The following is part two of a two-part article.
Whether the application is residential, commercial or
industrial; where and how the filter is used plays an important role in the
types of cartridges and housings selected to filter the fluid of choice.
The two main areas in the home that are filtered are where
the water enters the home, or point of entry (POE), and at the point where the
water is used, or point of use (POU).
A POE sediment filter should be sufficiently large to
provide service for three to four months between cartridge changes. This
usually requires a 9- or 20-inch long, 4-inch Outside Diameter (OD) sediment
cartridge with the appropriate housing. These large diameter sediment
cartridges are commonly installed on new well systems to prevent damage to the
plumbing system. If chlorine reduction is required, a 20-inch long 4-inch OD
carbon cartridge is the minimum size that should be installed.
POU under-the-counter systems are designed to reduce various
contaminants and generally contain one, two or three housings. In many areas of
the country where sediment is a problem, POE sediment filters are installed to
protect plumbing fixtures downstream. If sediment is an issue in your area and
the home's plumbing is not protected by a POE sediment filter, it is advisable
to install a prefilter to protect the under-the-counter filter.
There are many housings available that look very similar. It
is important that housings installed in residential applications are designed
for home use. You can ensure that a housing is safe to use with drinking water
and that it has passed minimal structural requirements by selecting housings
that are component listed by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), which is
an independent testing laboratory.
Many kitchens in restaurants, school cafeterias, hotels,
hospitals and healthcare facilities use filtration systems to remove
contaminants from water used for drinking, ice making, food preparation and
dishwashing. Because downtime can result in lost sales and profits, water
filters used in food service applications generally use larger capacity
cartridges and housings that require less frequent change-outs. Many of these
systems are designed to last from six to 12 months before the cartridges need
to be changed. Clear housings for prefilters or low pressure alarms can be used
to notify users when to change filters before the systems plug and shut down.
Water filters installed on cold water lines in food service
applications generally use talc-filled polypropylene housings. Water from these
housings and cartridge combinations provide water to ice machines, soft drink
dispensers, coffee makers and other areas where water is used to make food and
beverages. Flow rates for standard OD cartridges range from one to two gallons
per minute per housing. Requirements for higher flow rates can be achieved by
connecting multiple housings in parallel. Larger 4-inch OD cartridges can
provide flow rates of five to eight gallons per minute for chlorine reduction.
Smaller housings typically are used for individual equipment or polyphosphate
feeders for ice machines and coffee makers.
Because of increased operating temperatures of dish washing
equipment, hot/high pressure glass filled nylon (up to 160°F) or stainless
steel housings (up to 300°F) are used depending on the temperature of the
hot water being filtered and supplied to the equipment.
In addition to the food service areas, filter housings often
are applied to other parts of the building on individual ice machines and
drinking water fountains. Drinking water fountains use either a single 10-inch
housing containing a cartridge that improves taste and odor or, where lead
contamination is a concern, a cartridge that reduces lead in addition to
improving taste and odor.
Most laboratories will use different housings than would be
used in other applications. Because labs generally require ultrapure water for
testing purposes, they require special housings made of all natural
polypropylene. These housings can be specified with either double open end
(DOE) cartridges for standard sediment, softening and deionization cartridges
or single open end (SOE) with 222 or 226 O-ring seals for absolute micro- or
ultrafilters. Laboratories also may require filter housings to filter other fluids
in which chemical compatibility issues could become a factor. If chemical
compatibility is an issue, each application must be addressed individually.
This may result in a broad range of filter housings located in the same area
but filtering different fluids. There also may be systems featuring multiple
filter housings performing a variety of functions such as sediment, softening
and mixed-bed deionization.
Water used in commercial washing machines must be free of
rust particles to prevent damage claims and to extend the life of the
equipment. High levels of chlorine in the water also can cause damage by
bleaching expensive clothing, causing it to fade. To keep up with the great
demand for water and high flow rates, laundries generally use a large housing
or multiple housings. A duplex system may be installed to eliminate the down
time associated with shutting off the water for cartridge changes to a single
housing. Temperature also may be a concern if hot water is to be filtered.
Stainless steel and multiple cartridge stainless steel housings generally are
preferred. Smaller laundries can use up to four 20-inch by 4-inch OD cartridges
and housings in parallel systems for flow rates up to 80 gallons per minute.
Industrial filtration applications can range from small
batch filtration for paint applications to large duplex systems that
continuously produce water to reconstitute juices. There are many applications
for standard and large diameter filters and housings such as general sediment
filtration of water, oil absorption, chemical filtration and providing chlorine
free water for food processing. Gauges that measure pressure, pressure drop and
total gallons filtered often are used to indicate and predict when cartridges
should be changed. The housing sizes used in industrial applications are likely
to vary because of the need for differing flow rates, the range of contaminants
and the varying temperatures of the fluids being filtered. Generally speaking,
industrial applications use stainless steel housings, multiple cartridge
stainless steel housings, bag vessel assemblies or hot/high pressure housings.
These are the applications in which chemical compatibility may be an issue that
can limit the choices available.
Chemical plant applications present a host of challenges.
The primary concern is the chemical compatibility between the fluid being
filtered and the cartridges, housings and other components.
Oil adsorption is a growing market.
A standard polypropylene 20-inch by 4-inch OD cartridge and
housing with an oil adsorption cartridge can be used to filter the final
wastewater from gas and oil facilities, bilge water from leisure or commercial
shipping, surface runoff (truck stops and airports), auto service stations,
machine shops, industrial processes, factory and repair shops, and car and
truck washes. Prefiltration will extend the life of the cartridge(s) as will
reducing the flow rate to the lowest possible level.
Pressure drop in POU applications are not as critical as
those in POE or main line applications. POU pressure drops of 20 to 30 psi at
one to two gallons per minute are common in under sink water filter systems
with Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) cartridges. Since the treated water flows
through a separate tap, this pressure drop is not a problem. POE applications
on the other hand may require only one to two psi differentials when the
cartridges are new and the flow and water pressure are not restricted
downstream. This may require the use of larger-than-expected housings or
multiple housings in parallel to maintain the required pressure throughout the
service life of the cartridges as contaminants accumulate within the cartridge.
Some industrial as well as food service equipment applications require minimum
pressures to operate properly. Cartridge and housing pressure drop flow tables
from the manufacturer should be consulted to determine the clean pressure drops
that you can expect.
Typically the inlet and outlet of the housing matches the
pipe size of the location in which it is installed. However, in well water applications
where lower water pressures are typical, housings with larger inlet and outlet
openings should be installed to minimize additional pressure drops. Housings
and cartridges of 10- or 20-inch lengths and 4-inch OD often are used in well
water applications. Multiple housings also can be installed depending on the
water contaminants being filtered.
In recent years many low-cost cartridges and housings have
been introduced by small start-up operations and overseas suppliers. While
these housings may be indistinguishable in appearance and specifications from
the quality products of reputable manufacturers, they may be priced much lower.
When you encounter disparities in pricing, it could be an indication that
value-added features or differences in quality are behind them. Because these
may be important to you or your customer, it is advisable to make a more
thorough comparison of the products and factor the results into your purchase decision.
Independent certification of the manufacturer's claims is
one of the most important value-added features. Having an independent third
party use scientific testing to verify the manufacturer's claims may provide
some peace of mind in your ever increasing litigious business environment.
Housings may be tested and certified through NSF. Make sure that components you
use have received an NSF Standard 42 component listing--the minimum listing
required for drinking water applications. This certifies that the materials
will not leach harmful contaminants into the water and that the housing passes
the minimum structural requirements of 100,000 cycles of 0 to 150 psi and
minimum burst of 500 psi or four times recommended operating pressure.
While the importance of NSF certification cannot be
overstated, you should remember that tests are conducted on very few samples.
To be confident that the product you buy off the shelf performs to the levels
of those tested, purchase your housing from a company that is ISO9000 rated.
This rating certifies that the manufacturer has met strict quality criteria for
standards in the manufacturing and design process.
It also is important that the cartridges and housing you use
are made from the same manufacturer. While cartridges and housings may look
alike, there are important differences. Each manufacturer designs its
cartridges to fit the exact dimensions of its housings. Mixing cartridges and
housings can lead to a bypass of the cartridges' seals resulting in poor
performance, which could be a liability burden if health claims are made. This
is the reason that NSF tests cartridges and housings together and discourages
the use of cartridges built by one manufacturer in the housings built by
Many features are now available that make housings easier
for you to install and your customers to use. Integral brackets are molded into
the cap of the housing, which means you save the time spent installing add-on
metal brackets. Built-in brackets are more rigid than the metal brackets, and
because they're made from the same material as the rest of the housing, they
resist rust and are as chemically compatible to fluids as the rest of the
You also can buy housings with features that make it easy
for your customer to know when to change cartridges. Clear housings have been
used for several decades so that customers can see when the cartridge is dirty
and needs to be changed. One of the drawbacks of clear housings is they can
create an environment that supports the growth of algae when the housing is
exposed to sunlight, especially when located outside in warm climates.
An alternative to clear housings is using gauges that
indicate when cartridges should be changed. You can choose between several
different types of gauges. A standard pressure gauge measures the pressure on
one side of the housing. By using two of these simple pressure gauges, one on
each side of the housing, the differential pressure easily can be calculated by
subtracting the outlet pressure from the inlet pressure. Any easier way to
determine the differential pressure is to use a differential pressure gauge,
which takes the math out of determining when to change the cartridge. One
example of an easy-to-read gauge is a color change differential pressure gauge.
Either a green or a red color is shown to indicate when the filter needs to be
changed. Another type of differential pressure gauge uses a needle that points
to one of several colors from green to yellow to red to indicate the condition
of the cartridge. A filter change is indicated when the needle is in the red
area of the gauge.
Manufacturers of quality products maintain technical support
departments of highly trained specialists to assist customers in selecting and
installing their products. If you have any questions about the proper
application of a cartridge and housing combination, do not hesitate to call the
manufacturer of the products you purchase to get their recommendations. It
could save you time, money and an unhappy customer.