DI vs Multi Stage WaterFed® Systems:

Amy LavinIndustry, WaterFed®

DI vs Multi-Stage WaterFed® Systems

When you break it down, WaterFed® is about water purity. There are two types of systems—one that uses a single filter (DI only system), and one that utilizes multiple filters (Multi-Stage system). The essential science is the same behind both (to learn more, click here). Choosing which system is right for you comes down to the frequency of use and price point. In this blog, we discuss, in detail, the difference between the two systems and how to identify which one is right for your business. 

It’s essential to understand the science behind a WaterFed® system. It boils down to this: water spraying onto the window, and the use of a brush, break the connection between the dirt and window. The water attracts the dirt on a molecular level, which then falls down the window. The window is actually clean at this point, but of course, there is no one with a squeegee to remove any remaining water. With WaterFed®, pure water will evaporate without a trace because it is, of course, pure. That is essentially the “magic sauce” of WaterFed®. To read about this science on a molecular level, click here. 

There are two types of systems for producing pure water. One uses only a DI (Deionized) filter, and the other uses multiple filters (DI, Carbon Sediment, and Reverse Osmosis or RO) to remove all minerals found in the water. So what does that mean for you?

It means you’ve got options.

DI Only Systems

  • Approachable Price Point
  • Simple and Easy to Use
  • High Water Flow
  • Only Ideal For Low TDS; Occasional Use

+ Approachable Price Point

DI only systems, like the Unger Hydro Power and the Triple Crown Photon, have the most approachable price points, making them enticing to window cleaners new to WaterFed®. 

+ Simple and Easy to Use

Having only one filter with which to contend, changing it is a breeze. The DI resin for the Unger Hydro Power, for instance, comes in a mesh bag with a handle that replaces the entire filter with ease (see video here). 

+ High Water Flow

Water pressure, with or without the use of a pump, is affected by the filter the water has to pass through. When using a DI only system, the water pressure of the water coming out of the brush is comparable to that of it entering into the system because there is only one filter to pass through. Because of this, many that use DI only systems do not use a pump. 

– Only Ideal for Low TDS; Occasional Work

There are two main scenarios where a DI only system is not the best solution. The first is if you are in a high TDS area (levels 101+) because the DI resin will be “used” very quickly. (The DI filter is high functioning for about 300-400 gallons of 100 TDS water and will begin working less effectively afterward). Having to replace the DI filter often is not a cost-effective option. The second reason is if you are using your system more than occasionally. If, for instance, you are using your system more than two hours a week, the DI resin will be “used up” quickly (because it is the only filter purifying the water). The result is a less cost-effective option due to the repeated cost of replacing the filter. 

Multi-Stage Systems

  • Use Multiple Filters 
  • Cost-Effective In The Long Run
  • High TDS Levels
  • Frequent Uses
  • Higher Upfront Cost; Less Water Flow; Learning Curve

+ Uses Multiple Filters

A Multi-Stage system, like the Triple Crown Phaser or NXT, use three different types of filters. The first is the Carbon Sediment. The second is the Reverse Osmosis (RO); (some multi-stage systems such as the NXT 4 or 5 utilize multiple RO filters). Lastly, the DI filter. To learn the role of each, click here. The three filters work together to remove minerals and impurities from the water. Since they all share the “workload,” so to speak, the filters last longer. 

+ Cost Effective In The Long Run

Since the filters last longer because they work in tandem, the cost of running a Multi-Stage system can be less than a DI system. Because of infrequent filter changes, combined with the ability to run at higher TDS levels, the system ends up being a cost-effective option.

+ High TDS Levels

This type of system is ideal for high TDS areas because each filter specifically purifies certain minerals out of the water, working together to clarify the water completely. It is more cost-effective to run a Multi-Stage system in high TDS areas because the filters last longer than only a DI filter while working just as effectively. 

+ Frequent Use

The Multi-Stage system can handle frequent use because of the multiple filters that work in tandem to purify the water. 

– Higher Upfront Cost; Less Water Flow; Learning Curve

While it might seem perfect, a Multi-Stage system does have some drawbacks. The cost to purchase is higher than a DI only system and can appear like a lot by comparison. This can be mitigated by long term, frequent use. Also, the water flow coming out of the system can be significantly less (because water is running through multiple filters instead of just one). While some window cleaners claim to be happy with a Multi-Stage system’s output, others need a pump to clean tall windows effectively. Lastly, Multi-Stage systems are more involved. They can be complicated to learn and upkeep by comparison to DI only systems. If you’re purchasing a Triple Crown system, we offer a ton of resources to help you at every stage here. 

So which system is right for you? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How often will I use my system?
    1. Often
    2. Occasionally
  2. What is my initial budget?
    1. $800 or more
    2. Less than $500
  3. What is the TDS level in my area?
    1. 100 TDS or more
    2. 100 TDS or less

If you responded with mostly “a,” you’ll want to explore the option of a Multi-Stage system. If your response mainly was “b,” it looks like a DI only system might work best. 

We’ve also created a resource that takes the guesswork out of your decision. Click here to see which type of system is right for you.