The Ultimate FAQ Guide: Residential Ultrafiltration (UF) Systems

Due to the ongoing freshwater insufficiency, most affected households are resorting to unorthodox water supply lines. The majority of these supply lines are distinctively polluted thereby necessitating treatment to make them usable. The modern era is abundantly endowed with water treatment technologies and this has greatly aided in combating freshwater undersupply. Some of the most effective, economical, and dependable technologies include ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, and media filtration among others.

Today, we are however going to center our discussion on ultrafiltration systems and their applicability to residential homes.

Figure 1 Residential ultrafiltration system.

1. What is an Ultrafiltration System?

A residential ultrafiltration system is a membrane filtration system that extracts high-molecular-weight elements and is custom-made for household use. Ultrafiltration systems are quite similar to other membrane filtration systems such as reverse osmosis and nanofiltration. They are however differentiated by their porosity size and range of removable impurities.

Standard whole house ultrafiltration systems rely on partially permeable membranes with porosity sizes ranging from 0.1-0.001 microns. This permits the separation of suspended solids, organic compounds, colloids, and other high-molecular-weight impurities. Unlike reverse osmosis systems, UF filter systems necessitate low hydrostatic pressure to operate at high flux rates.

In recent years, the use of UF filter systems to remove Total Suspended Solids (TSS) has grown exponentially. This is mainly due to their higher removal rates compared to traditional filters like pressure sand filters and multimedia filters. They are quite durable and with an appropriate pretreatment unit, chances of membrane clogging, corrosion, or fouling are greatly reduced.

2. Applications of Whole House Ultrafiltration Equipments.

Residential ultrafiltration(UF) systems are specifically tailored for domestic water treatment applications. Typical ultrafiltration systems water treatment eliminate a range of objectionable impurities hence they can be deployed in distinct home water treatment applications to accomplish distinct goals. Underneath, we look at the varied applications of ultrafiltration systems in homes.

·      Reverse osmosis pretreatment.

Reverse osmosis utilizes partially porous membranes with ultrathin perforations (0.0001 microns). These pores can easily get blocked especially by dust, colloids, debris, and suspended solids. Pretreating RO feed water using an ultrafiltration system gets rid of virtually all suspended matter thereby averting possible membrane clogging and premature fouling.

·      TSS removal.

In the past, traditional media filters were the primary equipment employed to extract suspended matter, debris, and colloidal particles. However, that trend is slowly changing as most entities opt for ultrafiltration filters. UF water systems are much more effective in extracting suspended solids and they also eliminate organics, inorganics, and traces of dissolved salts among other impurities.

·      Drinking water treatment.

Water for drinking and cooking must be free of harmful impurities to protect consumers from devastating illnesses or health conditions. Whole house ultrafiltration systems are often deployed together with other water treatment systems to purify drinking water. They are often coupled with UV water sterilizers, reverse osmosis systems, and ion exchange systems.

Figure 2 Portable drinking water ultrafiltration system.

·      Well water treatment.

The number of households reliant on well water continues to proliferate day by day. Groundwater is often characterized by a high presence of suspended solids, minerals, dissolved solids, and heavy metals. Treating well water using a residential ultrafiltration system ensures that nearly all suspended solids are expelled thereby permitting the deployment of other well water treatment systems.

3. How Do Whole House Ultrafiltration Systems Function?

Ultrafiltration is a pressure-driven water treatment process that eradicates unwanted pollutants, specifically suspended matter, bacteria, and certain viruses using partially porous membranes. Before injecting the feed water into the ultrafiltration system, preliminary treatment systems are first deployed. Some of the most used pretreatment systems for UF filter systems include chemical dosing systems, sediment filters, and water softeners.

Subsequently, the pretreated water is fed into the residential filtration systems. Here, the feed water is forced to pass through the UF semipermeable membranes under pressure. Using size exclusion, objectionable pollutants are alienated from water. Typical UF membranes have membrane perforations with an average size range of 0.1 to 0.001 microns.

This means that high-molecular-weight constituents e.g. debris and suspended solids are denied passage while water molecules together with low-molecular-weight substances e.g. minerals and dissolved salts pass through the membranes. The stream of water that filters through the membranes is known as the UF permeate while the rejected stream, which contains the ejected impurities is referred to as the concentrate.

The UF permeate is essentially filtered water, which can be used instantly in varied applications. It can also be used as feed water for secondary treatment systems such as reverse osmosis systems. The concentrate is ejected from the system and appropriately discarded or treated to prevent environmental pollution.

4. Advantages of Residential Ultrafiltration Machines?

The use of home ultrafiltration systems has been on the rise in recent years. This prominence is mainly attributed to their impeccable productivity, longevity, cost-efficiency, and durability. Underneath, we are going to look at some of the stand-out advantages of residential ultrafiltration systems.

  • Compared to traditional water filters e.g. multimedia filters, they have an impeccable TSS removal rate. Multimedia filters typically filter out suspended solids measuring 10 microns or higher while UF filters eradicate suspended solids with a molecular weight higher than 0.1-0.001 microns.
  • They operate at relatively low pressure and can attain high flux rates.
  • In addition to extracting TSS, they also eliminate bacteria, certain viruses, and protozoa.
  • The membranes used have low fouling propensities.
  • They are energy-efficient thanks to their low-pressure demands.
  • Their operation and maintenance are comparatively inexpensive and stress-free.
  • Performances can be elevated by cleaning and air-scouring the membranes.
  • They are compact and economical in space.

Figure 3 Industrial ultrafiltration water plant.

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5. How Much Power Do Whole House Ultrafiltration Systems Consume?

Water ultrafiltration systems are generally pressure-driven and often consist of pressure booster pumps. The pressure booster pumps as well as the programmable control units necessitate power to function. However, the power consumption rate of residential ultrafiltration systems in comparison to reverse osmosis systems is quite low. This is primarily due to the low-pressure demands of UF water systems.

At an operating pressure of approximately 50 psi, whole house ultrafiltration systems can achieve high fluxes ranging from 50-200 GFD. Typical ultrafiltration systems operating at a flux rate of 60 L/m2 h as standalone water treatment units consume approximately 0.18 kWh/M3. This makes ultrafiltration, one of the most cost-efficient water treatment technologies.

However, the amount of power consumed by the UF water system depends on several factors. For instance, when filtering low-quality water, a higher pressure will be necessitated and this will increase the amount of power needed. In addition, the integration of pre and post-treatment systems can also increase power consumption.  For the most power-efficient residential ultrafiltration systems, get in touch with NEWater.

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6. Do Residential UF Systems Necessitate Pretreatment?

Yes. The need for pretreatment and the required pretreatment systems are chiefly determined by the quality of water being treated. For instance, if the feed water harbors aggressive pollutants like scaling minerals and corrosive chemicals, pretreatment is needed to protect the UF filter system. Let us take a look at some of the most effective pretreatment units for residential ultrafiltration systems.

·      Pre-chlorination.

Pre-chlorination is a preliminary treatment process that administers chlorine into raw water to kill viruses, bacteria, and other objectionable microbes. Microbes are generally known for causing membrane fouling hence it is important that they are extracted before the feed water comes into contact with the UF membranes. During chlorination, caution must be taken to avoid overdosing, which often results in membrane fouling as well.

·      Flocculation and coagulation.

Flocculation is a pretreatment process that involves slowly stirring the smaller particles in the water to provoke agglomeration, which creates larger particles. The larger particles can easily be filtered out by the UF membrane filters. Coagulation on the other hand forms larger particles by neutralizing charges consequently bridging particles to create bigger particles. Quite often, coagulation and flocculation are used in tandem.

·      Water softening.

Water softening seeks to extract minerals responsible for water hardness. The primary hardness-causing minerals are calcium and magnesium. They can be extracted using numerous processes including ion exchange and nanofiltration. However, ion exchange is the principal water-softening process. This technology simply substitutes Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions with sodium (Na+) or potassium (K+) ions to generate soft water.

Figure 4 Residential ultrafiltration (UF) filter.

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7. Which Impurities Do Residential Ultrafiltration Systems Extract?

Ultrafiltration is technically a separation process that alienates impurities from water using size exclusion. To be precise, ultrafiltration expels objectionable contaminants with high-molecular weights exceeding the membrane pore size (0.1 to 0.001 microns). This includes debris, microplastics, dust, colloids, and suspended solids. Courtesy of the impeccable filtration rate of ultrafiltration water systems, they are gradually substituting conventional water filters (pressure sand filters and multimedia filters).

In addition, they extract turbidity-causing constituents thereby lowering the turbidity levels of water. A whole house ultrafiltration system is also proficient at eradicating microbial pollutants. It can filter out virtually all bacteria and a range of harmful viruses. To completely eliminate microbial impurities, you will however need a UV water sterilizer post-filter.

The range of impurities removed by ultrafiltration water systems is often diversified by integrating pre and post-treatment systems. The deployment of these supplemental systems is however informed by the filtered water quality demands and the quality of the feed water. Install a top-level whole house ultrafiltration system in your home today and enjoy high-quality product water devoid of TSS, bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens.

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8. Do You Manufacture Solar-Powered Ultrafiltration(UF) Systems?

Fossil fuels are the leading sources of energy across the globe. However, the world is slowly running out of fossil fuels and this has resulted in price hikes. Fossil fuels are also degrading the ecosystem. This has led to an increase in the use of alternative energy sources, especially renewable sources like solar power, wind, and hydropower.

The water treatment industry is also slowly transitioning into solar reliance. At present, modern water purification systems powered by solar energy are readily available at affordable price points. The use of solar energy in residential water purification systems is primarily divided into two; direct and indirect. Direct solar water filtration utilizes energy directly harvested from the sun to initiate evaporation. A good example of a direct solar water filtration system is the marine solar still that is mainly used in seawater desalination.

Indirect solar utilization is prevalent in advanced water filtration systems such as ultrafiltration and reverses osmosis systems. In these systems, solar energy is first harvested from the sun using solar collectors. The thermal energy is consequently converted into electrical energy using photovoltaics. The electrical energy is ultimately stored in high-power batteries or instantly used to power the UF filter system or the RO system.

9. NEWater Residential Ultrafiltration Systems

Over several years we garnered hundreds of clients worldwide with our advancement in design and technology. With our dedicated team, we managed to develop a variety of methods to treat polluted water. One of many efficient technologies in demand is our residential filtration systems.

NEWater’s home ultrafiltration systems from small as 0.05 to 0.025 microns in diameter to large particulate matter through our powerful semi-permeable membrane separating water from impurities and microbial pathogens such as lead, cysts, mercury, and chlorine. It’s compact and efficient resulting in a consistent flow rate. Our whole house ultrafiltration system has a straightforward installation feature.

NEWater’s best ultrafiltration systems are environmentally friendly and don’t require chemical coagulants while removing turbidity in the water supply. We have highly customizable units and a wide selection of ultrafiltration systems matching your needs. Have your newest and most cost-efficient  ultrafiltration system delivered from us through our secured and strict logistics procedure. Connect with our helpful customer service representatives to know more at info.@newater.com.

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