Imagine living in your house without a clean and healthy water supply. That wouldn’t be the most pleasant experience, would it? Pure water is vital in our everyday lives. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to proceed with our daily chores, such as washing dishes, doing laundry, or watering plants, let alone cooking or drinking. Long story short, access to a clean water supply is vital. Unfortunately, it’s not always the case.
Depending on the source, water can contain harmful compounds and impurities, such as high amounts of chlorine, heavy metals, bacteria, or viruses. And while it’s impossible to change your water source, you can do something about it. If you start to notice that water in your house smells bad or looks strange, an excellent solution would be to invest in a whole house water filtration system.
What Is a House Water Filtration System?
In essence, whole home water filtration systems clean the water before it enters your house. Depending on the needs and water supply, it can utilize different filtration methods, including physical barriers, carbon, KDF (kinetic degradation fluxion), and UV light. It works by treating your home’s water supply in one place to remove any contaminants that may be present in the water.
Different Types of Home Water Filters
There are five primary house water filtration system types you can install at your home – ultraviolet purification systems, water softeners, carbon filters, sediment filters, and acid neutralizers. Opting for one will depend on your individual needs, so let’s take a closer look to see how they differ and what their purposes are.
Ultraviolet Purification Systems
If you’re concerned about your water being contaminated with living organisms like bacteria, fungi, or viruses, installing an ultraviolet purification system should provide you with peace of mind. Such systems utilize UV light to damage the DNA of living organisms, making them unable to reproduce and preventing them from spreading any disease in your water supply.
Their massive advantage is that they don’t use any chemicals and don’t waste water.
However, it’s important to note that UV purification systems work best once the water is first cleared with another filtration system. A sediment filter, for example. That’s because dirt and debris can shield viruses and bacteria from UV light, meaning that the system cannot purify the water effectively.
If the water gets pre-filtered, though, an ultraviolet purification system can neutralize 99.9% of any living organisms. In other words, it’s best to treat UV purification systems as an additional layer of protection rather than your primary filtration system.
Water Softener Systems
If you struggle with hard water in your house, a water softener system is the solution for you. Hard water is one of the most common water issues homeowners face. It’s caused by a high level of dissolved minerals in the water, such as magnesium or calcium. Hard water can be a true plague, damaging your appliances, clogging your pipes, or decreasing water pressure. It can also have a negative effect on your skin, making it dry and itchy.
Water softeners can eliminate this issue. They remove dissolved minerals through ion exchange. Here’s how it works. In general, calcium and magnesium, which cause water hardening, have positively charged ions. On the other hand, a water softener contains porous resin beads, which have negatively charged ions. As you may remember from your chemistry lessons, opposites attract, and when magnesium or calcium come across resin beads, they become trapped. The soft water can then flow freely, eliminating the hard water issue.
Carbon Water Filters
Does the water in your house smell and taste chemicals? If yes, the reason is a high concentration of chlorine in the water. Chlorine is used by municipal water suppliers to keep the water clean and free of bacteria. And while it’s safe to consume, an extensive taste of chlorine in water isn’t the most pleasant experience. This is where carbon filters come in.
Carbon filters consist of activated carbon with a plethora of pores along its entire surface. When the water flows through the activated carbon, adsorption occurs, during which organics and chemicals are captured, allowing the clean water to emerge. Thus, the chlorine level is decreased, making your water taste and smell better without that chemical aftertaste and scent.
Any form of debris and dirt, such as sand, clay, or rust from aging pipes can wreak havoc on your entire home water system. Contaminated water can then damage your appliances, clog your pipes, and decrease water pressure. All this can lead to extensive and expensive repairs. To avoid them, a good idea is to invest in a sediment filter system.
Sediment filters utilize mechanical filtration systems, which physically block sediment from entering the water supply. Such a system uses small pores that tiny particles can’t go through, allowing the water to run unhindered. In general, sediment filters are often used as the first line of defense against water contamination, improving the effectiveness of other filters by eliminating debris and dirt that may disrupt their work.
Acid neutralizers provide an elegant solution for homeowners dealing with acidic water. Acidic water contains a pH of less than seven, and it can cause severe problems, damaging your water pipes and appliances. Acidic water can lead to corrosion, green-blue stains, and leaks, which is why it’s so important to ensure you stay protected, especially if your water supply is from shallow underground.
An acid neutralizer uses calcite to decrease the acidity in water. It’s a mineral rich in calcium, which contains high levels of alkalinity – the opposite of acid. Now, when the acidic water enters the acid neutralizer’s tank (which is full of alkalinity), the calcite dissolves, raising the water pH and neutralizing it.
Pros and Cons of Home Water Filtration Systems
In general, a home water filter is a great investment to make if you experience some issues with your water supply. A water filtration system (see also ‘How Much Does a Water Filtration System Cost?‘) will get rid of any contaminants within your water so that you can have peace of mind that your water supply remains clean and healthy.
However, it’s worth notifying that while there are numerous benefits of home water filtration systems, there are also several potential drawbacks one has to consider before making the purchase. Let’s take a look at both:
Starting on the positive side, here are the most significant benefits coming with a water filtration system:
- Removing contaminants from the water supply based on your specific needs.
- Improving the taste and smell of water in your house.
- Preventing water pipes damage.
- Extending the lifetime of your appliances.
- Making it possible to drink water directly from the tap, eliminating the need for plastic bottles.
When it comes to home water filters, the benefits certainly outweigh the cons. However, there are several potential drawbacks to keep in mind, such as:
- Water filtration systems aren’t cheap, as they can cost between a few hundred and even a few thousand dollars.
- They require professional installation, which adds an additional cost to an already significant investment.
- A filtration system may decrease water pressure. If that happens, it might be a good idea to supplement your water filter with a water booster pump.
What to Consider Before Buying a House Water Filter
Installing a water filtration system in your home is the best way to ensure you get fresh and clean water at all times. However, to ensure you get the most out of your filter, you need to consider several things before making a purchase. Keep in mind that not every water filter is the same, and all of them come with different specifications. Here are the most important factors to consider when choosing a home water filter:
Water Filter Type
Depending on your individual needs, you will require a specific type of water filter. As covered, there are five different types of filtration systems, and each comes with its own specifications. For instance, when dealing with debris, you should get yourself a sediment filter. Whereas if your water smells and tastes chemicals, a carbon filter will work best.
You can also use different filters at the same time to improve their efficiency. For example, sediment water filters can be used as your first line of defense. They will block debris and dirt from the water supply, enhancing the performance of other filters. In a nutshell, consider your water needs, and get the right type of filter that will meet them.
Water Flow Rate
Various water filtration systems have different water flow rates, measured by gallons per minute (GPM). In general, filters with slower flow rates are considered better, as they eliminate more contaminants from the water. However, if you have a larger household, a low GPM can lead to water shortages.
Now, if you live in a smaller home with one or two bathrooms, the water flow rate between 7 and 10 GPM should be perfect. Larger households, though, require a faster rate of something around 15 GPM. Keep that in mind when making your final choice.
Once you have your filtration system installed, you’ll need to take good care of it. Cleaning and changing filters is a must if you want the system to function correctly and serve you for a long time. Some filters may require more extensive maintenance than others, so be sure to consider that when looking at different filtration systems.
Check how much water your household consumes to determine the capacity of the water filtration system. For homes with lower water consumption, it might be best to opt for a low-capacity filter. However, if your water consumption is high or you expect it to increase, the best idea is to get yourself a more robust filtration system.
There are many water filter brands out there, and it’s easy to get lost when looking for the most efficient one. However, to ensure you get the best and safest filtration system, opt only for the filters certified by the NSF (National Sanitation Foundation). These are the filters manufactured according to the quality standards so that you can rest assured they are safe to use.
And there you have it, a comprehensive guide to what water filtration systems are and how to pick the right one. If you have any issues with your water supply being contaminated, a home water filter will help to prevent any chemicals, debris, or live organisms from entering your home, keeping your water clean and healthy. An efficient filtration system will not only keep you safe but will also extend your appliances’ lifetime and keep your pipes clean so that you won’t have to worry about potential extensive repairs ruining your budget.
Do you have any more questions regarding water filtration systems? If yes, feel free to contact us. Our team of professionals will be more than happy to help you with any issue you might have regarding the home water filtration system. Whether you have questions about buying, installing, or maintaining your home water filter, we will provide you with the right answer!