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Old 10-30-2013, 08:31 PM   #1
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Default Non-RO Water Filtration Showdown

After posting my water report here it's pretty clear that my water is nice and soft and doesn't require an RO system; I just need carbon filtration to get rid of chlorine and chloramine.

Now I'm looking at the available 3-stage water filtration systems and there are some fairly significant differences so I'm looking for feedback.

I'm looking for value (first in recurring costs for replacement filter cartridges and second for initial purchase price) AND the ability to neutralize chlorine / chloramine. (I definitely don't want one that comes with a stupid faucet; this isn't for my home tap water; it's for my brewery!)


Here are a few options that I've found:

  1. Watts Premier UF3 http://www.amazon.com/Watts-Premier-...productDetails $150 (with faucet) Sediment filter, then a carbon block filter, than an ultra fine filter
    Seems like you have to buy their particular (fairly expensive) filters
    # of gallons treated??! -Doesn't seem to say
  2. iSpring WCC31 http://www.amazon.com/iSpring-WCC31-...carbon+ispring
    $86
    Sediment filter, then GAC carbon, then CTO Carbon
    Appears to take normal 10" filters; twice as much carbon == twice the speed for the same amount of contact time
  3. Home Brew Filters (unknown brand) http://www.homebrewfilters.com/brew-...er-filter.html
    $90
    5 micron sediment filter, 5 micron carbon block, 1 micron carbon block
    Again, twice the carbon contact time so twice the throughput while still neutralizing chlorine/ chloramine
    Also appears to take normal 10" filters
  4. Aquasana AQ 5300 http://www.amazon.com/Aquasana-AQ-53...e+water+filter
    $179
    The price isn't a fair comparison as it comes with a faucet; I need to fine one that doesn't come with the faucet.
    This one is pretty highly rated and the filters last for 600 gallons; it's NSF certified to remove 97% of Chlorine and Chloramine (bonus!)
    They won't say what type of filters but clearly a sediment filter and then what they're calling "Claryum" filters which I assume is a gain a 2 stage carbon setup.
    -The replacement cartridge set is $69 so I'm leaning away from this one.


Both the iSpring and the HomeBrew Filters options seem pretty good; not quite sure of the differences at this point, though.

Anyone have any recommendations on filters for this purpose?


Adam
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:35 PM   #2
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I know this isn't what you asked- but since you have such nice water and only need chloramine removal, are you against simply using one camden tablet per 20 gallons of water? That would get rid of the chloromine/chorine.

Or do you want the carbon filtration to remove iron or something like that? I'm trying to remember what any issues with your water are, and all I remember really is that I am jealous of your water!

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Old 10-30-2013, 08:39 PM   #3
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Morebeer has a simple single 10 micron carbon block filter options but I like the idea of using dual back-to-back carbon block filters to increase the contact time and therefore the fill rate at which you can get adequate contact time. I also like the idea of having a nice prefilter to catch any sediment.

I'm curious about the different types of carbon filters that I see and also the different hose sizes; I like that More Beer goes with 3/8th tubing end-to-end.


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Old 10-30-2013, 08:42 PM   #4
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I've been using camden tablets for chlorine, but I'm not always going to live where I currently live and I like the simplicity of just running my water in through a filter and having it come out ready for brewing. (I prefer to take out the things that I don't like from my water vs. trying to put more stuff in philosophically, too; yeh, AJ has gotten into my head on this issue.)

I've seen "Granulated carbon filter", "Carbon block filter" (of 1-10 microns), "GAC carbon filters" and "CTO carbon filter". -What the heck are the differences and what should we be looking for in carbon filters for our brewing water?

[Edit it seems that "Granulated carbon filter" and "GAC carbon" are probably the same things; "granulated activated carbon filter".] -But what the heck is the difference between "Block Carbon" and "Granulated Activated Carbon"? Activated and non-activated??



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Old 10-30-2013, 08:51 PM   #5
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Ahh!! Pretty much all of these options are "activated carbon"; Carbon Block filters are basically GAC that has been ground into even smaller particle sizes/ a finer mesh; they then have a binding agent added to keep the carbon granules in a static position relative to each other so that they're immobilized and don't allow channeling.

The cheaper activated carbon "GAC" filters generally let some black crud pass through at the beginning while this generally isn't an issue with carbon block filters.
The GAC filters can also allow bacterial growth inside the filter. Carbon block filter pore size can be controlled to a small enough size to almost eliminate bacterial growth inside the filter.

"Carbon Block" == "Higher quality GAC".

Even within carbon block filters there's then 2 manufacturing techniques: compression and extrusion. Compression is more labor intense and expensive but results in a more consistent matrix and requires less binder material.

SOOO, it sounds like if I'm going to bother with this I want a double carbon block filter; possibly with a larger micron rating for the 1st one and a smaller micron rating for the second one to maintain throughput.

Hmm.. GAC filters allow a much faster flow rate through them but provide little contact time so this is why you often see GAC used as the 1st stage and then a compressed carbon block second -interesting...

The NSF rated ones essentially come with a basic guarantee of performance, too. NSF standard 42 for reduction of chlorine and asthetic issues and Standard 53 for lead and aresenic reduction.

Hmm... If I can't find what I want I'll find a 3 x 10" housing and just build my own... (Considering 3 stage GAC -> 5 micron carbon block -> 1 micron carbon block.)
I did NOT think this would be this complicated of a discussion; pretty cool, though.

Adam

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Old 10-30-2013, 09:18 PM   #6
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The HomeBrewFilters.com option is looking better and better.

The first carbon filter is block carbon at 5 micron and the second is a 1 micron block carbon filter. The size of the tubing is my only concern right now...
-His filters are extruded and not compressed but I can't find any compressed ones that come in a standard 10" (technically 9.75") size that are reasonably priced right now....

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Old 10-30-2013, 09:55 PM   #7
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OK!! You are a frenetic writer! Good to see so much vigor.

There is no need to concern yourself with a pore size rating for the carbon block media. The most important thing is that your initial particulate filters have sufficient selectivity to protect the downstream carbon units. Particulate filters are cheap, carbon is not. If the water has that much particulate sediment, then a dual particulate filter may be called for. Start with a 5 or 10 micron filter followed with a 1 micron filter. Follow those particulate filters with a carbon block with a pore size rating LARGER than the minimum particulate pore size rating. This will keep fines from clogging up your expensive carbon filter. Those very fine particles will just pass through. It is not a big deal.

There are activated carbons that have been optimized for chloramine oxidation. However, the bottom line remains that the residence time in contact with the carbon must be long enough to obtain full removal of the chloramine. Since other taste and odor components in water also require a long contact time, there really isn't a short-cut to producing quality water from a carbon filtration system. Low flow rate is a requirement. Of course you can read more about AC filtration on the Water Knowledge page of the Bru'n Water site.

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Old 10-31-2013, 11:41 PM   #8
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Thanks again, folks!

Martin, I am pretty famous(infamous) for writing a lot; part of the reason is that I process information externally and have to type it or say it out loud to fully understand it; the other part of it is that I'm really impatient and won't wait for an answer. -I'll try to go and find it instead.


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Old 11-01-2013, 02:27 AM   #9
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Brandon from homebrewfilters.com sent me a great reply on carbon filters and chloramine reduction so I'm going to share it. Normal carbon filters only break the ammonia-chlorine bond in chloramine and then absorb the chlorine but pass the ammonia through to your water. Catalytic surface activated carbon (available as loose fill "gac" or carbon block) further breaks down the ammonia -this is how the chloramine treating filters work, apparently.


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Old 11-01-2013, 10:44 PM   #10
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For what it's worth I contacted the Seattle Public Utilities and they let me know that Seattle is still only chlorinating, not chloraminating the water here so normal, cheaper carbon block filters will work just fine. Woot!


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