A water filtration system for your home or property will often improve the quality of your water, but proper installation is important for many reasons. In this article, we will discuss the proper installation of a standard backwashing filter, like a water softener, neutralizing tank, carbon filter, and Iron filter.
There are a host of systems that filter water and periodically backwash. As mentioned above we will discuss the proper installation of this type of system to protect the health, and property and just to allow them to function and do their job correctly.
Triple check flow direction
An automatic filtration system has an inlet where the water comes in and an outlet where the water comes out. And the two are not interchangeable as some seem to think. If the system is plumbed in backward not only will it fail to work properly but can actually blow sediments and media up into the water heater, dishwasher, ice maker, washing machine, valves and so much more. We cannot stress enough how important it is to check flow direction before installation.
Water filtration system bypass
From the first day, your water filtration system is installed the clock starts to tick as to the first day it will fail. That day maybe 10 or 15 years away, but it is inevitable. After all, they have moving parts, and sooner or later they will fail. When that happens you need to have a bypass setup in place to take the unit out of service till it can be repaired or replaced.
Many units come with a bypass built in, but it has been the author’s experience that many of these factory bypasses have o rings that when need most fail. It is our recommendation that a 3-ball valve bypass is installed with your system. This way the system can be easily bypassed and this system can last for 30 years or more.
A Pre-filter is essential
Two things need to be understood. One is that all water has some sediment in it and that includes city water. The second is that all water filtration systems have moving parts and sediment is like an abrasive and can severely shorten the life expectancy of your system. Therefore it is strongly recommended that a cartridge-type sediment filter be installed before the filtration system.
Simply change the cartridge when the pre-filter becomes clogged and you see water pressure dropping in the house and you can expect to get many years of service out of your automatic systems that use water.
Avoid flow restriction
When installing your whole house filtration system always run the biggest pipe possible from the water source to the system. We often see installers use reduced plumbing to save money and time, but the reality is a for a water filtration system to properly work and regenerate, they need good water flow and pressure.
Reducing that flow and pressure will cause the system to malfunction due to proper backwashing. Be sure you use plumbing at least as big as the filtration system allows and this should avoid problems.
A side note however is in certain locations where water pressure is actually too high; the water can actually flow through the system too fast. When this occurs a flow restrictor can often be the solution, but this is very rare and only on water systems that exceed the recommended operating range of 40 to 70 PSI that most units operate at.
Proper drainage is essential
Most automatic water filtration systems backwash periodically to recharge and clean the system and proper drainage is essential to their operation. Most manufacturers recommend a poly drain line of ½” to ¾” that runs to an air gap drain that is within 20 to 30 feet of the filter. The proper size hose allows the drainage flow to not restrict the systems cleaning.
The air gap is similar to what you would see on the back of a washing machine with a P trap. The reasoning for this is if the drainage system in the house should backup, it will flow out the air gap instead of backing up into the house’s water supply. If an air gap is not possible then a backflow preventer must be used to avoid this from occurring.
In conclusion, if you properly install your water filtration system it will likely give you years of trouble-free service. But do not forget proper maintenance as directed by the manufacturer such as cleaning screens, nozzles, etc. Be sure to contact Advanced Plumbing if you need to install a water filtration system and all your plumbing needs in northeastern Ohio.