How to Select Your Industrial Water Filter

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Selecting filtration equipment is the combined result of many considerations. In addition to removing the undesirable material from a liquid stream, the filtration method selected must also satisfy other requirements such as: 1) Installed costs must be weighed against operating costs. 2) Waste disposal costs must be considered. 3) Is continuous flow a requirement of the application, or can the filtration equipment be operated intermittently? 4) Is working exposure to the process liquid during filter cleaning or replacement a problem? These and other factors must be weighed when selecting the right filtration method for a particular application.

The products being removed from a liquid process stream are as widely variable as the types of filters designed to remove them.

Products being removed in potable water treatment applications are often molecular in size. However, many other filtration applications are concerned with the removal of specific trace solids from a liquid process stream. Surface-type filters using fibrous cartridges of mesh screens made of woven wire or fabric are often used in these applications.

The following analysis will focus on the removal of these trace solids, rather than the entire scope of liquid filtration.

Filtration Methods:

There are three basic filter types to consider when specifying a liquid processing filter:

1) Bag filters

2) Cartridge filters

3) Self-cleaning filters

Each one has advantages and disadvantages when compared with the others, and the different types are appropriate for different applications.

Self-Cleaning filters are typically most appropriate for applications where:

  • Flow rates are high
  • Filter media replacement costs are high, or
  • Exposure of the process liquid to workers or the environment is undesirable.

They can be used to remove suspended solids of approximately one micron and larger from all types of liquid process streams.

Bag and Cartridge filters can both remove suspended solids for applications with lower flow rates, where

  • Exposure to the process liquid is not a problem
  • Lower volumes of solids must be removed.

Bag and Cartridge filters are roughly equivalent in price, although self-cleaning systems tend to cost more initially. However, users should consider the total operating costs of the filtration system, not merely the initial purchase price.

Media replacement, disposal costs, labor costs, and downtime should all be included when evaluating filtration systems.

Factors to Consider:

When selecting a filter for a particular application, the following criteria should be considered:

1) How large is the process volume? What is the flow rate?

2) Is it a continuous or batch process?

3) What are the material characteristics of the solids being removed? Such as:

  •      How large are the particles?

  •      Is the material hazardous?

  •      Can the material being removed be recycled back into the process stream at another point?

4) What are the waste disposal costs? Such as:

  •      How often do bags or cartridges need to be replaced?

  •      Can the waste volume be reduced or eliminated by switching to a different filtration method?

5) What are the labor and downtime costs for filter or cartridge replacement? Such as:

  •      Can downtime be reduced or eliminated by switching to a different filtration method?

If you would like help determining the answers to any of these question, please submit your data to the Ask Filter Man forum at We will respond to you within a 24-hour time period, at no cost or obligation by you!

If you would like to discuss this filtration solution with one of our highly-trained Applications Specialists, please Contact Us at

by Ask Filter Man

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Linda Stacy
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