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Four Considerations When Choosing A Filtration System For Natural Water Sources

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If your operation draws water from a natural source, such as a pond, stream or well, then you probably appreciate the need for filtration to protect your downstream equipment. Unfiltered water can clog pipes or nozzles, and it can also introduce undesirable, foreign materials into your processes. Choosing a water filtration unit from a company like PFC Equipment, Inc isn't always easy, particularly if you aren't familiar with the technology. However, you don't need to know everything about filters to make the right choice. In fact, by understanding these four considerations, you will be in a great position to purchase the system that works for you. Here is what you need to consider when choosing a filtration unit:

Specific water source

Your filter must be suitable for the type of material that you want to separate from the water flow. For example, a water source that is based in a deep well may be contaminated by excess amounts of sand, and your filter media should match this particle size. Or, your water flow may be excessively salty, and while that will require additional water treatment to eliminate, you still need to consider how salt will affect your filter housing and internal components.

Some water sources may pose problems due to high amounts of living and dead organic matter; plants, leaves, and even aquatic animal life can cause significant problems for your system if the filter doesn't adequately control these materials. Organic matter can collect and decompose inside of your equipment, and this may generate undesirable gases or provide a media for harmful microorganism growth.

Operating pressure and flow rate

Filtration units are rated for both minimum and maximum operating pressures and flow rates. It is vital that you choose a filter that will be within the parameters that your system provides. For example, if you pump 300 gallons per minute, your filter cannot be rated for less than that; otherwise, you will damage the filter and possibly the pump or fittings with harmful back pressure. The same caution should be considered with minimum and maximum pressure ratings. High water pressure can defeat a filter, and your water may still be dirty as it leaves the system. Low water pressure can cause premature activation of automatic cleaning systems, and this is inefficient and wasteful.

Filtered particle size

Another consideration when purchasing filters is how large can unfiltered particles be and still remain within acceptable ranges for your application. For example, if you are using your water for irrigation, and it passes through a nozzle that is 2 millimeters in diameter, then your filter must be capable of stopping debris that is less than that size. Keep in mind that when decreasing the allowable particle size, you are also likely to decrease flow rate and increase pressure, and that has to be considered in light of the ranges that are appropriate for your system.

Filter maintenance needs

When purchasing a filter, you should also consider the need for routine maintenance. Systems are available in a variety of formats, but they can be broken into two broad categories: disposable filter media and cleanable filters.

Disposable media makes maintenance simpler by eliminating the need to clean out the debris; instead, the filter medium is removed as a whole, disposed, and replaced with a new unit. However, this does raise ongoing costs as filter media will need to be purchased on a regular basis. In addition, the capacity of disposable media filters can be limited, and this may make frequent replacement too costly or impractical.

Cleanable filters are another option, and these are systems that require removal of trapped debris from a reusable filter module. Some systems require that an operator manually perform a backwash procedure to flush debris from a filter, but others use automatic systems that rely on timers or measure pressure flow rates to determine when to flush. Self-cleaning systems are more costly to purchase, but the cost savings realized over time by eliminating the need to have an operator stop the process and manually intervene can equalize the difference.