages
103
Reaction score
3
Points
18
Location
Pennsylvania
As always, there's a LOT more to this than first meets the eye!

See how the o-ring setup is completely different?

The knock off on the left has a square o-ring, and the Pentek on the right the o-ring is a lot skinnier than most of the generic o-rings for sale, and it sits in a special groove.

Lastly, is the black Pentek cap in the picture missing a filter adapter that should be there like the cap on the left where the red arrow is?

The one on left is just like the one currently installed and I don't like how it seals, or the lack of a specific brand name replacement o-ring with a specific part number.

Reach4 -- I ordered a 10" big white with bypass for a total of $50 shipped (list price over $100!) ! I'm leaning right now towards installing it. I note the bracket for the big white is sold separately for a list price of $42! May try some good generic pipe hangers instead!
 

Attachments

  • p2.jpg
    p2.jpg
    80.8 KB · Views: 48
  • p1.jpg
    p1.jpg
    93.6 KB · Views: 40
Top
Hey, wait a minute.

This is awkward, but...

It looks like you're using an ad blocker. We get it, but (1) terrylove.com can't live without ads, and (2) ad blockers can cause issues with videos and comments. If you'd like to support the site, please allow ads.

If any particular ad is your REASON for blocking ads, please let us know. We might be able to do something about it. Thanks.
I've Disabled AdBlock    No Thanks