What are Microns and How Do They Relate to Water Filtration?


When people look into the issue of water quality, filtration and treatment they will run into the word micron. It is obviously important, particularly in relation to water filtration as it appears frequently, but what is a micron? Let’s take a closer look at what a micron is and how it relates to the process of water filtration. What are Microns and How Do They Relate to Water Filtration?

Understanding Water Filtration: 

Before we look more closely at the word micron, we need to understand the basic concept of filtration. Water filtration occurs when the water flows through certain materials and that material traps any particles that are in the water. The material can vary, and in many cases, a succession of various kinds of material will have a cumulative effect. We see this in nature where spring water will pass through the ground, through permeable layers of sand, gravel, and rock becoming purified in the process. Although many people drink natural spring water regularly, the vast majority of domestic water is filtered using modern man made systems. 

The Micron in Modern Water Filtration: 

A variety of different water filtration systems is available for the modern home. These filters usually use a combination of media to filter the water and remove unwanted particles. The differences between these different kinds of media can be measured in microns. The term micron is essential to understanding the properties of the filtering media by the size of the particles that can be trapped. As an example: a water filter may be rated at 1 micron or below, this filter would be capable of trapping both Guardia and Cryptosporidium bacteria because they are larger than 1 micron. In this particular case, the water filter would not be effective at removing a typical virus as the filter would need to be 0.01 microns at least. 

The Micron Rating: 

As we have just seen the difference in micron sizes can be a critical factor in understanding which particles can be removed from the water. In order to understand this better, modern water filters have a micron rating. In simple terms, this rating calculates an average size of the openings that are found in various types of filtration media. For example, a filter rated at 40 microns will have openings that are larger than a filter rated at 5 microns. The 40 micron filter will allow larger particles to pass through its openings that a 5 micron filter would trap. 

Trapping Organisms: 

Water filters with larger micron ratings can be very effective at removing large particles, such as sand, debris, and dirt, but they are not effective against smaller particles. These smaller particles are usually bacterial organisms and viruses that are not conducive to good health. If the water source is a direct private source, such as creeks, streams, and wells, it is a good idea to install a two tier filter. This system has a larger micron filter to remove debris particles followed by a smaller micron filter to trap harmful organisms. 

If you are concerned about the quality of your water, speak to a local water treatment professional. There are many kinds of water filtering systems available that will drastically improve the water quality in your home. Always ensure that your chosen professional is fully WQA certified and you can be confident that they will meet and even surpass water industry standards.

About The Author, Terry Reeh, EcoWater Systems of Nebraska:

With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative. Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices. EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery businesses in the state.

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