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Thread: Will bacteria grow in whole house filter?

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    DIY Junior Member brador's Avatar
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    Default Will bacteria grow in whole house filter?

    Hello folks:

    I've been reading some of the threads about whole house filters and am a little confused, so I'll ask right out: Is it likely that bacteria will grow in a whole house water filter?

    I'm planning on using a back-washing 80 micron mesh screen, plus a big blue 20-inch cartridge. The water now is excellent except for some clay sediment.

    Also, the water is often shut off for periods of four to six weeks. So the water will be sitting in the filters, although they should be air tight.

    Thanks.

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    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Sure! It sounds like a great place for bacteria to grow!

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    DIY Junior Member brador's Avatar
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    Hi Andy--

    I'm not using anything right now. An extensive water analysis came up roses. But during an earlier investigation of a water pump problem, I found that the nipple to the pressure switch was practically sold earth. My guess is it took 3 years or so to build up.

    I have picked up a Rusco spin-down sediment filter with a 61 micron poly screen, and a 20-inch Big Blue with a DGD Series 25/1 micron dual-gradient poly cartridge.

    The description of the cartridge says "not prone to bacterial attack." OK! But like I said, I'm gone for extended periods, although on reflection if it's going to be a problem, it's going to be a problem whether I'm present or not.

    (Whew.) Thanks.

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    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Stuff will grow in the filter.

    Here is a real-life case that one would believe could not happen.

    The company where I worked installed filters on all of the refrigerated water bubblers to improve the water. It was municipal water and there was no evidence that there was a problem. They selected the filter by a very unscientific method; they tried several different cartridge types and asked people to vote on which produced the best-tasting water.

    They selected a filter that included activated carbon of some sort.

    Early one Monday morning after a 3-day weekend I went to the bubbler and filled a plastic container to get some water to make tea. The first water out of the bubbler contained a lot of green thingies that were clearly visible to the unaided eye. Algae of some kind.

    The plant engineering weenies didn't believe me and wouldn't accept my report because I was not considered an expert in such things. I had to call the VP in charge of plant engineering to get them to change the filter and investigate the problem.

    If you are filtering the water it should be changed regularly or it will become like a petri dish where the food is all of the bio-stuff that has been collected before the the shut-down interval.

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    Bob, I would had made them a nice pot of tea. But, right now I am not feeling very charitable, because I am blessed with a kidney stone.

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    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob NH View Post
    If you are filtering the water it should be changed regularly or it will become like a petri dish where the food is all of the bio-stuff that has been collected before the the shut-down interval.
    That is also my own experience. We were noticing a slight sulfur odor before leaving on an excursion last week, and our water was rank when we returned just four days later. When I changed the cartridges, the old ones were almost completely black ... and I usually rinse the housings with a touch of bleach even when I change the cartridges when the odor first begins.

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brador View Post
    I'm not using anything right now. An extensive water analysis came up roses. But during an earlier investigation of a water pump problem, I found that the nipple to the pressure switch was practically sold earth. My guess is it took 3 years or so to build up.

    I have picked up a Rusco spin-down sediment filter with a 61 micron poly screen, and a 20-inch Big Blue with a DGD Series 25/1 micron dual-gradient poly cartridge.
    I think you meant that the switch nipple was blocked by 'solid' earth.... which would be rust.

    That is quite normal if the water contains iron and/or the nipple is galvanized. Especially when you aren't there using water for days or weeks.

    So.... you are going to all the filter trouble because of that and probably not going to prevent the recurrence of rust in the nipple anyway.

    The spin down can't work on smaller particles than its rating and they sound too small to be spun down. The BB 20/1 micron cartridge is probably going to load up very quickly and cause frequent replacement. Which is not easy with a 20" BB housing. Soluble clear water iron goes right through the filters you've bought and will turn to rust (ferric iron) in the nipple anyway.

    Yes bacteria grow in filters, more so with carbon than just sediment types.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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    DIY Junior Member brador's Avatar
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    Hi, Gary--

    Yes, I meant to type "solid." The nipple is copper and at the pressure switch, right were the line from the pump comes into the house. When I removed it, the whole nipple was filled with what I thought was fairly well packed mud (preventing accurate pressure reading so the pump was running too long). I was able to wash it all out and reinstall. Please confirm if that was really rust.

    BTW, I have no idea if this is relevant regarding this discussion, but the water analysis for iron came up <20 ug/L, total dissolved solids were 310.0 mg/L.

    Thanks.

  9. #9
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    That happens and is caused by rust. And you have enough iron in the water to cause it.

    If it was mud it would be everywhere, not just in the nipple. When the switch and nipple is installed, there is air trapped in both, air is an oxidizer which converts ferrous iron to ferric iron (rust) in the nipple and switch.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

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    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cookie View Post
    Bob, I would had made them a nice pot of tea. But, right now I am not feeling very charitable, because I am blessed with a kidney stone.
    Then you can tell us whether the story about kidney stones is true.

    The story is that passing a kindney stone is more painful than delivering a baby.

    I know the pain of two kidney stones but I have no experience delivering a baby.

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