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Thread: Reverse Osmosis & Deionization

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    Reverse Osmosis & Deionization Workshop

    Hello Everyone,

    I have been asked to "coach" a workshop for RO and RO/DI. I hope you enjoy it, and if you're new, I am sure you will learn a lot.

    I will cover
    1. The layout to look for
    2. The quality of the different components
    3. Materials of construction
    4. Instrumentation (Gauges needed)
    5. Trouble shooting
    6. Water quality, including pH, chloramines, sediment and more in and out of the system. What this means in terms of top off water.


    Please feel free to bring up your own questions, I really hope you enjoy!

    Marianne
    www.aquafx.net
    Last edited by AquaFX; 01-15-2006 at 06:48 PM.

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    Sounds great Marianne. Best of luck with the thread
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    Butterflyfish
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    Excellent topic.

    • I would like to see some information on the different micron size filters (carbon and sediment) and how to pick the proper sizes. How they interact with the RO filter.
    • How to know when they are exhausted, shelf life, etc.
    • What happens to the filters when you shut the RO unit down and let it sit unused for a week or two at a time (i.e. undue wear on the filters, shortened life, etc.)
    • Optimum pressure to operate at (when to add a boost pump)
    • Refillable DI resin and how it compares to DI catridges
    • Proper use of a TDS meter to determine efficiency of RO unti and also to determine when it's time to change filters (which filters to replace)
    Oh so many questions, but a great topic to discuss.

    Thx
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    i think this is gonna be a great workshop and i'm sure i'll learn a lot.
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    GREAT! Sediment

    OK, sediment. Sediment filters remove/reduce what is referred to as "suspended Solids" ;think sand. It is physically filterable.

    Iron particles, Sand, Calcium that has scaled and then come lose, any fragments that do not dissolve will be in this category.

    These particles will clog up your carbon, even worse if you are using carbon block. The carbon in "Carbon Block" has been "glued" together already taken up 40% of available surface area. (save for carbon talk)


    If you have a lot of sediment you might need to stager higher micron to a lower micron rated filter. You will know this if your sediment filter is always clogging up. For instance, start with a 20 mic to remove sediment larger than 20 microns then down to a 1 micron to remove particle larger than 1 micron.

    We do suggest 1 micron sediment filtration for your RO.

    There are different types of sediment filters, polyblown, yarn wound, polypleated to name some. They all work fairly well. Polypleat are normally more expensive. Hobby sediment filters are called nominal as apposed to absolute. The difference will not be notice for our purposes, the price difference is great.

    Marianne
    www.aquafx.net

    "The Opinions here are not necessarily those of anyone else in the world" let me know what you think of this as a by line.

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    question: is this going to be a DIY RO/DI unit workshop or a how they work and how to make them work best one?
    to be updated
    20L and a 55 standard atm

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    WorkShop

    Quote Originally Posted by MarineTeng
    question: is this going to be a DIY RO/DI unit workshop or a how they work and how to make them work best one?
    I am not sure what the difference is, if I do this well, it should be all of the above.
    Marianne
    www.aquafx.net

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    Carbon

    The second stage is normally carbon. This is done (in Reverse Osmosis) to protect the
    membrane from chlorine. Chlorine will ruin a Thin Film Composite (TFC) membrane. TFC is the most common membrane used today (more on membranes later)

    Carbon's magic is it's incredible surface area. On the order of one gram of carbon having the surface area of 1/4 of a football field. This is truly incredible. Traditional carbons work by absorption, meaning the containment is contained on the extremely irregular external surface.

    Presently, the most common form of carbon used in the RO home unit industry is a carbon block. The main advantage of a carbon block is its ability to avoid channeling. However, adhesive is used to make a carbon block. The glue occupies up to 40% of the surface area, greatly reducing the effectiveness of the media. We prefer Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC). In the past GAC has done a phenomenal job of removing human added disinfectants (chlorine).

    These days, chlorine is no longer our biggest problem, we have moved into the world of chloramines. This is a combination of chlorine & ammonia gases. The ammonia componet is difficult to remove from water and it will not come out with traditional GAC. The RO membrane will not remove enough of it to be considered effective. The DI resin stage of your unit will remove chloramines, but it will cost you a fortune as the DI will be consumed quickly.

    There is now carbon media that have been specially modified to significantly reduce the chloramine (Namely the ammonia componet) This media works by actually contributing elemental carbon to a series of reactions to break down the ammonia. This cannot be accomplished in a single 10 X 2 inch filter, (we are presently using 2-10 inch cartridges in a row). Simply put, there is not enough contact time to complete the entire reation series in a single 10 inch filter bed. Another benefit of these new filters is that there is no GLUE resulting in at least 40% longer life PER CARBON FILTER. Actually they out perform any other carbon I know of; in purification ability and life span. We are still learning about this relatively new material and field results from users have been EXCELLENT. On our in-house built systems we add a test port after the Blasters Carbons so you can monitor filter life. You can add a test port to your system by adding a tee and a ball valve. A simple chlorine test is all that is needed to verify that the filters are working since the separation of the chlorine out of the chloramines is one of reactions, and it is very easy and inexpensive to test for.

    OK, I don't know about you, but I can go on forever. Please let me know any questions about sediment or carbon. If not I will move to membranes.

    Thank you,
    Marianne
    Last edited by AquaFX; 01-14-2006 at 09:20 PM.

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    Butterflyfish
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    Great info Marianne.

    A couple of questions.

    You suggest that 2 cabon filters are needed to do a good job of cleaning the water prior to entering the RO filter (prolonging life). I only have a 4 stage unit so I typically have 1 sediment and 1 carbon unit prior to the RO & DI. Would it be better to use to carbon filters instead?

    I believe you also recommended using a 1 micron sediment prior to a 1 micron carbon filter. I am still trying to understand this. It makes more sense to me to use a 5 micron sediment first to remove the larger particles and a 1 micron carbon to remove the rest down to 1 micron. I'm sure I am missing something.
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    The only time you will "need" 2 carbons is if they are "Chloramine Blaster" carbon. You need 2 to get enough contact time to take care of the ammonia in the chloramine. If you have chlorine only, one carbon (any type) will remove the chlorine.

    Using a 5 micron sediment filter before a 1 micron carbon filter will not protect the carbon filter from sediment, I know this is done, but it should not be. The sediment filter alone should remove sediment (as much as possible). Sediment should not be allowed to pass into the carbon, it blocks the carbons surface rendering the carbon useless.

    Each prefilter stage really protects the one behind it. Sediment protects carbon and carbon protects the membrane.

    If you have chloramine in your water and a 4 stage unit, the best option is to add a sediment filter out in front, and use the 2 prefilter canisters you have for the Chloramine blasters.

    I hope this helps, if I am not clear, please let me know.

    Marianne
    www.aquafx.net

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    Great explaination. Thanks.
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    thats good reading..
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    Thumbs up I have been asked to "coach" a workshop for RO and RO/DI.

    Thank you Marianne for putting on this work shop so far It has been very informative. I don't have a home ro-di unit however I do have access to it at my job we have a commercial Glegg water treatment unit that produces over 250 GPM we can run our Cation and anion Resin beds about 460 thousand gallons before we Regenerate our "BEDS" as for These days, chlorine is no longer our biggest problem, we have moved into the world of chloramines. We remove them by a tower that is over 30' hi we pump the water over the top and it is full of softball sized diffusers that make the water splash and act in a "RAIN" effect as it falls we also blow in extra air to scrub out chloramines and CO2 we generally call this our DE-carb tank can this process be used on the Hobie side that we need for ro-di production.
    Thank you so much for the work shop....Jeff
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    Marianne - Great workshop! These questions might fall into another area of discussion, but I wanted to get them out before I forgot them:

    I have a question about rejection rates, first what is it exactly...I may be wrong in my understanding of it. Is it better to go with a lower gallon per day output (i.e. 60 gpd vs. 100 gpd) when your TDS is high? My thought on it was the lower the gpd the higher the rejection rate, so your DI resins would last longer? Or, is the difference not that great in rejection rates between the two? Also, why does colder water effect the amount of output?
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    Membranes

    The most popular membrane material is Thin Film Composite (TFC). This material is NOT chlorine tolerant, but they can handle bacteria attack. There are Cellulose Triacetate (CTA) that are chlorine tolerant, but bacteria will destroy a CTA membrane. Also, CTA rejection rates are no where as good as TFC rejection rates. In ultra-pure water you will find TFC membrane much more commonly used, they just need to be preceded by a carbon.

    Also membranes are funny, not funny haha. They are made in lots. Two different membranes in a lot can/will perform differently. This is the nature of membrane technology.

    The 3 main factors affecting an individually membranes performance are;

    1. Pressure (YOU NEED A GAUGE) the first question we ask when a system is not working properly is "what is the pressure?" If that can not be answered, I really can not help much. I need to know what the pressure was when it was operating and any changes, gradual or rapid. Folks are amazed when they add a booster pump. The unit increases the volume of production water, water quality improves and there is a reduction in waste water, in other words MUCH BETTER EFFECINCY. We use DOW FILMTEC Membranes, the gallon out put is rated at 40 PSI. Most cheaper membranes are rated at 60 PSI. So it is important to understand the specs when comparing membranes. The RO systems you purchase are normally limited to 80 PSI. You can experience component failure at higher pressures, check with your equipment manufacturer before going wild with pressure. Your membrane can handle it, but that maybe the only part of your system that can.

    2. Temperature; I have seen some very good experiments on Canadian Reef Boards; the ambient water temps are lower there. With minimal adjustments to temp
    NEVER EXCEED 80 degrees F You can also see amazing results. Not quite as dramatic as pressure, but amazing none the less.

    3. Water Quality; the membrane is designed to reject approximately 95% of incoming Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) this is done by splitting the incoming stream. 3 to 4 times the product water goes to waste. This can not be changed with any type of long term success. There are adjustable flow restrictors that tighten up the amount of waste water produced.
    Example; the membrane initially sees the incoming TDS (let say) 200ppm, this work fine for awhile (lets say 1 month). Then due to the lack of flushing (the waste stream) there is a build up on the membrane. Now the membrane ‚Äúsees‚ÄĚ the higher TDS. The membrane is operating properly it is rejecting 95% of the TDS it ‚Äúsees‚ÄĚ BUT the TDS is now 2500ppm, due to the build up. We do call the water we send to drain the waste water, but more properly it should be called CONCENTRATE. Although it is sent to drain, it is VERY important to the process. Now in situations where sending water to the drain is undesirable, this practice is used. You will be replacing membrane every 6 months or so.

    This should have gone under carbon; But its here;

    At this point we should address carbon changes; some carbons claim 2,500 of water @ .5 ppm chlorine. That is just too simple. Today you measure your total chlorine of the in coming tap water and it is 0.25ppm. Tonight while you sleep the local water keepers disinfect the water line, you wake up and your bathroom smells like the YMCA. You are now a 3ppm total chlorine.

    If you make 2 to 5 gallons per day, change your carbon every 6 months If you make 5 to 10 gallons per day, every 3 months 10 gallons and up change your carbon every month

    I am talking averages; EXAMPLE you fill your 40 gallon storage tank 1 time per week, that only in the 2 to 5 gallon range or carbon change every 6 months

    Now, only you know how bad you chlorine/chloramine is. Slugs aimed to disinfect water supply lines are less detectable with chloramine. Use your judgment or add a test port.

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