Worried about sediment and suspended solids in your well water?
A sediment filter may be the solution you are looking for. These water filters remove unwanted particles from your water, improving the quality and protecting your pipes and appliances. They are an affordable and easy way to remove particles, dirt, and other debris from your drinking water.
Sediment filters can remove large solids such as sand and rust as well as very fine particles like silt and clay. You can treat all of your water with a whole-house filter or just treat it at your sink. You can choose between flushable filters that last for decades or disposal filters that you replace every few months.
With all of the different water filters to choose from, which one is right for you?
This guide discusses what they are, how they work, and why you need one. So read on to learn more!
What Is a Sediment Filter
A sediment filter is designed to remove suspended solids and particulates from your water. Sediment filters remove these particles from your water, improving the quality and protecting your pipes and appliances.
These water filters are typically installed at the water supply connection to your home or business, but they can also be used in other locations such as commercial applications.
What is sediment
Sediment is the solid material that is suspended in your water supply. This is why it is also known as suspended particles or turbidity.
The sediment consists of clay, silt, sand, and other insoluble materials. It may also include precipitated metals like iron and manganese. Sediment can make your water cloudy or discolored and clog your pipes and appliances which lead to costly repairs
These particulates are often too small to be visible to the naked eye. Despite this, they can cause a number of problems in your home. They can clog your pipes and appliances, leading to costly repairs.
How do they work
Sediment filters work by trapping these particles in a filter media. This can be a variety of materials such as sand, gravel, or activated carbon. Many filters are made of synthetic materials such as polypropylene or nylon fibers that are spun into filter fabric.
The filters are usually rated by the size of the particle that they can remove. For example, a 20-micron filter will remove particles that are 20 microns and larger.
This rating is important to consider when shopping for a sediment filter because you want one that will work effectively in your situation. Match the micron rating to the size of particles in your water.
The smaller the micron rating, the more effective the filter is at removing particles from your water supply. Don’t use too small of a filter size because it will foul faster than a filter with a larger micron rating.
|Sediment filters remove unwanted particles from water, improving its quality and protecting pipes and appliances.|
|These filters can be installed for the whole house or just at the sink, and are available as flushable or disposable filters.|
|Sediment consists of clay, silt, sand, and other insoluble materials, which can cause issues in homes and appliances.|
|Sediment filters work by trapping particles in a filter media, and the smaller the micron rating, the more effective the filter is.|
|Benefits of sediment filters include protecting plumbing fixtures and appliances, preventing fouling of other treatment systems, enhancing UV light disinfection, and protecting reverse osmosis systems.|
|Limitations of sediment filters include not being effective at removing dissolved solids, microorganisms, taste, odor, and hardness minerals from water.|
|Factors to consider when choosing a sediment filter include the micron rating and the specific contaminants present in your water.|
Benefits of Sediment Filters
Sediment filters have a number of benefits for both residential and commercial applications. They are an affordable way to protect your pipes and appliances from sediment buildup, which can lead to costly repairs or even replacement costs down the road.
They also improve water quality by removing particles that may be unpleasant tasting or visually unappealing in nature such as rust, silt, clay, and other debris.
Water filtration protects plumbing fixtures and appliances
One of the primary benefits of sediment filters is that they protect your plumbing fixtures and appliances from sediment buildup. This is important because over time, these particles can clog your pipes and reduce the flow of water.
If sediment accumulates in appliances like your dishwasher, it can damage the pump or clog the drain line. In extreme cases, it may even cause an overflow of water in these appliances.
Water filters prevent fouling of other treatment systems
Many homes have water treatment systems such as water softeners, reverse osmosis filters, or activated carbon filters. These devices can be expensive to replace when they foul.
A water filter is an affordable way to protect these other systems by removing the sediment before it can accumulate in them and cause fouling problems. The result is less maintenance costs over time, which saves money on repairs or replacement costs down the road
Sediment water filter enhances UV light disinfection – better bacteria removal
A significant percentage of homes with private wells use ultraviolet (UV) light disinfection to sanitize their water and eliminate bacteria. Installing a sediment well water filter can enhance their performance significantly.
UV light is an environmentally friendly and sustainable way to disinfect your water supply, but it requires a specific dose of UV radiation to effectively kill bacteria like E.coli or Giardia cysts. Suspended solids, especially fine particles, reduce the light transmission which may allow some microorganisms to pass through the UV light and survive.
A water filter removes these particles from the water, which allows more UV radiation to reach the bacteria and kill them. This results in a higher level of disinfection for your water supply and improved water quality.
Protects reverse osmosis systems
If you have a reverse osmosis filter in your home, it is important to protect it from sediment buildup. Over time, these particles can clog the membrane of the filter and reduce its efficiency. RO membranes are the key to their performance, and replacing a membrane is expensive
Sediment filters are an affordable way to protect your reverse osmosis system from fouling and extend its life span. They remove these particles before they can accumulate in the filter and cause problems.
Limitations of Sediment Filters
Sediment filters do have a few limitations that you should be aware of before purchasing one.
- TDS. They are not effective at removing dissolved solids from the water, so they may not be suitable for homes with high levels of hardness or mineral content.
- Microorganisms. A water filter will not protect your home from bacteria or viruses. It is best to use a sediment filer in conjunction with another type of treatment device for these contaminants. Learn about removing bacteria from drinking water in my article.
- Smell, taste, and odor. Sediment filters are also not effective at removing taste, odor and chemical contaminants from the water. Activated carbon filters work very well for this problem.
- Hardness minerals. A sediment water filter will not remove hardness minerals from the water, so they may not be suitable for homes with high levels of these minerals. Consider a water softener or reverse osmosis filter to address hardness.
Factors to Consider
If you are on a well and have sediment in your water, installing a water filter is a must. A sediment filter will remove all the dirt, sand, and other particles from your water. This will help to improve the taste, clarity, and overall quality of your water.
When considering a sediment filter for your home, there are a few factors you should take into account.
Micron rating of sediment filter
The micron rating of a sediment filter refers to the size of particles it can remove from your water supply. Most filters are rated between 0.35 and 150 microns, but we recommend choosing one that matches the particles in your water. If you’re trying to remove sand, you’ll need a coarser filter size than if you’re dealing with silt.
|Type of Sediment||Filter Size|
|sand, grit, and pipe scale||150 micron|
|very fine sand and grit||100-micron|
|fine, dust-like sediment||15-micron|
Where to install sediment filter
There are several types of sediment filter you can use for your well water. They all can be installed at the point of entry (POE) or point of use (POU). The most common one is to install a whole-house (POE) filter. It will filter water for the entire home, so it does not require another filter in each individual faucet.
A common strategy people use is a whole-house filter to remove the bulk of the solids combined with a second filter at the faucet. This will allow you to remove cloudiness or other impurities from the water you drink and cook with without the expense of this higher level of treatment where it isn’t necessary.
You should also consider installing a filter upstream of your other water treatment equipment. Filtering water is a simple way to enhance the performance of your other water treatment equipment. If you have any of the following, an additional sediment filter will improve their performance and reduce the maintenance you have to perform on them.
- refrigerator filter
- activated carbon filter
- reverse osmosis filter
- water softener
- water heater
Flow rate capacity
The flow rate is the speed at which water flows through the filter and it is measured in gallons per minute (GPM). This will tell you how much water can be filtered before it needs to be changed or replaced.
By all rights, this is where you want to splurge. Buy the largest filter you can to maximize the flow rate of your home water.
Filter capacity – size and type matter
With a whole-house sediment filter, the capacity of your filter is important. It will often be measured in the number of gallons it can filter before needing to be changed.
The type, size and amount of sediment you want to remove from your water system determine how much filter media you need. As a general rule, bigger is better when installing a filter since they have more capacity for filtering particles out of the water before you have to backwash it or replace the filter elements.
Don’t skimp on capacity to save a few dollars up front. You’ll pay for it later with more maintenance and costs for filter replacements. By all rights, this is where you should splurge.
Flushable versus disposable filters and sand filters
Some sediment filters can be cleaned by backwashing them with clean water while others require you to replace the spent filter element with a new one.
Flushable filters are larger and more expensive than disposable filters. Over time, they may be more economical because you don’t have to replace them as often, but the initial investment is higher. Buying a better filtration system will make your life easier.
The main benefit of disposable filters is that they are smaller and easier to install. They also can be less expensive than flushable filters. However, you will need to replace them more often.
Which sediment filter should I buy?
You need to calculate the solids loading to determine which way to go. If you use a lot of water or have a significant concentration of suspended solids in your water, then a flushable filter is likely the better choice.
If you don’t use much water or it’s relatively clean, a disposable filter system may be cheaper.
Maintenance costs will be the biggest expense of any sediment system. Pay attention to this factor when selecting the filter for your home.
Even if you have a filter with a high capacity, it’s important to understand how often the filter will need to be cleaned or replaced. If you don’t properly maintain your sediment filter, it will not work as well as it should and could eventually damage your entire water system.
Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully so that you understand the recommended maintenance schedule and how to properly clean or replace your filter. Other products to consider are chemical injection systems, settling tanks, and clarifiers.
Tips to Improve Filter Performance
If you’re considering adding a sediment filter to your home water system, here are a few tips to improve its performance.
Install multiple filters in series
Typically, there is a wide range of particle sizes in your water. You might have large particles like sand and rust combined with small solids like silt. Rather than using one filter to remove both, you’ll get better results with two filters in series.
Install a coarse filter as the primary unit. This one will remove the large particles while allowing the finer solids to pass through. The second filter will trap the small stuff, providing you with clear, filtered water.
Using multiple filters in series like this provides a much longer service life for each filter. Even though you’re using two filters, they will last 4 or 5 times longer than a single filter of the same size.
Flow rate versus micron size
Pay attention to the flow rate you’ll need in your house. Smaller micron filters are great at removing small particles, but they also create a lot of friction which reduces your water pressure and the flow rate. Having an effective device that filters water will greatly improve the performance of the appliances in your home.
If you have a high flow-rate requirement, consider installing multiple filters in parallel instead of series to improve your system’s overall performance. You should also make sure to use the micron rating you need. Don’t buy a 0.5-micron filter just because it’s the finest filter size in the store. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Otherwise, you’ll unnecessarily end up with lower water pressure and reduced flow.
Allow space for maintenance
Before installing a sediment filter on the first section of pipe you see, think about how you will maintain it and all of the water systems.
Some sediment filters, especially flushable units, require connecting a hose to service them. Make sure you have enough space to perform any maintenance that may be required by the manufacturer’s instructions. If necessary, install a shutoff valve so you can turn off the water supply before removing or replacing your filter cartridge.
Types of Sediment Filter
There are several types of sediment filters on the market. Here is a quick overview of the most common types.
Spin-down sediment filter
Spin-down sediment filters can be cleaned when they are fouled by flushing them with water. This avoids the need to purchase and replace filter cartridges like other types of filters. They are an ideal choice for pre-filtering applications as well as whole house filtration.
Benefits of spin-down filters:
- Can be cleaned by flushing
- Relatively small
- Low maintenance costs – no disposal cartridges
- Optional auto-flush feature
- High water flow rate
Cartridge sediment filter
The most common type of filter for removing sediments is a cartridge. These filters are usually packaged with other various components and provide your first line defense against sediment.
A cartridge system includes a housing with the filter element inside. The housing has connections that allow it to be removed and replaced easily.
Cartridge filters typically last several months with regular usage. Once spent, they are removed and thrown away. The ongoing expense of buying and replacing spent cartridges often makes this type of filter more expensive than other types.
Benefits of cartridge filters:
- Easy to service
- Low initial cost
- Small size
- Simple installation
Multi-gradient sediment filter
Multi-gradient sediment filters are an efficient way to filter out the many different size particles in water. The multiple layers have larger and smaller microns which allow for better collection of dirt, rocks or other impurities depending on your needs.
Benefits of multi-gradient sediment filters:
- Long service life of filter element
- Best option for water with wide range of particle sizes
- Eliminates need for multiple filters
Pleated sediment filter
The pleated cartridge filter refers to the filter element – the paper or fabric material is folded to provide more surface area in the same size housing. This design allows for more trapping space which can be beneficial if you need to remove large particles like sand or dust from your water supply.
These filters are generally used for large particles. It is difficult to get a small micron rating due to the pleating configuration of the element.
Benefits of pleated filters:
- Very small size relative to filter capacity
- Good longevity of filter element
- Effective for large particles
Maintenance Requirements for Well Sediment Filter
Sediment filters must be properly maintained in order to achieve the best results and extend the life of the filter.
Here are some general tips for keeping your sediment filter clean:
Regularly check your sediment filter for dirt, debris, or other impurities that may have collected on the surface
Flush your sediment filter regularly (every few weeks) with a garden hose to remove any build-up that may have occurred
Use a flow control valve to flush your sediment filter. This will help you clean the entire surface area of the filter while allowing water to flow freely once it’s finished cleaning
Change out and replace filters when needed to ensure proper filtration performance and longevity. Otherwise, dirty filters can cause blockages or other problems in your system
Here are some general tips for knowing when to replace your sediment filter:
Inspect the water coming out of the faucet. If it has a brown or yellow tint, that means there is still dirt and debris present which needs removal. You may need to change filters more often depending on how bad the water looks
If you notice a decrease in water pressure, it could be due to a clogged filter. This will need to be addressed and corrected as soon as possible
The lifespan of your sediment filter depends on how often it’s used, the type of sediment present, and other factors. As a general rule, replace your filters every two to three months.
Replacing a sediment filter should be done at least once per year on your own. If you use chlorinated well water, replace it every six months instead because chlorine will cause the filters to deteriorate faster than clean, non-chlorinated water
Cost of Sediment Filter
Sediment filter costs include the purchase price of the filter housing, installation, and ongoing maintenance. If you have a cartridge filter system, you will also need to purchase replacement cartridges on a regular basis.
Purchase cost of sediment filter – quality is expensive
The typical cost to have a professional install a whole house sediment filter is about $1,800. This cost includes design and testing services, the purchase price of the filter, and labor and materials to install it.
Installation cost of sediment filter
If you buy your own filter, a plumber will charge you between $150 and $1,000 to install it. Costs vary depending on the type of filter you buy, the configuration of your home’s plumbing system, and whether you need a backwash line or drain valve.
If you are handy, you can install a sediment filter yourself. You’ll need to have some plumbing skills, as well as some tools, but you can save a lot of money by doing it yourself. Expect to pay about $20 to $100 for materials, depending on your project’s requirements.
Maintenance costs for sediment filters
If you bought a flushable filter, then your maintenance costs will be $0. This type of filter doesn’t require buying cartridges or other consumable items.
For cartridge filters, you’ll need to replace them every 2 to 6 months. The frequency depends on how much water you use, the quantity of particles in your water, and the capacity of the filter elements.
Costs for new filters can range from $20 for paper and polypropylene to as much as $400 for combination filters (sediment plus carbon). A typical cost is about $200 to $500 per year.
Do I need a sediment filter if I have public water?
A sediment filter is a good idea if you have public water and want to protect your equipment, but it’s not mandatory. Public water, also known as tap water, has much less turbidity and suspended solids than well water. However, you still need to filter public water to protect your water treatment equipment and keep your water system running smoothly. A whole house water filter may be the ideal solution for you.
What micron rating sediment filter do I need?
Match micron rating of a sediment filter to the size of particles in your water supply. You want the filter size to be slightly smaller than the smallest particles you’re trying to remove.
If you’re not sure what micron rating to choose, start with a 20-micron rating and increase or decrease as needed. This will work for most homes that have well water with low levels of sediment.
Final Take on Sediment Filters
If you are on the lookout for a sediment filter or have questions about what type of sediment filter will work best for your home and needs, this comprehensive guide is a great place to start. Investing in a water filtration system will improve the quality of your drinking water and enhance the performance of your appliances.
We’ve outlined all the different types of sediment filters available on the market today, as well as their benefits and limitations. Additionally, we’ve provided some factors you should consider when purchasing a sediment filter, as well as tips for maintaining your new water treatment system. Finally, we’ve compared some of the most popular brands of sediment filters so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you.
Hopefully this article has answered all your questions and helped you choose the perfect sediment filter for your home!