WaterFed Filters part 2

Ask Jeff: WaterFed Filters—Making Sense of it All (Part 2)

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 klass@window-cleaning-supply.com 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.


Jeff Klass

Facebook Twitter Google+

Jeff is a professional window cleaner and leading expert in pure water window cleaning. He runs First Klass Window Cleaning, and serves as abc's WaterFed guru.

Jeff KlassAsk Jeff: WaterFed Filters—Making Sense of it All (Part 2)


  1. Pingback: Ask Jeff: WaterFed Filters—Making Sense of it All (Part 1) | abc Window Cleaning Blog

  2. George Petty

    Hello Jeff i am planning to start a window cleaning business and intend to purchase some essential equipment from abc,I live in the bahamas and it is a fairly new service offered hear,particularly the waterfeed system.I am very excited to venture into this field but i want to know if your company will provide or if u can assist with advertisement design for someone like myself to assist with advertising the concept of water feed pole window cleaning.

    Can you assist.

    George Petty
    Clear veiw window cleaning.

  3. chris

    Hello Jeff,
    Im wondering about the replacement of the DI.

    Should this coincide with the replacement of the RO membrane or would this be as per
    Specifically using the Enterprise and NXT 5 systems.

    Thanks for your time

    Chris Brown

    Canada – aka the great white north

    1. Amy Lavin

      The two filters don’t have to be changed together necessarily. Each filter should be changed according to its own lifespan (which depends on usage). If you have any other questions, give us a call. We have many WaterFed experts who can help you.

  4. Phillip

    Hi jeff.

    I finally got my first water fed pole after 16 years using traditional. i started with the phaser. I noticed when the water tds levels are high it doesn’t get a 0-10tds reading more like 15-25. so i got a di filter from the photon and added it. works super good.
    at 0tds readings.

    I think this happened becasue of the small di filter the phaser came with.

    my question is how about the small carbon filter that comes with the phaser? how often should i change that out? when do i know its bad. ive only used the phaser like 4 times on small jobs. tomorrow is my first building.

    also with old wood french windows ? any tips i cant seem to get them super clean/

    1. Amy Lavin

      Hey Philip,
      Thanks for commenting!
      As far as when to change your filters, I should first say, all of these answers are fairly general and really depend on how often you use your phaser. The general rule is to change the carbon & di at the same time.
      The old french old wood windows, they are though. I have never really had good success with old wood french panes. They never seem to take pure water cleaning as a good option. We use cut to fit channels for them, so each pane is cleaned in 1 stroke.

Leave a Comment

Security Question * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.