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Maintaining Your Water Filters

The beginning of the year is the perfect time to schedule maintenance for your cultivation equipment, which protects your capital investment and keeps your facility running smoothly. In this month’s newsletter, we’d like to share a few tips for maintaining your water filter cartridges– and stay tuned for more helpful technical advice in the future.

Whether you have a stand-alone filter housing or a Reverse Osmosis system, the filter cartridges should be routinely serviced. Commercial hydroponic grows use a significant amount of water for irrigation and we visit a lot of facilities where filters are not being changed frequently enough.

How do you know when it is time to change a filter cartridge?

There is no set time rule. Your incoming water quality and daily water usage will determine how quickly the filters are exhausted. The 3-6 month rule of thumb for home grows or residential house filters does not apply to commercial grows using thousands of gallons per day.

The proper way to monitor sediment filter life is by using pressure gauges installed before and after each filter. When the pressure drop across the housing hits 15 psi, it’s time to change that filter. If you don’t have gauges, start with every three months for commercial grows. You can visually inspect the core of the white sediment pre-filter for discoloration (most systems incorporate a white sediment pre-filter followed

by one to two carbon filters - which have outer netting and remove chlorine and chloramines). You want to change out the filters before the filters have fully discolored through the core. Increase or decrease the frequency of your maintenance routine based on your inspection.

Carbon filters commonly last longer than a sediment filter but are best monitored with a total chlorine test strip. Test the water downstream of the carbon filter and target your cartridge changes when your chlorine results are above 0.1 ppm with an RO or at the very most 0.5 ppm for filtration only. In general, plan to change carbon filters every 6-12 months. If you have an RO system, routine carbon filter maintenance is critical to prevent damage to the RO membrane which is more costly than these inexpensive pre-filters. Large RO systems feature a large fiberglass tank filled with activated carbon, which should be maintained in a similar fashion.

How do I order the correct filter cartridge?

First identify your filter cartridge size which commonly consists of two diameters (2-1/2” or 4”) and two length options (10” or 20”). Then specify your filter micron rating or pore size. 5 micron is the most popular size we offer, but they come in a wide range. Next visit the Herb’s Supply eStore or contact us directly to order your cartridge.

Should I do anything to the filter housing during the change out?

Yes, wash it out with warm water and dish soap or you can disinfect it with a sanitizer. Either way, make sure to rinse it out. Lubricate the O-Ring with a food grade silicone lubricant.

How many wrench turns should I tighten it?

Filter housings really only need to be firmly hand tightened or a gentle quarter turn with the wrench. The O-ring will compress and seal the housing. That wrench is really intended for opening the housing when it’s sealed from operation.

Need Help?

Herb’s Supply carries a wide range of filtration parts, so don’t hesitate to contact us for your maintenance needs. Need help servicing other equipment?

Feel free to reach out to one of our product experts at |

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