What is a Sediment Filter and How Does it Work?

Father and child washing fruit with filtered water

What is a Sediment Filter?

Sediment filters are designed to capture and remove sand, silt, dirt, and rust from water. By removing these particulates from water, a sediment filter is able to protect a water treatment system (such as a water softener or UV water sterilizer), as well as any water-using appliance.Sediment filter for well water and whole house applications

Sediment filters can reduce turbidity in water caused by the presence of "suspended solids". Suspended solids are sediment that is present but often invisible to the naked eye.

When Are Sediment Filters Used?

Sediment filters are used in a variety of applications including filtration for all the city water coming into a home, well water treatment, restaurants, commercial applications, and more. Sediment filters are also used with well water filter systems for private wells.

What is Sediment Filter Micron Rating?

Which sediment water filter (and specific micron rating) you need depends on the quality of your water and the type of water filtration you may already have installed.

Sediment filters are measured in "microns". The water filter micron rating indicates what size of contaminants the filter can trap and remove. The absolute value is the largest hole, and the "nominal" rating is the average hole size.

Understanding micron rating

A variety of sediment filters are available at different micron levels-- down to 1 micron. Filters with a high micron rating (i.e. 25 micron) have larger pores and are meant to filter particulates such as dirt particles, whereas a small size (like 1 micron) would filter and remove the Cryptosporidium parasite. To filter out bacteria, a .05 micron or smaller filter is recommended.

To put micron rating into perspective, 1 micron is .0004 inches, and ground coffee grains are about 100 microns.

What Does a 0.5 Micron Water Filter Remove?

A 0.5-micron water filter is a very small filter (not to be confused with a 5-micron filter which has much, much larger holes). A 0.5-micron filter is fine enough to remove cysts, such as giardia and cryptosporidium.

Sediment filtration acts as a barrier against particulates and grit that can clog household plumbing

Do I Need a Sediment Filter?

sediment filters - new and dirty filtersWhether you're on well water or city water, installing a whole-house sediment filter is probably a good idea.

Whole house sediment filters act as a barrier against particulates and grit that can foul your water filter system, clog household plumbing, and reduce the life of water-using appliances in the home-- such as a dishwasher, coffee machine, and water heater.

Sediment can also damage a whole-house water softener, as sand or silt can enter the system and scratch the system's fine-moving parts.

Sediment can also reduce the efficacy of a UV water filter system, commonly installed in homes with private wells. If left untreated, sediment can hinder the ability of UV light to reach waterborne microbes.

Because sediment filters are generally quite inexpensive, the protection they provide is usually well worth the extra expense.

two childs drinking purified water thanks to a sediment filter

Why Remove Sediment from Well Water

Well water often has a high level of organic matter and suspended solids. A sediment filter is designed to catch and filter out these particulates.

If on a private well, installing a sediment filter for well water is important for two reasons:

number 1

Sediment build up can damage water-using appliances such a washing machine or dishwasher. Sediment in water can also corrode fixtures and clog piping and valves. A whole-house sediment filter for well water improves the overall quality of the water coming into the home, thus protecting household plumbing and all water-using appliances.

number 2

The best way to purify well water is to install a UV water disinfection system. Ultraviolet light destroys bacteria in well water, but sediment may hinder a UV systems' effectiveness. Sediment can create shadows for bacteria to "hide behind" in the ultraviolet process, and if UV light doesn't reach the bacteria or virus, it cannot destroy those waterborne microorganisms. For this reason, most UV system manufacturers highly recommend installing a sediment pre-filter before the UV system to ensure proper water treatment.

Sediment Prefiltration Improves UV Water Disinfection

If you're going to install a UV water treatment system, you might want to install a sediment filter in front of the UV system. Filtering sediment from water first, will allow ultraviolet light to more effectively reach viruses and bacteria in the water. Harmful microbes can "hide in the shadows" of sediment and not allow for UV transmittance.

Expert Tip: for UV transmittance rate of > 75% the following parameters must be met

Click on tabs to see recommended levels for each contaminant

Iron should be at < 0.03 ppm (parts per million) before a UV system is installed.

Manganese should be at < 0.05 ppm (parts per million) before a UV system is installed.

Hardness should be at < 7 grains per gallon before a UV system is installed.

Turbidity should be at < 1 NTU per gallon before a UV system is installed. Water containing 1 mg of fine silica per liter has a turbidity of 1 NTU.

Tannins should be at < 0.1 ppm (parts per million) per gallon before a UV system is installed.

In order to achieve the above parameters for effective ultraviolet water disinfection, a sediment prefilter is usually necessary.

Depending on the hardness level, a water softener may be needed, as well. Again, an inexpensive sediment filter can do much to extend the life of the UV system, not to mention the improvement in UV effectiveness.

While any UV Water Purification Systems can work on a well water application, we recommend a UV system with a prefilter or combination sediment and carbon prefilters. The added carbon prefilter will help to improve the taste and odor of your water and this combination rack-mounted system is easy to install. It works 24/7 to protect the home from 99.99% harmful microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, cysts).

If you're not sure what contaminants are in your water, you can have your water tested by a lab.

The Viqua IHS22-D4 is a top-rated system for well water sediment removal and bacteria/virus treatment. With flow rates at 12 gallons per minute, it can provide.

Sold out
VIQUA IHS22-D4 UV Water Treatment System
  • The Viqua IHS22-D4 inclues two integrated prefilters to improve the taste and odor of your water.
  • LED Status system indicator.
  • All-in-one UV solution boasting added layers of water filtration and treatment.
  • Safeguards ALL the water coming into your home.


Why Do I Need a Sediment Filter?

Should I Install a Sediment Filter if I'm on City Water?

Even if you receive your water from a municipal treatment plant (city water), there's still a very high chance that sediment is in your water. That's why an inline water sediment filter is a good idea. If you're on city water, you might also consider installing a UV water filter to ensure all illness-causing microbes are removed from your water.

How Often Should I Replace a Sediment Filter?

How often sediment filters are replaced depends on the quality of your water and the type of water filter system. But generally speaking, sediment filters should be replaced every three to six months.

Sediment filters are inexpensive yet provide excellent value. In fact, they usually pay for themselves within a short amount of time by protecting an expensive water softener, UV water sterilizer or other water treatment system.

Have questions about which sediment filter (or system that integrates sediment filtration) you need? Our support team is ready to answer your questions 8 am to 5 pm Central Time, Monday through Friday: 469-521-9920.

Which Type of Sediment Filter is Best?

Depth Filters have the ability to capture dirt particles of various sizes. The outer filter layers have larger holes and trap bigger particles and the holes become increasingly smaller to trap smaller contaminants as it nears the filter core. For example, a filter might have a 25-micron material on the outside, and then the micron size reduces towards the inner part down to 1-micron rating, allowing it to trap and filter smaller-size particles.

Surface Filters only collect particulates on the outside pleated ridges of the filter. Some surface filters are recyclable meaning they can be washed and used again and again.

Reusable Filters are generally made of a durable polyester media that is chemical and bacteria resistant. These filters are made to catch large particulates and can be washed and reused again and again to extend the life of the cartridge. For these filters to be effective, they must be cleaned on a regular basis, and the maintenance schedule would vary depending on water quality.

Keep in mind that while a sediment filter can reduce sediment and decrease turbidity, sediment filters cannot remove heavy metals, chemicals or improve the taste and odor of water.

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