Need new filters - what would you do?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by cwolfus, Dec 26, 2009.

  1. cwolfus

    cwolfus Past President

    So I'll start by saying I know nothing about filter systems. I've been picking up DI from my LFS for years and never had to learn anything about home filtration.

    Recently, a friend gave me this decent little 3 stage water filter system. It currently contains one poly pro sediment filter in position 1, and a carbon block filter (looks like the AWI Carbon Block Genuine Gem Filter) in position 2 and position 3. It had been sitting on a shelf for a few years and I do not know how much the filters were previously used.

    Anyways, I cleaned it up and ran it for a while. Currently my water is 48 tds going in and 48 tds coming out. Now that's filtration!

    So I figure I should replace the filters...

    I only need to make 10-15 gals a week. I am in San Francisco, which typically has good source water. The pipe in the house is newish copper.

    Any suggestions on where to go from here? I recognize that there is more to filtration than TDS, but I could use some advice. Do you recommend a DI cartridge in position 3? If so, what sediment and carbon filters would you recommend? If not, is a 10, 5, 1 micron filter set the answer?

    Attached files /attachments/sites/default/files/photo_3.jpg
  2. tuberider

    tuberider Guest

    Replace all of your cartridges including your membrane. If you are not using too much water and your TDS is low you can go with a 5 micron, 1 micron and a Pentek carbon cartridge that's super efficient at breaking down chlorine and chloramine, then to the membrane. Otherwise I'd get two or three 1 micron filters and run two standard carbon cartridges after the 1 micron and plan on changing the sediments out regularly (that's why I suggest you get more than one sediment cartridge). IME those two scenarios cover the bases limiting your chance of destroying the membrane prematurely and in the process destroying your tank ;)
  3. JAR

    JAR Supporting Member

    That filter unit is almost worthless. It is essentially a pre filter for a R/O membrane which you don't have. If you ran DI resin in one of the chambers you would lower your tds but it would use up the resin quickly. If I were you I would buy a Typhoon unit from Air Water and Ice.
    You could call them and get their advice but I think they would say the same thing.
    An R/O unit produces waste water so you need to install a waste water line and run it in the drain or yard or something. Some save waste water to use for irrigation.
  4. Jbon

    Jbon Guest

    I read somewhere recently that they were going to be working on Hetch Hetchy and that they were going to get more ground water pumped into SF. This would be like Livermore water with TDS > 300. Bulk Reef Supply is hard to beat for RO information and bits. Some people don't use DI if they consistently get TDS < 5. I like TDS = 0 and use 5 stages inc DI. Lots of ground water out here.
  5. Thales

    Thales Past President

    No RO membrane right? You need DI!

    I would go
    sediment, carbon, mixed bed DI

  6. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Yeah that is simply your prefilters, no RO membrane. So it's no surprise that the TDS going in is the TDS going out as sediment nor carbon filters will do anything to reduce that. What the sediment filter basically does is trap particles that could clog your carbon filter, and the carbon filter takes out some of the other nasties like chloramine/chlorine (you live in SF so its chloramine), and other potential chemical nasties (VOCs and heavy metals mostly).

    So that water is good to go for the aquarium except for the TDS which might fuel an algae outbreak, my place in the city has closer to 200 TDS so I can't really comment with any confidence of what that really would do to your aquarium.

    Definitely would change those filters out, however as your sediment filter looks like a rather large micron mesh, and is a tad dirty in the picture so who knows what crap is in there :D

    Never did the DI only route as I'd run through resin like crazy with my TDS, but I'd probably go with a 1 micron sediment, 5 micron carbon, and DI chamber and toss a TDS meter on that sucker so you can monitor your TDS in and out and see if your resin needs changing. I wouldn't go too small with size, I see too many places selling the 0.5 micron filters, and carbon doesn't work by physically preventing things through (it's absorbs via a chemical process) and for sediment, well a human red blood cell is around 7 microns in diameter so I doubt you really need to worry about chunks o dirty and crap getting that small. But the filter companies just love to sell those really expensive super fine sizes, then when they clog up you need to buy a new one much earlier than you should have to! :D

    If you need any filters let me know, I buy them by the case and the sediment filters I have (5micron and 1 micron) end up being about $1.50 each, and the 5 micron carbon blocks I think about $5 each (although I forgot the exact cost last I bought them)
  7. Raddogz

    Raddogz Guest

    This is what I recall while I was living in SF

    48-50 TDS coming into filter and about ~23-25 TDS after pre-filter and two carbon block filters before it got to RO membrane.

    The 1 micron filter would clog real easily for me at the time so it would be a good idea to stock up on them (last approx three months)
  8. cwolfus

    cwolfus Past President

    So do all carbon block filters remove chloramines, or only the Pentek carbon cartridge?

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