Frequently Asked Questions
Q. "How can I remove Giardia from my drinking water?"
A. Giardia (cryptosporidium, etc.) usually can be filtered out with a 1-micron or smaller filter.
Q. "What is a micron rating?"
A. The average size of the openings between pieces of the filter media are represented in microns. For example, a 40-micron filter has larger openings than a 5-micron filter. Consequently, the 40-micron filter element will let larger particles pass through the filter than the 5-micron element.
As a general rule, the smaller micron rating for a filter is better, but as with most everything, there is a trade-off. Flow capability usually drops off as the micron rating gets smaller. To overcome this, low micron-rating filters must have larger elements to keep from sacrificing precious flow.
You may want to consider sediment filtration such as the Lakos sediment filtration system to remove larger particles, then possibly install a whole house water filter to take out smaller particles.
Another option might be to install a dual stage undercounter filtration system, which uses two filters with different micron ratings. The higher micron rating filter helps remove the larger particles from the water and prevents the smaller micron rating filter from getting clogged which would result in a reduced flow.
Q. "Someone told me I should lube a replacement o-ring; is this true and why?"
A. O-rings, if not correctly lubed, can expand, and sometimes stick, to a filter housing, which can make it difficult (sometimes nearly impossible) to open the housing. To prevent this, simply prepare the replacement o-ring by applying enough silicone lubricant to give it a nice gloss all over before installing. Petroleum lubricants or faucet grease are not recommended as they typically cause o-rings to swell.
Q. "What is the best type of filter to remove chlorine from my water?"
A. Carbon filters are the most commonly used filter to remove chlorine from the water. The carbon media reduces the chlorine to chloride.
Q. "A year ago I bought an American Plumber WVC34 clear housing, your site stated at that time replacement cartridges 9 3/4" in length will fit the housing; but now the replacement cartridges listed on your page say they are 9 7/8" in length. Will 9 3/4" cartridges or 9 7/8" work in my WVC-34 housing?"
A. The American Plumber WVC-34 are designed to work with cartridges 9 3/4" or 9 7/8" in length. The specifications may have been changed to reflect the measurements stated by the manufacturer. Many companies refer to these cartridges as 10" length even though technically they can range between 9 3/4" and 9 7/8" in length. Sometimes it depends on how the manufacturer is measuring the cartridge, from end of cartridge to end of cartridge or from the washer on the end of the cartridge to the washer on the other end of the cartridge. The WVC34 housings will also work with a wide variety of cartridge widths ranging from 2 1/8" up to 3" in diameter.
Q. "Someone told me about adding a back washing system to my existing filter. Will this actually help?"
A. Backwashing filtering systems are available and are great for some applications (sediment filters, acid neutralizers, ion exchange systems, etc.). When used on a carbon system, it will remove the sediment buildup around the carbon, but does nothing to clean the actual carbon. Carbon absorbs chemicals like a sponge absorbs water. Once saturated, the carbon can no longer absorb any more chemicals and it must be disposed of. As of right now, we are not aware of any way in which the carbon can be cleaned and recycled.
Q. "My water has a high iron content (orange tint to water). How can I reduce this?"
A. We get more questions about iron than any other water problem. The method depends on how much iron is in your system and how fine the particles are. A test you can do yourself would be to fill a clear glass with water and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. If the iron settles to the bottom then a cartridge type filter (5 micron or smaller) should be able to remove the majority of the iron particles. If the particles remain suspended then a filter won't help.
For removal of very fine iron particles you will need either a water softener or an iron removal system. A water softener will remove up to 4ppm of iron, but if used this way the resin will need to be cleaned about once a month. If yours is higher than that then you will need an iron removal system with special media. Different media would be used for different mineral conditions. Sometimes aeration can be used. It's not necessarily better than ion resins, but you wouldn't need to regenerate the system with any chemicals. We highly recommend that you consult with a local expert before ordering any water treatment system. In many cases, for a family of two we recommend at least one cubic foot of Maz® medium to take the iron out. Maz® can be chlorinated intermittently or continuously without damage to the medium.
This must be back washed with some type of oxidizer. This can be hydrogen peroxide, chlorine, potassium permanganate, etc. (caution, some of these products can be hazardous in concentrated form). Of the above, hydrogen peroxide and potassium permanganate will not lose their properties as fast as most of them.
To avoid having to backwash, you could use Birm® media. However some say this is the weakest of all iron media and requires a pH of 7 or above, and there can be no presence of hydrogen sulfide. Also if you have a high iron content it might not be as effective as Maz®.
Note: We do not sell either Birm® or Maz® media. We recommend you contact your local water treatment company for advice on these products.
Q. "My water has been leaving Blue/Green stains. How can I filter this out?"
A. Green or blue stains are usually a result of a combination of copper pipe and acidic water. This needs to be treated with an acid neutralizer. We always recommend you have your water tested locally.
Q. Is there any reason not to use a clear filter body?"
A. In areas where sunlight is present, there is a potential for algae growth. Therefore we don't recommend it in those situations.
Q. "I have a lot of sand in my water. Will your sediment filters take out most of the sand?"
A. Yes, they will probably take the sand out but we want satisfied customers for the long haul. Most brands of sediment filters will take out sand but it clogs the filters very fast. We want to warn you that you would probably have to buy a LOT of sediment filters all of the time and constantly have to replace the filters. Ultimately it will hit you that you really should have a sand separator filter before a regular sediment filter. It is best to try to separate most of the sand out of your water before using a sediment filter (a stainless steel sand filter is the "best" way to go if you have sand and have somewhat aggressive or acidic water). Also please recognize that a sand filter will eliminate most of the sediment. For maximum sediment removal you should use both a sand separator and a sediment removal filter.
Q. "What is the best type of filter to remove fluorine?"
A. To remove fluorine, a catalyst carbon filter must be used. Catalyst carbon is a stronger carbon than what is normally used for chlorine removal and the cost is much more. We do not sell any catalyst carbon filters at this time.
Q. "Which filter is 'best' for me?"
A. If there were one 'best' then it would be easy. The myriad possibilities in water source and qualities, as well as personal preferences (and pocket books) as to what constitutes 'good' water, makes choosing a filter a very personal choice. Choosing the right filter begins with understanding which contaminants need to be removed from the water. Suspended particles, dissolved inorganics, dissolved organics, microorganisms, etc. each present somewhat different challenges.
Due to not knowing your particular local water conditions, as well as potential liabilities we do not "recommend" any one filter or filters. We like to warn people, do not use water filters on water that is microbiologically unsafe or unknown water quality without adequate disinfection before and after any brand of filter. If you aren't sure of the water quality (especially in the case of microbiological) then we highly recommend that you not assume that any of the filters that we offer can make your water safe. Most filters can not make your water safe from microbiological problems.
Q. "My pH is 3.0, my hardness is 43 grains, etc ... Can you tell me what I need?"
A. We sell top quality products for many water needs, however due to liability reasons, we will not recommend which system you need. Please note that the systems that we sell are very good at solving specific water problems. We can't say if it will solve your specific problem. If you know what you need we can sell it to you at a great price.
Q. "Does the monitor for the undercounter filter system run on AC or DC?"
A. The monitor is battery (9V DC) operated.
Q. "I just installed a new filter cartridge and my water is cloudy/white?"
A. After you install a new filter (this is the case with any/all brands of filter cartridges) you should run it for a few minutes. Generally cloudy or white water indicates air in the line and this is natural and normal with a replacement of a cartridge. Air will enter in the housing, lines and cartridge. Just run the water for a few (up to 5) minutes and the cloudy conditions will go away (unless you have VERY cold water in which case it is the oxygen in the water that could be making the water look cloudy). It is always a good idea to run the water free flowing for a few minutes after installing any brand or type of new filter cartridge. Also, when you're using drinking-water filter cartridges that contain carbon, it is recommended that you run the faucet tap for at least 20 seconds prior to each use to flush very fine black carbon powder that may be present.
Q. "Why aren't you featuring the lower priced S1 (W20CL-A) sediment filter cartridge or the W-5 (formerly called C1 and W5CIP) Activated Carbon cartridges?"
A. We do stock and sell both as we do get requests for them. The main reason people ask for them (in our opinion) is that Home Centers introduced them, and also, it is a very low-priced filter. We don't show them because they are impregnated cellulose cartridge and not good for some situations such as wells with quick pressure changes. Also, there isn't a lot of carbon contact with the W-5 (C1 - W5CIP). We prefer to encourage our customers to use the W30PE or W50PE sediment instead of the W20CL, and the WCC carbon filters instead of the W-5 (C1-W5CIP). The sediment W30/50PE are pleated polyester and much more rugged. The WCC has a lot more carbon contact time. Please note that the WCC is still the large 2 3/4" diameter, while the W-5 is now the 2 3/8" diameter. The WCC will not fit some of the under-counter systems and will not work in systems that use a coupler to connect filters together. Note: W20CL and W20CLA are the same filter.
Q. "Do you offer water filters that purify the water?"
A. The term "water purification" is much abused. Some use the term to sell cheap water filters at high prices. We offer a lot of choices in water filtration, all are quality products. Please note: You will need to know the quality of your water because if you have high bacteria, giardia, or other contaminants in your water, not all water purification systems (including ours) will take care of these unique water situations.
Q. "You say the CRE-1 ceramic cartridge can be cleaned and reused. How do you clean it?"
A. The CRE-1 ceramic cartridges can be easily cleaned with water and a damp cloth, a stiff nylon brush, or with a sponge. They are able to be cleaned several times and reused. When the diameter at the smallest point reaches 1 1/2" or the circumference is 4 3/4" then they will need to be replaced.
Q. "Do you sell filters that fit on shower heads?"
A. Yes, we sell a lot of them. When you consider that a number of health professionals have stated that breathing chlorine and that chlorine on the scalp and skin is not good for you - no wonder. Just click here.
Q. "Will these filters remove fluoride?"
A. No, they will not.
Q. "Why are the CBR2-10R and the WLC-R water filter cartridges not for sale in California?"
A. The CBR2-10R and the WLC-R filter cartridges have a 1/2 (0.5) micron rating that are capable of removing cysts in water. The most common microbial cysts in water are giardia lambia and cryptosporidium. Since these products have a 1/2 (0.5) micron rating, and show they can reduce certain amounts of lead and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the California Department of Health says this is a "health claim" being made by the filter company. The CBR2-10R and WLC-R filter cartridges have been Tested and Certified by NSF International for material requirements. But these particular products have NOT been certified by the California Department of Health. The California Department of Health will not allow the sale of the CBR2-10R and WLC-R filter cartridges for residential use in California unless they are certified by them.
Q. "I may have a water problem but I'm not sure what the exact problem is. Can you help me?"
A. Our expert team loves a challenge and will do as much as possible to lend a hand. Below is a list of common problems, the cause, and the solution.
The contaminants removed by listed products may not be in your water.