Water filter (C) Daniel FriedmanHow to Select Filters for Drinking Water Iron, Silt, Dirt, or Sulphur Odors

  • WATER FILTERS - SEDIMENT & IRON - CONTENTS: Use of filters to remove aesthetic water contaminants like minerals, hardness, sediment or iron. Use of water softeners to remove sulphur odors or other aesthetic water contaminants. Water treatment equipment choices, pros and cons of each water purification method.
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    This article explains using sediment filters or water softeners as options for correcting unsanitary or unsatisfactory aesthetic contaminants in drinking water such as sediment, dirt, sulphur odors, or minerals. This series of articles explains many common water contamination tests for bacteria and other contaminants in water samples.

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    Sediment Filters & Iron filters for Water Treatment

    Bathtub stains hard water (C) D Friedman

    [Click to enlarge any image]

    We describe what to do about contaminated water, listing common corrective measures when water test results are unsatisfactory.

    We include water testing and water correction measures warnings for home owners and especially for home buyers when certain conditions are encountered, with advice about what to do when these circumstances are encountered.

    How to remove aesthetic water contaminants and treatment systems: sediment, iron, odors, taste:

    Our photo (above) illustrates heavy white stains and mineral deposits on a tile bathroom wall and on the bath tub itself. These white stains may be soap scum but more likely are due to hard water high in mineral content. Red or brown stains are more likely due to high iron content.

    At WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS we discuss treatment systems that remove these contaminants. Below we discuss other water treatment methods (such as filtration) that remove other water contaminants.

    Water filter (C) Daniel Friedman

    Paper or charcoal or in some cases ceramic filters are installed at the entry point of water into the building to remove sediment, iron, and similar debris.

    TIP: when your water pressure declines or your pump begins clicking on and off rapidly, check to see if the filter has become very clogged and change it out. We once replaced a pump pressure switch only to discover that the problem was a clogged filter.

    The water filter shown at left is for sediment in the water supply. The cartridge can be changed to handle odors (see Sulphur Odor Filters) below;

    The installation of a water filter may affect the water flow rate and pressure in a building, particularly if the filter has become clogged.

    The frequency with which the water filter must be changed depends on the filter type and the level of particles or contaminants that the filter is removing from the water supply.

    For details see WATER FILTERS, HOME USE about cartridge type water filters

    Indications that the water filter needs to be changed include

    Watch out: particulates in the drinking water supply can significantly reduce the effectiveness of water treatment for contaminants such as bacterial or other pathogens. For examples

    Watch out: also that rapid short cycling of the water pump, as may be caused by a clogged sediment filter, can damage or even destroy the pump.

    Sulphur odor filters or Sulphur Treatment Systems

    Sulphur bacteria stains in toilet tank (C) Daniel Friedman

    If your water smells like "rotten eggs" the problem is likely to be sulphur dissolved in the water. The level of odor often varies seasonally as the level of the water table changes in the ground.

    You may also notice that the sulphur or rotten egg smell is much worse when water is first run in a building after you've been away several days.

    Our photo (left) shows sulphur-bacterial staining in a toilet tank. This cosmetic staining often accompanies high sulphur odors in water and can be addressed by well-established water treatment methods.

    While a chlorine injection system will reduce low levels of sulphur odor in water, potassium permanganate ("Green sand" in the words of my Culligan™ man) is used in a treatment system where this problem is severe.

    Odors in Drinking Water, provides more detail on the causes of odors in water, health risks associated with certain odors in drinking water, and various methods of treatment for water odors - how to get rid of the smell in water.

    For details about sulphur odors in drinking water see

    Water Softeners to Treat Hard Water, Iron, Lime, Mineral Deposits, Sulphur, Clogged Piping

    Photo of a home water softener system

    Water softeners principally remove minerals (mostly calcium and magnesium) from a "hard" water supply but may remove some lower levels of other contaminants such as iron and sulphur. If those problems are significant, an additional treatment step may be required.

    If your water is hard (measured in "grains of hardness") you want a water softener installed not only for aesthetic reasons (like getting a good lather when shampooing your hair) but also to avoid clogging the water supply piping with minerals (especially the hot water and very especially where tankless coils are used to provide hot water).

    Most water softeners work by an ion-exchange process: swapping a small amount of salt or sodium into the water to cause calcium and manganese to precipitate out as dirty sludge (which is periodically removed by back washing the treatment system).

    If building occupants require a zero level of sodium in drinking water they may want to install a reverse osmosis point of use supply treatment or in some homes people simply run a water supply line from ahead of the water softener to a single faucet to be used for drinking water.

    For complete details about using and maintaining water softeners see the articles listed

    Continue reading at WATER ODOR DIAGNOSIS - SULPHUR or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.



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