How to Filter Sediment Out of Water? Find Out Here!

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Sediment filtration is an excellent way to ensure you’re drinking clean water, especially if you have a private well or your water supply relies on deep wells.

Sediments can be pretty abrasive and affect your water-using appliances, fixtures, and plumbing system as a whole.

Read on to learn how to filter any sediment out of your water with minimum maintenance and little pressure drop.

Key Takeaways

  • The best way to filter sediment out of water will depend on the type and amount of sediment present. Consider having your water tested!
  • Spin-down filters are best for removing coarse sediment like sand.
  • Regular filter cartridges can be used for small to large sediment.
  • Backwashing filters don’t need any filter cartridge replacements.
  • Ultrafiltration targets very fine matter like colloidal sediment.

How to Filter Sediment from Water

The best way to remove sediment from your water will depend on the type and amount of sediment present.

Sediment water filters are widely available, so you may choose to buy any and see if it does the job. However, this option involves trial and error before finding the right one, and you may end up with poorly sized filters or use the wrong type for the kind of sediment in your water.

Why does this matter?

The wrong filter can result in reduced flow rates, water pressure drops, and more frequent maintenance.

So, here’s how you can ensure you get the correct filter to remove sediment from your water:

Test Your Water

When choosing a sediment filter, the first question you must ask yourself is, what type of sediment is in my water? Basic water testing and analysis is a good idea here.

Ideally, you test your water for sediments by hiring an EPA-certified professional lab that highlights every single contaminant and impurity. You can quickly find a lab near you through the EPA website.

Water Testing Report

Choose the Right Sediment Filter

Sediment filters capture and remove particulate matter from water by acting as physical barriers against different types of suspended solids.

They’re suitable for various applications, including residential well water treatment, coffee shops, restaurants, or swimming pools.

The Different Types of Sediment Filters and How They Work

You can choose from different sediment filter types depending on your needs and situation. These include:

Spin-Down Sediment Filters

Spin-down sediment filters are also called mesh-screen filters, and they use centrifugal force to get rid of sediment in your water.

The water enters the spin-down filter at the top. It’s spun in a centrifugal motion and then sent into the unit’s main chamber, where debris is pushed towards the outside. The sediment then settles at the bottom, and you can open a valve (occasionally) to remove the dirt.

Most spin-down filters can separate sediments in the 100 to 500-micron range using varying-sized screens. The practical size for home water wells is usually a 100 (150 microns) or 60 (250 microns) mesh.

Micron Filter Cartridges

Micron filter cartridges can remove fine sediment in the 0.5 to 100-micron range. So if you’re looking for a sediment filter that can remove both microscopic particulates as well as coarse sand from your water supply, micron filter cartridges are the top choice.

The cartridges come in various micron ratings and sizes. The smaller the micron rating, the finer the particles a filter can remove. A larger filter means a higher flow rate and filtration capacity.

Backwashing Filters

Sediment backwashing filters remove sediment from water while automatically backwashing from time to time. You can set them to backwash at night for five to ten minutes, flushing out all accumulated sediment which restores water flow and increases the filter media life.

Also called tank-style filters, backwashing filters come complete with a filter tank, bypass valve, an auto-backwash control valve, filter gravel, and media.

You can easily filter sediments and turbidity from your water with backwashing filters with little maintenance and no filter cartridges.

Ultrafiltration Systems

Ultrafiltration systems, also called UF membrane systems, can filter water down to less than 0.015 microns, effectively removing submicron sediments that conventional micron filter cartridges can’t clear. Such particles include bacteria, fine colloidal clay, and cryptosporidium.

What Micron Size Sediment Filter Do I Need?

As mentioned before, when choosing a sediment filter, you need to pay attention to the unit’s micron rating, as this determines the size of the particles it can filter.

In other words, you need to select a filter with a micron rating that matches the size of the smallest particles in your water you want to have removed. If you choose a higher rating, the sediment will merely slip through the filter.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what to aim for:

  • Very dirty water – aim for filters with a 50-micron rating
  • Water with sand – aim for filters with a 10-micron rating
  • Water with silt content – aim for a 1-micron to 5-micron rating

Chatting with a professional will help you choose a sediment filter with a micron rating that matches the size of the sediment or contaminant particles in your water.

whole house water filter cartridges of different sizes

How Often to Replace Sediment Filters

The more you use your filter, the sooner and more regularly you can expect to replace it. Much the same, the dirtier the water the unit must filter, the more wear and tear it will experience, which results in more frequent replacements.

If you run a hotel where water is consistently used in high quantities, you can expect to replace the filter more frequently than a filter used in a one-person home.

That said, it also comes down to your type of filter system. Spin-down filters have a reputation for lasting a lifetime if regularly cleaned. Still, if you’re investing in a backwashing sediment filter, you can expect to get a few years of service out of it before you need to replace it. The type of sediment filter that would need to be replaced most frequently is the cartridge-based filter, with most people replacing theirs every 3 to 12 months.

What Is Sediment in Water?

Sediments are particulates or suspended solids in your water, usually picked from one location and transported to another. They’re generally bigger than most water contaminants and can settle at the bottom of your water supply, float on the water’s surface, or cause it to have a cloudy appearance.

Some typical sediments found in water include sand, grit, gravel, dust, rust, silt, clay, and tannins.

How Does Sediment Get into Our Water Supplies?

The ongoing erosion process can cause sediments to occur in groundwater naturally. Streams and rivers can wear away soil and rocks and transport such particles as it moves or seeps into the ground. The water can also pick up additional sediments while traveling through soil layers and decaying animal and plant matter before reaching your aquifer.

You may also have old copper and iron pipes; they can corrode and cause rust or flakes of sediment to break off and enter your water supply.

If you have any questions about how to filter sediment out of water 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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