If you have a home supplied with hard water, the installation of a whole house water filter is a good idea for several reasons. For starters, a whole house water filter will clean the entire water supply before it enters your plumbing system. So, every bathroom and kitchen on your property benefits from filtered water except for the areas you disconnect. The centralized filtration system will also eliminate sulfides, which are the leading cause of unpleasant odors in tap water. Besides removing sediment, some filters will also eliminate sulfur and lead. So, a lot depends on the type of whole house filter you choose.
Before installing a whole house water filter, the important step is to make sure that you understand its components. Most are point-of-entry systems meant to be installed outside the home or garage. Generally, the whole house water filter will be placed inside the home, but you need to buy one that will filter enough water for your entire family.
Table of Contents
Components of A Whole House Water Filter System?
While a whole house filtration system is suitable for drinking and cooking water, the most common options are a countertop or an ‘under the sink’ filter. In any case, a whole house filtration system will give you peace of mind knowing that your water is of the highest quality. The other benefit of a whole house filter system is that it helps prolong the life of your appliances and makes the water perfectly suited for drinking, cooking, and bathing.
The main component of whole house filtration systems is the filter. The filter is designed to remove sediment. Carbon filters also remove odor, chlorine, lead, heavy metals, and the taste of chlorine. Some filters remove contaminants from your water.
The most common type of whole house water filter is what’s called a multi-stage filter. This means that the water passes through multiple filters before it is delivered to the faucets within the home. This means that there is a separate activated carbon filter, clay filter, and a few others.
Proper installation of the system means also installing a bypass valve allowing you to access the water without interrupting your daily activities. So, that means you can turn off these valves to service your whole house water filtration system when it’s time to change the filter cartridges. So, the installation will have to be carried out in a way that makes these valves accessible.
How Does the Installation Work?
In order to install a whole house water filter, you must connect it to the existing plumbing line. The best place for a filter is from where the water enters your home, so the first step is to make sure that the plumbing line branches off before the system is attached.
You need to locate the shutoff valve for the home’s water supply, usually in the basement or utility closet. If you can’t find it, maybe take a look at the home’s floor plans or ask a plumber to help locate it.
Where To Install The Whole House Water Filter?
Now, this is an excellent question because you want to install the whole house water filtration system in a place that’s easily accessible to service the filtration system and replace cartridges. However, the location you choose should be close to where the main water line goes into the home so that you can install the filter in between the mainline from where it enters, ensuring that the water is delivered to all parts of the house.
We recommend installing the system near the main shut-off valve and the upstream that feeds into the water heater. One of the upsides to this setup is that it will increase the heater’s lifespan and even that of all the other related household appliances that use hot water, like your dishwasher, since they don’t have to deal with all the sediment. Plus, if you want hot drinking water, this setup can help you get it on demand.
If your water comes from a private well, then the water filtration system will have to be installed after the pressure tank.
In addition to the above, you will want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing the water system. If you don’t have plumbing experience, it is best to hire a plumber, as a mistake or oversight may void the warranty of your water filter.
Install Before or After The Water Softener?
This is another very important decision that you need to make if you have one in the home. If your water comes from the municipality, then install it (water filter) before the softener, which will protect the ion exchange media from chlorine in the water and eliminate pressure-related issues.
If your water comes from a well, you may want to add a filter after the softener to ensure full flow when backwashing. However, you don’t have to worry about chlorine in the water unless your well is chlorinated, so installing it after the softener is fine.
If you are confident using plumbing tools and have experience, follow the broadly laid out installation guide in this article below.
How To Install Your Whole House Water Filter System?
As mentioned earlier, regardless of the model you choose, the steps involved in installing a whole house water filter are essentially the same. If you have experience using plumbing tools and plumbing, the entire setup shouldn’t take more than maybe a few hours.
Since all water filter systems are slightly different in their design, refer to the users’ manual and an installation guide to identify the right components.
Below is the step-by-step guide:
You will want to start by turning off the water supply to your home. In most homes, the valve is in the basement.
You then will want to drain all the water in the pipes by turning on all the fixtures and faucets. In other words, turn off the faucets above your bathroom sinks, kitchen sink, and other areas. Doing this also releases pressure.
The next step is to cut into the mainline. Then remove a large section of the pipe to accommodate the water filter system and all its components. Also, make sure you have a bucket nearby to prevent spilling. You can cut the line with a manual or electric saw.
After you have split the pipe, you will want to sand both ends so that it is smooth.
Remove all the debris from the pipe. This can be done by using a brush. However, don’t blow into it as that can send the debris further into the pipe.
You will then want to install a shut-off valve on both sides of the system, making maintaining the water filter system easier. In addition, you will also want to install a water filter bypass valve so that there is water in your home while the system is being serviced or repaired.
If you want to have the ability to monitor both the output and input pressure, then also install a pressure gauge right next to the shut-off valve. This will be able to instantly tell you when it’s time to change the filters. Though you will also want to examine each filter physically.
If you don’t want to damage your concrete wall and don’t want the filtration system falling out, then attach plywood to the back of your wall. This will make mounting the water filter easier without damaging the wall.
·Once the above has been completed, you need to install the system. This will entail dry fitting the flex piping, which comes with some brands of water filters. However, you will want to align the In and Out ports correctly. You then attach adapters to both ports if the pipe isn’t the same size as the attachment on your water filter. Then cover the threaded ends with Teflon tape to prevent leaks. However, you will want to be careful not to over-tighten the plastic fittings as they could crack. You don’t need soldering if you use push fittings. If you choose to solder, ensure that the pipes’ ends are clean but keep the plastic away from the flame or heat.
If you purchased a filter that comes with a housing, then rinse the inside using warm water to remove any debris before installation. You will want to grease the O-rings to ensure they are correctly seated.
The next step is to turn the water back on.
Except for the bypass valves, open up all the other valves.
Check all the connection points for leaks. If there are leaks, tighten the fittings and install the filter housing.
Many older homes have water pipes that double as electrical grounding. If this is the case with your home, add a thick jumper cable made from the copper wire from one end of the filter to the other, ensuring that the grounding of your electrical system remains intact. This can easily be achieved using grounding clamps.
You then need to flush the entire system. Flushing the system removes all the air and old water, in addition to any installation debris in the system.
Read the manufacturer’s instructions and find out how to activate your filtration media or if activation is needed. Follow the instructions to properly activate the filtration media.
Once water pressure has been restored in the system, close all the outlets.
You’re now done installing your whole house water filter system.
Note: The bypass valve should remain closed during the regular operation of your water filter. You only open the bypass valve (and close the two others) when either the water filter needs servicing or if it needs to be replaced. As always, follow manufacturer instructions when servicing the water filter and when it comes time to buy the required replacement filters.
As you may not have probably figured out, installing a whole house water filter system isn’t all that challenging. However, ensure that you have all the tools needed for the procedure before starting.
Most manufacturers will include a diagram of how the whole house water filter system should be installed. Keep this diagram with you at all times so that you have a visual reminder of how things should fit together.
Lastly, the beauty of installing a whole house water filter system yourself is that you know how everything works. That way, if something does go wrong, or if you need to service the system, there is no need to call a professional to do it. In other words, you can save quite a bit of money upfront and in the long term.