How to Make a DIY Sediment Water Filter #Homemade

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A sediment water filter can remove sediments and other particles from your home’s water to improve its overall quality and prevent damaging of your water-using appliances and plumbing system.

While there are many filters on the market, it’s possible to build your own homemade sediment water filter if you prefer.

This guide will explain how. Be aware, this isn’t a purely DIY process, as it involves taking standard-sized filter housings and combining them with the appropriate filter cartridges. What you’re really doing is creating your own filter setup. However, as you’ll learn, doing so can be very advantageous.

Key Takeaways

  • Ideally, you test your water thoroughly to determine the type and size of sediment you are dealing with. This allows you to choose the most ideal filters.
  • We recommend step-down sediment filtration: Combining multiple sediment filter stages of different micron ratings in series (e.g., 50-10-5 microns).
  • Choosing standardized sizes provides for maximum flexibility.

Why Build Your Own Homemade Sediment Filter?

There are several potential reasons you might consider making a DIY sediment filter instead of purchasing one. They include the following:

  • Saving money. It will typically cost you less money to build a homemade sediment filter than to buy one.
  • If you successfully build a DIY sediment water filter that functions as intended, you’ll learn a lot about water filtration along the way.
  • You will be thoroughly familiar with how a homemade sediment filter that you’ve built works. This can theoretically make such tasks as installation, repairs, and replacing broken parts relatively simple.
  • Sediment filter systems may consist of a variety of components. Building your own gives you the freedom to choose which components you want to include in your system. For example, maybe you prefer pleated over string-wound filters, or maybe you don’t think it’s necessary to include pressure gauges. These are the types of choices you can make when you go the DIY route.
  • You likely won’t need to buy many supplies aside from the filter housings and cartridges. The other items you’ll need consist of common plumbing supplies that you can either pick up for a low price at your hardware store or find in your garage.
  • You have the option of modifying your DIY sediment water filter later if you wish to.

However, there are also some potential drawbacks you should be aware of before you commit to the decision to make this your next do-it-yourself project. They are:

  • You’ll need to devote some time to the process of making your filter.
  • You won’t have the peace of mind that comes from knowing experts manufactured it.

How to Make a DIY Sediment Water Filter

This thorough guide will provide all the information you need to build your DIY sediment water filter. Before building and installing it, consider having your water tested. This will help you better determine your filtration requirements.

Supplies and Tools You’ll Need

Tools and items to gather before starting the process include:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Drill + bit
  • Screwdriver
  • Hacksaw/pipe cutter
  • Bucket
  • Teflon tape
  • Mounting brackets (not always required)
  • Tubing
  • Shut-off valves
  • Optional: Bypass valves
  • Optional: Pressure gauges
  • Optional: Solder supplies
  • Various kinds of connectors, such as elbows, push fittings, tees, etc.

plumbing tools and supplies

Understanding the Different System Components

It’s important to understand the components of a sediment filter before building one. Your basic goal is to connect multiple filter stages in a series. Thus, you can select housings to accommodate 10” or 20” cartridges. The cartridges will be either 2.5” or 4.5” (big blue) in diameter.

Nearly every company offers filter cartridges made to fit these industry standard sizes. This means they’re interchangeable, which offers the following advantages:

  • You can choose from a vast selection of filters to match your water conditions.
  • You could save money by purchasing a cartridge from a lesser-known supplier instead of a more expensive one (of the same quality) from a more popular company.

Tip: Avoid using proprietary filters and housings. They only fit products from the same manufacturer. This allows the manufacturer to make more money by requiring customers to solely buy their products. It also allows the manufacturer to charge more for them.

Flow Rate

Consider flow rate when choosing a filter size. The larger the size, the greater the maximum flow rate. For instance, 2.5” x 10” may only deliver 2-3 gallons of filtered water per minute. This definitely isn’t enough for a whole house.

We recommend going with 4.5” x 10” or 4.5” x 20”. These are the commonly used sizes for whole house water filtration.

Additionally, larger filters need replacements less frequently, so that’s another plus.

By the way, homes with 2 to 3 bathrooms usually need a flow rate of around 10 gallons per minute (gpm).

Step-Down Sediment Filtration

Step-down sediment filtration involves multiple levels of filtration. It’s ideal when a home has multiple (sediment) water issues. Consider this example:

Your filter system may consist of 3 stages:

  • 50-micron sediment pre-filter
  • 10-micron sediment filter
  • 5-micron sediment filter

The 50-micron sediment pre-filter traps larger particles. This prevents them from prematurely clogging the next filter stages. Starting with a 50-micron filter stage removes sand, rust, and other dirt and debris which is ideal if you are on well water.

Important info about microns: A micron is one-thousandth of a millimeter. A smaller micron rating indicates a filter will trap smaller particles and offer more complete overall filtration.

This doesn’t necessarily mean smaller is always better in regard to micron ratings. Flow rate decreases as micron ratings get smaller. Because a whole house filter is meant to provide water for, well, the entire house, a drop in flow rate may be impractical. You must also consider that the flow rate and pressure will decrease with each additional filter stage.

You could even equip your DIY filter system with a carbon filter stage to improve your water’s taste and smell, and get rid of chemicals such as pesticides. Another popular option are iron filters.

Bypass + Shut-Off Valves (Optional)

You may want to install these components because they facilitate easier cartridge replacement. You can open the bypass to ensure your family still has access to water when you service your system.

Pressure Gauges (Optional)

Pressure gauges let you measure pressure before, in between, and after your filter chain. It’s wise to measure your pressure regularly. Replace one or more filter cartridges if the pressure drops substantially.

Backwashing Drain Connection (Optional)

Your DIY sediment filter will do substantial work removing large contaminants. This is particularly true if you have a private well. It can easily clog up and require frequent replacements. This can become costly over time.

Thus, you might consider adding a drain line connection to your sediment filters. This theoretically allows for backwashing, ensuring trapped sediment which accumulates will eventually be discharged from the filter body.

That said, this only really works with some types of sediment filters. For example, it works with pleated sediment filters, but doesn’t work with melt-blown filters. Also, and this is important, there’s no guarantee that adding a backwashing drain connection to your sediment filters will actually work as intended. This is something you can test out, but don’t assume it will definitely serve its purpose.

The Setup

Before installing your homemade sediment filter, carefully review the following points:

  • Ensure you’re complying with all local plumbing codes.
  • If possible, try to avoid outside installation.
  • Choose an easily-accessible location close to where your main water line enters the home. This ensures you’ll have filtered water at every outlet. If you’d prefer to have unfiltered water outside, split those lines off before you start the filtration chain.
  • Stay upstream of your water heater.

sediment water filter cartridges

Once you’ve gathered all your components, follow these steps to install your DIY sediment water filter:

  1. Shut off the main water supply.
  2. Open all faucets and fixtures to drain any water remaining in your system. Doing this will also release pressure.
  3. Cut into your main line and remove a large-enough section to accommodate the entire filter system and all its components. Water is likely to spill out, so keep a bucket nearby to catch it.
  4. Sand away any burrs on both ends of the cut pipe.
  5. Remove debris inside the pipe.
  6. Install a shut-off valve on either side of the system. This ensures easy maintenance. Optional: Add a bypass. Remember, this ensures your home still has water even when you’re servicing your system. For now, keep all valves shut.
  7. Install a pressure gauge beside each shut-off valve if you want the option to monitor input and output pressure.
  8. If you think it will help, attach a piece of plywood to the back wall. This can allow for easier mounting.
  9. Now, to install the system. You’ll need a decent amount of dry fitting for this step. Flex piping is an ideal option.
    1. Confirm In and Out ports of the filter housings are pointed in the right direction.
    2. When pipe sizes don’t fit, use adapters on ports.
    3. Apply Teflon tape on all threaded ends. This ensures sealing to help prevent leaks.
    4. Don’t over-tighten plastic fittings, as this can result in cracks.
    5. No soldering is necessary if you use push fittings.
    6. Ensure pipe ends are clean and keep heat away from plastic if you choose to solder.
  10. Add filter cartridges.
  11. Next, grease your O-rings and confirm they remain tight.
  12. Turn the water on again.
  13. Open all valves (except for the bypass valve).
  14. Check for leaks. If you find any, tighten fittings and filter housings accordingly.
  15. Water pipes are often used for grounding electrical systems in older homes. If this is the case with your home, install a jumper cable (copper wire) from one side of the filter to the other. This ensures the ground remains intact. Use grounding clamps for this task.
  16. Flush the entire system for a few minutes to remove old water, air, and installation debris.
  17. Close all outlets once pressure has been restored.

If you complete all the steps above properly, you should be all set! Remember, one of the benefits of building and installing a homemade sediment water filter is the freedom to make modifications as you see fit. Monitor your filter’s performance and make note of any changes you think might improve it.

If you have any questions about how to make a homemade sediment filter please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

About the Author Gene Fitzgerald

Gene Fitzgerald is one of the founders of BOS and currently head of content creation. She has 8+ years of experience as a water treatment specialist under her belt making her our senior scientist. Outside of BOS, Gene loves reading books on philosophy & social issues, making music, and hiking.
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