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Thread: Why not High Flow household carbon filters?

  1. #1
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    May 2014
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    Why not High Flow household carbon filters?

    So I have searched this forum at length for answers about water filters. We are in process of expansion and currently use an HDX HF filter for our 3bbl system, this has worked great. We are trying to understand what we would need for our new 15bbl system and seems like 10CF Carbon filter would do the trick but why this over what we currently use? Obviously, the flow rate is going to be an issue with it but if we are just filling up the HTL constantly, I don't see why this would be a problem. Also from a price comparison, even with having to change out the HDX every 40,000 gals it would still be insanely cheap in comparison to 10CF filter.

    I understand that I am likely missing some obvious answer but I can't really find it. Can someone fill me in for the cons of operating our water filtration in this manner?

  2. #2
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    Carbon filters are sized based upon the flow (typically expressed in gpm in the USA) you want to push through it, and what you're trying to remove (chlorine? chloramines?). The higher the flow, the bigger the carbon filter. Carbon blocks come in 4 standard sizes:
    10" x 2.5" (typical residential size)
    20" x 2.5"
    10" x 4.5"
    20" x 4.5"

    Many of the largest of these carbon blocks are spec'ed at 6 gpm for chlorine removal. We typically tell customers to not exceed about half that.

    If you have higher flows, or want a more economical solution, you'd jump up to a backwashing carbon tank. Again, the higher the flow, the bigger the tank.

    We can work with you re sizing considerations if that would help, as well as providing the equipment and media.

    Russ
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    Buckeye Hydro
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  3. #3
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    Mar 2017
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    Thousand Oaks, CA.
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    Filter Sizing is Important

    A 10 cu ft carbon filter seems to be a bit much in my humble opinion. A 4 cu ft carbon unit should be more than sufficient to service your 15 BBL brew system. Here's a few things to consider when sizing a carbon unit. Flow rates, contact time and chlorine or chloramines. A 4 cu ft system should give you a sufficient flow rate. To remove chemicals, smells etc. you need enough contact time with the carbon for it to do it's job correctly. A 4 cu ft system will do this. If chloramines need to be filtered then a Cat Carbon system must be used to remove the ammonia in the chloramine. Ammonia will give your brew a metal taste and regular carbon will not remove the ammonia. There are many types, grades and mesh or size of Cat Carbon. It's crucial to get this right. A 15 barrel system is sizable. You've invested a serious amount of money in your business. A correctly set up professional carbon unit would allow you to focus on what you do and know best, BREW!
    Cheers,

    Jimmy Fagan
    Craft Brew Water
    CraftBrewWater.com
    805-777-7037

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraftBrewWater2 View Post
    A 10 cu ft carbon filter seems to be a bit much in my humble opinion. A 4 cu ft carbon unit should be more than sufficient to service your 15 BBL brew system. Here's a few things to consider when sizing a carbon unit. Flow rates, contact time and chlorine or chloramines. A 4 cu ft system should give you a sufficient flow rate. To remove chemicals, smells etc. you need enough contact time with the carbon for it to do it's job correctly. A 4 cu ft system will do this. If chloramines need to be filtered then a Cat Carbon system must be used to remove the ammonia in the chloramine. Ammonia will give your brew a metal taste and regular carbon will not remove the ammonia. There are many types, grades and mesh or size of Cat Carbon. It's crucial to get this right. A 15 barrel system is sizable. You've invested a serious amount of money in your business. A correctly set up professional carbon unit would allow you to focus on what you do and know best, BREW!
    We don't size carbon tanks by the barrel size of the brewery.
    Sometimes customers want all water coming into the building to be treated, other times, its only necessary to treat a small portion of that flow.

    The key is to measure, or get a professional's help in estimating, the flow in gpm that you want to treat. THAT is the place to start. The faster flow you want, the larger the carbon tank(s) may need to be. Typically a 4 cu ft carbon tank, assuming we're talking about standard GAC and chlorine, has a peak service flow of 14 or 15 gpm. We've installed larger, and smaller tanks in smaller and larger breweries.

    Russ
    Probrewer.com Advertising Supporter

    Buckeye Hydro
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  5. #5
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    We use a Fleck backflushing valve and resin tank for our 30 bbl brewhouse. The resin tank holds 9 cu ft of GAC. We only run brewhouse water, hlt, clt, filtration, and one sink through it. It back flushes every night. The guys at Ohiopurewater were fantastic to work with on sizing and consulting on which GAC was best suited for our needs. Cheeers.
    Joel Halbleib
    COO / Zymurgist
    Goodwood Brewing Co
    636 East Main St
    Louisville, KY
    goodwood.beer

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrewinLou View Post
    We use a Fleck backflushing valve and resin tank for our 30 bbl brewhouse. The resin tank holds 9 cu ft of GAC. We only run brewhouse water, hlt, clt, filtration, and one sink through it. It back flushes every night. The guys at Ohiopurewater were fantastic to work with on sizing and consulting on which GAC was best suited for our needs. Cheeers.
    Backwashing nightly is pretty unusual for a carbon tank. Once a week is more typical. Do you have some water quality issues at your site?

    Russ
    Probrewer.com Advertising Supporter

    Buckeye Hydro
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  7. #7
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    Louisville, KY
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    No,
    We have really good water. Hmmm Need to check into that. Do you have any info you can direct me to? Cheers
    Joel Halbleib
    COO / Zymurgist
    Goodwood Brewing Co
    636 East Main St
    Louisville, KY
    goodwood.beer

  8. #8
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    Mar 2014
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    Cincinnati, OH, USA
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    Feel free to give us a call!
    Russ
    513-312-2343
    Probrewer.com Advertising Supporter

    Buckeye Hydro
    Water Treatment Systems & Supplies
    www.BuckeyeHydro.com
    Info@buckeyehydro.com
    513-312-2343

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    Ontario, California
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    Unfortunately carbon sizing is typically misunderstood by even the most "experienced" tradesman. The type of carbon, the contaminant reduction percentage desired, flow rates, temperatures etc al come into play for properly sizing a carbon tank. Most smarter companies will err on the side of caution for a multitude of reasons. Under-sizing a carbon tank is common and should not be done especially considering the way carbon works. That bein said, I do training seminars all over the world and this topic is no less than an hour long to even get a very basic understanding.
    In general, a cubic foot of carbon has a rating of approximately 3 gpm (it is much more complex than that, I am simplifying...) Backwashing is typically done every 14-28 days in most applications. If the carbon requires more frequent backwashing, you either have sediment in the water that should be removed prior to the carbon tank or the carbon tank is severely under-sized and the granular media is compacting due to this. The use of carbon "Filters" is rarely recommended except for the smallest applications and they need to be carefully considered as maintenance costs will quickly exceed the cost of a properly sized and designed backwashing system.

  10. #10
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    Pomona, CA USA
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    So, something like this https://www.freshwatersystems.com/p-...er-system.aspx is good for a low-flow situation? If a system like this (please forgive my ignorance) how often does the media have to be changed? I know flow rates change drastically, but I use instant hot water heaters so I would probably add something like this after that, max flow rate for brewing is probably 6-7 gpm. Is this enough? What is more important: flow rate or total gallons filtered? Both?

    Right now I just use big box whole house filters with basic carbon-block filters. I'm coming to understand that this is "useless" according to the smarter people on forums. I'm very interested in getting the best possible water without RO (not because I don't want RO but because it's incredibly unrealistic in our situation not having a HLT). I guess what I'm looking for and maybe the OP is asking, is installing something like what I've linked here going to improve the water for MOST brewers?

  11. #11
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    In the world of water treatment, there are specific pieces of equipment (an auto backwashing valve in this case), and specific media (GAC - granular activated carbon in this case) used to treat specific water contaminants (chlorine in this case). There's not really a be all end all filter that magically improves water regardless of what the contaminant is. Good water treatment is specific to a contaminant and a situation (water flow, volume, water chemistry, etc).

    That said, yes, many breweries use backwashing carbon tanks. That particular valve wouldn't be my choice, however.

    Russ
    Probrewer.com Advertising Supporter

    Buckeye Hydro
    Water Treatment Systems & Supplies
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  12. #12
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    Jan 2017
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    Ontario, California
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    GAC is used for many applications including brewing but it only targets some very specific contaminants. Taste and odor, organic chemicals, chlorine and a little more. I am not much of a fan of the valve shown, it was my favorite nearly 20 years ago until we started figuring out the design flaws.

    The filters rating that you referred to assumes you are running the filter at appropriate flow rates. This is rarely the case. It also assumes your reduction is solely chlorine, and only at a specific reduction percentage, not organic chemicals and many other contaminants. In order to properly size a carbon based filtration system you really need to determine what your actual continuous and peak flow rates will be and how often you will hit the peak. If the peak is reached regularly, this becomes your continuous. Are you trying to remove chlorine or chloramine? Are there any other contaminants, odors etc that you need to address.

    It sounds like you are growing. is your water source consistent or does it change regularly? Do you have an appropriate water test procedure in place to determine if these changes affect your final product? Many brewers use RO as their primary treatment and simply blend in filtered water to adjust the TDS to a pre-determined level in order to keep their final product consistent. Some brewers have water supplies that don't vary and they can cope without complex treatment methods.

    Just a few thoughts as you grow your business, water treatment plays a very important role in your product and should be taken seriously.

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