According to the NIH, nearly all drinking water contains potentially dangerous suspended solids.
These particles can include anything from dirt to asbestos. They range from harmless to potentially carcinogenic and can pose a serious threat to human health.
Despite public water supply treatment and testing, Americans’ tap water is much less clean or safe than we like to think.
Fortunately, the right home filtration system can make all the difference. Keep reading to learn how a sediment water filter system can protect your home and be cost-effective.
What Is a Sediment Water Filter?
Sediment filters are water filters that pull solid particles out of your water supply. These particles may be referred to as:
- Suspended solids
Solids commonly suspended in tap water include:
- Dirt or clay
- Asbestos minerals
- Decomposing organic matter
Sediment filters capture these particles, removing them from your water for your safety.
How It Works
Sediment filters are among the most direct forms of water filtration. They work in essentially the same way as a sieve or dragnet. You can install a filtration system:
- On your refrigerator
- At your sink
- Where your main water supply enters the house
When the water goes through the filter, all particles larger than the filter’s mesh or trap contents get caught. Filters may use a fabric or mesh, or a “trap” of fine sand, anthracite, or another natural filtration material.
Clean water moves through the filter and goes on to your tap or water supply. Solid particles remain trapped in the filter. Periodically, you remove the dirty filter and replace it.
Filters are available in a variety of styles and materials, allowing you to customize your system to the needs of your home and water supply.
Who Needs One
Nearly every home can benefit from a sediment filtration system. Filters are especially valuable for homes:
- In regions with low CCR scores
- With very hard water supplies
- With residents who are children, elderly, or suffering from compromised immune systems
- On well water or other private water supplies
In addition to safeguarding your health, water filters can:
- Eliminate unpleasant tastes and odors from your water
- Reduce the accumulation of limescale and other unsightly buildups
- Reduce wear and improve efficiency on appliances (e.g. washing machines and dishwashers)
- Prevent clogging or damage to refrigerators and freezers
- Make cleaning easier
If your home or property has multiple multiple entry points, you will need to put separate filters on each one. For example, if you have a detached garage and water running to both the house and the garage, you will need separate filters for each building. Luckily, sediment filtration systems are easy to add to any home, regardless of size, age, or design.
Types of Sediment Filters
Most sediment filters are designed in a “drop-in” style. They are shaped roughly like paper towel tubes. This allows you to easily open the holder, pull out the old filter, and drop the new one in for instant, fuss-free replacement.
There are three primary styles of sediment filters based on what they are made of. These include:
- String wound
Each type comes in varying dimensions and thicknesses. It is important to use only the size and style dictated by your system for maximum effectiveness.
Choosing a System
When choosing the best sediment filter system for your home, there are several key things to take into consideration.
The benefits to your health make any filtration system a good investment. With that being said, you should choose a filter design and setup that is affordable to install and maintain.
Often, a whole-house filter is cheaper in the long term than multiple smaller filters. For households that cannot currently afford a whole-house, system, however, smaller filters can be a good interim measure.
Where you place a filter is directly related to your primary needs and preferences. For many households, the most effective place to put a filter is at the main water source. This allows all water coming into the home to be filtered before routing to various faucets and appliances.
Whole-house filters require more room and investment than smaller filters, however. Installing a system may also be complicated if you have very old or non-standard piping.
If it is not feasible or appropriate to install a whole-house system, smaller filters can be attached directly to faucets or appliances.
Filtration system size depends on where the filter is located. Whole-house filters are larger than those being installed on a single faucet or appliance.
The volume of water your home uses and the state of your water when it enters your home may also play key roles in the size and style of filtration that you select.
Singular or Combination Filters
It’s important to note that sediment filters remove only solid particles from your water. They cannot remove:
- Chemicals or biological agents
- Heavy metals
For many homes, sediment filtration was enough to suitably purify water. But, up to 25% of American public water systems are contaminated with toxins that sediment filters cannot remove. To know the quality of your water and to decide which system is best for you, it’s good to test your water yourself to be sure.
For these homes, a dual filtration system may be best. In a dual system, water is first run through a sediment filter to remove solid particles. It is then run through a secondary filter, such as a carbon filter, to remove remaining toxins.
Ordering Replacement Filters
On average, homeowners should expect to replace their filters no less than every six months. Filters may need replacement more often in homes with particularly hard water or high volume usage.