Texas-based company out to improve the standard water filter
By Michelle L. Cramer
When the illustrious Erin Brockovich sends you an email recognizing your work removing contaminants from water supply, you must be doing something right. Paul Birkbeck, managing partner and president of 7 Technologies, LLC in Porter, Texas, was on a mission to remove metals and unnecessary chemicals from water consumers use for their hot tubs. In 2014, he released Metal Stop, a prefill water-filtration product.
Birkbeck’s vision spans a few decades, beginning with his realization that the available filtration systems weren’t removing particles at all, but rather temporarily masking them. In the late ’90s, Birkbeck opened a company in southern Mexico that focused on filtering drinking water. “Through my research I learned of a kinetic product — a metallic alloy that completely removed metals from influent filter water,” he says. This product is known as REDOX.
By combining the REDOX with other filtration media, Metal Stop has been shown to eliminate more particles, chemicals and metals than its predecessors. The Metal Stop filter includes five filter stages and three filtration mediums. The polypropylene (spun fibers) removes sediment and large, suspended particles from the water. Granular activated carbon absorbs contaminants in the water. REDOX removes ions in the water solution, including iron, lead, copper, arsenic, mercury and chromium 6 (also known as hexavalent chromium, which can cause health problems).
“The reason these ions need to be mitigated is simply that they’re toxic,” Birkbeck says. “They create problems such as heater failure, staining, electrode failure and interfere with sanitizer efficacy.”
Testing on Metal Stop shows a filtration rate of 86 to 99 percent of ionic particles in the water, depending on the particle. “[I knew] adding REDOX media to a filter that also contains a polypropylene sediment filter and carbon for chemical mitigation would work,” Birkbeck says, “because I was already doing it in Mexico.”
The Metal Stop filter connects to a garden hose, filtering the water as you fill the hot tub. After use, the filter needs to stand vertically for about 20 minutes for the remaining water to drain, then cap it and store it. The hot tub model has a max life of 7,500 gallons, depending on the quality of the influent water.
Initially, Birkbeck was concerned that 7 Tech wouldn’t be able to cost-effectively produce and distribute the filters. But 7 Tech used distribution through hot tub dealers and now say MSRP is reasonable. Of the retailers that carry the product, the most common price for the Metal Stop Spa is $24.95 with a MAP price of $19.95. Metal Stop is available exclusively through spa distributors (Horizon Spa & Pool Parts is its U.S. distributor) and 7 Tech only sells through verified wholesale trade.
Family Leisure in San Antonio, Texas, began offering Metal Stop approximately two years ago and, in that time, have sold more than 220 of the filters. General manager Austin Lampkin says customers find it simple and easy to use. “We are always looking for products to offer our customers that can benefit them and make their experience better,” Lampkin says. “Our water in south Texas has a lot of calcium, iron and other minerals. This product reduces those items, providing our customers with better quality water and less spa maintenance.”