This is part 2 of our discussion about WaterFed Filters that we began last week. If you missed it, you can read part 1 here where we talk about what each filter in the cart does.
How do I know when to change my filters, and which one to change?
I wish there was a “one size fits all” answer to the filter life question. Unfortunately, water varies so much from place to place, city to city, state to state that there is no one good answer for how long your filter(s) are going to last. There are things you can do to extend the life of your Reverse Osmosis (RO) membrane in a multi-stage system; most notably, you can change the pre-RO filters regularly. The RO membrane is not chlorine tolerant, so change the carbon or KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) filter on a regular basis. I always look at the sediment filter (usually the lowest cost filter in a multi-stage system) as the first line of defense in our multi-stage systems, so we change them every 6 weeks in heavy use season at First Klass. Every 2 sediments, we change the GAC/KDF. It’s probably overkill, but I have gotten nearly 2 seasons out of my RO membranes running in feed water with a TDS ranging from 118 – 750 ppm (parts per million) with this system.
The RO membrane is not chlorine tolerant, so change the carbon or KDF filter on a regular basis.Now, I have friends in parts of this country that have bought systems 5, 6 or 7 years ago and have yet to replace an RO membrane, but their feed water averages 35 ppm. I sometimes want to visit them and slash their tires just to even things up a bit. But it is the holiday season so we’ll let them live in “sweet water land” and never spend any money on filters. I also have friends that just buy a full set of new everything once per year. Never monitor or check anything all season, just toss everything every spring & start fresh. I personally do not recommend that approach, because I think it leads to a lot of bad possibilities during the season of operating the system. That’s what they have figured out is easiest for their crews to do, however, so hey, who am I to argue. What I prefer, and the thing I think you need to do, whether it is with a handheld TDS meter or a built in TDS meter, is to monitor your water. Know what the readings on your TDS meter mean, and know what acceptable limits of TDS you can operate under before you have to change out some or all of your filters and or cartridges.
The Most Important Thing to Remember
Knowing your system and the area you’re operating in is the single most important thing you can do to make sure you are getting the best bang for your filter buck. Knowing when to change your filters comes down to knowing your system as well as knowing the rubber in your channel of your hand tool. It’s a “feel” thing (by which I mean it just feels like it’s been some time since you’ve changed the sediment or carbon filter, and the rubber seems to be dragging on the glass), a “look” thing (by which I mean your windows are starting to spot up, so it may be time to change the DI or even the RO, and the rubber is leaving streaks or not cutting a clean edge or cupping the middle), or a data thing (the TDS is getting high, so it is back to time to change the DI or RO).
Knowing your system and the area… is the single most important thing you can do.There’s always a lot of talk about the “learning curve” when you jump into pure water cleaning for your window cleaning company. When most people say this, they’re generally referring to learning how to use the WaterFed® pole and how to attack a building. As big a part of that learning curve (in my opinion) is learning about the system you have decided to go with, whether it’s a basic pass-through DI-only system or a multi-stage RO/DI system. Knowing your system, what each filter is there to do, and how they work in conjunction with each other will give you a better understanding of the process and better chances for success in both the short and the long term.
If you have any more questions, feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 303-641-0948. To order systems or replacement filters for almost every system on the market give the friendly folks at abc a call at 800-989-4003.