What is Sediment Filter? Working Mechanism, Uses & Size Guide

When it comes to water filters, sediment filters and carbon filters are the most common types of water filters. They are present in almost all the whole house filtration systems or under sink filtration system. The sediment filter is the first filter in most of the filtration systems and helps in filtering the water and extending the life of other filters.

In this article, we will explore the working of a sediment filter, and some of its benefits.

What is a Sediment Filter?

To imagine the working of a sediment filter, consider a net that catches fish as water flows through it. It is a very fine net that is designed to remove suspended solids such as dirt, sediment, turbidity, or other particles in the water. Sediment is used as a general term for all the suspended particles that are present in your water. Rust can enter your water supply from plumbing pipes, rainwater can also disturb the quality of your water supply, and other particle impurities can also enter your water from different sources. A sediment filter is the first level of protection against these particles. It is not only responsible to improve the quality of the water; it also helps in extending the life of the subsequent filters in the filtration setup. Sediment filters are often used as a part of the filtration system. However, in some situations, it is also used independently as a swimming pool filter; restaurants use sediment filters to improve the quality of water for cooking and beverage making.

How does a Sediment Filter Work?

paper filtre inside a sediment filter

The sediment filters use the mechanical filtration process to make sure that the suspended solids stay behind and don’t leave with the filtered water. Consider the example of the net in your windows; it helps you to get fresh hair from outside but stops the bugs and other flying insects from entering your home. In the same way, the sediment filter makes use of a filtration screen or media to stop the suspended particles in water from leaving the filter.

The filtration screens have pores that allow water molecules to pass through and capture the dirt and sand in the water. A high-quality and effective sediment filter has a large surface area which allows maximum contact with water. Some filters use a depth gradient to filter out the sediments from the water.

Filtration Capacity

The sediment filter is focused on the defense of other filters against the following suspended particles in the water. A sediment filter can remove the following particles from the water

  • Visible particulate matter
  • Dirt
  • Sand
  • Dust
  • Debris
  • Turbidity
  • Cloudiness
  • Stops water from getting color: yellow, orange, or brown

Sediment filters do not remove the following

  • Heavy metals
  • Chemicals
  • Bacteria
  • Dissolved particulate matter
  • Do not impact the taste or smell of water

Uses of Sediment Filters

You will rarely find a sediment filter working alone other than the examples we mentioned above. Despite the fact that you are using a 3-stage, 5-stage, 7-stage, or a UV filtration system, sediment filter is a necessary part of it. Its uses are mentioned below

  • It is an important part of the water filtration system; either it is a RO system or UV light purification system. Sediment filter works as the pre-filter for capturing the particles in the water.
  • Sediment filters protect the carbon filters and increase their lifespan. Carbon filters are used to remove chlorine, chloramines, and other chemicals that impact the taste and smell of the water. They are also useful in removing the dissolved solids, a number of bacteria and other contaminants. Sediment filters reduce the workload on carbon filters and protect them from sediment. It results in an increased lifespan of carbon filters and enhances their working.
  • Sediment filters are also used for whole-house purposes. It protects your plumbing, pipes, showerheads, faucets, aerators, and other applications that use water, such as dishwashers, washing machines, and coffee makers. If sediment is allowed to pass through your water pipes, it can also impact the working of water heaters. Your refrigerator water filters can also be seriously harmed by the presence of sediment in the water. For people relying on well water, whole house sedimentation is necessary.  City water contains a relatively lower number of sediments. For city water users, sediment filters for drinking water is a must.

Best Size of Sediment Filter

different sizes of sediment filter

The working of a sediment filter depends upon the filtration capacity, and this capacity is measured in microns.  Most sediment filters come in sizes of 5 to 10 microns. It means that a 5-micron filter will remove everything larger than 5 microns. RO systems and UV light filtration systems come with a micron rating of 5 or 10. Experts are of the view that you must use a sediment filter with a 5-micron rating. No doubt, a 5-micron filter is a bit costly, but spending a little more on a sediment filter saves a lot by spending on costly UV Light bulbs or replacing an RO membrane before time.

Sediment Filter Replacement

The manufacturers suggest changing the filter every 6-12 months or the specified usage. Most of the filters have a working capacity somewhere between 300-600 gallons. Another way to guess the replacement time is to look at the pressure drop from the filter. There can be confusion in this, too, as the pressure drop can be due to a drop in supply pressure or because of other filters. Some filters come with a LED light to let you know that the time to replace the filter is near. You can also install clear filter housing; you can watch the accumulated sediment and then change the filter when it is full. You can also check the filter by opening the housing and removing the filter.

Final Thought

Sediment filters are an instrumental part of a filtration system. You need to make sure that you replace the filters on time and do not overwork your filter as it can be dangerous to your health, the next filters, and the appliances that use water.


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