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Frequently Asked Questions -
Separators and Strainers

Q: Will a separator work on my system?

A: Put a sample of the fluid you want filtered in a clear bottle. Shake/stir the contents and let stand. What settles to the bottom in the first 30-45 seconds are the particles that the separator will remove from your system. The fluid may not be clear, but, if the particles left in suspension will not harm or get stuck in the downstream equipment, then a separator will work for your installation.

Q: How is a full-stream Wingert Separator installed?

A: The J.L. Wingert separator is installed after the pump and before the rest of the equipment. The Wingert Separator traps the system sediment in it's bottom purge chamber. The purge chamber does not offer resistance to system flow, even when it is full of sediment. The separator has a constant pressure drop, unlike a strainer that reduces flow as it gets dirty. The purge chamber is emptied periodically to waste with an automated purge system.

Q: Why do I want a Wingert Separator instead of a manual strainer?

A: 1) Removal efficiency of a strainer may be less than a separator. J.L. Wingert Separators are more efficient than manual strainers as they remove 45 micron particles. An inline strainer screen size allows much larger particles to pass than does the separator. This allows larger particles to remain in the system that a separator would have removed. 2) Cleaning a "Y" strainer or inline strainer is manual. J.L. Wingert separators can be automated so there is no manual labor involved. 3) Pressure drop varies drastically for strainers. Strainers increase in pressure drop as they become loaded with particles removed from the system. Pressure drop though a separator is constant. 4) Cleaning of a "Y" strainer of inline strainer requires shutting down the system. "Duplex" strainers may be used to avoid shutting down the system. "Duplex" strainers are two strainers piped in parallel with valves so that one strainer may be cleaned while the other is filtering. The cost is very high for "duplex" strainers. Separators do not have to been take offline to remove the solids.

Q: Why do I want a Wingert Separator instead of an automatic strainer?

A: 1) Cost of an automated strainer is more than for a separator. Automated strainers may have a filtration rating as low as 10 micron. However, the cost of automated strainers or screens is 50-100% more than a Wingert Separator with the same separation efficiency. 2) Water loss with an automatic strainer is greater than a separator. Automatic strainers backwash automatically, but require about ten times more water for cleaning than the purge cycle of a separator. 3) Pressure drop is erratic with an automatic strainer. Automatic strainers clean themselves by monitoring the pressure drop increase as they get dirty, usually a 10-15 psi increase. Separators have a constant pressure drop, usually less than a clean strainer or screen. 4) Footprint is frequently larger. Automatic screens maybe physically larger in footprint than a separator. 5) Separators never "plug" like strainers and screens. Unlike strainers or screens, if a separator gets "filled" with sediment it continues to allow full flow to continue instead of reducing or stopping flow.

Q: What may be the largest benefit of a separator over a strainer?

A: J.L. Wingert Separators will not clog and stop down stream flow like a strainer can. If something happens to the automated purge system of a Wingert Separator, it simply stops separating contaminates until it is fixed. Flow is never reduced or stopped by a J.L. Wingert Separator.

These tips are provided as a courtesy to our customers. J.L. Wingert Company makes no guarantee and assumes no obligation or liability for the information contained therein.
J.L. Wingert Representatives can assist you with the selection of equipment best suited to your specific needs. Contact our customer service department by e-mail at or call us Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST at (714) 379-5519, or fax us at (714) 379-5549.

Copyright © 2004 J.L. Wingert Company - Last modified: 3/25/08