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A brief description

How long do water treatments systems last? 

The service life of any water treatment system depends normally on the type of media that is used in the system.
As a general rule the hardware and this includes the Vessels, the Control Valves, Ultra violet chambers etc are designed to last for many many years if not a lifetime if serviced correctly.

 Full description


Here we will look at each of the individual components and comment on their lifespan.


The composite vessel

This is the cylinder which contains the treatment media. Often these are blue in colour (other colours are available) and are the most visible component of a water treatment system. They are constructed typically with a polyethylene moulding on the inside which is in contact with the water and strengthened externally with a fibreglass wrap. It is very rare for there to be problems with these vessels and we see many instances of installations well in excess of 25 years old.
Vessels over 10 years old that we supply will be stable to Ultra violet (sunshine).

The control valve

The control valve screws into the top of the composite vessel and controls the flow of water.
Depending upon the media inside the vessel the valve will either control a backwashing sequence in the case of a filter media or control the regeneration cycle if the media is an ion exchange media (ie a softener). Both cycles will be controlled either by a timer or by a meter. By preference ion exchange would usually be controller by a meter so that regeneration cycles are controlled by the volume of water passed. The sequences in a control valve are usually activated by a system of cams or by a linear motion stack and piston set. The manufacturers recommendation is to service the valves every 6 months. We see valve still working perfectly after 15 or 20 years.

The filter media

Under normal circumstances most medias have a very long service life and are not regularly changed out. The medias are either backwashed to keep them clean or regenerated in the case of ion exchange media with a brine solution. Provided that these cycles work correctly we rarely see issues with media. Even if things go wrong these medias may be brought back to life with proper cleaning.
Exceptions to the above-
PH correction medias are designed to dissolve into the water in order to raise the PH. Over time this means that the volume of PH media reduces and so will be required to be topped up – usually once per year. Carbon medias absorb impurities and whilst they may be commercially regenerated it is not generally considered practical to regenerate on small scale operations. Once the carbon has taken up all that it can then it must be changed. This is not normally more than once per year. What can happen to shorten life of the media. Chemical contamination can render then ineffective. Poor backwash practice can cause the media beds to consolidate and set so preventing water passage.
Likewise with insufficient or infrequent backwashing there can be a build up of contamination which effectively blocks the media this may be difficult to remove even with maximum backwash flow rates. Regular servicing will discover any changes to process and the valves will be adjusted to maintain peak performance.

Ultra Violet

Ultraviolet Units comprise a stainless steel chamber into which is sealed a quartz glass tube. Inside this quartz tube is the Ultraviolet Lamp.
The chamber will last a lifetime.
The lamp should be changed annually as the UV output from the lamp diminishes over time.
The quartz sleeve should be cleaned or changed annually. The quartz must be changed if the glass becomes cloudy, scratched or damaged in any way. The seals on the quartz should be changed each time it is removed.
Modern Power supply units have no traditional lamp starter and heat sink and so run cool, heat build up was the main cause of failure in the older style units.


Posted by Steve Parker, 05.03.2020