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Say Goodbye to Sediment: A Guide to Effective Sediment Filters

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

Sediment filters remove suspended particles from water using a porous physical barrier.
Sediment filters remove suspended particles from water using a porous physical barrier.

Having issues with cloudy, dirty water coming out of your taps and faucets? Dealing with buildup or clogging in your plumbing due to sediment or particulate matter in your water supply? A sediment filter could be the solution.

What is a Sediment Filter?

A sediment filter is a type of mechanical water filter designed to trap and remove suspended particles in water by using a physical barrier or media. Sediment filters work by forcing water through a porous filter media, such as a screen or mesh, with microscopic openings or pores that are smaller than the suspended particles. As contaminated water passes through the filter, the pores block sediment and particles, removing them from the water.

AquaBlue Whole House Filter System - An effective sediment filtration system designed for whole homes.

Sediment filters are incredibly useful for removing a wide variety of inorganic solid particles that can frequently contaminate water sources. They provide an efficient first stage of protection for residential, commercial, and industrial water filtration systems.

Why Use a Sediment Filter?

Installing the proper sediment filter delivers numerous benefits:

  • Improves clarity: Sediment filters remove suspended particles that cause discoloration, cloudiness, or turbidity in water. Filtration restores clarity and aesthetics.

  • Enhances flavors: By removing sediments and particulates, filtration can enhance and refresh the taste of drinking water.

  • Prolongs plumbing system lifespan: Sediment accumulation can wear out piping, water heaters, appliances, sprinklers, and more. Reducing particles preserves your plumbing.

  • Protects household appliances: Particles cause wear and tear on appliances like dish washers, ice makers, and washing machines. Sediment filters prolong appliance life.

  • Provides pre-filtration: Sediment removal is often a necessary pre-treatment step for other purification systems like water softeners, UV filters, reverse osmosis systems, and carbon filters.

  • Improves air quality: Whole house sediment filters reduce airborne particulate matter from shower water, protecting indoor air quality.

By removing solids from water, sediment filters deliver cleaner, better-tasting water while protecting plumbing and appliances.

Sediment Filter Media Types

Sediment filters utilize different types of porous media to trap particles. Common options include:

Screen Filters

Made using woven wire or mesh screens with different size openings to block particles. Simple and inexpensive but prone to clogging.

Melt-Blown Polypropylene Cartridges

Contain a matrix of randomly layered fine polypropylene fibers that captures particles as water flows through. Offer high dirt-holding capacity in a compact cartridge.

Activated Carbon Block Filters

Carbon block filters with very tight pores that filter out sediment while also removing some chemicals via adsorption. More expensive but also adsorbs chemicals.

Glass Fiber Cartridges

Tightly wound microglass fibers create a dense filter that effectively traps fine sediment while allowing water flow. Durable and high flow rate.

Pleated Media Cartridges

Use pleated sheets of filter media like polyester to maximize surface area. Allows high flow rate through the pleats. Easy to replace cartridges.

Ceramic Candles

Made of porous ceramic material that filters water as it flows through the internal pores. Extremely fine filtration but prone to breakage.

Strainer Baskets

Simple and inexpensive strainer baskets that contain loose filtration media like gravel. Frequent cleaning and replacement required.


Depth filters, quartz filters, string wound filters, foam or fabric filters. Many options available.

The right sediment filter type depends on factors like required filtration tightness, water flow rate, pressure, longevity, maintenance needs, and cost.

Choosing the Right Sediment Filter

Choosing an appropriate sediment filter requires matching the filter specifications to your specific water conditions and needs. Here are key factors to consider:

Filtration Ratings

Filtration ratings indicate the size of particles the filter can remove. Typical ratings:

  • 5-10 microns: Coarse filtration of sand and silt

  • 1 micron: Medium filtration for finer sediment

  • 0.5-1 micron: Tight filtration of very fine sediment and colloids

  • < 0.5 micron: Extremely fine sub-micron filtration

Select a micron rating suitable for your water’s contaminants.

Filter Media Type

Consider composition, effectiveness, lifespan, flow rate, and pressure drop of different media types. Assess maintenance requirements.

Flow Rate Capacities

Choose a filter with an adequate flow rate capacity in gallons per minute (GPM) for your water usage needs.

Installation Point

For whole house protection, install filtration where water enters the home. For point-of-use applications, install at individual appliances or taps.

Cost Considerations

Filter system and replacement costs. Weigh expenses against sediment risks and benefits of filtration.

By carefully matching the filter to your specific situation, you can gain optimized sediment removal. Professional guidance is recommended.

Typical Filter Locations

Common installation points for sediment filters include:

  • Whole house

  • Point-of-entry

  • Wellheads

  • Prior to water softeners

  • Before water heaters

  • Ahead of other purification systems (RO, UV, carbon filters, etc.)

  • Faucets and taps (point-of-use)

  • Shower heads

  • Irrigation systems

  • Pools and spas

  • Industrial and commercial process water intakes

Location depends on filtration goals. Multiple filters may be used at different points to protect all water uses.

Impressive Filtration Capabilities

Just how effective are sediment filters at removing contaminants from water? The results can be striking. Here are some common particulates effectively captured through sediment filtration:

  • Suspended solids - silt, clay, sand, sediment, silica, industrial particulates

  • Rust and scale - iron oxide, calcium carbonate, manganese

  • Metals - particulate lead, mercury, arsenic, aluminum, chromium, nickel, cadmium

  • Turbidity - particles causing cloudiness, haziness, discoloration

  • Algae - algal cells, algal bloom debris

  • Protozoa - cryptosporidium, giardia

  • Bacteria/viruses - some large bacteria and viruses attached to particles

  • Pesticides - particles with adsorbed pesticides, herbicides, fungicides

  • Fertilizers - some nitrogen and phosphorus compounds bound to sediment

  • Organic debris - plant matter, decaying leaves, wood dust

  • Asbestos - asbestos fibers and particulates

  • Plastics/microplastics - plastic fragments, microbeads, microfibers

  • Rubber - tire wear particles from vehicles

  • Soaps/detergents - some surfactants adsorbed onto particles

  • Paints/pigments - paint flakes, pigment particles

  • Textile fibers - fabric threads, fibers, lint

Sediment filters serve as an invaluable first barrier against these and many other troublesome particulate contaminants lurking in water.

Maintaining Peak Performance

To maintain sediment filtration efficiency, filters require periodic maintenance. Key tasks include:

  • Inspecting: Check filters regularly for signs of clogging or pressure buildup and replace if necessary.

  • Replacing: Replace filter cartridges per the manufacturer’s recommendations, usually every 3-6 months.

  • Cleaning: Clean reusable media filters by backwashing or rinsing per instructions.

  • Flushing: Flush housings and lines to purge trapped sediment.

  • Testing: Perform water tests before and after filters to assess performance.

  • Protecting: Pre-filter heavily contaminated water to preserve filter lifespan.

Proper sediment filter care optimizes performance, water quality, and cost-effectiveness.

Custom Solutions From the Pros

Dealing with excessive sediment or particles in your water? Our water quality experts at Aqua-Wise Water Treatment Solutions offer customized sediment filtration services to meet your specific needs, including:

  • Water testing and analysis

  • Selection of optimal filtration solutions

  • Whole house filter installation and maintenance

  • Specialized media filters (Katalox Light, greensand, activated alumina, etc.)

  • Advanced odor control filtration

  • Commercial and industrial water filtration


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