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I may have set a client up for failure.

Discussion in 'Irrigation Pumps & Supplies' started by Outlawn, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. Outlawn

    Outlawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,287

    I have a client whose irrigation supply is fed by a pump in a creek/small, slow moving river. Around here we have a lot of algae in the water. This system is a 3 zone system with a Hunter Pro-C connected to a pump-start relay for the pump which is run down to the water. His brother has the adjoining property with a similar set up but has 6 zones on a Rain Dial, also with a pump start relay.
    The customer was having to clean a lot of the filters on the bottom of the rotors and we had to replace several, as well. I suggested that we put in an upstream filter. After some deliberation, he and his brother both asked for them to be installed. I placed the 2” model on both Systems with the 100 micron filters in each.
    I went back out recently to do some unrelated work and decided to check the filters. To my dismay, the filters have a bunch of algae and gook out of the river on them. It’s good that they are doing their job but it looked much worse than I expected it to so soon. I instructed the owners to flush them monthly using the valve on the bottom and the system on and I think they have been doing it, but I’m second guessing this now. I don’t want to have wasted their money. Should I let it ride, switch to a 60 micron filter, try to set them on a quarterly maintenance deal where I clean or replace the filters?
    Ultimately, it’s doing it’s intended purpose of keeping thy crap out of the heads but I had hoped for this to be less maintenance on their end.

    PS- I intended on installing a valve on the bottom and using zone 1 from each system to flush it as I had done this on a job recently. I was not able to do this, however, due to one system only having the 3 zones on the module and the other not having a valve anywhere close to where the customer wanted the filter.
  2. top_gun_de

    top_gun_de LawnSite Member
    from Germany
    Messages: 28

    You picked a cheap solution that seems to work for the moment.

    The correct filter would be a disc filter which is able to pick more algae out of the water. While a disk filter is not much more expensive, it can't be cleaned through the blow down opening. You need to pull out the cartridge and clean it in a jar of water.

    My setup requires frequent cleaning of the mesh-filter, too. I mounted a 3/4" PVC ball valve on the blow-down opening and it's now very fast. I haven't tried it, but a 3/4" 24V AC ball valve should work, too.
    Outlawn, hort101 and rlitman like this.
  3. rlitman

    rlitman LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,461

    Agreeing with the above, disc filters (which I have gravitated to) require disassembly to clean, but have a far greater surface area than screens, so they take much longer to clog.

    But here's an "out of left field" "throw it at the wall and see what sticks" sort of idea (so please feel free to tell me how dumb it sounds):
    Put one of these on the flush cap of the filter body:
    I use these flushing ends at the end of my drip irrigation lines. They open up as the pressure drops, draining out the line. When the water starts flowing, they allow the rush of air to pass, and then spurt water out the end for a few seconds until the pressure builds to the point that it snaps shut and seals. The idea being that the initial wave of water will push contaminants in the pipe out the end and not out your emitters.

    Used on a filter body, I see it working like a compressor auto-drain valve that shoots out a little crap with each pressure cycle. One potential issue is that it clogs shut (or even worse, open) with algae. But if this works, maybe it can extend your maintenance interval?
    Outlawn likes this.
  4. Hayduke

    Hayduke LawnSite Senior Member
    from Oregon
    Messages: 411

    As far as I know all disc filters I have used (Netafim, Agrifim, Arkal, Amiad) are plumbed opposite of a screen filter, meaning the water enters from the outside of the element and leaves through the inside, so flushing with a ball valve set up will not do anything. The disc element needs to be removed and loosened so the discs are separated and then they can be cleaned with a nice strong jet of relatively clean water. Even the screen filters will only eject the loose larger debris when flushed with the ball valve method. Smaller stickier debris will just glue itself to the inside of the screen and needs to be scrubbed out with a brush periodically.
    hort101, rlitman and Outlawn like this.
  5. top_gun_de

    top_gun_de LawnSite Member
    from Germany
    Messages: 28

    Yepp, that's what I said :)

    A mesh filter can be flushed through the blow down opening, a disc filter can't.

    Yet, a mesh filter will not hold all organic matter. That's where disc filters are better. A disc filter is the better solution for this particular application, but needs more maintenance.

    Economy disk filter: Irritec YFV

    Commercial grade with more capacity: Irritec TIF, but these are really expensive.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
    hort101, Hayduke and Outlawn like this.
  6. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 638

    That is the heavy downside I have stumbled on with filters. No matter what kind they are, if you are pulling from a source with algae, debris, etc, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of maintenance. In some cases that is a good thing, but it can be a nuisance as well for everyone involved. Like many things in Irrigation, reliability is not great with filters
    hort101 likes this.
  7. top_gun_de

    top_gun_de LawnSite Member
    from Germany
    Messages: 28

    I understand that the current mesh filter holds most of the algae. If there is s bit of headroom on the dynamic pressure, you can mount a disc filter behind the mesh filter. That way, the easily scrubbed mesh filter picks up the coarse dirt and the hard to clean disk filter gets only the tiny dirt and fills up more slowly.

    With a ball valve on the mesh filter plus a disc filter, your customer can do the easy part every week, and you clean the disc filter once mid-season and during winterization.
    rlitman and Outlawn like this.

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