Three Years Later… Is Activated Glass Media Performing as Advertised?

Three Years Later… Is Activated Glass Media Performing as Advertised?

Sometimes things perform as advertised, and sometimes they’re “snake oil.” When bringing on new technologies, you can’t be too care”ful” but also not too care”less,” or you’ll either miss out on opportunities to improve, or you’ll make mistakes that will hurt your customers. Both are unacceptable.

So, when we were approached in 2018 with the opportunity to use AFM®Activated Glass Media in our AMF and Poltank filters, we were intrigued. Why? The thought of providing our customers with affordable, permanent, drinking water grade filter media that came from recycled “brown and green” glass bottles was promising, but was it real? Check out the video. 

We researched, we tested, and this is what we found. 

 The research was great: AFM® had invested with the leading European testing laboratory, IFTS, to verify exactly what the AFM® media could do against 7 other leading medias, at different flow rates, with different additives. The numbers were really promising. Filtration was much better than traditional sand media, and would remove 95% of all particles down to 1 micron at specific flow rates. The best some other medias could do was 20 microns. This was also more current research than CES’s original “garnet” drinking water-grade media that we used selectively since the late 80s.  

Activated media was different: Adding an electrical charge to the media prevented media “fouling” or accumulation of organic matter which would eventually bio-coagulate due to bacteria and biofilm, etc. Biofouling helps deter full removal of soils during backwash and, when retained in the filter, would strip chlorine and add chlorine demand to the recirculation system. This will help increase the consumption of chlorine in pools. The exclusive activation process makes the filter bio-resistant, and the IFTS study proves that without activation, regular glass media is not much better than sand. 

Opposites attract: The activation charge also aided filtration, virtually increasing the surface area, and absorbing heavy metals and smaller particles. This technical mumbo jumbo means that smaller particles, not normally trapped mechanically between the grains of media, are electrostatically absorbed and clumped on to the surface of the media, and released during backwash. This helps explain the terrific improvement in water quality.

 Here is the feedback from our customers:

  • Water Quality: Customers have reported an instantaneous improvement in water clarity. They say the water feels “cleaner and crisper” and it appears to be more resilient under higher bather loads. 
  • ORP Increase: We weren’t expecting this, but folks are holding slightly higher ORP readings with the same PPM of chlorine. We attribute this to the fact that there are no trapped organics and biofilm in the bottom of the filter, so there is a lower “load” on the pools.
  • Water Savings: Sites that were backwashing their filters for 3 to 5 minutes per tank before the media was fully cleaned were surprised when the AFM® backwash came clean in only 1 to 1.5 minutes. Many went to 2-minute backwashes out of guilt… but eventually went back to 1.5 minutes per tank.
  • Backwash Flow is Fuller: Compared to older sand and garnet filter backwashes, the AFM® backwash flow is fuller and more vibrant. This demonstrates the lack of clumping of the media.
  • Simplicity of Use: Combining AFM® with CES’s single lever filters make filter maintenance really simple. Time to backwash? Flip a lever, wait 1.5 minutes, flip it back. There’s no hand-to-hand combat with DE powder, or painstaking cleaning of individual cartridges…you just clean and go.
  • Quite Affordable: AFM® conversions cost more than sand, but less than garnet, and they’re permanent. Since the cost of media conversions (when you open your filter tank, remove all media and add new media) has skyrocketed around the US, the payback of using a permanent media is huge. 
  • APF Polyfloc Really Works: APF® is a highly concentrated flocculent and coagulant that, when used with AFM®, helps achieve a filter performance down to “SUB MICRON”. This is unheard of in pool filtration. You don’t use too much… only one ounce is fed for every 10,000 gallons recirculated through the filter. So on a smaller 36,000 gallon pool, a single 5-gallon pail would last over a year. It is fed using a programmable feeder, so customers only need to swap out the 5-gallon container when empty. It also continually removes phosphates, so you don’t need to use an additional phosphate removal program.

As you can tell, CES and our customers are really excited to have found, vetted, and implemented AFM® on hundreds of filter tanks so far. We’re also very excited to have become the Florida/Caribbean Master Distributor of the AFM® family of products including AFM® media, APF® Poly Floc, and ACO® stabilizer, among others. This technology is proven to stand heads and shoulders above any other media, and our purchasing power means that CES customers enjoy affordable conversion from sand, and other medias. 

Please contact your CES rep for any additional information, or for an estimate on how AFM® can help improve your water quality and cut your operating costs.  

We’re glad AFM® has worked out really well for all, and the world’s beer drinkers are surely feeling better about the fate of their recycled bottles.​