Whole House Water Filter Guide
Not all households need the same whole house water filters. Even though all models work in the same way, the presence or absence of additional filters will influence the types of contaminants a certain filter will remove from the water. However, there are some things you should take into consideration, no matter how many filters the system uses.
Selecting a Whole House Water Filter — What To Look For
- Water Flow – Different whole house water filters will produce a different amount of filtered water each minute. Since all the water entering your home will be filtered, this will be the same amount of water reaching your faucets, showers, appliances, and toilets. Smaller households might manage using a water filter capable of producing only 10 gallons of water per minute, but larger ones surely won’t. If you know your household usually consumes large volumes of water at the same time (in the morning before going to school or work, or before going to sleep) you should buy a unit capable of producing a better water flow.
- Filters – Different filters block different contaminants. Depending on the results of your water tests, you should buy a unit that will be effective on the contaminants already present in your water. If there is high heavy metal contamination, a normal unit with a copper-zinc mineral filter might suffice. However, if you have high bacterial contamination, you might need a unit with a UV filter.
What Type Of Whole House Water Filter Do I Need?
Depending on the water test results and your household’s water consumption needs, you should take into consideration the following things before buying a whole house water filter.
- Filter Longevity – This feature is very important because most whole house filter systems need little maintenance. Changing the water filter is one of the few operations you need to make constantly. Not all the filters that can be used by a water filter have the same longevity. Sometimes you can opt for a 100,000-gallon filter, or you can choose a 1,000,000-gallon filter for the same system. Depending on your household water needs and consumption, you should choose a filter that offers good longevity and a decent price.
- Consumption – You should also take into account your household’s water consumption. It might seem like a good idea to choose a cheap filter, but if your household uses a lot of water, you might have to change it once every month. This might actually make the multiple cheap filter changes more expensive than fewer changes of more expensive filters. On the other hand, if your household does not use a lot of water and you choose a filter that might last more than 5 years, it can get clogged up and not work properly at the end. Balancing your household’s consumption with the filter’s longevity is essential if you want to buy the right kind of filter.
- Microns – Depending on the water testing results, you have to choose the right micron rating for your filters. The best filters available will block anything larger than 0.35 microns. As you might expect, they are more expensive than the filters that block only particles larger than 1 micron. A micron is a thousandth of a millimeter, so it’s already pretty small. If you don’t have a highly contaminated source, a 0.35-micron filter might be an overkill.
Why a Whole House Water Filter System Is a Necessity
One of the main reasons that people turn to whole house water filtration systems is the quality of their water. Even if you’re connected to a municipal water supply, the water reaching your faucet might have dubious quality. One of the first things you can notice about the water is if it’s chlorinated or not.
Chlorine has been used for decades as a water disinfectant in water treatment facilities. Some people are so used to drinking chlorinated water that the absence of it might seem strange at first. Even though chlorine is a pretty good disinfectant and it will remove most of the bacteria and other microorganisms in the water, it can actually bad for you. Recent studies have shown that ingesting large quantities can be dangerous to your health.
Another reason you should avoid chlorinated water is that it has bad effects on your skin and hair. Your skin can be excessively dried when you wash it with chlorinated water, and your hair can take a dull aspect. Using a whole house water filter will reduce the amount of chlorine you’re exposed to, so it will have a positive effect on your skin’s and hair’s health.
Using a whole house water filter is also more environmentally-friendly than using other types of filters or even buying bottled water.
Unlike other water filtration systems, a whole house system does not produce wastewater. This means that all the water entering the filter will come out of it in the same quantity.
When you’re buying bottled water, you’re actually growing your carbon footprint. First of all, bottled water comes in plastic bottles. Not all the plastic we use is recycled, so lowering the amount of plastic you buy is beneficial for the environment. Second, the bottled water is many times produced in one part of the country and consumed in another. This means it was most likely transported via trucks from one state to another. The transport increases the bottled water’s carbon footprint.
Do I Need a Whole House Water Filter?
It doesn’t matter if you’re connected to the municipal water supply, or if you take the well water from your backyard, the water you use could be better. One of the best ways to tell if a water filtration system is necessary is to test your water source. You can do that by either using a home water test kit or just by examining it closely using your senses.
Depending on the answers you get from the tests, you can notice one of the following facts.
- Your water is chlorinated
- Your water has a high bacterial contamination
- Your water has a weird taste or smell
- Your water has small particles floating through it, or it’s cloudy.
If you notice only one of the previous facts, you should use a whole house water filtration system.
How Does a Whole Home Water Filter Work?
Whole house water filtration systems might employ different mediums to filter out the contaminants in your water, but the basic principle they use remains the same. Here is a short explanation of how these systems work.
The filter is usually attached to the main water line before the electric tankless water heater, so all the water is entering the home will be filtered.
When the water enters the filtration system it will first encounter a sediment prefilter. This filter is specially designed to remove the larger particles in the water, like silt, sand, rust, debris, or sediment.
However, this is not its only role. This filter also plays a key role in keeping the next filters functional for a longer period of time. Without this filter, the other filters would need more frequent changes.
After the water exits the sediment pre-filter, it has to get through the activated carbon filter. This is one of the most important components of the filtering system, as it has a crucial role in removing a lot of contaminants. Activated carbon offers a huge porous surface. This surface is lined with nooks and crannies, and the contaminants in the water are attracted to them through a natural process called adsorption. This filter is very effective, and it will remove most of the chlorine, what’s left of the sediment, any volatile organic compounds (VOCs), along with the foul smells and tastes from the water. Sometimes the activated carbon filter will also be treated with special substances to have different properties. Some manufacturers impregnate a small amount of silver in the carbon filter to give it an antibacterial capacity.
When the water exits the carbon filter, it passes through a copper-zinc and mineral filter. This filter is also very important to the filtering process because it removes most of the contaminants remaining in the water at this point. This filter will remove what’s left of the chlorine, heavy metals, and it also has a good effect on bacteria and other microorganisms usually found in the water. The filter also does a pretty good job at diminishing the scale in the water.
This is an optional step, and some water filters might not have it. However, some models pass the water through a water softener or a descaler. Some manufacturers use ion-exchange technology to achieve this. Find out the top-rated water ionizers for your home with our review and buyer’s guide.
When the water enters an ion-exchange filter, it will pass over some resin beads. These beads are filled with sodium ions. When the magnesium and calcium particles will encounter the ion-filled beads, they will replace the sodium ions. This will make the water softer, but it will also make it a bit salty. Other manufacturers use a salt-free water softener to maintain the water’s neutral taste.
To find out more about whether you need a whole house water filtration system and what options will best suit your needs, contact the experts at Mike Scott Plumbing.