Frequently Asked Questions
Q. "When should I change my filter?"
A. It really depends on the type of filter you are using, your water usage and your specific water conditions. The manufacturers will usually offer recommended guidelines printed on their filter cartridge packaging in reference to months of service life and gallon capacity. Some may recommend to be changed every 2 months or 500 gallons or some may be recommended to change every 4 months or 16,000 gallons of usage or more depending on the type, construction and size of the filter. If your water usage increases or your water conditions change, (more sediment is noticeable) then you may need to replace your filter cartridges more often. But if your water usage decreases or water conditions change, less sediment is noticeable), then you may need to replace your cartridges less often. Sediment cartridges usually need to be changed when you notice a drop in your water pressure. Taste and odor cartridges should be changed when you notice the taste or odor has returned. Carbon filters absorb chemicals like a sponge, and once saturated the carbon can no longer absorb any more chemicals and must be disposed.
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. "You say the CRE-1 ceramic cartridge can be cleaned and reused. How can it be cleaned?"
A.The CRE-1 ceramic cartridges can be cleaned easily with water and a damp cloth, a stiff nylon brush, or with a sponge. These cartridges are able to be cleaned several times and reused. They will need to be replaced when the diameter at the smallest point of the cartridge reaches 1 1/2" or the circumference is 4 3/4".
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. "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. "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. "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.
Q. "While shopping for cartridges for my standard filter housing I noticed some cartridges are 9-3/4" length, some are 9-7/8" and some are 10" in length. How do I know which of these will fit my filter housing?"
A. 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, or company selling the filter cartridges, are 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.
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 the 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 are the W-250 replacement cartridge kits, the CBR2-10R, and the WLC-R water filters not for sale in California?"
A.The W-250 cartridge kits, the CBR2-10R, and the WLC-R filter 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 W-250 replacement cartridge kits have been Tested and certified by NSF International. The CBR2-10R and WLC-R filters 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 or WLC-R filters for residential use in California unless they are certified by them. Currently American Plumber is taking steps to have these certified.
Q. "I may have a water problem but I'm not sure. 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.