Guide written by:
Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff
There's only one solution to improve the quality of your water, whether it's from a rainwater collector, mains supply or well... Filtration. With anti-limescale, sediment, magnetic, activated charcoal and cartridge filters on offer, household water filtration is a fluid topic!
- Active carbon
Why install a water filtration system?
Before going into detail, it's important to bear in mind that setting up a water filtration system doesn't change whether a particular source of water is classed as potable (drinkable) or not. The kind of filtration we're talking about here is not effective for disinfecting contaminated water sources.
Let's look at the various scenarios where you might want to install a water filtration system.
Drinking water filtration
Whether your drinking water comes from the mains supply, a private well or a collector, you might want to modify certain chemical parameters to improve its quality. This can be for your own health or to protect your home appliances or heating system. The most common type of filtration is to eliminate (or at least limit) limescale. Any suspended solids can also be removed by this process provided the correct type of filter is used.
From a rainwater collector or pond, collected water can be pumped to power a toilet flush or pressure washer. In either case, the water must be cleared of any suspended matter it contains. Filtration is the ideal solution.
Rainwater harvesting is becoming increasingly popular given the rising cost of water. If you're collecting rainwater for sanitary purposes (flushing, washing, watering), installing a water filtration system is essential to protect your installation and equipment.
What different types of water filters are there?
There are a multitude of types of filters on the market, so we'll limit our discussion to the most commonly used types for a range of everyday purposes.
These provide conventional filtering without any active chemical processing, i.e. purely mechanical filtration. Capable of trapping suspended particles, cartridge filters are useful for reducing water turbidity (cloudiness). Filtrationcapacity is adjustable according to the size of the material you want to capture; just choose the most appropriate filtering diameter of cartridge. This varies from 5 to 100µm (microns). Cartridge filters are suitable for a wide variety of uses, from trapping grit present in a rainwater collector to filtering out microparticles at the supply point of the domestic water network. Often washable, cartridge filters must be replaced periodically. The most durable type are wound filters.
This type of filtration incorporates an active compound to limit or even eliminate the presence of tartar. Very useful for preventing scaling of pipes and sanitary installations. Polyphosphate filters can either be installed at the head of the network (after your water meter) or before specific appliances (for example at the water heater supply). Polyphosphates act chemically on the various scaling compounds, preventing solid deposits from forming. Depending on water consumption and the filter capacity, the active compound must be recharged once or twice a year. Polyphosphate filters may come in the form of cartridges as above.
Like the polyphosphates, magnetic filters make it possible to limit or eliminate tartar and limescale via the action of magnetic waves. The principle is essentially the same as above; chemical bonds are modified not by reaction with an additive but instead by the change of polarity of certain particles. Magnetic filters have the advantage of not using consumables (or indeed energy, for permanent magnet models). On the other hand, they are less efficient than polyphosphate filters. They are discreet and easily to install in a kitchen setting.
Active carbon filters
Advanced domestic water filtration intended to remove or reduce the presence of certain chemicals in your water. Active carbon can also reduce turbidity to some extent, as well as levels of some heavy metals. If you find that the water from your taps has a chlorine taste, an active carbon filter is the solution to neutralize the taste. Positioned at the water supply point, these are often combined with pre-filters to reduce clogging of the carbon elements, hence prolonging their lifetime. Factor in carbon replacement at least once a year as a rule.
Also called pre-filters. The purpose of a sediment filter is to protect the filter downstream of it by trapping the larger suspended materials. In most cases, filtration capacity is around 20µm. Positioned at the water supply point, just after the meter, they limit clogging of cartridge or active carbon filters, prolonging their lifetime and limiting maintenance.
Water filtration: necessary maintenance
Whatever type of filtration you choose, the aim is to improve water quality. Note that a poorly maintained filtration system doesn't just fail to fulfil its role; even worse, it can degrade the quality of the water flowing through it!
If you've installed a water filtration device, be vigilant and uncompromising about maintenance required for your installation.
Change your filters as required, check and recharge consumables regularly if necessary, and if using cartridge filters, periodically clean your cartridges.
A well-maintained water filtration system is an effective one!
Learn more about household water installations...
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Guide written by:
Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff, 128 guides
Electrician by trade, I first worked in industrial estates where I installed, wired and fixed a large number of electrical installations. After this, I managed a team of electricians for this type of work. 10 years or so ago, I turned to building and construction. From the modest family home, to gyms and theatres; I have been able to coordinate, audit and organise all sorts of construction sites. for 4 years now, I am restaoring and bulding an extrension to a bungalow in the heart of the welsh countyside. My experience in manual work and my knowledge means I am proud to be of service. Terraces, interior design, roofing, plumbing, electricty, anything goes! We have, my wife, daughter and I, built almost everything we have from scratch! So to answer all of your questions, and to orientate and advise you on coosing your tools? Easy!