If you are reading this article, you have probably decided that it would be a good idea to get a water filtration system. I can only agree with this decision as our tap water is everything but far away from being safe to drink.In this post, I will explain what a whole house water filtration system is and will advise whether you need one at all.
In summary whole house filter is the system that is installed at the point where water enters the house – usually the basement. These filters have a long lifespan and remove great number of contaminants. Generally, I recommend to get a whole house unit for people who are using well as the main source of water.
I know how hard it can be when it comes to the selection of the right system as the variety of options is so broad.
Can I Be Sure That Tap Water Is Safe?
Well, water is treated at the local plants, but I wouldn’t say it is enough. At the water treatment plants, well-known chlorination is used as the main treatment substance. You can read about chloramine in my other article.
In short, this chemical helps to cope with most of the harmful microorganisms, so the chances that you get some sort of infection are relatively low.
Unfortunately, the chloramine itself is harmful not only to bacteria but also for our health.
I love the organization called EWG for their database of tap water. Simply put your, and you will get all the information about the tap water in your region.
Sad news though is that the water in most regions has an excessive amount of contaminants that are way above the acceptable level.
What Is a Whole House Filter?
So you want to know all about whole house filters, right?
I am not going to leave the main point of this article at the very bottom and explain to you what is this system straight from the beginning.
First of all, you need to know that comparing to the other filtration systems:
Okay, now you understand the difference between the whole house and other units. Yet, you can still be a bit afraid that you will waste your money. So, naturally, the question arises. What am I going to get when I spend so much money on it?
Let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of this type of filtration system.
First and the most obvious advantage is that it provides clean water for whole house rather than one separate faucet. But it has much more to offer.
These are the benefits you get when you buy a whole house unit. I don’t want to be a guy who will tell you that this filtration system is perfect with no drawbacks.
This would be a lie as despite it’s wonderful advantages it still has some downs.
As you can see, there are some drawbacks, but no worries I will cover all the points in this article to ensure that you know what to look for.
Now, is the time to talk about the physical aspects of whole house filters. I mean apart from the features difference, these are also different from a real point such as size and types.
I would like to talk about the size. Obviously, whole house units are bigger than under the sink filters. The question is: How much bigger they are?
Whole house filters usually come with housing. This can be either a metal box or just a piece of metal that holds cartridges.
Either way, you need to ensure that you have a space on your basement wall at least of 30” height and 25” width. This ensures that you can easily fit the whole unit.
Standard cartridge dimensions usually are 4.5” x 20”.
When it comes to a type of filter, you have so many options.
There are standard filters that usually have three stages. I have written more about those in my ultimate guide of filters. I talk about those stages more in depth so if you are interested have a read.
Another types you can see
Sediment and rust filter
These are quite interesting, they seem like an economical and great way to treat your water. Reality is though that they only take care of visible impurities, completely ignoring those dangerous invisible ones.
This being said, you won’t be able to use water purified this way for drinking. Thus you will have to get additional filters to make it happen. Usually these filters have only one stage. That’s how you can tell.
Softeners with filters
You might come across whole house filters that include the softener system. Great example is Aquasana Rhino Series.
The case with Aquasana is that it is an actual filter with a softening stage. However, usually, you get a softener with some sort of a filtration. Again the level of filtration is not ideal comparing to the proper units that are designed to filter the water primarily.
However, if you have a hard water this is an excellent option, but note that additional stages may be required.
Wow, that was quite a long read, but bear with me as I am going to tell whether you need one or not. I have even prepared a small quiz that will help you out.
Do You Need Whole House Filter?
To answer this question, you need to understand the quality of water you have in your house and also what you want to achieve.
To help you understand this, I have prepared a small quiz that will help you out with the decision.
I know that it is quite a significant investment and I don’t want you to invest in the system and then regret it or realize that you don’t actually need one and another alternative is sufficient enough.
As you can see, there is no strict yes or no answer. You always need to understand what you want to achieve by the purchase. I mean this applies to everything, but it’s even more important when selecting a correct filter.
Generally speaking, the whole house system would be a good idea when you live in a house where water is supplied by the well.
Well, water usually has a higher amount of minerals, metals, and other sediment contaminants. It’s a no-brainer if you fall into this category.
Let me explain, the whole house system will remove significant amount of sediment contaminants and in combination with UV filter will provide an ultimate protection for your household.
On the other hand, you won’t have much of a use for whole house system if you live in a small apartment, and you just want your water to be safe for drinking.
I mean, city supplied water is relatively safe to use for showering, laundry, and other home use. However, it is not a good idea to use it for drinking.
In this case you might just get away with a countertop system that saves your precious space under the sink and does not involve a hard installation.
How To Select a Whole House Water Treatment System
Is More Expensive Better?
You’ve heard the advice a million times, but the price is not everything. In this case it does not mean that the more expensive system is, the better it is. So, please bear this in mind when you will be selecting a new unit.
Some systems are a bit overpriced and do not offer features you would expect to get for the price.
When the price seems higher, and the unit seems to look exactly the same as the other you have selected, make sure to check the type of cartridge that is used in both units.
Why do I say this?
Well, whole house units are using three types of cartridges CTO, GAC and KDF.
The CTO and GAC are quite similar to both are using a carbon as the primary filtering medium.
While KDF filter is using copper-zinc combination as a medium. This combination doesn’t create a breeding ground for bacteria inside the cartridge. For this reason it is more expensive but also last longer.
What Features Do I Need?
Think about this for a moment.
I will give you some ideas about the features that are quite important and I would look at when selecting such filtration.
First of all, I would look at the type of cartridges.
What about them?
Well, I would look out whether there is a specific type of cartridges or those are unified. This is because some manufacturers might make a filter with a particular kind of cartridges so you can replace them only with the same type.
You get the idea. Those are obviously overpriced, and you don’t have any other option than pay it.
As I have mentioned earlier the standard size of a cartridge for whole house unit is 4.5” x 20” so make sure it is on your checklist.
Let’s dive into a second thing I would watch out.
This thing is a flow rate.
In other words, the flow rate is the amount of water that passes through pipelines per a certain amount of time.
In the case of filters this flow rate is described as GPM – Gallons per Minute. In some cases you might see GPS – Gallons per Second.
Why is this important?
Well, do you want to wait for 2 minutes to get a cup of water? Me neither.
Obviously, the higher the flow rate is the less time you would wait for the cup to get full.
It is hard to tell your flow rate because this depends on the size of pipelines, but most whole house unit can handle up to 40 GPM rate, so you should be fine.
Check this information before you buy anything and see if your selected unit can handle it. For your own calm contact the manufacturer and ask for help if you are not sure.
The lifespan of filtration
You want the whole unit to last as long as possible before cartridges need to be replaced.
The good thing about this is that most of the systems have a similar lifespan between 100,000 – 150,000 gallons. However, some of the systems such as Aquasana Rhino Series might last up to 1,000,000 gallons depending on the type.
Last but not least
I would definitely watch out that the system has all the components BPA-Free. There is no point of doing all this if Bisphenol-A will slowly poison you.
All in all, it is not rocket science to select a filtration unit that will serve you and your house for years.
Just, follow my advice I have given you in this article.
Make sure to ask me questions whenever you want my advice about what system to select, and I will get back to you. Also I would love to hear which filter are you using and why you have decided to select it.
Don’t forget to share the post with your friends on a social media.