I have a filter, but it keeps clogging. What do I do?

 Min read
November 3, 2022

Frank has poor water quality on his farm and knows he has to do something to clean it up in order to protect the different plants and crops he grows. He actually already has a filter on one of his drip feeders, but it keeps clogging up and he doesn’t completely know what to do. There are a number of filter options available on the market for removing sediment from water, however, the problem is that there are many different types and sizes of sediment as well. Let's look at what you can do if your current filter keeps clogging up and what solutions Vu-Flow can offer.

National Geographic defines sediment as solid material that is moved and deposited in a new location. It can consist of rocks and minerals and even the remains of plants and animals. Sediment can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a boulder. Sediment moves from one place to another through the process of erosion and water is one of the places where this happens.

If there is sediment present in your farm’s water supply, like it is in Frank’s, that is something that should be taken seriously. If there’s sediment in your water, it’s entirely possible that there could be contaminants. Usgs.gov points out how many contaminants adhere to sediment and that those chemicals can persist in sediment for years.

If there is drip irrigation set upon your farm, as it is on Frank’s, allowing those contaminants to get into the soil of your plants can be detrimental. According to Greenway Biotech, Inc., toxic material that ends up in your soil can be absorbed into the plants being grown. Once in there, these chemicals can certainly damage or even kill the plants.

One way for you to get this potentially dangerous sediment out of your farm’s water supply is to implement a sediment filter into the system. If you already have a filter in place, but the problem is that it keeps clogging up, this is likely because the size of the sediment is too large for the current filter.

Due to there being a number of filter options available on the market, it could be difficult to determine what filter is the best one to go with right away. Unfortunately, sometimes it is a matter of trial and error at the beginning to decide what exactly you need. Deciding to implement a Vu-Flow filter into your system can certainly help you out from a cost standpoint down the road should you need to make an adjustment to the filter.

When it comes to a Vu-Flow filter, there are many different screen sizes to choose from depending on the type and size of the sediment that you are dealing with. There are coarse options, such as 24 and 30 mesh if you’re dealing with larger sediment, and much finer options including 500 and 1000 mesh if you have really small sediment in your water. Recently, Vu-Flow also introduced some different filter options into its line including melt-blown, pleated and activated carbon, which are all of the finer side of the spectrum.

If you, like Frank, already have a filter in your system and it clogs up quickly, the first thing you want to do is figure out the mesh or micron size of the screen or cartridge you have in it. If it’s a Vu-Flow filter you have, the mesh size will be stamped on the bottom of most of the screens.  If, for example, you have a 250-mesh screen in your current filter and that clogs up, it’s likely because all of your sediment is much larger than that mesh size. One thing you can do is bump it down a mesh size to 140. Because this mesh isn’t as fine as a 250, it won’t stop as much sediment, meaning some of what the 250 mesh was stopping will now be going through the 140.  Depending on what exactly you’re wanting to filter out of your water, this could be a big problem.

If after putting a coarser mesh in your filter you discover that too much sediment is now getting through, there is yet another option, which we refer to as step-down filtration. This method simply involves putting multiple filters of different sizes in line. The key is to put a coarser mesh filter first and then the next filter or filters would each consist of a finer mesh. As an example, your first Vu-Flow filter could have a 60-mesh screen and then the next one in line could have a 140-mesh screen. Maybe your first filter could have a 100-mesh screen and the second one could have a 250-mesh screen. The idea with this is that the first filter will catch the largest of the sediment while letting a lot of the smaller stuff through and then the next filter will only be responsible for capturing the finest sediment left. By doing this, you are splitting up the work between multiple filters instead of trying to capture everything with a single filter, which could lead to clogging.

Something else you may want to consider, especially if you are pulling water out of a pond or lake, is implementing a Vu-Flow basket strainer to the start of your system’s line. Obviously if you’re pulling from a body of water like this, there will be a ton of debris that builds up in there over time and a basket strainer will help to eliminate a lot of that before water is pulled into your system. The strainer is offered in a few different screen sizes from as coarse as a 24 mesh, and it literally sits in your pond or lake. While the cleaner water gets pulled through the mesh, all the debris and larger sediment collects on the outside of the strainer. This is another way to help prevent clogs along your line while also protecting your entire system from unnecessary debris that will lead to wear and tear overtime.

If you are dealing with clogs in your drip irrigation system’s current filter, give Vu-Flow a call at 1-800-833-5171. A live customer service representative can help walk you through the best options for your situation as well as recommend different distributors to purchase from.

Source Notes: All information in this article relating to what sediment is came from National Geographic. Information regarding contaminants in sediment came from usgs.gov. Information relating to how sediment can be harmful for plants came from Greenway Biotech, Inc.