This week on our blog we will be focusing on well water treatment systems for removing sand and sediment as it can often be a significant issue for property owners.
Sand and sediment in well water is often a serious problem for many people using well water and will cause rapid deterioration of fixtures as well as appliances.
Sand and sediment may cause piping to plug up with sludge and result in loss of pressure in your home. Fixtures, as well as taps, can become worn out, and home appliances including washing machines wear out ahead of their time.
Thankfully there are many kinds of low-cost well water filters that work well to clear out sand and sediment as long as certain guidelines are observed. This particular article discusses the best systems to eliminate sand and sediment by using well water filters specially designed for this issue.
Step One: Identify the kind of sand or sediment existing in the water
The initial step should be to determine if the sand and sediment are coming from the well or within your home from decaying pipes or fixtures.
If your home has galvanized iron pipes, corrosion may cause the coating in the pipe to wear off and add what appears to be sediment into the water. An additional common cause of sediment in domestic water is the corrosion of the water heater tank. Most tank type water heaters contain glass lining which degrades with time and may appear as pieces of sand or hard glass-like sediment.
The anode rod in the water heater can also corrode and brown sand-like particles may show up inside the faucets and appliances. In the event that the washing machine is getting clogged up, but an inspection of the lavatory flush tank reveals no sediment, then the sediment may very well be coming from the water heater tank.
Try to run the water directly from the well to see if you’re able to identify some sediment in a white bucket.
Step Two: Get your water tested
The 2nd step would be to have the water tested for iron, manganese, hardness, tannin, sulfates, and turbidity.
If feasible have the lab to perform a particle count to look for the number of particles in the water. If your water is high in iron, manganese, sulfates or tannin, or possesses an odor of sulfur or ‘rotten-eggs’, then further treatment becomes necessary other than sediment filter systems.
Well water filters intended for sediment and sand removal aren’t appropriate for most water that contains iron and manganese because the iron and manganese are dissolved in the water and are not actual particles that can be filtered.
Step 3: Choose the most effective well water filters
Choose between 4 types, or combine the 4 for maximum performance and low maintenance:
Centrifugal Sand Separators: The sand separator works on the principle of centrifugal force removing over 98% of all 200 mesh sized particles (74 microns) and greater.
No moving parts to wear out, no screens, cartridges, cones or filter elements to clean or replace. The separator must be periodically purged, which is best done while the system is in operation and the water is flowing.
The accumulation of sand can then be manually flushed out, by opening a ball valve at the bottom of the separator, or automatically flushed out periodically by an auto flush valve.
Rusco Spin Down Filter Screens:
Spin down filters use a screen to filter out and trap coarse sand and sediment.
Periodically the spin down filter manual flush valve needs to be opened and any accumulated sediment flushed out.
Unlike finer micron filter cartridges that need to be changed or cleaned, the spin down filter cartridge lasts for a long time and does not usually need to be removed and cleaned, only flushed by opening the bottom valve.
Use the coarsest mesh (typically 30 to 60 mesh) deemed acceptable to filter the materials you want to remove. This will help to extend the life of your system and reduce how often the filter requires cleaning.
Micron-Rated Sediment Filter Cartridge Systems:
Filter cartridges are produced to strain out particles as small as a certain micron dimension.
Household well water filters that will take out particles 5 microns in size, will also take out 99% of the particles found in most well waters. In some cases, a 1 micron filter, or an ultra-filter system that filters down to less than 0.1 microns is required.
Start with the biggest dimensions which will work for your application to minimize costs reduce servicing demands.
Auto-Backwash Sediment Filtration Systems:
The lowest maintenance type of filter has no filter cartridges. In place of filter cartridges, it uses a type of loose filter media that is automatically back-washed. These work well for removing sediment but are not recommended for sand removal.
In some cases, if the well water has both sand and sediment, a centrifugal sand separator is first in line, followed by a sediment backwash filter.
These types of filter systems use either a filter and media or a combination of sand and anthracite coal to filter the water right down to the ten-micron range.
Ceramic filter media devices are also available that will filter the water right down to 5 microns and are auto back-washing. A centrifugal sand separator operates by spinning the water in a circular motion and causing large particles to fall towards the bottom part of the separator, in which they are easily flushed out.