When building owners and managers are considering how to improve the efficiency, quality, and environmental impact of water filtration, taking a look at all the options can be daunting. You may have heard of inline filtration and one of its alternatives, side stream filtration. Choosing which filtration option is best for each individual business or building, such as a side stream filter, depends on the unique circumstances at play, but despite being less common than inline filtration, side stream filtration has its own set of positives.
Remember that water filtration is critical not only for the environment but also for the efficacy and longevity of any systems you own that process water. Contaminants in the water contribute to the overall decay of a system through corrosion, weakening of valves and instruments, and even the growth of microbial colonies that can cause harm to both people and pipes. Making responsible decisions about water treatment can benefit your business and everyone who spends time there; an experienced water treatment professional can guide you on whether side stream filtration is the right option for you and provide you with actionable steps.
What Is Side Stream Filtration?
Side stream filtration is a process by which the water in a system is cleaned—but not all at once. Unlike inline filtration, which runs constant filtration on all water, side stream filtration cleans the water in portions (but continuously). This can be effective depending on what the system is trying to achieve; for example, the force of the water flow and the most common contaminants will influence how a side stream filtration option functions, as higher pressure will require more sturdy components.
In addition, whether the side stream system includes traditional or automatic screen filters, microfilters, or high-efficiency media filtration all depends on the unique situation of the building. This is why it is important to have your system evaluated by a professional.
Open Loop Systems
Open-loop systems and closed-loop systems perform differently, regardless of whether the filtration option is side stream filtration. In an open-loop system, process fluid enters the cooling station and flows over the warm areas. At this point, the water that is being used to cool the heated sections is exposed to open air, which means that it can become polluted with any contaminants present in the environment or atmosphere.
In an open-loop side stream filtration system, the filter often has a lot of work to do, because contaminants enter the water during the cooling cycle. Side stream filters will be cleaning portions of water continuously and will need to effectively capture these contaminants in order to ensure the system functions well.
Closed Loop Systems
Closed-loop systems, in contrast, are not exposed to environmental contaminants, because the water that passes over the heated elements to cool them is contained within a closed “circuit” that prevents outside contact. This does not, however, mean that contaminants cannot enter the water.
Closed-loop systems are still vulnerable to contaminants and solids as a result of corrosion, leaking, new construction, or the introduction of new additions to a system. Over time, these contaminants can cause further erosion as well as wear and tear on metals, seals, valves, and any monitoring instruments present in the system. Pollutants can also contribute to microbiological growth and reduce the effectiveness of water treatment chemicals.
Closed-loop systems can benefit from a variety of filtration systems depending on the unique circumstances, whether using side stream filtration or not. However, because the number of contaminants tends to be less in closed-loop systems that are properly maintained to avoid corrosion and other wear and tear, side stream filtration that cleans portions of water continuously can perform the task in an efficient way without the need for complex filtration options.
Call the Commercial Filtration Experts
Understanding how a side stream filter may function better than an inline filter and whether it is the right choice for you and your business is a discussion that is best taken up with a professional, experienced water treatment expert. A water treatment pro can provide you with an overview of your water system, including areas that need improvement so that you can make informed decisions about the filtration option that is best for you—including potential side stream filtration to improve efficiency.
If you would like to discuss your options with a water filtration and treatment expert, reach out to Tower Water. The experts at Tower Water set the standard for water treatment and proper protection of HVAC systems through cooling; you will be in good hands as you investigate how to reduce costs, environmental impacts, and the risk that you will run afoul of legal requirements regarding the proper treatment of water. Schedule a free water assessment with Tower Water to get the process started.