Filter Systems?

pabloesguapopabloesguapo Solar Expert Posts: 114 ✭✭
Was thinking about installing a filter/softening system to my plumbing. As many of you may already know, my new house will be completely off-grid solar powered, and we have a nice well pumping about 12GPM from a Grundfos pump.

Does anyone have experience with this? I would like to maybe have it treat the whole house, if possible. Also, I would like it to not use electricity, or at least use very little, AND don't want to have to buy salt all the time either. The only system that comes to mind is Kinetico, but I hear they are pretty pricey, and the only one I know of in AZ is in Chandler, awfully far away. Plus, yelp.com reviews for them are terrible.

Does anyone here know of another way I can go? My number one priority is to eliminate bacteria (We're in former open range cattle country, so there IS bacteria present), my second priority is softening. Our hardness is about 100ppm.
27 Kyocera panels, 6,500w
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Comments

  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?

    What are the minerals etc you feel need to be removed? Different units remove different minerals, or groups of minerals etc.
    For bacteria, there are silver impregnated filters that will kill bacteria, no power required. There are also UV light bacteria killing units, that DO require electricity. Substantial amounts of it as far as off grid is concerned.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?

    Is there bacteria actually present in the water? The ground can be a pretty good filter against that, providing the well is deep enough.

    100 ppm is only "moderately hard" and you may not find it offensive. Especially not if the alternative is a water softener. I'm not a big fan of them, and have thrown them out from more than one house.

    If you have a good water analysis and a trustworthy plumbing supply house they can give you accurate info on what is the right filtration for your water. Worst-case would be reverse osmosis which will take out just about anything, but is pricey.

    If you are worried about water quality for drinking/cooking only you can use a ceramic filter like this: http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/3/HouseHome/Plumbing/WaterFiltration/PRDOVR~0621015P/Rainfresh+Drinking+Water+System+1.jsp?locale=en
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?

    Up here we can go to the Public health for the address of reputable labs that do TOTAL content analysis of a sample of water, not just hardness or chemical analysis. They will tell you of any/all microbes present , then you can decide what to do with the well water.
    hth
     
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  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?

    The easiest was to purify it and kill the bacteria is with Ultra Violet Light. i would think that you water used in the house would be all you would need to treat. A unit with 6 gpm or so would do that. Here is a link to a low end priced one I use. About all you have to do is clean them once a year and put in a new bulb. If you have funky water you have to clean them more often, not hard to do. The light has to penetrate the water. The size bulb and the linger time is important to have the right size unit.

    http://www.freshwatersystems.com/c-448-sterilight-silver-series-uv-systems.aspx

    The price can go up depending on what you want to spend and the features you want.
  • pabloesguapopabloesguapo Solar Expert Posts: 114 ✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?

    Wow, thanks, guys! I had no idea some of this stuff exixted. I especially like the UV systems Blackcherry suggested. There would be no filters to replace. Sure, it uses electricity, but if you look at even the largest, most expensive model, the power consumption is only 48W, and it's not like the bulb is going to be on 24/7. I think this might be an "electrical expenditure" I would choose to afford.

    My water numbers look pretty good. I'm not worried so much about hardness. In AZ it's about 100ppm. Where I'm at right now in Las Vegas it's about 250, and we're doing just fine without a softener. I'm mostly worried about E Coli. The water tested positive for it, but I'm hoping a healthy chlorine shock will do the trick. If it doesn't, I really want to do something more about it.

    Thanks again, folks. If anyone has any more suggestions, please, keep 'em coming!

    P.S. Our contractor is going to start clearing our first couple of acres and doing a perc test tomorrow. (Tues) :D
    27 Kyocera panels, 6,500w
    24 CG2 6v batteries, 48v, 630Ah
    Midnite Classic 150 & Classic 150 Lite in "follow me" mode
    (2) Outback fx3648 inverters
    Generac ecogen 6kw backup generator
    Mate3s
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?

    Pablo, be aware that shocking is good for a year max! After that or in less time it needs to be done again.
    The 'goodies' are still coming into your well, it is just the amount of exposure you get that changes over time.

    If the UV is good for what ails you , it will be permanent vs shocking at more frequent time periods.
    A friend tried it on Ferro-bacter but it didn't work.
    YMMV.
    hth
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?

    "no filters to replace", not so quick - - a couple of filters in series are required to filter out "dirt" before the water enters the UV unit, and you still have UV bulbs to clean and replace. Personally I would only "purify" water of bacteria etc that is to be used for drinking. Unless your water is coming from a horrible source, that's all that needs to be done, and would greatly reduce the initial and ongoing cost. It's common in these parts where people get their water from lakes if they don't have a well. Also, re softeners, I don't like drinking "softened" water. It's a source of unwanted sodium and taking into account that most of the minerals our body needs to remain healthy actually comes from our drinking water, it's not always a good idea to strip them out.
    The ceramic filter that Coot mentioned using for drinking water only, is an excellent idea.
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?
    I'm mostly worried about E Coli. The water tested positive for it, but I'm hoping a healthy chlorine shock will do the trick. If it doesn't, I really want to do something more about it.

    The E coli that show up in a water test rarely cause disease. They are an indicator of surface contamination. You should do the chlorine shock, wait a few weeks, and test again. If E coli show up it means that your water system is not sealed from sources of feces. The E coli are the least of your problems, but if they can enter your water it means that other pathogens can also enter. That means, for one example, hepatitis virus.

    I'm not saying that E coli in your water can never cause disease, but as a practical matter they are an indicator of surface contamination. Much easier to test for than viruses.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 927 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?

    I have both ceramic filter for drinking water and uv light for all other water used (except the outside hose supply). The uv uses less than 1/2kwhr/day, always have a new bulb on hand incase of failure. The ceramic drinking water filters get scraped for several years before replacement. Mine has a activated charcol filter just before it to remove sediment and tastes. All work well.

    Drinking water supply is always well water, remainder of house supply alternates seasonally between well and rainwater. The softened well water just doesn't compare with rainwater for softness.

    Ralph
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?
    vtmaps wrote: »
    The E coli that show up in a water test rarely cause disease. They are an indicator of surface contamination. You should do the chlorine shock, wait a few weeks, and test again. If E coli show up it means that your water system is not sealed from sources of feces. The E coli are the least of your problems, but if they can enter your water it means that other pathogens can also enter. That means, for one example, hepatitis virus.

    I'm not saying that E coli in your water can never cause disease, but as a practical matter they are an indicator of surface contamination. Much easier to test for than viruses.

    --vtMaps

    Totally agree. Shock it - - wait - - then recheck. If there is surface leakage, try to fix it. One way is to build up soil around the well, compacting it as you go, until finally the land is sloped away from the well in all directions. Then seed it with grass to hold everything in place, give it a chance to settle and mature, (until that time, you may get a bit of muddy water in the well during heavy rain storms, but that will end as the repair matures) then you may need one final shock and recheck after a wait. A properly constructed well is far better than having to have filters etc. Also keep in mind that possibly without exception, all lakes are "polluted" with E-Coli, and unless they are polluted to the extreme, people do swim in them every day in warm weather when such contamination is at it's worst. The swimmers do regularly ingest that lake water in the process, yet, again except for very heavy contamination, none get sick. There tends to be so much hype over the death of anyone if they ever happen to get sick from drinking water, like a death in air travel, that it's got a lot of people turning to bottled water, much to the delight of big business. Around these parts, in my younger years, it was common for folk to place a trout or two in their well (not drilled wells of course) to "keep the well clean". Well guess what comes out of the rear end of fish! Those fish often lived for years in the wells, and all who drank the water lived to a ripe old age. I wouldn't drink the fish-water now, as just the thoughts of it would turn me off, but as a child, that was just the way it was done and no one ever questioned it. It was "normal".
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,042 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?

    I'll repost this from a different site:

    Slow sand filters, after a 30 day "seasoning" period, clean out about all the organic nasties.

    I'm using a slow sand filter, with a flushable gravel bed filter ahead of it. Using a precision flowmeter to control the rate, as excess water just drains away.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slow_sand_filter

    Granger # 5P350 Meter, Water, 2-25 Gph
    http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/KEY-INSTRUMENTS-Water-Meter-5P350?cm_sp=IO-_-IDP-_-RR_VTV70300505&cm_vc=IDPRRZ1
    <http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/KEY-INSTRUMENTS-Water-Meter-5P350?cm_sp=IO-_-IDP-_-RR_VTV70300505&cm_vc=IDPRRZ1&gt;

    Mfg KEY INSTRUMENTS # FR 4L48
    http://www.keyinstruments.com/standard-products/variable-area-flow-meters/flo-rite-series-fr-acrylic-body-flowmeters/fr4000

    I can always add oyster shell in the gravel bed, if the finished PH is too low. (sold as chicken feed supplment)

    My filter (2, 80 gall tanks) 1st, bottom feed gravel, top spills over to 2nd: slow sand
    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.161025670637561.41240.120212794718849&type=1#!/photo.php?fbid=160879627318832&set=a.161025670637561.41240.120212794718849&type=3&theater
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  • pabloesguapopabloesguapo Solar Expert Posts: 114 ✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?

    According to this article:
    http://www.organic-center.org/reportfiles/EColiFAQReport.pdf

    There are 225 strains of e coli. Not all strains are equal, however, and some are even beneficial for us humans. My water tested positive for e coli, but they do not know what strain it is. My bet is that the source is from surface contamination, as I have just recently installed my pump. I have since shocked the well, and will have the water tested again when I go down there in a couple weeks.

    Hmmm... Filters beofe the UV system, huh? Well, that makes things more complicated. and more expensive.
    27 Kyocera panels, 6,500w
    24 CG2 6v batteries, 48v, 630Ah
    Midnite Classic 150 & Classic 150 Lite in "follow me" mode
    (2) Outback fx3648 inverters
    Generac ecogen 6kw backup generator
    Mate3s
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?

    Before you can decide if you need to filter or not you need to know the Micron Size and the amount of Suspended Solids you are trying to remove. The well needs to be pumped some to see how much it clears. As you pump the well in the turbidity ( clarity ) of the water will change and should get clearer over time, depending on how long the water sits in the well, some solids will settle out. Don't confuse the bacteria content with the Suspended Solids and the Dissolved Solids in the water, they are 3 different things and require different approaches to control them.

    If you filter you have to design the filtering based on the flow in GPM's you need. About 5 GPM would be ok for a standard house. Fill up a clear glass of water, you should be able to see down to about 20-30 Microns. If it looks cloudy, then you have to decide if you want to clean it down to a lower level. The lower you go, the more the cost and the smaller Micron filter you have to have and the faster it will plug up. Filtering Bacteria is a different issue, there you have to get down below .05 - 1 Micron. It can be done, but your water has to be very clean or that filter will plug in a hour and they are not cheap.

    With UV sterilization you need to get down to about 5 Microns in size and 10 ppm. If you don't the bacteria can hide behind the suspended particles.

    There is nothing wrong with using Chlorine ( Bleach ) and a dosing pump, probably more with wells use them than anything else. it takes a little adjustment and you have to mix it.
  • LucManLucMan Solar Expert Posts: 223 ✭✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?

    Another option is Ozonisation. Excellent for killing most pathogens in drinking water. The ozone is bubbled through the water and is not as affected by turbidity in the water as UV disinfection.
    A better choice than chlorine.
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?
    LucMan wrote: »
    Another option is Ozonisation. Excellent for killing most pathogens in drinking water. The ozone is bubbled through the water and is not as affected by turbidity in the water as UV disinfection.
    A better choice than chlorine.
    Ozone is excellent on the right system. It's expensive, hard to measure and has to have the right contact time. On a closed loop system it has to be injected and purged and it's not that easy to do and you have to have a extra contact tank. For off-grid, it wouldn't be my choice, but to each there own. A bubbler in a cistern or holding tank does work if the bubbles are the right size and the water is mixed and the saturation is correct.

    If you use Ozone, be prepared to buy the right test equipment and check your water quality often.
  • t00lst00ls Solar Expert Posts: 234 ✭✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?

    I'm going to build a filter system that wont need to be replaced for some time, and can be back flushed.

    4inch pipe stuffed with layers of charcoal, limestone gravel, and cotton. I figure about 5 foot of pipe should do it. charcoal is used in a lot of decontamination units, it will filter out any bacteria, limestone purifies and the cotton is just a particle filter.

    for the back flush, 2 valve can be used on the same end , 1 to close off the source water and the other to open the waste opening.

    should last 5- 10 years before it needs replaced
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?

    i've not heard of too many systems using cotton. i'm also surprised that you did not mention sand.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?

    Cotton is organic and will decompose. You don't want to use that. You may be thinking of the "angel hair" used in some fish tank filters which is spun glass fibre.

    Also filtration alone is not good at removing bacteria (the ceramic and reverse osmosis being two exceptions).

    Be sure you know exactly what you're trying to remove before you try to figure out how to remove it. :D
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?

    As this Forum is to Solar there some good Water processing Forums out there. Before trying a home made filtering system most would well served to study the process. You can end up with your life in the balance and the rest of your family along with you. We have lost our immunity to lots of the stuff that was in our water sources growing up as most of us have had treated water and there are many more pollutants than there once was.

    Have your water tested and then come plan that someone with the knowledge to head you in the right direction. Most County Health Departments will do a Bacteria Analysis , but not a total Mineral Analysis for Free.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?
    Before trying a home made filtering system most would well served to study the process. You can end up with your life in the balance and the rest of your family along with you. We have lost our immunity to lots of the stuff that was in our water sources growing up as most of us have had treated water and there are many more pollutants than there once was.
    .

    So true! And the thoughts on us loosing immunity to what once was in our water - - reminds me of something that stunned me as a child. There were a couple of old ladies living on their farm not far from where I lived. They grew up there and they died there. Their water source? A small well about 100 feet down hill from the manure pile by their cattle barn! Why was the well there? Very likely because that's where a "Water Witcher" told them to put it. In those days no one in their right mind would consider digging a well without first consulting a Witcher. And still today I'm shocked at the large percentage of folks who still believe in such superstitions.
    You can imagine what took place with their well every time a heavy rainstorm washed manure down the hill, yet they both lived into their mid to late 90's!
    In more modern humans, one drink from that well would likely land us in hospital - - or worse.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?

    *ahem* Wayne, I'm one of those that can dowse for water.
    But I don't think I'd tell anyone to put a dug well downhill from a manure pile!
    Curiously, being 100 feet away would actually meet with the health regs here, as they don't differentiate on topography (which they should).
    It is just possible that even with the slope there was enough distance and solid planting to negate the accumulation of e-coli in the well.

    Did I ever tell you about the time the two raccoons went looking for water in our well standpipe (which had been installed without a cap) and couldn't get out again? Whoo-boy! That was an adventure. :roll:
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?

    Wayne. I didn,t know where my septic tank was. A person witched it for me and I found it with the first shovel of dirt, right on the lid.
    :Dsolarvic:D
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?

    I find fortune tellers and the Ouija Board work better for me :D:D
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Filter Systems?
    I find fortune tellers and the Ouija Board work better for me :D:D

    Ah, you just haven't got the knack! ;)
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