One of the big questions that bug most homeowners is whether their homes require whole house water filtration systems. There is a lot of confusion also over the best type of water filtration technology too. A water purification system is a big-ticket item. You do not want to spend big bucks on one unless it is necessary. You also do not want to spend your cash on a product that does not do its job or one that will quit on you when you need it the most.
What is a whole house water filtration system?
According to the EPA, your home utilizes about 300 gallons of water per day. A point of entry water filtration system can provide filtered water to your entire home. A large portion of whole house water filter systems can filter at least 600,000 to one million gallons of water over a five to ten year period.
The products have heavy-duty 10 inch or 20-inch size filtration cartridges, backed by two to three-stage filtration configurations. The system could also have a water outlet and inlet shut off valves and pressure relief housings to facilitate easy filter replacement.
|15 GPM||4||GREEN-CARBON-15 Premium|
|7 GPM||5||Aquasana EQ-1000-AST-UV-AMZN|
|15 GPM||4||Pelican PC1000|
|24 GPM||3||Bluonics BBUV110V|
|15 GPM||5||Filtersmart FS-F-15|
|15 GPM||3||Express Water System WH300SCKS|
|10 GPM||4||Home Master HMF2SmgCC|
|12 GPM||3||Apec CB3-SED-IRON-CAB20-BB|
|7 GPM||3||Aquasana EQ-600R|
|12 GPM||2||iSpring WCB32O|
- Highly Effective Purification
- Filter lifespan: 2000 Gallons
- Made in the USA with 5 Year warranty
- Improved ALKALINITY removal
- Trusted US brand with 20 years of history
- High purity RO water and at 75GPD
- Great PH Levels
- 98% lead removal
- Affordable Filters
- Good customer service
- Environmentally friendly coconut carbon filters
- Quick and easy installation
- 1: 1 Drain Ratio mean less water waste
- Fast flow 400 GPD
- Attractive Tankless Desing
- Compact Design
- WQA Gold Certified
- Water Saving Smart Technology
- True filter change indicator
- Unique leak-free integrated water route
- NSF/ANSI standards components
- NSF Tested and Certified
- Extra Long Filter Life
- Money Saving Model
- Reduces chlorine taste and odor
- Filters up to 600 gallons
- Removes entamoeba cryptosporidium and giardia
How To Choose A Great Water Filter For Whole House – Buying guide
Why a whole house water filtration system is necessary
Whole house water filtration systems have become a necessity today, due to the presence of detectable levels of water pollutants in some reservoirs, rivers, lakes, seas, and groundwater. But isn’t the North American continent said to have some of the world’s safest drinking water sources? It is, but research done by the North Eastern University and Environmental Working Group, for instance, shows that over 43 states have unsafe water reservoirs. The most common pollutant in these sites is toxic fluorinated compounds known as PFAs.
However, PFAs are not the only pollutants homeowners have to worry about when taking that sip of cold, clear water. Water is a fantastic solvent, meaning that it dissolves a large variety of substances. This is an excellent feature because you get to enjoy that raspberry-flavored Kool-Aid dissolved in it. It is that same factor that makes water a good source of pollutants that can range from microorganisms to dangerous chemicals such as arsenic.
It is, however, good to remember that most of the water used in the home has already been treated and is free from pathogens. If you are worried about contaminants in your water, then you should have a water filtration system in place to deal with the drinking water. Besides their prowess at providing safe water to your entire family, whole house water filtration systems, have many other advantages as well.
Advantages of installing a whole house water filter system
- Safer and cleaner water for your home
Municipal or city water is treated using chlorine or chloramines that introduce an unpleasant odor and taste to water. Groundwater sources produce water that has trace colors, smells, and tastes of naturally occurring minerals like iron, sulfur, or calcium. The EPA also does not regulate the treatment of water from private wells, so you have to put a measure in place to ensure that it doesn’t contain any microbes. If your water, for instance, has that horrible hydrogen sulfide smell in it, it can be difficult not only to drink but also to shower in.
Dirty looking brown water with Manganese or iron in it is not what you want your kids to gulp down. How about chlorinated water that not only tastes bad but also leaves your skin and hair dried up after a shower? Whole house water filters, unlike faucet or under the faucet water filters, drastically reduce the content of these contaminants from every drop of water in use in your home. With these water filters at your homes’ water point of entry, your family will enjoy better tasting and healthier drinking, cooking, and showering water.
- Long-lasting and better-looking clothes, appliances, plumbing and bathroom surfaces
Chemicals and minerals such as chlorine, calcium, magnesium, and iron produce byproducts that degrade your household items. Magnesium and calcium, for instance, will create limescale that clogs electrical appliances and your plumbing as well. Rust from iron will stain your bathroom surfaces, turning them to a dirty brown color. Chlorine, on the other hand, will affect your laundry and electric appliances as well. Whole house water filters will make a massive difference in the lifespan of your household appliances if your water has heavy chemical or mineral contaminates.
- Efficiency in water filtration
These systems have multi-stage filtration processes that not only eliminate a wide range of water pollutants but filter large volumes of water fast. If you have a large home, placing a filter at every water outlet can be expensive. Installing a whole house filtration system is more cost-efficient.
- Ease of installation and maintenance
With a little DIY experience, you can install a whole house water filtration system, without a plumber’s assistance. Any adult can perform their maintenance processes too. Most systems require a three, six, nine, or twelve month’s sediment filter stage to keep them in optimal shape.
- Better for the environment
A large amount of plastic water bottles accumulating in landfills and surface water sources has become alarming. Nevertheless, homes can turn this tide by using water filtered at home. Reusable water containers can then be utilized to carry water, which will lessen the times that you or your family members will purchase bottled water. This will not only save your family a lot of cash but will reduce your plastic waste too.
Disadvantages of whole house water filtration systems
- They do not come cheap
Whole house filter systems have a high initial investment, and the more complicated their filtration technology is, the more they will cost you. Therefore, if your water needs complex filtration processes beyond regular activated carbon filtration, you will have to set aside a bigger budget for the system.
- Lack of a fine-tuning filtration process
Point of entry water filtration systems are inflexible in their water filtration processes. This system, unlike that of a point of use filter, will not allow you to filter water where it is needed the most. Thus, you will have filtered water for use in the toilet, for instance, whereby depending on the contaminant in question, it could be considered unnecessary.
- You will need several hours of research before buying a whole house water system
To purchase a water system that is perfect for your home, you must carry out thorough research. You have to establish the type of pollutants present in your water, to enable you to purchase a filtration system with adequate technology. You will also need to know about filter sizes, and which one is sufficient for your home. There is also maintenance, installation, and replacement costs to consider. There are other useful considerations such as the filter’s life span and the effect of the system on water pressure.
Types of whole house water filtration systems
There are different types of complete house water filtration system technologies because water quality and pollutants vary from one location to the other. There is no one single filter that can clean up every pollutant in water. A comprehensive water filtration solution has two or more of the technologies below. A whole house filter can, for instance, have a carbon filter as well as an ion exchange system. An even better system will have a UV light system installed to kill every microbial pollutant.
Carbon-based water filtration systems are the most common and economical types of water filters there are out there. They are also relatively easy to maintain. These water filtration system uses activated carbon materials to trap large organic molecules as well as microscopic particles. They will clean out contaminants such as chemicals, gases, chlorine, odors, and chloramines.
Most of these filters have a three-stage filtration system, which begins with the pre-filter stage. At this stage, sediments and large contaminants are removed from the water. The second stage of filtration utilizes a copper-zinc matrix that eliminates chlorine and dissolved metals. The activated carbon filter then does the last stage of filtration and gets rid of harmful organic compounds.
These filters are used to filter water from wells or turbid surface water. Such water is usually unclean and cloudy. This filtration system uses Zeolite to treat the turbidity, through mechanical straining, ion exchange, sedimentation, and electrostatic absorption. These filters will improve the look and taste of the home’s water. They also work well in conjunction with UV or carbon filtration systems.
These filters use ion-exchange beads treated with special resins to soften water. They are great systems for use in areas that have hard water due to high levels of magnesium and calcium. They produce water that is not only great to drink, but also one that will protect your skin, hair, plumbing, and appliances from limescale accumulation.
Catalytic conversion filters
These whole house water filtration systems can treat hard water without the use of salt. Usually, most water softeners require regular addition of salt for ion exchange water treatment. The catalytic conversion uses ceramic granules to convert magnesium and calcium into crystals that will not form limescale. These filter systems are more friendly to the environment than their ion-exchange counterparts and are also easier to maintain.
Also known as redox, these filtration systems work on the principle of electrons transfer, and electrochemical oxidation. They use manganese dioxide as an oxidizer, to precipitate hydrogen sulfide, iron, and manganese from your household water. They are ideal for use in areas where there is a lot of rust, iron-red stains, and a rotten egg smell in the water.
Reverse osmosis filters
This water filtration technology gets rids of pollutants better than carbon-based systems. They are very common in under counter faucet water filters. They deliver safe and ultra-pure drinking water. They, however, can be purchased for whole house water filter systems but at a premium. For such large-scale use that can also be quite expensive to maintain, slow, and wasteful.
Factors to consider when buying a whole house water filter
The flow of a water filtration device is measured in gallons per minute (GPM). The rate of water flow is the total amount of water that can run through all water dispensing stations in your home. Before the purchase of a whole house filter system, you need to be aware of the flow rate of your home. If you need any assistance, ask for the help of a professional. If you purchase a filter system with a lower flow rate than your house requires, you will have to endure interrupted and low water pressure problems in your home during peak use.
A large family will require bigger sizes of filters and vice versa. If you have a big family, go for a filtration system with large capacity filter cartridges. You will enjoy better water supply and more extended periods between maintenance as well. A small apartment owner, however, does need not to pay that extra buck for a big blue filtration system. A 10-inch filter cartridge system should provide enough water for smaller homes.
To establish the budget for the purchase of your whole house filter system, you need to first, know what type of water pollutants are present in your water. Your budget will also be influenced by the flow rate required in your home. Research on these factors first and then draw up your budget. Plan to stick to it, and avoid unnecessary add-ons that could, in the end, increase maintenance, replacement, and installation costs.
The costs of purchase and installation of a whole house water filtration system will depend on the type of filter technology required. Most whole house water filter systems costs lay between the $320 for simple activated carbon filtration and $3000 for multiple technology filtration systems. If your home is already plumbed, your installation procedure should not cost you a dime. Nevertheless, if you are not a DIY type of person, you will need to part with a few bucks to cover plumbing costs.
The lifespan of filters & maintenance costs
High-quality filter cartridges can last for three years, while the cheaper type will last for a minimum of 3 months. However, replacing a filter is easy and is done to ensure that the filtration system’s performance is top-notch. Most replacement filter cartridges are quite affordable and lie in the $30 to $150 range. If you want peace of mind, choose a water filtration system whose replacement schedules are not demanding.
NSF Certified products
NSF certified water filters are not only approved by the public health certification and standards body but are also tested. A manufacturer of a high-quality whole house water filter will declare the contaminates a particular system reduces and NSF will conduct tests to establish their claim. Therefore, ensure you purchase filtration systems with an NSF certification.
DIY or Professional Installation?
You do not have to call in the technician to install your new whole house filtration system. The installation can be done in an hour or two depending on your DIY skills. That said, it is a relatively tricky project to work on for a person with minimal DIY experience. If you are not accustomed to tools, you are better off calling in help from a professional. Professional installation can be particularly helpful in preventing the voiding of warranties if any.
Purpose of filtration
There is a wide range of water filtration technology out there each designed to optimally, filter a particular class of contaminates. What contaminates do you want your whole house water filtration system to filter? Here is quick look at the impurities each filter type will remove in your water.
Activated carbon filters
These can eliminate over 80 chemicals from water including;
- All 32 listed by chlorine by-products
- 14 listed pesticide types including nitrates and glyphosate
- 12 types of common herbicides
- The toxic firefighting foam and repellent PFOS including PFNA, PFOA, and PFAS
- Phosphates from fertilizers
Special activated carbon filters
They will filter out;
- 95% of Zinc, lead, and copper in water
- 70% mercury, nitrates, asbestos, arsenic, and fluoride
- Cysts such as cryptosporidium and giardia
Ion exchange and salt-free Catalytic conversion filters
- Soften water by reducing magnesium, calcium carbonate, and limescale.
- Eliminates Manganese, hydrogen sulfide and iron for clear, rust-free water
Reverse osmosis filtration
- Uses pressure to filter all contaminants with particles larger than that of a water molecule.
How do whole house filters work?
As mentioned, there is a wide range of water filtration technology out there each designed to optimally, filter different contaminates. However, the most common whole house water filter is the activated carbon filter.
Carbon is simply charcoal. Activated carbon has been through an activation process that gives it a large surface area. A gram of this processed charcoal has a 3,000 square meter surface area. To put things into perspective, a teaspoon of activated carbon has close to the surface area of a football pitch.
This aspect of space makes activated carbon very useful for a wide range of industrial and domestic applications.
As polluted water encounters the activated carbon, intermolecular forces push water through the activated carbon, leaving contaminants behind much as a screen door would. Activated carbon filters also facilitate a chemical reaction that eliminates molecules of chlorine. When the water treatment chemical is exposed to activated carbon, their molecules react and form chloride ions.
Submicron activated carbon filters will filter out cysts, lead, coliform, iron or arsenic. Filters with larger holes only trap organic chemicals with heavy molecules. Your water filter’s manufacturer will, therefore, label your activated carbon filter by its adsorption potential. Keep in mind that activated carbon filters, do not filter magnesium or calcium. You will need a whole house filter with an ion-exchange or catalytic conversion filters.
However, there is an advantage to purchasing an activated carbon filter infused with elements such as silver or Kinetic Degradation Fluxion. Silver, for instance, will kill bacteria, while KDF made from ground zinc and copper will reduce iron and rust contaminates in your water. Thus, if your activated carbon water filter is sub-micron-sized and has silver and KDF filters, it can eliminate a wide range of pollutants in untreated water. To make water completely safe from disease-causing microorganisms such as E-coli, a UV light sterilizer is affixed to the whole house water filtration system.
Questions to ask before buying a whole house water filter
How long does a whole house water filter last?
Sediment filters will last a minimum of three months and a maximum of a year. Nevertheless, the activated carbon filter can last up to five years depending on the brand that you purchase.
How can I tell when my filter is due for a change?
First, most manufacturers have instructions on the best time to replace a filter. Nonetheless, the presence of dirt, scale, or an unpleasant odor or taste in water is a sure sign that your filter’s change is long overdue. Ensure that you only buy system compatible filters to prevent an expensive and dangerous malfunction.
Where should I install a whole house water filter?
Unlike an under the sink water filter, the whole house water filtration system will treat your water at its point of entry. This means that all the water used in the home, including bath or shower, cooking, drinking, laundry, and water used to flush the toilets will first go through your filtration system. If your water comes from a well, you need to install the filtration system next to the pressure tank.
How to install a whole house water filter
- Shut off your mains water supply via the gate valve that supplies water to your house. Most homes have two chief water inlets, one for household use, and the other for gardening purposes. You need to install your filtration system on the household mains.
- Use the installation procedure outlined in your filter system’s instruction booklet. You will need to cut into your pipe to make some room for your system. Use the thread seal tape to cover your connection after the installation. Ensure that the seal is reliable and watertight.
- Restore your water system and enjoy clean, safe water in every water point in your home. Run the water for a few minutes to clear out any unfiltered water from your plumbing network. You should also prepare yourself for a change in water pressure depending on your filtration system of choice.
How to change the whole house water filter
- Simply consult your manufacture’s guidebook to get started.
- Turn off the water from the main valve
- Allow the system a couple of minutes to drain
- Unscrew the housing holding the filter using a wrench
- Clean up the housing to ensure that it stays in good order. Use warm soapy water, and a half a cup of bleach to clean and disinfect it.
- Lubricate the O-Ring if it has one with silicone grease
- Place the new filter inside it with a gentle push or twist
- Screw the housing back up
- Turn your water mains back on
Are these filters safe?
They are safe, but to ensure that they are designed for drinking water purposes, a material safety third part body such as NSF should rate them. They are usually rated on their ability to eliminate chlorine, taste, and odor, as well as contaminants such as cysts or lead.
The filtration efficiency of a whole house water filtration system will save you the costs of installing an on faucet filter for each faucet in your home. You can also enjoy better showers, cooking, and laundry. Your appliances, plumbing, utensils, walls, and floors will also thank you for the filtered water. We highly recommend the APEC Water Systems GREEN-CARBON-15 for its minimum maintenance requirements and its robust 15 gallons per minute filtration prowess. The Bluonics 110W UV Ultraviolet + Sediment & Carbon Well Water Filter Purifier System has a powerful UV light sterilization component. This 110W 24 GPM function is the best there is in the market and will give any groundwater household users complete peace of mind.