Published: October 30, 2019

    How to Disinfect Your Existing Water Filter System After a Hurricane or Flood

    Though there’s nothing but water around in the aftermath of extreme tropical storms and flooding, vulnerable families are in dire need of safe, clean drinking water. If your home is still intact and your plumbing system is functional, there are still many contaminants that may be compromising your water quality.

    Stormwater infiltrating water reservoirs combined with fractured plumbing in the aftermath of a flood can compromise otherwise clean drinking water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drinking contaminated water after a flood can cause several health problems. Some of these include:

    • Gastrointestinal illness
    • Neurological disorders
    • Reproductive issues

    Those who own a water filter or treatment system from Pelican Water may believe their water is safe to drink no matter what, but this is not the case after an intense storm or natural disaster. All water filter systems must be disinfected after hurricanes and floods, since parts of the system or the water inside it may have become contaminated with refuse, chemicals, or microorganisms.

    After a flood, you should plan to disinfect your water filter or treatment system right away. For detailed instructions on how to clean your water filter, read this guide from the Water Quality Association (WQA).

    First Steps

    Regardless of what filter systems or appliances you’re disinfecting, the first step is to drain all of the water out of them. Check that the power to these products is turned off.

    Remove any dirt, mud, or debris from the outer section of your water filter, and clean the inside and outside surfaces with a disinfectant like Lysol. Handle all disinfectants with care. Verify in your user manual that the cleaning product you use is compatible with your Pelican Water filter.

    Ensure that all electrical components are completely dry before continuing. For thorough preparation instructions, refer to page 4 of the WQA guide.

    Water Softeners

    Flush your water softener repeatedly with potable water until the emitted water is clear. Remove the brine well covers and the tank. Pour out the water currently in the brine tank after noting the level of water remaining. Thoroughly clean the inside of the brine tank with disinfectant.

    Mix 3 teaspoons of household bleach per gallon of water to make chlorinated water. Add this chlorinated water to your tank to reach the level of water it contained before you poured it out. Pour 2 teaspoons of household bleach (per cubic feet of resin) straight into the brine well.

    Secure all covers and run a regeneration cycle. For more detailed instructions, read page 4 of the WQA guide.

    Carbon Filters

    Systems like our whole house water filter use carbon media to treat water. To clean the carbon filter first remove the filter that was in place during the flood and discard it. Clean the head and sump with bleach and detergent before inserting a new carbon filter.

    Owners of the whole house water filter will want to empty the mineral bed. Clean the entire unit with a combination of water and bleach. Remember to use extra caution when cleaning with bleach. For more information on disinfecting carbon filters, refer to page 5 of the WQA guide.

    Reverse Osmosis Filters

    For reverse osmosis filter systems the method of disinfection will vary based on the degree of contamination. You must determine if the actual product water is contaminated with microorganisms. When in doubt, order a testing kit and verify your suspicions.

    The procedures for disinfecting a reverse osmosis filter when the water is contaminated with microbes will take some time, but they are important to execute so your home can have reliably safe drinking water. You will need to introduce a chlorinated water solution into the system and flush it in stages. Read the entire process for contaminated RO systems on page 5 of the WQA guide.

    The procedure is a little easier if the water in the product has not been contaminated. For step-by-step instructions, refer to page 6 of the WQA guide. Ensuring your drinking water is safe after a flood, hurricane, or other natural disaster is essential for your health. If you need instructions for disinfecting your specific model of water filter, don’t hesitate to call Pelican Water today at 877-207-7380.