Industry Blogs

Installing the right water filtration in industrial applications comes with a long list of benefits. A good filtration system helps lengthen the equipment life, cuts down the maintenance costs, creates a shield against hazardous chemicals, and lowers the effluent costs. It is how meticulously the water filtration process is planned and executed that makes or Read more

Installing the right water filtration in industrial applications comes with a long list of benefits. A good filtration system helps lengthen the equipment life, cuts down the maintenance costs, creates a shield against hazardous chemicals, and lowers the effluent costs.

It is how meticulously the water filtration process is planned and executed that makes or breaks the overall system. Anything could take a faulty turn when executing a filtration process. For instance, a wrong pump might cripple the filtration process, a seemingly harmless glitch during installation can cause irreversible filter damage, or an incorrect filter material can set the filter on a course towards pre-mature failure.

With a myriad of details and calculations involved, employing the right filtration solution for an application is no easy feat. However, becoming familiar with the most common (and frequently occurring) filtration mistakes can help ensure they’re avoided during the process.

This article discusses common pitfalls associated with selecting, installing, and using water filtration in industrial applications.

Getting the Sizing Wrong for Equipment and Filter Elements 

As with everything, the planning stages are critical for installing and running a smooth filtration system. This is the stage that typically sees some of the costliest filtration mistakes – including the ones resulting from sizing issues

Faulty Filtration Equipment Sizing

When investing in filtration equipment, it’s paramount that the sizing aligns with what the application needs. The metric to consider when choosing the filter equipment is – the amount of liquid that the production would be running.

For instance, purchasing equipment that can push about 100 gallons a minute will not be of any use if a specific filtration step can only handle 10 gallons a minute. Not factoring in the flow rate during the process can negatively impact the production output.

Faulty Micron Rating

Filter specs can be customized as per the requirements of specific equipment. The customization options here typically include the core material, length, micron rating, diameter, filter media, and end cap configuration.

Among all the given options, micron rating is the trickiest to determine and has complete control over the filtration efficiency. If it’s too large, the contaminates can flow right through the filter. If it’s too small, the flow rate becomes obstructed.

A lot of research goes into finding the appropriate micron size. Most of it is associated with factors like the size and the consistency of the contaminants the equipment aims to filter.

Employing Incompatible Materials For Filter Elements 

The core, the seals, and the filter media come together to form a fully-functional filter. For a filter to achieve an optimal outcome, each element needs to be compatible with the fluid’s temperature and chemistry.

The core can be seen as the backbone of a filter. When the core itself is incompatible with the fluid, it can give in to the water pressure and practically crush the filter. This unleashes the trapped contaminants into the downstream fluid.

The filter media is the shield that stands between the fluid and the contaminants. When the fluid temperature or chemicals react negatively with the media, it simply bloats and clogs – impeding the flow rate. The risk reaches its peak when the fluid chemicals are too aggressive for the media to handle, causing it to dissolve completely.

Sealing materials like an o-ring or a gasket practically guard the clean side of the filter from the contaminated side. When the seal itself is dysfunctional, the unfiltered fluid merges with the clean fluid resulting in a situation commonly known as “bypass”. When neglected long enough, these seals can either dissolve or erode – opening a passageway for the unclean fluids to flood in. A great approach to avoid filtration fiascos from filter elements would be to follow a chemical compatibility chart.

Performing A Flawed Installation 

One of the common errors that can pop up during the installation process includes the reversal of the pipe housings (when the inlet and outlet housings get swapped).

Typically, filters can only handle fluid flow in a single direction (exceptions include filters that are made for backflushing). Unless the system requires liquid filter bags, the usual flow direction is always from the outside in.

Such an installation flaw can obstruct the flow rate and eventually knock down the filter. Most inlet and outlet pipes are labeled with the flow direction to help installation teams perform the task accurately. The filter equipment manual also comes with comprehensive instructions to maintain high accuracy during installation.

Selecting the Wrong Type of Pump

Pumps are what get the water flowing. In other words, they are the force behind driving the liquid through the filters. The outcome of a filter process depends on the type of pump employed in the system. It’s critical to ask the following questions when researching the right type of pump:

  • What is the size of production runs?
  • What is the viscosity of the liquid?
  • What are the components within the process stream that may cause resistance to the flow rate?
  • How far does the liquid travel?

Skipping the Air Venting Process

Once the filtration equipment is up and running, a critical step to remember would be to vent the air from the filter housings as the water seeps into them.

When ignored, the air trapped within the housing can form a bubble. This obstructs the liquid from filling up the housing completely. As a result, the overall flow rate declines.

Filter housings typically come with a built-in vent port or a vent valve that acts as the air’s escape route. To ensure the highest filter efficiency, the valve must be closed only when all the air leaves the housing.

Final Words 

Even the smallest of “filtration glitches” can trigger irreversible damages down the line. As far as mistakes with water filtration are concerned, simply installing and running the process successfully is not the end of the task.

A filtration system demands regular maintenance to ensure the filter runs efficiently for a long time. A lack of maintenance can lead to clogged filters and loosened seals – degrading the quality of the final outcome.

Lastly, it’s critical to leave no doubt unaddressed when working with water filtration. In most cases, seeking the help of a professional is the best approach to getting everything “just right” and avoiding expensive losses down the line.

Author Bio: Mark Ligon is the marketing manager at Commercial Filtration Supply. He oversees the development of business strategies and marketing of filtration products, including bag filters, cartridge filters, and strainers. Ligon writes about various liquid filtration applications to educate process and facility managers on best practices, ensuring they properly understand and care for their filter systems.

There’s a strong chance you’ve installed or spotted copper pipe somewhere in a home or building. Copper is the metal of choice for potable water systems for a variety of reasons – the most important being that it is non-toxic and safe for drinking. The naturally occurring metal element is also preferred for various application Read more

There’s a strong chance you’ve installed or spotted copper pipe somewhere in a home or building. Copper is the metal of choice for potable water systems for a variety of reasons – the most important being that it is non-toxic and safe for drinking. The naturally occurring metal element is also preferred for various application types due to its high conductivity of electricity and heat, corrosion/fire resistance and durability.

The process of joining copper pipe and fitting is called soldering (or sweating), which is a critical step in the copper installation process. Solder is a metal or metallic alloy that historically consisted of lead (known as lead-based solder) and tin in various proportions. Today, due to the Safe Water Drinking Act and lead-free restrictions, solders that contain more than 0.2% lead are not permitted for use in potable water systems.

Solders that are safe to use on potable water systems contain a percentage of tin and a combination of other non-toxic metals. The melting point of solder is lower than copper, and when heated, solder melts and fuses the piping together once completely cooled.

Learning how to solder copper pipe can seem daunting at first, but by applying proper techniques and avoiding typical errors, it becomes much easier to execute a leak-free pipe joint.

Let’s explore five common mistakes to avoid during the soldering process.

Choosing the Wrong Products

In addition to choosing the proper type of solder for your application, you will need to select the right type of copper pipe and flux, a compound that promotes the flow of molten solder between the pipe and fitting through a process known as capillary action.

Flux is also formulated to remove any oxidation from pipe and actually etches pipe surface in preparation for the soldering process to be successful. Important variables, such as ambient temperature, local code guidelines, and any jobsite time limitations, should all be considered prior to purchasing your soldering supplies.

Below, we’ve included some brief guidelines to keep in mind for your next soldering project.

  • Copper Pipe
    • Type K: Has the thickest wall and strongest durability. It is commonly used for commercial plumbing, such as underground water mains for potable water supply and HVAC lines.
    • Type L: Wall thickness falls between Type K and M. Typically used for interior hot and cold-water distribution.
    • Type M: Has the thinnest wall and is the most popular choice for domestic plumbing systems due to its light weight, decreased rigidity and affordability.
    • Copper DWV: Commonly used in older homes for vents and drains. No longer a popular choice among modern-day homeowners, as there are more cost-effective options available.
  • Flux
    • Petroleum-based Flux (or Petrolatum Flux): Flushing required and designed to provide superior wetting properties for better solder flow. Compatible with all common plumbing solder alloys, such as copper, copper-coated metals, brass, zinc, galvanized iron, lead and tin.
    • Hot Weather Flux: Specially formulated for hot weather climates and will not separate in temperatures up to 135°F.
    • Water-soluble Flux: Water flushable and compatible with all common plumbing solder alloys.
    • Tinning Flux: Available in both water-soluble and petroleum-based formulas. Enhanced with tinning powder particles to pre-tin piping and improve the flow of solder/enable even heating of a fitting, which is necessary when soldering larger diameter piping systems. Compatible with all common plumbing solder alloys. Check out this article to learn how to expertly solder low-lead brass using tinning flux.

Although petroleum-based fluxes are safe to use, they are required to be flushed with a chemical solution from the piping system due to their water insolubility. However, water-soluble fluxes become self-cleaning and flush away once water enters the system. Refer to manufacturer instructions for product-specific application and safety guidelines to ensure proper use.

  • Solder
    • Tin-antimony Solder: Contains 95% and 5% antimony. Lead-free and safe for water supply lines. Designed for use in plumbing applications where frequent extreme temperature changes and vibrations occur (refrigeration, cooling equipment and heat ducts); can also be used to solder electronics. Melting range is 450°F to 464°F. Has an unlimited shelf life.
    • Copper-tin Solder: Contains 97% tin and 3% copper. Lead-free and safe for water supply lines. Designed for sweating copper and brass plumbing joints. Melting range is 440°F to 572°F. Has an unlimited shelf life.
    • Silver-bearing solder: Contains silver, copper, bismuth and tin. Lead-free and safe for water supply lines. Ideal for low-lead brass applications. Has a wide melting range (420°F to 460°F) that enables more time for soldering joints.

Skipping the Prep

Failure to properly prep both the pipe and fitting is arguably one of the most critical mistakes in the soldering process. To achieve a properly sealed joint, oxidation and oils on the copper surfaces must be removed using special cleaning tools. Otherwise, it’s likely the solder will not completely fill the cup of the fitting, resulting in a weak or leaky joint.

Each of the following steps should be completed as you prep copper pipe for the perfect joint:

  1. After cutting the copper to the desired length, deburr (or ream) the inside of pipe end using a deburring tool to remove any small bumps or roughness (known as burrs) on the inside diameter or the pipe. If this step is overlooked, pipe pressure will decrease and water flow will be restricted. Any leftover burrs or copper shavings could cause noisy pipes when water enters the system.
  2. Remove oils and dirt from the outside of pipe end and polish clean with an abrasive sand cloth, open mesh cloth, nylon grit pad or tube cleaning brush. For wet applications, a nylon grit pad or open-mesh cloth are ideal due to their self-cleaning abilities.
  3. Clean all openings of the fitting hub with a fitting brush.

Applying Too Much Flux

It can be tempting to use a large glob of flux while soldering. However, we recommend evenly applying a thin layer of this product with an acid brush to copper pipe and the inside of a fitting – any excess flux should be removed prior to connecting them.

Applying too much flux will not only result in uselessly wasted product, but could also cause severe pipe damage over time. Once heat is applied to flux it turns to an acid; however, any excess flux will melt and travel through the inside of pipe, which may result in pitting and corrosion.

Overheating the Joint

When heating the fitting to sweat the copper pipe, make sure you remove the flame as soon the solder melts. As solder melts, flux will pull the solder into the fitting cup. Too much heat will cause excess solder flow or flux to burn out, which will increase the chance of a leak path.

Pro Tip: Never heat solder directly because you risk melting and breaking it off completely. It’s best to heat the joint evenly and then position the tip of the flame to the bottom of the fitting hub. The solder will flow toward the heat source and ensure the joint is completely filled.

Neglecting Clean Up

While the joint is still warm, immediately wipe away any leftover flux or solder drips with a dry rag to ensure copper pipe longevity. Excess flux may seem harmless; however, it can cause Verdigris, a greenish-blue discoloration commonly found on copper, bronze and brass, to form and destroy copper pipe over time. An old, rusting penny and the Statue of Liberty are great examples of Verdigris in action.

READY FOR YOUR NEXT SOLDERING PROJECT?

For a step-by-step guide on how to solder copper pipe, check out the video below.

 

Author’s biography: Sean Comerford is a Technical Customer Service Specialist at Oatey Co. He is a third-generation tradesman with nearly 20 years of plumbing experience, including serving as the lead plumber for commercial/residential new construction, service and fire protection jobs. He holds a State of Ohio Fire Protection License for Sprinkler and Standpipe.

There’s a tendency to think that established plumbing systems never change and once you’ve mastered best practices for installation, there isn’t much new to learn. But before we get to those, let’s review some of those basic practices that can help ensure the success of an installation using CPVC pipes and fittings. Installing CPVC Other Read more

There’s a tendency to think that established plumbing systems never change and once you’ve mastered best practices for installation, there isn’t much new to learn.

But before we get to those, let’s review some of those basic practices that can help ensure the success of an installation using CPVC pipes and fittings.

Installing CPVC

Other practices to keep in mind include accounting for expansion and contraction. To ensure proper space for expansion due to temperature changes, plan for about 1 inch per 50 feet of straight length of pipe per 50° F temperature increase. This is primarily a consideration for hot water lines but should be applied to cold water lines when they are installed in unusually hot or cold conditions. In most cases, expansion can be accommodated with normal changes of direction, although for long straight runs, loops or offsets are required. In order to properly account for expansion and contraction, CPVC pipes should be allowed to freely move in the direction of expansion.

For more on installing CPVC, you can access step-by-step, installation instructions or download a quick reference installation guide. Now, let’s get to the new developments that have occurred with CPVC plumbing systems this year.

Support for Mini-Manifold Designs

Mini-manifold systems can simplify plumbing installation in multi-family homes and, when properly designed, improve water and energy efficiency. Until recently, these systems were only available for PEX or copper plumbing, both of which have significant limitations that can offset the benefits of mini-manifold systems.

The new FlowGuard MultiPort CPVC manifold can reduce the pressure drop similarly seen in PEX manifolds by more than half. When using manifolds, it’s important to remember that the efficiency benefits are only realized when branch lines are kept short. There is a tendency, particularly when using flexible PEX piping, to run long branches that neutralize the benefits of the manifold and increase material costs. The FlowGuard MultiPort CPVC manifold encourages smart system design keeping branch lines short, ensuring the potential benefits of this design are fully realized.

The FlowGuard MultiPort CPVC manifold also expands the potential applications of this design by enabling their use in areas where local water conditions are too aggressive or corrosive for PEX or copper piping. In addition to the pressure and temperature conditions that can reduce PEX’s ability to resist chlorine degradation, local water conditions can have a similar effect if the oxidative reduction potential of the water flowing through the pipes is above 825 mV. With more municipalities switching from chlorine to chlorine dioxide and increasing the concentration of both disinfectants in their water supply, this condition is becoming more common.

With new environmental codes and standards encouraging reduced water volume between the hot water source and fixtures, the FlowGuard MultiPort CPVC manifold system creates the opportunity to minimize the entrained water in the system and maximize points earned under the LEED and NGBS rating systems.

High-Contrast Solvent Cement Gains 2024 Code Approvals

For the last 30 years, the plumbing code has required one-step CPVC cements to be yellow in color. The yellow color of the cement can make it harder to see the cement against the tan CPVC pipe when performing quality control checks, particularly when the pipes are in poorly lit spaces where the background is similarly colored wood stud or subfloor.

Recognizing that this lack of contrast can make inspection more challenging, the Lubrizol FlowGuard Gold team is working with model code organizations on advancing updates to their codes that allow green one-step solvent cement to be used with CPVC. The changes enabling use of high-contrast cement have been finalized and accepted by ICC, including the IPC, IMC and IRC. They are currently unopposed at IAPMO, in the UPC and UMC.

The only difference between the high-contrast green cement and the standard yellow solvent cement that has historically been used is the color. The new cement follows the same installation instructions and provides the same bonding strength as yellow solvent cement.

Continuing to Evolve

For plumbing systems like FlowGuard Gold CPVC that have proven their reliability in U.S. water systems for decades there isn’t a need for changes in material composition or system design. But there are opportunities to continue to evolve these systems to stay current with plumbing trends and resolve minor issues. To stay current on new FlowGuard Gold CPVC products and best practices, you can sign up to receive updates here.

Article submission by Jonathan Simon

Jonathan Simon is the North American residential plumbing manager for Lubrizol Advanced Materials Inc., the parent company for FlowGuard Gold Pipe and Fittings. For 60 years, FlowGuard Gold Pipe and Fittings has provided reliable hot and cold water plumbing systems to residential and commercial buildings.

Misconception #1 – You should always wear rubber gloves when operating a snake style drain cleaning machine to protect yourself from the health risks of sewage. While it is true that plumbers and drain cleaners should always be aware that they and their equipment are potentially in contact with human waste and take appropriate actions Read more

Misconception #1 – You should always wear rubber gloves when operating a snake style drain cleaning machine to protect yourself from the health risks of sewage. While it is true that plumbers and drain cleaners should always be aware that they and their equipment are potentially in contact with human waste and take appropriate actions, operating a cable style drain cleaning machine wearing only rubber gloves is not one of them. The problem with rubber gloves is that they can become pinched and caught in the rotating coils of a drain cleaning cable, causing great harm to the operator. We always recommend that operators wear heavy-duty two-ply leather gloves or something similar whenever their hands are anywhere near a drain cleaning machine. Thick leather gloves will not get caught between the coils of a snake or cable and can protect your hands from unexpected kinks or loops that sometimes form in the blink of an eye. If you want to wear rubber gloves to take appropriate sanitary precautions against sewage, then wear them under the leather gloves. This strategy gives you two levels of protection!

Misconception #2 — You should put a drain cleaning machine in reverse when retracting cable using a power feed device. Most modern drum style cable drain cleaning machines have a power feed and guide tube. This equipment makes it much easier to feed and retract the cable and serves to protect the operator. Every floor model brand of drain cleaning machine has a power cable feed that allows the operator to easily switch from forward to neutral to reverse while the drum and cable continues to spin in the forward direction. This feature is essential for smooth and effective operation of the machine. If the operator puts the electric motor in reverse and spins the drum and cable in the opposite direction, bad things tend to happen! Most drain cleaning companies coil their drum style cable in a ‘left hand wound’ direction. These cables are simply long, thin springs. Sometimes, like General’s Flexicore Cables, they have a solid inner core, and sometimes they don’t. However, all of them have a ‘direction’ to the outer coil that affects their performance and capabilities when under torque or in motion, and the drums, distributor tubes and power feeds that house and feed these cables are engineered with these capabilities in mind. When you reverse the motor while retracting the cable, you drastically increase the likelihood of kinking, tangling, or weakening the cable. The only time an operator should put the motor and drum of a machine in reverse is when they get a cutter wrapped up in an obstruction, and even then the duration should only be for a few seconds. Save yourself future complications and keep the machine in forward when the power feed is in reverse!

Misconception #3 – Hot water is better than cold water in cleaning drains with a high-pressure water jetter. While it is true that hot water can dissolve grease faster than cold water, the effect at high pressure is marginal. Generally speaking, in real world situations, it is not worth the additional cost and effort. Adding hot water pumps and heating tanks to your jetter protocol makes for a more expensive unit as well as doubling your work at the jobsite. High pressure cold water can do the job almost as fast, without the additional expense and time expenditure. For that reason, in a world where time is money, cold water is the way to go!

Misconception #4– High pressure water drain cleaning jetters with 4000 psi perform better than jetters with 3000 psi. In the past several years, we have seen more and more drain cleaning jetters with 4000 psi come on to the market, claiming that they have more power and effectiveness. However, according to our research, these claims are unfounded. When cleaning a drain, both pressure and flow rate are important factors. The psi, or pounds per square inch is necessary to dislodge foreign material in the pipe like grease and sludge. The jetting process is analogous to spray washing, and a certain amount of pressure, or psi is necessary to scour the inside of the pipe. However, after about 2,500 psi, further increases in pressure fail to deliver significant improvements in cleaning action. From that point on, the gallons per minute flow rate, or gpm grows in importance. For example, increasing a jetter’s flow rate from 4 gpm to 5.5 gpm almost doubles the machine’s drain cleaning speed, regardless of whether the psi is 3000 or 4000. So, look closely at the flow rate of high pressure water jetters before you buy, and don’t be fooled by marketing programs masquerading as science!

Misconception #5 — One of the biggest misconceptions that we hear from first-time General Pipe Cleaners customers is misjudging the ‘initial feel’ of our Flexicore Cable. If the customer is used to another brand of drain cleaner and then purchases a General machine or cable for the first time, they often complain to us that they received a defective cable. To them, compared to the cables that they are used to, it feels limp, weak and not stiff enough to fight its way through tough obstructions down the drain. Although their fears are unfounded, Flexicore does have a looser feel from other cables on the market because of the way it is engineered. However, we reassure our new customers is that the Flexicore will stiffen and strengthen when under torque, giving them clog busting power exactly when they need it the most. According to one customer, “it goes from a noodle to a steel rod in the blink of an eye when you hit the obstruction!” When it comes to General’s patented Flexicore Cable, first impressions can be misleading!

David Dunbar is the National Sales Manager for General Pipe Cleaners, a leader in the drain cleaning/pipe inspection industry. He has been with General since 1996, starting as Customer Service Manager, then Assistant Sales Manager, and National Sales Manager since 2017. He earned a BS degree in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and has graduate credits in Human Resource Development and Organizational Theory. David enjoys using his extensive public speaking, video, and writing experience within the industry. He can be contacted at daved@generalpipecleaners.com

Your plumbing business depends on having enough customers throughout the year. Of course, that means any info related to securing new customers is very valuable. The good news is you can find some effective and practical suggestions on precisely this topic, below. Read on to find out the best ways to get more plumbing clients.   Read more

Your plumbing business depends on having enough customers throughout the year. Of course, that means any info related to securing new customers is very valuable. The good news is you can find some effective and practical suggestions on precisely this topic, below. Read on to find out the best ways to get more plumbing clients.  

Establish your expertise 

When it comes to important tasks like plumbing, customers want to know that they and their properties are in the safest hands possible. That is where using blogging, vlogging, and even podcasting to establish your credibility comes in. 

Indeed, by offering expert in-depth content on the subject of plumbing you can easily demonstrate to potential customers that you are the one to come to when they have a problem. 

Of course, your content needs to not just be in-depth and expert, but as interesting as possible too. The best way to achieve this is to create content around the areas that you are most interested in and know best.  

Use your Google My Business listing

Google runs a scheme for businesses where they can claim their account and so add extra details to any listing they appear in. It’s known as Google My Business and is well worth your time as a plumber. 

Indeed, not only will you be more likely to come up in local and map searches but the first three listings in an area will show a snapshot of additional information including reviews, contact info, and your opening hours. All for free. 

Of course, this additional info is so important because by informing potential customers of these things it helps them to decide on whether to use your services faster. 

Additionally because Google My Business offers an objective review service you can help to build up trust and authority by activating your account. After all, if a potential client Googles you and the first thing they come across are your positive Google reviews they will feel much more secure in deciding to contact you about the work they need doing. 

Tap a new market

Another way that you can increase the number of plumbing clients you have is to tap a new market. For example, if you work primarily with residential clients you may want to market your plumbing business to other businesses as well. 

Of course, to be successful at this you will need to make use of some great B2B SEO and marketing services. After all, making sure you get found by clients and that they are aware of the services and benefits you can offer them is vital to the success of tapping a new market. 

The good news is that by working with B2B SEO experts you can come up with tactics that will help you secure larger, and more profitable corporate and business clients to enhance your business. 

Make good use of your Facebook page 

It’s not just Google that can help direct leads to your plumbing business, but social media platforms as well. In particular, Facebook is an excellent choice, primarily because of the combination of billions of users, and a preferential demographic for those of the right age and social status to own their own homes and businesses, and so will require plumbing services. 

You can make your social media marketing even more targeted too by using Facebook Ads where you can aim for a specific location in which to offer your services. 

Use previous customers to refer new ones 

Previous happy customers can be your greatest ally when it comes to finding more plumbing clients. This is because a word of mouth referral means more to most people than all the online reviews, and clever marketing schemes combined, especially if it’s from someone they are close to and trust. 

So, just how do you get previous customers to advocate for your business? Well, first of all, you must provide a service that is worth recommending. This means you will need to go above and beyond when it comes to the customer service you offer, making sure your clients aren’t only happy, but delighted with their experience with your firm.  

Fortunately, it’s quite a bit easier to go above and beyond the call of duty as a plumber these days than it used to be. This is because technological advancements mean you can run an automated booking system where clients are notified of your estimated time of arrival and can even reschedule if it’s not convenient. 

Similarly, you can communicate with them through email or instant chat at the initial and later stages of the process. You can even send them email invoices that allow them to pay online to make things as fast and as smooth as possible.