How do I know how much sediment is in my water?

 Min read
November 21, 2022

Adding a filter to your home’s water system is a great idea if you know your water isn’t clean. Homeowner Bill is in a situation where he knows his water will benefit from adding a filter along his line to remove sediment, but he isn’t completely sure what kind of filter to get. When deciding on the right water filter for your situation, one of the most important things to consider is exactly how much sediment is in your water. So let's look at how we can figure out how much sediment is in your home’s water and the type of filter you’ll need to remove it.

The first step in determining how clean or dirty your water is involves getting your water tested.  In another recent blog, we discussed different testing options available for testing your home’s water. As a brief recap here, ETR Laboratories does a good job of explaining a few different options. These include test strips, color disk kits, digital instruments and professional test labs. Depending on the type of test performed, you can find out a number of things about your home’s water, including PH level, the type of contaminants present, chlorine level, amount of sediment, etc. Obviously, obtaining home testing kits is the way to go from a cost standpoint if you’re looking for the cheapest options available. Sometimes, cheaper isn’t always better, and if you want very thorough results and know for sure that you have unclean water, it would definitely be beneficial to reach out to professionals.

If after performing a test of your home’s water its determined sediment is present, that is something you’ll want to take seriously. In order to understand why, it’s important to understand exactly what sediment is. National Geographic offers a great explanation of it. Sediment is solid material that is moved and deposited to a different location. It can consist of rocks and minerals and even the remains of plants and animals. Sediment can be as small as a grain of sand or even as large as a boulder. This information alone may not sound all that bad, but it’s what can actually be present in this sediment that should be concerning. offers a look at sediment-associated contaminants. They point out that a number of contaminants adhere to sediment as opposed to dissolving in water. Once these contaminants do adhere to sediment, they can stay there for years.  This means that if there is sediment in your water, like there is in homeowner Bill’s, there’s a possibility that there could be contaminants.

Drinking water that contains unsafe levels of contaminants can cause different negative health effects according to These include gastrointestinal illnesses, nervous system or reproductive effects, and even chronic diseases including cancer. The more sediment that exists in your water, the better the likelihood that there are contaminants in there. Doing something about sediment in your water can certainly be very important.

Once it’s determined how much sediment is in your water, you can start to figure out what type of filter that you need for your system. You really need to look no further than Rusco where you can find a variety of options. Not only do we offer a number of different mesh sizes depending on the type of sediment you’re dealing with, as well as now some different filter media options, but we also offer different size filters depending on how much water flow you have running through your system. Rusco offers filters with either ¾", 1”, 1-½" or 2” inlets/outlets. The ¾" and 1” filters are designed to handle 1-25 gallons per minute (GPM), The 1-½" filter works with 10-50 GPM and the 2” filter requires 18-100 GPM.

Most people are unaware of how many gallons per minute they have running through their system. You can always use a flow meter, but if you don’t have one of those, there is a pretty simple way to figure it out in order to help determine what size filter you need. Basically, what you want to do is:

  • take a five-gallon bucket and start filling it up
  • count how many seconds it takes to get it completely full.
  • then divide the number 5 (of the five-gallon bucket) by the number of seconds it takes to fill that bucket
  • then multiply that number by 60 (seconds).

This will give you the number of gallons per minute going through your system and let you know if you need to go with ¾", 1”, 1/1/2” or 2” inlet/outlet filter.

Once you figure out what mesh as well as the size filter you need, the other thing you’ll want to consider is whether you should go with a spin-down or sediment trapper filter. This determination should be based around the amount of sediment that is in your water. If you have a really large amount of sediment, you'll likely want to go with the sediment trapper version of the filter, which is designed to provide you with more trapping space. This will allow you to go longer periods of time without needing to flush out the filter. If you’re not dealing with a lot of sediment, going with the spin-down version should be more than fine.

If you’re dealing with sediment in your water like homeowner Bill, take the time to get it tested to not only see what exactly is in your water, but also how much of it is in there. Once you determine that, give Rusco a call at 1-800-345-1033 where a customer service representative can help you figure out the best filter for you as well as direct you somewhere to purchase one.

Source Notes: All information in this article relating to different water testing methods came from ETR Laboratories. Information regarding what sediment is came from National Geographic. Information relating to how contaminants end up in sediment came from Information regarding the health effects of contaminants in water came from