What Is A Sediment Filter And What Does It Remove?

If you’ve been using a water filtration system for some time now, you might have seen a lot of filter types. One of them is a sediment filter. Here, we will explain what is a sediment filter, how does it work, what are the impurities it removes, and what are its types.

Sediment Filter

We all hate that feeling when you turn on the tap and brown and murky water comes out. This water is certainly not potable and you need to filter it out before you can chug it down. Well, this is where a sediment filter comes in.

But what does sediment mean in a sediment filter. Sediment is a particle or suspended matter present in water. It can be anything from sand or dirt to small rocks and pieces of metal. These sediments impart color to the usually clear water and they are what make the water taste weird as well. Imagine drinking water with suspended sand particles. As suspected, that’s not going to be an enjoyable moment.

How Does A Sediment Filter Work?

A sediment filter is essentially a filter or net from which dirty water passes through. During this, it catches all of the unwanted sediments behind and leaves clear water to flow in the end.

Sediment filters are usually a part of the assembly of major water filtration systems. A sediment filter is a lifesaver for sure because it leads to clear and clean water and the taste isn’t altered either.

The mechanism of a sediment filter is all related to gravity, mechanics, and particle size. A sediment filter has a lot of microscopic pores that can allow water to pass through but it’s going to catch all of the solid particles in the net. Gravity pulls the water down and the sediments are left behind and you get clean water at the end of the line.

The surface area of the filter is huge so that at any given time, it can catch as many particles or sediments as possible without hindering the purification process of water.

Which Water Filtration Systems Need A Sediment Filter?

A sediment filter is used in the following water treatment and filtration systems:

  • UV filtration
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Carbon water filtration
  • Mechanical water filtration
  • Whole house sediment filtration

What Does A Sediment Filter Remove?

Sediment filters are great and all, but this question is a very important one to keep in mind and that is: What exactly does a sediment filter remove?

Well, for starters, sediment filters remove almost all sizes of sand particles. Since sand is sediment, it’s the primary thing that a sediment filter catch.

Sand particles can make their way into the water through wells and reservoirs that haven’t been cleaned in a long time. Sand can mix in with a large volume of water and once agitated, the sand particles can cause color change and murkiness in the water.

Other things that sediment filters are capable of removing include metal pieces, dirt particles, small rocks, leaves, pieces of pipes, broken metal shards, etc.

A sediment filter, however, can’t remove microorganisms in the water such as bacteria and viruses from water. These organisms are too small for the filter to catch and you need other extensive treatment methods to kill these live and hazardous organisms in the water. Similarly, a sediment water filter also can’t remove dissolved metals and minerals like calcium, magnesium, lead, and other radioactive metals.

Anything that is dissolved and not suspended, can’t be removed by a simple mechanical sediment filter. This is why these filters are used as only one part of filtration in water treatment and filtration systems.

Types Of Sediment Filters

Here are some different types of sediment filters that are available for use. Depending on the structure of each filter, the properties can be different too.

String Wound Filters

The best way to describe the look of this filter is a wet kitchen towel roll. The core of the filter is wrapped with thin cotton string and wrapping it around creates a texture and an area of varying density that traps the sediments.

The water travels down the core and the strings do their job. They last a decent amount of time until the strings get loose and prevent further sediment trapping.

Bag Filters

A bag filter is made out of polyester or polypropylene. This filter is similar in appearance to a giant lint catcher in the washing machine. This filter works by passing the water through the bag and the sediments get trapped inside.

This is a very flexible filter and it’s mostly used in reverse osmosis plants and other filtration systems because they’re very nifty and can be fitted in hard-to-reach areas. These filters last a very long time and unless they’re torn or punctured, bag filters can go on forever.

Pleated Filters

As the name suggests, a pleated filter has pleats all over the circumference of the core. These filters are also known as accordion filters and they’re the most commonly used filters in the world.

These filters work efficiently thanks to their compact yet large surface area. Because the pleats are in a circular arrangement, they allow more sediments to be caught as water runs down the filter. Another advantage of pleated filters is the fact that they can be rewashed and reused. So, there is no waste. This is something uncommon, especially where sediment filters are concerned.

Melted Filters

Melted filters or melt-blown filters are filters that are manufactured by passing gas at high speed through melted polymer. This creates a blown appearance on the filter surface and the layers that are formed that, because of this blowing action, trap particles of various sizes in a single filtration cycle.

These filters are considered to be the most efficient ones because they’re available in sizes ranging from 5-10 microns and this is the smallest size of available filters. So, you better believe that they’re going to catch every debris from the flowing water.

How Often Should A Filter Be Changed?

Sediment filters usually work amazingly for longer periods but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need to be changed every so often. The replacement of a filter solely depends on how dirty the water is, and how frequently filtration is required.

In some cases, water that doesn’t have a lot of suspended particles can be filtered quite easily and those filters need to be changed every six months to a year or so. On the other hand, some filters can get dirty pretty quickly and they need to be changed more frequently, either because the water was downright murky or excessive filtration was required to make the water clear again. In this case, you’ll need to change your sediment filter every 2 to 3 months.

How Do You Know When To Replace Your Sediment Filter?

Well, the most obvious hint is that there will be sediments in the water even after it has passed through the filter. This is a clear sign that the filter has been used up completely and now it is time to change it. Another immediate sign is the swelling, loosening, and deforming of the filter structure.


A sediment filter is a very effective tool for purifying water. It’s going to get rid of all of the debris and dirt that makes your water murky. When getting a whole house water filtration Erie system installed, check with the manufacturer if the system has a sediment filter and how to take care of the filtration system.