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Thread: Plumbing for whole house sediment filters

  1. #1
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    Plumbing for whole house sediment filters

    Is there a good way to plumb a whole house sediment filter, so the housing can easily be replaced?

    The way whole house sediment filter housings are usually installed to copper pipes, it looks like you would have to cut the pipes in order to replace the housing. The male fittings that go into the housing are soldered on the copper pipe. They can't be unscrewed after the plumbing is complete.

    This Old House's Richard Trethwey resorts to using a Sharkbite fitting in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3akJBmn_GpE

  2. #2
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    They're called unions. Also, plumb in a 3-valve bypass: one valve on each side of the filter (between the T and the filter), and one valve on the bypass. Use ball valves (long handle, 1/4-turn operation).
    Jason

    "Don't get stuck on stupid." --Lt. Gen. Russel Honore


  3. #3
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    My whole house filter uses compression fittings to attach in-feed and out flow side to the water pipe. Jason's recommendation of ball valves is right on.
    George

    Making sawdust regularly, occasionally a project is completed.

  4. #4
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    Yea, anything that potentially has to be taken out of the stream is best served by unions on either side, regardless of what kind of pipe is in play. Do pay attention to how well things are supported because when you change the filter cartridge, most of these units require you to unscrew the bottom of the case and they tend to be really snug, requiring a bit of effort/torque to break them free as well as when you re-tighten after the replacement. You don't want to be breaking your pipe off the wall in that process!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
    This:

    They're called unions. Also, plumb in a 3-valve bypass: one valve on each side of the filter (between the T and the filter), and one valve on the bypass. Use ball valves (long handle, 1/4-turn operation).
    Also, if you have quite a bit of sediment, I recommend a Russco Spin down separator ahead of the main filter. I use a 100 micron screen in the Russco and it separates most of the sand and rust particles from my well so the larger filter element lasts longer. You do have to flush the separator more often, but it takes 2 seconds and a bucket. You can even plumb it to a drain and add an auto-flush valve, but it's so easy to flush I haven't bothered.

    Also recommend using the larger size sediment filter like this one: https://www.freshwatersystems.com/co...ressure-relief

    Use a gradient element in it and it really performs well and doesn't require frequent changes (depending on how bad your water is and whether you have the pre-separator).

    Jim's advice about solid mounting is right on too.

  6. #6
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    Stephen, is your house copper piping? We have 100% pex with sharkbites. It's just a spin-off type filter with shutoff valve, no bypass. Nothing fancy in our case.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  7. #7
    We had a whole house filter installed when the house was built. Paid the plumber a few bucks on the side to install it. Our entire house is CPVC or pex on the supply side. The pex has all crimped fittings. I would not allow a shark bite anywhere on the property. Seen to many claims for water damage due to faulty fittings. Our filter system has the pressure relief and an interior by pass so I just turn the valve on the unit and then release the pressure. screw the lower housing off and then replace the filter and screw it back together. Open the valve and the water flows again. I really didn't need the valves on either side, except for when I might replace the filter unit with another filter system. As it is now, I replace the filter about every 8 months. I also found a place to order filters on-line because they are so darn expensive in the box stores.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Loza View Post
    Stephen, is your house copper piping?
    The plumbing in this particular house is incomplete. A 1" pex main water line is temporarily connected by 1/2" pex pipes to the old copper pipes in the house. I want to put the sediment filter and associated valves in a closet with as much of the pipes exposed as possible. Since the pipes will be exposed, I like the idea of copper pipes in the closet, but perhaps there is no problem leaving PEX lines exposed.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perry Hilbert Jr View Post
    . The pex has all crimped fittings.
    so I just turn the valve on the unit and then release the pressure. screw the lower housing off and then replace the filter and screw it back together. Open the valve and the water flows again.
    However, I'm not asking about replacing the filter. I'm asking about replacing the whole housing. How are the PEX lines attached to the filter housing? Are they crimped to brass fittings that screw into the housing?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Tashiro View Post
    ...but perhaps there is no problem leaving PEX lines exposed.
    Ours is likewise in the closet. We've had them exposed since the remodel in 2012, no issues so far. I did put the foam sleeves on both lines, more for impact protection than insulation.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Tashiro View Post
    However, I'm not asking about replacing the filter. I'm asking about replacing the whole housing. How are the PEX lines attached to the filter housing? Are they crimped to brass fittings that screw into the housing?
    Stephen, here you go...

    675A936E-74DE-44AD-9B04-D1EF3CE22847.jpg

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Tashiro View Post
    However, I'm not asking about replacing the filter. I'm asking about replacing the whole housing. How are the PEX lines attached to the filter housing? Are they crimped to brass fittings that screw into the housing?
    No. Not that you couldn't do that, but you don't want to.
    The PEX if going to attach to some type of a "reusable" fitting. Ground Union, Sharkbite, Compressin fitting, etc. The other side of the reusable fitting is going to thread into the Filter housing. I would not use a Sharkbite because if it is the "reusable fitting, it will wear out over time. A sharkbite really isn't a reusable fitting, even though it can be. f you treat a Sharkbite as a "one and done" alternative to sweating pipe, you'll be better off.
    I have an OMNI Filter from the mid 70's in my house. There are copper ground unions on both sides should it ever have to be removed.
    A higher quality whole house filter will have the shutoff and bypass built into it. It's still a good idea to install isolation valves on both side in the eventuality that the whole house filter, bypass/shutoff valve stops working after a few decades, or the newer plastic types break.
    It's always good to be able to stop the flow of water as close to the fixture, or appliance it is feeding. as possible. It's actually code. I have shutoff valves at every device int the house, and shutoff valves on every branch line coming off my main header, in the basement, which is also isolable.
    Last edited by Mike Cutler; 10-25-2019 at 10:54 PM.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Loza View Post
    Stephen, here you go...

    675A936E-74DE-44AD-9B04-D1EF3CE22847.jpg

    Erik
    I like those brackets on the threaded rods!

    What I worry about is that after installing the connections to the housing and completing the installation, there might be a leak at a connection to the housing. I want to be able to tighten or re-do the connections to the housing without taking everything else apart. Using all-PEX, I can visualize ways to accomplish that.

    I do heed those who recommend unions. Are there PEX compatible unions, or must there be a transition to copper to use a union?

  14. #14
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    83135224-609C-4816-97D7-FA7BAFDAC200.jpg Here’s our set up. Not the best way, but it works. We’re on cistern rain water. Very easy to change filters with the localized shut offs and hose bib

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Tashiro View Post
    I like those brackets on the threaded rods!

    What I worry about is that after installing the connections to the housing and completing the installation, there might be a leak at a connection to the housing. I want to be able to tighten or re-do the connections to the housing without taking everything else apart. Using all-PEX, I can visualize ways to accomplish that.
    I supplied the filter housing and valves when we did the remodel but the plumbing sub did all the work. From what I can see, it’s just blue pipe dope. Nothing fancy and no leaks so far. Would you really need to take it all apart in the future, though?

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

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