When do you need a whole house water filtration system?
The overall quality of water in your house will eventually determine if you need a whole house water filter. You might think that municipal water is clean, but the water that reaches your faucet at home may get contaminated along the way.
You will need a whole house water filter if the water in your home is chlorinated. Although chlorine has for long been used to disinfect water, it has some adverse effects that make it an impurity. Some people are so used to consuming chlorinated water that they may not be comfortable with the absence of chlorine in their water.
Chlorine is a great disinfectant that will eliminate some contaminants from your water, but large quantities of this chemical may be harmful to your health.
You may need a whole house water filter when your skin becomes dry or your hair becomes dull from using chlorinated water. A great way to tell if you need a whole house water filter is to carry out tests on your water source. Also, if you notice any of the following, then it may be time to go for a whole house water filter:
- High level of chlorine in your water
- Weird taste or even smell in your water
- Cloudy appearance
- Small particles of sediments or dust floating on the water
- High level of bacterial contamination
A whole house water filter is more friendly to the environment as compared to the alternatives. Getting other kinds of filters or even using bottled water, for example, is not safe on the environment. Bottled water only increases your carbon footprint as the bottles are made from plastic and not all plastic is recycled. Also, unlike other types of filters, using whole house water filters will not lead to the production of wastewater and all the water that goes in the filter comes out on the other end.
What makes an ideal whole house water filter?
Different households require different types of water filters according to a number of factors. As much as almost all the types of water filters work in the same way, the presence or lack of any additional water filters will ultimately determine if all the contaminants will be eliminated. Regardless of the number of filters that a whole house water filter uses. Here are some things to consider.
Number of stages and filtration process
Almost all whole house water filters can remove the basic contaminants found in water. These include sediments, dust, rust, chlorine and a whole host of other chemicals that may be responsible for the unpleasant taste and smell in the water. There are also other types of water filters that are specialized to help treat manganese, iron, and other metallic contaminants that make their way to the water we consume. The iSpring WGB32B, for example, has three stages, which means that it can eliminate more impurities.
While these water filters can eliminate a significant percent of contaminants from water, only reverse osmosis systems can remove 100% of the harmful elements in water. The overall quality of water or a test from the lab will determine if you need to add such a system to your home.
However, reverse osmosis can be extremely expensive, and you may have to opt for other whole house water filters with two or three stages in the filtration process.
Alternatively, you can also place a point of use unit in one of the faucets at home such as the kitchen sink. In this case, to ensure you get clean water for drinking and cooking, opt for an under sink water filter or a countertop water filter with a faucet.
Contaminant reduction and certification
It is critical to pay attention to the type of certification that a whole house water filter has before choosing to purchase one. If a filter is certified, the manufacturer of the equipment will have to make public some of the performance data sheets to ensure that the water filter works as advertised. If a water filter is not certified, then you can be sure to guess that it will not eliminate some contaminants. There are a number of standards of which the water filters will be categorized by NSF International and American National Standards Institute (NSF/ANSI). The four residential standards include
NSF/ANSI 42 – These filters reduce only the non-health related type of contaminants such as the odor, particulates and even the chlorine taste of water.
NSF/ANSI 53 – Such filters use carbon to eliminate some specific health-related contaminants that may include heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, giardia among others.
NSF/ANSI 401 – This is a new certification that was developed as a response to finding pharmaceutical products in water. Such filters eliminate prescription drugs, chemicals, end even herbicides/pesticides.
NSF/ANSI 58 – specifically created for reverse osmosis products, which are able to remove fluoride, radium, heavy metals, perchlorate, nitrate and nitrite among others.
A key consideration is also the lifespan of the system or even the filters. Most whole house water filters need little maintenance except maybe changing the filter regularly. It is, however, worth noting that not all filters have the same replacement interval and this will depend on the type of system that you purchase. A person who opts for a 100,000-gallon system and that who opts for a 1,000,000-gallon system will definitely have to replace the filters at different times. Depending on your needs and budget, you should choose a filter that works for you. The 3M Aqua-Pure AP903 has a quick change cartridge system that allows for the easy change of cartridges when replacing filters.
It is a no-brainer that the heavy duty systems are much more likely to last as compared to the replaceable cartridge models. If you purchase the replaceable model, you should watch out for the replacement interval indicated in your product, as failure to follow this may ultimately lead to a poor working of the filter. A significant number of filters have a lifespan of about six to even twelve months, and if you get a longer lifespan, the better it is for you.
This does not denote the physical size of the whole house water filter but rather the capacity that the filter puts out in gallons. Some models filter out a million gallons of water while others filter 100,000 gallons as denoted above. For example, the Aquasana EQ-1000 is one of the high-capacity water filters. You should, however, note that most water filters with a big capacity are also large in size.
It is prudent to remember that the flow rate will play a significant role in the final decision that you choose. The filter should be able to supply sufficient water to your kitchen, bathroom, washing appliances, and every place in the house where water is necessary. Therefore, it is crucial for the water filter that you choose to have a good flow rate if you do not wish to see a drop in pressure when you open several faucets around the house.
For most houses, a pressure of 10 to 15 gallons per minute is sufficient, but if your filter has a lower rate than this, then you might experience some problems especially if it is a large house.
Having a good warranty for your equipment may not seem to be a necessary feature until you experience problems with your whole house water filter. Some users have reported getting damaged parts upon delivery of equipment while others encountered a complete failure of the water filter. It is only through having a proper warranty that you are likely to evade such problems.
The above list of features is not exhaustive, and there are other things that you will have to consider before making that purchase.
Ease of installation – there are a lot of whole house water filters that one can easily install without the need of a professional, and there are those that require assistance. If you are a resourceful person, you should be able to find something that you can understand and easily install. Another thing to look out for is if there are some tools to help you install the water filter when buying it.
Cost – the cost of the water filter will also be a big consideration. You should look for a water filter that will both suit your needs and fit your budget. You are likely to find costly water filters with numerous features and budget-friendly filters that still get the job done.
Micron size – the overall micron size of the water filter should also play a significant role in the type of filter that you select. Most filters will have a micron size of less than 5 microns and the less the micron size, the cleaner your water will be after filtration. While most standard and heavy house filters can filter water to a micron size of 0.35 to 1 micron, reverse osmosis filters can do so to a micron size of up to 0.0001 microns.
How to install a whole house water filter?
This might not be a job for any novice, but just having a little knowledge can help you complete the job without any problems. Although the installation procedure may differ for each whole house water filter, the basic principles are the same.
- Pipe cutter
- Teflon tape
- Copper coupling
- Adjustable wrench
- Pressure gauge
- Slip joint push fitting
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you out:
- The first step is to turn off the main water supply to the house by locating the shut-off valve and closing it.
- Drain out the water. You should then drain all the water that is still running in the house. You can do it by opening several faucets to ensure that most of the water that is in circulation is drained.
- Choose a suitable location. Your next step should be to choose a suitable place to place the filter itself. Remember to select a place that should be near the main source of water and where the children cannot access it.
- Cut the pipe. Use your pipe cutter to cut off the pipe but don’t forget to have a bucket to collect any water that may run off from the pipe.
- Install the shut-off valves. The shut-off valves will be useful when changing filters as they help to control the water and you should thus place them at the end of each pipe on your main water pipe.
- Mount the whole house water filter. You can choose to use mounting brackets or mount the filter on a plywood panel if possible. Remember that the first stage filter comes first then the other filters as specified in your instructions manual.
- Attach the filtration unit the system pipes. Using a compression nut or even push fittings, attach the pipes of the system to the pipes that were initially cut off. Be sure to attach the input and output of the filter to the push fittings and congratulate yourself for a job well done.
And here it is!