You’ve probably heard the term from a friend or a family member. Heck, your house might be using one now.
So, what is a whole house water filter?
A whole house water filter is a filtration system that filters all the water that enters your household. These are also called Point Of Entry (POE) systems because they are often set up before the water goes to your your heater, thus purifying both the cold and the warm water. So every time you open a faucet, filtered water will come out. Not only that, but filtered water will be carried to your shower, washing machine, and yes, even your toilet.
The Only Guide You Will Ever Need When Buying a Whole House Water Filter
Not every home needs a whole house water filter. Although all the models function equally, the presence or absence of additional filters will impact the kind of pollutants a specific filter will eliminate from the water. However, there are some elements you should ponder on, no matter how many filters a system makes use of.
What to Look For When Picking a Whole House Water Filter
Water Flow – Various whole house water filters will generate different amounts of filtered water every minute. Since all the water going to your home will be cleansed, this will be the same amount of water that gets to your faucets, showers, appliances, and toilets. Smaller residences might get by utilizing a water filter that can generate only 10 gallons of water per minute, but larger ones most definitely would not. If you know your household often uses up a large amount of water during a particular time like, say in the morning before going to school or work, you should consider buying a unit that can produce a superior water flow.
Filters – Distinct filters are capable of blocking off various pollutants. Depending on the water test results, you should purchase a unit that will be efficient and effective on the contaminants that are currently in your water. If you find that there is a high heavy metal contamination, a normal unit with a copper-zinc mineral filter might be enough. But should there be a high bacterial contamination, one with a UV filter might do the trick.
What Kind of Whole House Water Filter Do You 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 a 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 You Need a Whole House Water Filter System
A primary reason why people purchase whole house water filtration systems is the quality of their water. Even if you’re linked to a municipal water supply, the water that goes to your faucet might have questionable quality, which can carry some very serious health issues if you ingest it. One of the very first things you can observe about the water is if it’s chlorinated or not.
Chlorine has been utilized for years on end as a water disinfectant in water treatment centers. Some people are so used to consuming chlorinated water that the absence of it might feel odd. Even though chlorine is a good disinfectant and it will eliminate most of the bacteria and other microorganisms in the water, it can actually be bad. Updated research has indicated that taking large amounts can be dangerous.
Another reason why chlorinated water should be avoided is that it has an adverse effect on your skin and hair. Your skin can get dry when you wash it with chlorinated water, and your hair can also turn dull. Using a whole house water filter will lessen the amount of chlorine you’re exposed to.
A whole house water filter is also more environmentally-sound than utilizing other kinds of filters or even buying bottled water.
Unlike other water filtration systems, a whole house system does not generate wastewater. This means that all the water going into the filter will come out of it in the same amount.
When you’re purchasing bottled water, you’re actually increasing your carbon footprint. First off, bottled water is contained in plastic bottles. Not all the plastic we use is recycled, so reducing the amount of plastic you purchase is beneficial for the environment. Another point is bottled water is many times made in one part of the country and taken in another. This means it was most likely brought with the use of trucks from one place to another. The transport raises the bottled water’s carbon footprint some more.
Do You Need a Whole House Water Filter?
Regardless if you’re linked to the municipal water supply, or if you take the water from a well, the water you use could most certainly be improved. One of the best methods to find out if a water filtration system is needed is to test your water source. You can do that with a home water test kit or just by taking a look at it closely with the use of your own senses.
Depending on the responses you get from the tests, you can observe one of the following:
- Your water is chlorinated
- Your water holds high bacterial contamination
- Your water tastes and smells funny
- Your water contains small particles, 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 Function?
Whole house water filtration systems might use various mediums to filter out the pollutants in your water, but the main principle they utilize is all the same. Here is a short description of how they function.
- The filter is often connected to the main water line before the water heater, so all the water going into home will be filtered.
- When the water goes into the filtration system it will encounter a sediment prefilter. This filter is made to eliminate the larger particles in the water, such as silt, sand, rust, debris, or sediment.
- But this is not its only role. This filter also plays a crucial role in keeping the subsequent filters operational for a longer period of time. Without this, the other filters would need to be changed more as time passes.
- After the water leaves the sediment pre-filter, it has to go past the activated carbon filter. This is one of the most significant elements of the filtering system, as it has an important role in eliminating a lot of pollutants. Activated carbon offers a huge porous surface. This surface has nooks and crannies, and the pollutants in the water are drawn to them through adsorption. This filter is very efficient, and it will take away most of the chlorine, the remaining sediment, any unstable organic compounds (VOCs), and the foul smells and tastes from the water. At times, the activated carbon filter will also be treated with unique substances to have various elements. Some companies saturate a small amount of silver in the carbon filter to lace it with an antibacterial capacity.
- When the water leaves the carbon filter, it goes through a copper-zinc and mineral filter. This filter is crucial to the filtering process as well because it eradicates most of the pollutants that have been left in the water at this point. This filter will eliminate what’s left of the chlorine, heavy metals, and it also has a positive impact on bacteria and other microorganisms that are often found in the water. The filter also does a very good job at reducing the scale in the water.
- This is actually an optional step, and other water filters might not have it. However, some models let the water go through a water softener or a descaler. Some firms use the ion-exchange technology to attain this. When the water goes through an ion-exchange filter, it will go through some resin beads. These beads have sodium ions. When the magnesium and calcium particles meet the ion-filled beads, they will take the place of the sodium ions. This in turn, will make the water softer, but also makes it a little bit salty. Other companies use a salt-free water softener to keep the water’s taste neutral.
- The post-filter also has a key role in generating water that is high in quality. When the water reaches this post-filter, it’s often filled with small particles because the larger ones would have already been cleansed. The post-filter’s responsibility is to keep these small particles from reaching your water. These filters look like a mesh filled with holes, but the size of the holes is crucial. Some post-filter holes are as small as 0.35 microns, but most of them measure a very measly 1 micron.
- Another elective but very important element is the UV filter. This filter is able to eradicate any bacteria, virus, or microorganism that might have gone unscathed. If your water source holds a high level of bacterial contamination, a UV filter will most likely put an end to your problem.
How To Set Up Your Whole House Water Filter?
Whole house water filtration systems are not that hard to set up. Here’s how you do it.
- Turn off the main water supply and drain the system.
- Choose the new location for the filter and mark it. Keep in mind you’ll have to change the filters constantly so choose a location you can reach comfortably.
- Cut the pipe using a pipe cutter.
- Install the compression nut and plastic/brass fittings according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure you use Teflon tape on the fittings
- Install the filter with the “in” and “out” ports facing the right directions.
- Turn the filter’s inlet valve off and turn on the main water supply. If there aren’t any leaks, turn the inlet valve on. Check for leaks again.
- The installation is complete. Every time you need to change the filter, turn the inlet valve off and use the provided wrench to take out the cartridge filter.
How Do You Change a Whole House Water Filter?
Switching up the filters can differ depending on the model you have, but most follow similar principles.
- When you have to switch up the filter, turn off the water filter’s inlet valve.
- Make use of the provided wrench to screw the filter off, and keep a bucket close at hand to gather any dripping water.
- Clean the inside of the filter with the use of a clean dry cloth.
- Insert the new filter and tighten using the filter wrench.
- Turn the inlet valve back on.
- Allow the water to run for 10 minutes for the filter to activate before you test the water.
What are the Best Whole House Water Filters in the Market Today?
To make choosing the right whole house water filter for you a whole lot easier, here’s short buying guide detailing how these work, what they’re good ator, and what you should really keep an eye out for in a model before making your purchase.
1. Aquasana 10-Year, 1,000,000 Gallon Whole House Water Filter
This is a highly touted water filtration system. With a 1,000,000 gallon water filter, this is also regarded as a low-maintenance unit. The model here also has a pro grade installation kit. This kit is composed of brass fittings, a pre-filter, a post-filter, and all the supports and shut-off valves you will need for the set up.
One of the benefits of picking this model is the longevity of the water softener cylinder. The cylinder has a filtering capacity of 1,000,000 gallons, so it should endure and function optimally for 10 years or more, depending on your water consumption. The easiest way to monitor the consumption is to take note of the original value of your water meter and take a look at it from time to time.
Good Filters – The filters in this system are of the highest quality, and you will see the difference in your water’s taste and smell not long after using it.
Pex Crimper Needed For Installation – A pex crimper is needed for the installation. Not many people actually have this tool, but professional plumbers do.
2. Home Master HMF3SDGFEC Whole House 3-Stage Water Filter
This is a very popular whole house filtration system, mainly because of the bang you get for your hard-earned money. The water filter features a filtering capacity of up to 15 gallons per minute, contingent on your water pressure.
One of the benefits of utilizing this filter is the top notch sediment filter. This filter is very effective, and it will eliminate any particle larger than 1 micron from the water. The water will then be crisp, and it will pass through an activated carbon filter before going through your faucet.
The activated carbon filter also has good longevity. The filter has a filtering capacity of 100,000 gallons, which would last for up to a whole year or two.
Efficient Filtration – This water filter can take away up to 95% of the pollutants in your water source. It is effective at taking away iron, sediment, manganese, and other harmful elements that might influence the water’s taste.
Not All the Iron is Eliminated – If your water source is heavy in iron, this system might not take away all of it. However, it will remove more than 90% of it.
3. iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System
This whole house filtering system is endorsed by the NSF to eliminate any particles bigger than 5 microns from the water, so it will be highly efficient. The filter can eradicate up to 95% of the pollutants in your water, which include chlorine, sediment, herbicides, pesticides, rust, and other harmful elements.
One of the benefits to using this system is its 100,000-gallon activated carbon filter. The filter features a great filtering capability and it should eliminate most of the contaminants from your water for quite ome time. Some households use this volume of water in a year, while others do it in two.
Good Water Pressure – This system makes use of large ports that make way for a fair amount of water to pass through the filters every minute. This will guarantee a good water pressure after you set up the filtering system
May Leak Without Teflon Tape – This water filter’s connections might pop a leak if you don’t use Teflon tape.
4. 3M Aqua-Pure Whole House Water Filtration System
One of the main benefits of using the 3M Aqua-Pure is its massive flow rate. Compared to other water filters that guarantee a good flow rate of 15 gallons per minute, this model delivers one of 20 gallons of filtered water every minute.
Another advantage is that it is very low maintenance. This system makes use of water filters that should endure for a year or more in a usual setting and changing them is hassle-free. You just have to twist them off and put in new ones.
Great Filter – This water filter very efficient at eliminating contaminants from the water, and it’s very easy to change as well. The filter will last for a year or even more.
Needs Help With Very Polluted Sources – You should mix this filter with a sediment pre-filter if your water is very contaminated.
5. Home Master HMF2SMGCC Whole House 2-Stage Water Filter
The Home Master 2-Stage Filter is an effective unit that is capable of removing any particles larger than 1 micron from your water source. The filter uses a four gradient density filter to deliver a finer filtration than other models, and you will be able to notice the difference in the water’s taste and clarity.
This is a very efficient water filter, and it will stop most chemicals and sediments from entering your water, including heavy metals, chlorine, chloramines, and other contaminants.
The catalytic carbon filter used by this system has a water filtering capacity of 95,000 gallons, so it should provide filtered water for a year or more, depending on your consumption.
One of the advantages of choosing this type of filter is that it comes with a 2-year warranty. This extended warranty period is proof of the manufacturer’s trust in this product.
Good Instructions Manual – This product comes with a good instructions manual. The manual will guide you through the installation, and it will also guide you through the filter change operation.
Poor Water Flow – This system has a maximum output of 10 gallons per minute. This water flow might not be enough for some households.
So there you have it! If you still need more help in determining what the right water is for you, head over to this article that discusses how to find the ideal water filter for you.