Mesh filter for mechanical water purification (mud filter) - which is better? Types, differences, features and applications.

In this article we will look at the existing types of mesh filters designed for mechanical purification of water in premises, and we will also understand why and what a mesh filter is needed for, how and where it is installed in residential premises.


Let’s try to find out what the “mud guard” protects against, and what breakdowns and malfunctions of plumbing equipment and fittings it can prevent.
Let's consider the options and features of mechanical cleaning filters, their pros and cons, as well as installation methods and rules for each type separately.

Nowadays, in city apartments and suburban housing, the issue of water purification is quite acute. Many people want to get clean drinking water straight from the tap, and not buy it in the store.

In this article, we will talk about preliminary - mechanical purification of water, which, in some cases, is extremely necessary for the normal operation of plumbing equipment and fittings.
After mechanical water purification, if desired, you can think about water purification for drinking needs, but since these are two different and quite voluminous topics, we will talk about filters for drinking needs in a separate material, a link to which you will find in the description to this video.

Water with mechanical impurities, in addition to being harmful to health and unpleasant sensations, has a strong negative impact on household water appliances and fittings.

For each sanitary fixture and fittings, there are specific technical requirements for the aquatic environment, where the critical saturation of water with impurities will determine the service life and reduction in the overhaul period of the device.
This is what mechanical cleaning filters are designed for; they are also called a coarse filter or “mud filter”.
The main task of such a filter is to capture impurities in the form of corrosion products, organic fibers, scale and sand, which in one way or another can damage or reduce the service life of plumbing fixtures and fittings.

All insoluble impurities contained in water are usually divided into five classes:

  • Coarse - where the particle size can be more than 100 microns.
  • Medium dispersed - with a particle size from 10 to 100 microns.
  • Fine - with particle sizes from 1 to 10 microns.
  • Colloidal - with a particle size from 0.001 to 1 microns.
  • Dissolved - here the particle size is less than 0.001 microns.

For an approximate comparison of particle size, we can cite human hair, the thickness of which ranges from 70 to 100 microns, which is approximately comparable in size to coarse particles.

Using a mechanical cleaning mesh filter, coarse impurities are cut off, which are potentially dangerous for the operation of plumbing fixtures and fittings.

If we talk about the dangers of coarse particles in the most understandable language, we can give some examples of the service life of devices, depending on the quality of water; these examples are borrowed from manufacturers of engineered plumbing.

A household faucet in the bathroom - a faucet equipped with high-quality ceramic faucets or a cartridge, when working with a normal aqueous medium that contains particles no larger than 100 microns in size, can easily work for 8 - 10 years, but when operating with coarse impurities and particle size about 800 microns, the faucet axle or ceramic mixer cartridge can break and leak within a year.

Mixer aerator (or the so-called “mesh” located at the tip of the mixer spout) - large particles entering the aerator can clog the aerator mesh in the shortest possible time; at the beginning of the blockage, water from the mixer will flow in a thin stream, and then it will stop flowing completely, what’s even worse is that water may begin to “mix.”
You can find out more about mixing water in my other material, a link to which will also be in the description of this video.

Toilet cistern with a float valve - a particle of 1500 microns in size is capable of blocking the hole in the filler valve of the toilet cistern, which will stop the flow of water.

Enameled bathtub - here mechanical impurities can affect the quality and service life of the enamel coating of the bathtub, which is erased and scratched to the metal when coarse particles of sand and rust get on the enamel surface.
Of course, the service life is approximate information, since the quality of water may change from time to time, and accordingly, the service life of the devices.

And this is only a small part of the unpleasant moments that arise from the presence of coarse impurities in the home water supply, and there are also washing machines, dishwashers, water heaters and other plumbing equipment that can suffer and break.

A mechanical cleaning filter or “dirt filter” is usually installed immediately after the cut-off

Now let's talk about the mechanical cleaning filter itself and its modifications

A mechanical cleaning filter or “mud filter” is usually installed immediately after the main shut-off valve located at the entrance to the apartment from the riser.

The filter is a mud filter, it is a small body with a designation of the direction of flow; the body, on both sides, has a connecting thread, which can differ in diameter, and can also be either internal or external.
Inside the filter housing there is a mesh; the mesh, depending on the configuration, can have different transmission capacity.
There are filters that need to be cleaned with your own hands, for which you need to unscrew the drain plug and wash the mesh, there are also washable (self-cleaning) filters, instead of a drain plug they have a drain tap installed, through which water is poured, clearing dirt and sediment body and mesh.

Mud traps can have an oblique or straight filter arrangement, one or another type is used depending on the layout of the water supply and ease of access to the filter.
The degree of filtration of oblique and direct filters, depending on the installed mesh, ranges from 300 to 500 microns.

Oblique filter

The oblique filter can be installed both horizontally and vertically, but at the same time, the filter plug should always look down; if the oblique filter is positioned vertically, the direction of water flow is only permissible from top to bottom!
In an oblique filter, only a small part of the mesh adjacent to the point where the outlet channel overlaps is involved in cleaning, therefore, compared to a straight filter, an oblique filter will have to be opened more often for cleaning.

Straight strainer

The direct filter is placed on horizontal sections of the water supply with the plug facing down. It is important to know that with a direct filter, the entire surface of the filter mesh works, so the resource between cleanings of such a filter is much higher compared to an oblique one.

Universal strainer

There are also universal filters; they can be placed on vertical pipelines with the flow direction from bottom to top; the body of such a filter in relation to the connecting thread is located at a slight angle, allowing it to capture dirt and prevent it from settling in the vertical part of the water supply.

Wash strainer

In this connection, there are separate washing filters, or as they are also called self-cleaning filters.
Due to the enlarged flask, such a filter can accommodate meshes with an increased degree of filtration from 250 to 90 microns.
The washing filter is installed only in a horizontal position. At the bottom of the filter flask there is a drain valve with a fitting, through which you can drain the accumulated dirt from the flask either into a special container or into the sewer, if there is a drain connection from the fitting to the sewer pipe.
Some filters may be equipped with a pressure gauge indicating the degree of filter contamination.
Also, such filters can be combined in one housing with a water pressure reducer.

As for direct and oblique filters, installing a finer mesh in them is undesirable, since the internal chamber for dirt in such filters is quite small, and if you install a very fine mesh in such a filter, you will have to frequently inspect and clean the filter, and also, possibly replacing the plug gasket.

Some technical descriptions for water meters directly indicate the need to install a mechanical cleaning filter in front of the meter.
Therefore, in some cases, if the service company allows, at the entrance to the apartment, in front of the meter, instead of the usual sump, some install a wash filter.

But, if for some reason it is impossible to install a wash filter in front of the meter, it makes sense to install an oblique or straight filter with a mesh of no more than 500 microns in front of the meter, and after the meter to protect all equipment in the apartment, you can install a wash filter with more fine mesh, up to 100 microns.

If it is necessary to provide even finer mechanical purification of water, or to get rid of dissolved and undissolved iron, salts, chlorine, organics, and even viruses, you will need to install one or several main filters with a universal flask for replaceable cartridges.
Such water treatment is usually done for drinking water supply, and this topic is quite extensive, so we will talk about water purification for drinking needs in a separate article where we will try to analyze all the existing nuances.

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