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bwcadan
distinguished member(1081)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/15/2017 11:06AM
I set up my Sawyer filter and am glad I decided to try it out before going on this summer's trip. Very little water is filtering through. Any suggestions as to why. I have backflushed in sink and no change.
 
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Lotw
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06/15/2017 11:13AM
If it won't clear out back flushing I'd say it's junk.
OldFingers57
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06/15/2017 11:15AM
Is it a Sawyer Squeeze or a Mini. I assume you are using the syringe for backflushing it. Sometimes you need to backflush it several times to get it flowing well again.
JJ47
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06/15/2017 11:26AM
Unless you've filtered unusually nasty water and didn't back flush it while still wet afterwards, and assuming the filter hasn't been damaged freezing or abuse, it's unlikely that the filter is shot. It sounds more like hydra lock, or vapor lock to me.

If you get flow through it back flushing, it may be partially hydra locked, or vapor locked. I've had this happen the first time using it in the spring. If it is this condition the following is how I remedy the issue in my own Sawyer gravity filter.

Make sure the filter is wet before you plug the hoses in. Achieve this by unplugging both inflow and outflow lines, and trickle clean water into both inflow and outflow ports until the filter is full. Give the filter a good shake to make sure all air bubbles inside are bled out and the filter element is completely wet. Plug the filtered water line, (outflow), back in and plug the end so the filter and line will hold water. Fill the filter by trickling water into the inflow port of the filter bleeding out any air in the filter and outflow line as you do so. Keeping the filter full by plugging the outflow line, plug the supply line (inflow) back in. As water starts to flow it may still be a little slow, just give it a minute or two, and even gently shake the filter to help displace any air bubbles that may be left inside the filter.

Remember, sawyer squeeze filters need a small amount of pressure to start the flow, sawyer gravity filters need gravity to start the flow, but they both require the siphon effect to continue the flow. Air bubbles that don't bleed out (vapor locking) will dramatically reduce their efficiency.
bpaddle
senior member (65)senior membersenior member
 
06/15/2017 11:33AM
Is this a gravity filter? And has it been used previously? I can't get more than 3-4 trips with a Sawyer gravity filter before it gets clogged enough that no water can even be backflushed through it. So depending on it's level of usage this may be expected.
Hub
senior member (59)senior membersenior member
 
06/15/2017 12:29PM
quote bpaddle: "Is this a gravity filter? And has it been used previously? I can't get more than 3-4 trips with a Sawyer gravity filter before it gets clogged enough that no water can even be backflushed through it. So depending on it's level of usage this may be expected."

This surprises me. I think I have had mine for 4-5 year now and use it a few weeks a year. I laughed at Sawyer's '100,000 gallons' guarantee after replacing filters twice a year on hand pump models for the previous 15 years, after using this thing I am starting to wonder if I should have kept track of how many gallons I've purified. I do kind of 'pre-filter' the water by running it through the screen only on my old Katadyn gravity camp bag before it hits the Sawyer filter though. I backflush mine every other bag full whether it needs it or not. There is something oddly satisfying watching that nasty junk shoots out the back when I hit it with a blast from the syringe. I also run a mild bleach solution through mine before storage. I love it. Best BWCA money I have spent since they started making sleeping pads.
bwcadan
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06/15/2017 12:45PM
This is a gravity flow filter. Will work on the potential air lock problem to see if that helps. The filter has been on 4 week long trips and is stored in basement. Thanks
bwcadan
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06/15/2017 01:03PM
I knew the back flush was running water and presumably any junk back out. The problem was the air lock and that was cleared just now and the water is running as it should. Thanks for all the input. The addition of a little bleach solution makes sense to me and I have added some just now to clear any hiding microbes.
bpaddle
senior member (65)senior membersenior member
 
06/15/2017 01:35PM
To those who use a syringe for backflushing, how did you attach the syringe to the filter? I got a syringe from Sawyer but there was no obvious way to connect the hose to the filter. Do you need to use the drinking hose attachment that comes with the filter system? I'm not sure what other fittings are available to connect the hose.
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(12297)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
06/15/2017 02:57PM
I backflush about every 5 gallons of water. It is fast and easy, just remove the filter and get fresh into the Syringe. Then just hold both the filter and syringe and backflush it a couple of times the opposite way of the flow arrow. Mine is going on 7 years old, just getting broke in.
MrBadExample
distinguished member (114)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/15/2017 04:14PM
Set it up with a full bag of water. If it doesn't flow, kneel down and suck on the clean water side of the filter. I have to do it every so often with my sawyer mini when set up in gravity mode.

I'll spare you guys the remarks my buddies say when they witness me do this :)
walleyevision
distinguished member (130)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/15/2017 05:11PM
So when I back flush, I just unhook the hose from the dirty side and then squeeze on the clean bag to force water backwards through the filter. Am I doing anything wrong doing it this way?
OldFingers57
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06/15/2017 05:38PM
quote walleyevision: "So when I back flush, I just unhook the hose from the dirty side and then squeeze on the clean bag to force water backwards through the filter. Am I doing anything wrong doing it this way?"

No that is what they suggest you do. I use a syringe and flush with it several times so there is some good pressure to push the crap out.
06/15/2017 06:55PM
I use the back flushing syringe to back flush our Platypus Gravity Works filter during and after trip. I always run a Very mild bleach water solution through the filters to ensure no mold or bacteria develop inside the filter. Then disassemble and dry very thoroughly for storage.
06/15/2017 08:02PM
quote bpaddle: "Is this a gravity filter? And has it been used previously? I can't get more than 3-4 trips with a Sawyer gravity filter before it gets clogged enough that no water can even be backflushed through it. So depending on it's level of usage this may be expected."


I'd be willing to wager I've run more gallons through a Sawyer than 99% on here, hundreds and hundreds of gallons, probably 500-750 gallons, maybe even more. Still on the original and I NEVER get nice clean water from out in the lake, always scum right from shore.

I find more often than not if it's slow it's air locked. Since I've started keeping my filter always wet (while camping) I never seem to get a slow filter. I rarely back flush anymore and do it mostly to be proactive instead of reactive.
06/15/2017 09:22PM
I agree with ragged. I too, have got hundreds of gallons through my sawyer. Mine is neither the mini or sqeeze. I got the regular one estimated one million gallons. Same size as msr/platipus. I too find it best to run a tad of bleach in water to back flush, then push air thru it to dry it out some.
hooky
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06/16/2017 08:07AM
Since it's working enough to get some water, once you get a half pint or better in the clean bag, raise it up above the outlet on your dirty bag.the reverse flow will drive out any air in the system. If it's an air lock issue, that should take care of it.
bpaddle
senior member (65)senior membersenior member
 
06/16/2017 11:37AM
I wish I could say I've had the same experience as those stated here. The problem I have is not with particulates that can be backflushed out, but rather a gummy buildup (I've been told by the Sawyer people this is a result of tannin) the clogs the filter. On my last trip, I had a brand new filter. I backflushed (by removing the dirty water hose and pressing on the clean water bag as described above to get the water to flow back) after every bag filtered, The first one flowed back easily. By the third bag I had to really push on the bag to get it to flow. Back home, using the faucet backflush hose, I could barely hold the adapter on the faucet there was so much back pressure, and I had some flow through the filter. At this rate I may get another trip out of it, but I'm not sure if I can get 2 more trips. So, to those who are successful with this filter, do you avoid any of the tannin water, or do you not really notice what kind of water you are filtering?
hooky
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06/16/2017 12:45PM
I've never heard of the tannin gumming up the filter. Good to know.
06/16/2017 01:20PM
I've not been particularly careful of where I've been filling my dirty bag since I got my platypus 4 years ago. I usually backflush a little every time I run 4L thru the filter by changing the bags' positions and squeezing the clean bag. Typically there's a burst of gunk and some bubbles.

I try to keep the filter wet out once we've started to use it, to avoid needing to knock and tap and shake bubbles out of the filter.

When I store it I follow the instructions regarding the bleach solution to sanitize. The filter usually hangs above my basement sink for a month or longer to dry.
Lotw
distinguished member (102)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/16/2017 01:24PM
Last fall in the Idaho high country I had a hard time locating a clean water source so I ended up filtering "water" from an elk wallow. It must have gotten everything it needed to out of that "water" because I never got sick. The flow never suffered after all that.
Goldenbadger
distinguished member(903)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/16/2017 05:51PM
I only got about three trips out of my Sawyer gravity filter when it started to really clog up and slow down. And I usually backflush it after every other fill. It wasn't airlocked. I called Sawyer and they told me to run hot water through it. That didn't help. Then they said to try vinegar. That didn't help. They told me to send it to them and they sent it back saying they fixed it. Well, it's still extremely slow. It takes 12-15 minutes to filter 2 liters. Im not real happy about it. That was a lot of money to only get 3 good trips out of it.
Lotw
distinguished member (102)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/17/2017 05:17AM
A lot of money? Seriously? Have you looked at the competition ? 12 minutes for 2 liters isn't bad at all.
Goldenbadger
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06/17/2017 05:29AM
quote Lotw: "A lot of money? Seriously? Have you looked at the competition ? 12 minutes for 2 liters isn't bad at all. "



Yes, seriously. $130+- is a lot of money for 3 weeks of use. If it's not for you, then congratulations, you have more money to burn than I do. I did check out the competition and this one seemed the best based on reviews, guarantees, and price. I was wrong. And it used to filter a lot faster than that in the beginning.
Lotw
distinguished member (102)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/17/2017 06:53AM
Which system do you have? That is a lot, I don't have anywhere near that into my system.
Mine uses 2 platypus bladders and a sawyer mini. It works great and it's cheap.
I originally bought the mini as a back up for our pumps and found that for me it worked way better.
bwcadan
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06/17/2017 12:19PM
I actually take 2 Sawyer filters. T he one which started this thread is now working fine since the airlock was fixed. The second is intended as a backup and we collect water into a portable shower or 2. We thus have enough for any problems since we base camp and use water for all needs including cooking, showers, and regular drinking.

The price looks to have gone up by $30.00 or so since I got them, but nothing is more important around camp than access to plentiful clean water. A tight tent comes in a very close second.
aj1959
 
06/17/2017 01:57PM
I have used a Sawyer 4L bag for several years, no issues.
In a Kondos ditty bag I keep the Sawyer filter system, a small tea leaf strainer made for filtering the leafs from bulk tea, a collapsible cup from Walmart(about $3) and a zip lock bag of coffee filters. Put a coffee filter into the strainer and prefilter all the water going into the gray Sawyer bag. Takes a little while and normally 2 coffee filters to fill the 4 liter bag. Never have had a clog issue.
GeoFisher
distinguished member(1774)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/17/2017 04:22PM
I use Clean Stream filters (now GravityWorks).

To back flush, I used to do the hold the clean bag above the dirty, and let it back flow mess........

NOW, I simply take a big syringe, fill it with clean water, and hook it to the out flow of the filter. I then BLAST pressure and water through the filter and blow all the gunk out the inflow side.

IT is AMAZING, and really does the job. I do this 1-2 times a trip on my 10 day trips and have never had a problem. I"m on my second set of filters, only because I sold my first set to a buddy. Those are still going strong also.

WE filter about 5 gallons a day, so I've prob put 50 gallons/trip through the filters. Figure 10 trips or so, and I've prob done 500 gallons, maybe more through the 2 filters I currently own.
ObiWenonahKenobi
distinguished member (496)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/18/2017 06:47AM
Where can I locate one of these large syringes that you all use to backflush these filters? I have the platypus 4 liter system.
Lotw
distinguished member (102)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/18/2017 07:06AM
They come with the sawyer filters. I'm not sure if you can get one separate.
Arcola
member (49)member
 
06/18/2017 07:44AM
quote ObiWenonahKenobi: "Where can I locate one of these large syringes that you all use to backflush these filters? I have the platypus 4 liter system. "

The Platy can be back flushed by lowering the upper bag and raising the lower, filtered one. Then just dump the shmootz out. One less thing to carry.
 
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