All You Need to Know About Whole House Water Filter Before Buying It
In 2018, deadly bacteria were found commonly breeding in plumbing systems of U.S. buildings. The bacteria found was the Legionella which causes Legionnaire’s disease. This disease is regarded by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the most dangerous related to water.
Legionella bacteria ranked second in the top 10 causes of outbreaks in public water systems in a study done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This can cause serious cases of pneumonia once it gets into your water system.
Having clean water flowing in your pipes can protect you from being affected by waterborne diseases. Point of use water filters won’t work since it only filters the water after it has passed through the pipes. Alternatively, a whole house water filter removes contaminants in the water before they enter your plumbing system.
There are a lot of factors to consider when buying a whole house system. Are you thinking of buying the most expensive water filter? That doesn’t guarantee its compatibility and effectiveness – although it may work for others, there is a chance that it might not work for you.
Picking the right whole house water filter will save you a lot of time and money. But where do you start and how will you choose? Here are the things you should know before buying!
1. Testing The Water
It is important to know the quality of your water. Some might say that you can test it by simply smelling or looking at it. Well, yes you can definitely do that, and you will definitely detect something if your water is bad enough. But relying on your senses is not enough since it does not help identifying most of the contaminants that may be present in your water.
If you are connected to a community water system, you can check the quality of your water consulting the annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) or Public Notification Rule (PN). On the other hand, those with a private well do not receive CCRs. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) only requires community water systems to create the reports as they only regulate public drinking water. Therefore, the only option for those with private well water is to have it tested in a certified laboratory.
2. Know thy Filters
After knowing what is present in your water, you can then decide what contaminants you want to remove. Each filter is made to specifically target certain contaminants. Here are common types of whole house water filtration methods:
a. Sediment Filtration
Sediment filtration removes the contaminants causing water to be cloudy and dirty looking. It is like a net that filters out sand, dirt, and other suspended particles depending on how fine the filter is. Thus, you should choose a sediment filter based on the size of particles that you want to filter out.
b. Activated Carbon Adsorption
Adsorption is when molecules attach to the surface of an adsorbent like a magnet, which in this case is the activated carbon. It’s effective in removing unwanted tastes, odors, and some chemicals. However, bacteria, viruses, most heavy metals, and other inorganic contaminants will be left untouched.
From what its name implies, ion exchange replaces undesirable ions, most commonly calcium and magnesium in hard water, with less tolerable ionic substances to balance the chemical composition of your water. This process is called “water softening”.
d. Ultraviolet Water Purification
A UV filter uses light bulbs that emit ultraviolet rays to kill disease-causing microorganisms. It penetrates deep into the bacteria and viruses’ DNA so they’re unable to reproduce. Though ultraviolet water purification is highly effective against microorganisms, it cannot remove other contaminants present in your water.
e. Reverse Osmosis
Reverse osmosis uses a high-pressure pump to push water through a semipermeable reverse osmosis membrane producing 95% to 99% pure water. Reverse osmosis is regarded as highly effective in removing parasites and bacteria that cause diarrhoea, contagious viruses, and other common chemical compounds.
3. Different Filter Stages
Most whole house water filter systems consist of different stages. Naturally, not all filters are created equal, so each has its own limitations on what it can filter out.
In our opinion, there is a required number of filter stages, because a combination of water filtering stages will give you more overall effectiveness. The exact stages you want to use depend on what you want to remove from your water. For example, a whole house reverse osmosis system may be designed with four stages:
1. Sediment Pre-Filter
A sediment pre-filter is commonly used as the first stage of every filtration system so that the other stages will not be damaged or clogged up by suspended particles.
2. Activated Carbon Pre-Filter
This filter removes chemicals, such as chlorine, which is known to damage the reverse osmosis membrane. Chlorine damage in an RO membrane is irreversible and will cause the filter to fail eventually.
3. Reverse Osmosis Membrane
This stage is where the remaining contaminants are removed from the water.
4. Carbon Post-Filter
Since RO can only remove 95%-99% contaminants, this last filter refines the water removing any missed impurities.
4. Whole House Water Filter Installation
Filter installation should be considered while choosing a system. Different filters have different sizes and installation requirements. Are you living in a condo, apartment, or house? You should be certain that your chosen filter will work with your household fittings, but most importantly that you have the space for it.
Due to the complexity of the job compared to point-of-use filters, you may be better off hiring a professional to do the installation for you. But if you are confident enough and you have the right tools and knowledge, then you can purchase a whole house water filter and carry out its installation yourself. Just be careful; these things do not come cheap!
5. Handle With Care
To keep your car running in pristine conditions, you need to change the oil every now and then. This removes the dirt from the system. The same goes for water filter systems. Doing regular maintenance prevents the buildup of contaminants and allows the system to remain effective and to last longer. Also, not maintaining regularly will affect the quality of your water sooner than later. It is best to follow the manufacturer’s advice on how often each filter stage should be maintained. Some filters have indicators so you will be reminded when it is time to replace.
Again, you can hire a professional to do the maintenance for you if you have no spare time or if the house water filter system is too complex.
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6. Legit Check
There are a lot of shams on the market. Thus, it is necessary for you to check if a water filter is a real thing to ensure that you are getting your money’s worth. To check for authenticity, you should look for a quality seal on the product. Each country has its own entities for quality control. In the US, the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) is one of the most known independent organizations that certify food and water products. Check each filter for the NSF mark and you know you have a legit one.
7. Check Your Funds
The last thing you should know before buying a whole house filter is your budget. A whole house filter can be expensive at first, but it will save you a lot in the long run. Compared to point-of-use water filters which need replacement every 6 to 8 months, whole house water systems last up to 12 months or so before requiring any type of replacement or maintenance.
Living a life without anything to worry about is the best feeling in the world, isn’t it? But in reality, there will always be shortcomings that you will encounter. Using a whole house filter will at least give you peace of mind that you and your family are safe from waterborne diseases. Having a whole house filter also lessens your bills for fixing areas of your house due to build-ups of contaminants in your pipes. Just do not forget to keep it well maintained so it will keep on providing clean water for a long time to come. A healthier family means a happier life!
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