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Choosing the Best Whole House Water Filter System: An overview of whole house water filters and a buying guide to help you find the best whole house water filtration system
A whole house water filter system is often referred to as a point of entry (POE) system. This distinguishes it from point of use (POU) systems, such as countertop drinking water filters and faucet fixtures. Because whole house water filters are installed along your home’s main water line, they purify all the water used in your house. Selecting the best whole house water filter system may prevent up to 99.9% of dangerous substances including chlorine from entering your home. A whole house filter system will provide clean, pure, water that’s far more healthy for drinking and bathing in.
All whole house water filters are not created equal however. When picking the best whole house filter for your home, ensure that the system and replacement filters are high quality and built to last. Spending money on a whole house filter unit that does not function correctly is a waste and you might be endangering your family’s health too. At Premiere Sales, we endeavor to always provide balanced, objective insight on your filtration needs, so we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of whole house water filters. This way, you can make the best decision for your household needs. But first, let’s take a look at what a whole house water filter is and how they work.
Whole House Water Filter Overview
As already mentioned, whole house water filter systems are typically installed along your main water line. This way all of the water that enters your home is decontaminated. As a result, all of your faucets including bath, shower, toilets, laundry, etc. will dispense filtered water. A whole house water filter is especially important if you want to be protected against the many water contaminants found in municipal water. (If you’re also looking to purify the water you use for your garden and sprinkler systems, you’d be well-advised to consult your city water utility to check what’s in your water. The main line often splits in a house’s foundation slab, or even at the street level, dividing house and yard).
Pros and Cons of Whole House Water Filtration Systems
With anything in life, there are pros and cons. The same can be said of whole house water filters too.
Advantages of a Whole House Water Filtration System
- Every water outlet in your home dispenses clean, decontaminated water
- As soon as water enters your home’s plumbing system, the whole house water filter removes chlorine and other chemicals without releasing them into the air
- By removing chlorine and other chemicals from the water for your laundry, these chemicals won’t be embedded in your clothing
- Chlorine vapors are no longer released into the air through hot water when washing dishes or showering, and soap scum is also reduced
- Your drinking tap water’s overall healthfulness is greatly enhanced by using a whole house water filter system
- With less chemical vapors being released, the effects of asthma and allergies are alleviated for those who already suffer from such conditions
- Shower and bath water are also filtered, eliminating the harmful effects of epidermal absorption (which experts have hinted is an issue largely underestimated by the general public).
- Whole house water filter systems are the only truly effective means of filtering shower water, as chlorine and other chemical contaminants are removed at a lower temperature
- Chlorine and other dangerous chemicals are known carcinogens, and are properly eliminated by whole house water filters
- Whole house water filter systems provide more reliable protection against malfunctions and breakdowns in municipal water utility treatment and sanitation systems
- Despite the higher initial cost, whole house water filter systems are typically more cost-effective than other filtration methods. To get the same level of protection, you would have to install separate filters for your kitchen faucets, bathroom faucets, showerhead, and laundry line. These costs (initial and running) add up to much higher than the cost of a whole house water filter
- Whole house water filters are also low maintenance. Instead of having to replace three or more filters at the appropriate intervals to receive the same level of water filtration, you only need to replace one
- Whole house water filter systems are usually comprised of a multi-stage filtration set-up. This means that instead of a single filtration method, your water is passed through multiple filtration processes. There are more than 2100 known toxic water contaminants in the United States. These are typically grouped under four classifications: physical, chemical, biological, and radiological. With the best house water filters, as your water passes through the different media, more contaminants from across these classifications are removed
- Because whole house water filters are more complex than their countertop, faucet, and under-sink counterparts, their output capacity is also much higher. Your water pressure won’t be compromised either, which is sometimes the case with smaller point of use filter systems.
Disadvantages of a Whole House Water Filtration System
- Whole house water filter systems that don’t provide advanced water filtration generally focus on carbon filtering. Carbon filters are the only EPA recommended method for filtering all 32 listed organic contaminants and 14 pesticide contaminants. Reverse osmosis filters typically include a carbon filter component for this reason. Without a reverse osmosis or similar advanced filtration component, whole house water filters are unable to reduce the majority of microbiological contaminants (turbidity being the exception). Furthermore, carbon filters aren’t able to filter certain inorganic contaminants and radionuclides either. This makes such models less effective than a full reverse osmosis system. Not to worry though: Premiere Sales’ whole house water filters provide the most advanced methods of whole house water filtration
- Your initial costs are going to be higher than with smaller point of use filters. Whole house water filter systems are a lot larger than faucet, countertop, and under-sink systems, and because they’re more complex, they cost more. You may also need to have your whole house water filter professionally installed, which can push the initial costs of a whole house water filtration system up.
Types of Whole House Water Filter Systems
There are a few types of whole house water filter systems based on what the system itself is made of (stainless steel or plastic housings) or the type of filters (mesh, carbon, ultraviolet, or reverse osmosis).
- Stainless steel whole house water filter housing: Heavy duty stainless steel pose less risk of failure and flood damage compared to plastic housings
- Plastic whole house water filter housing: Durable, more reasonably priced than stainless steel housings
Your type of whole house water filter should be based on your particular water supply. If your water is sourced from your municipal utilities, you can consult the EWG Tap Water Database to discover what contaminants are of major concern to you. Typically, chlorine and other chemical contaminants are found in higher levels in municipal water. As already referred to in the previous section, carbon water filters are the EPA recommended filtration method for dealing with such contaminants. Municipal water also tends to be hard due to the mineral build-up, and may contain sediment as well.
Private well water supplies are somewhat trickier. You would have to consult with your municipality to organize a proper testing, or contact an independent party. Generally, well water contaminants are predominantly sediment, heavy metals, and hardness materials. These can vary from being nuisances to being toxic. Because you’ll be able to organize a replaceable cartridge filter according to your needs, these whole house water filter systems are typically better suited for well water supplies.
Common Contaminants That a Whole House Water Filter System Can Remove or Reduce
As mentioned earlier, there are more than 2,100 known water contaminants. There are three in particular that are targeted especially the best by a whole house water filter system.
Sediment is a term typically used to denote visible particles in your water, such as dirt, rust, and sand. These need to be mechanically strained. Depending on the size and volume of the sediment build-up in your water (often referred to as turbidity), you may want to consider using either reusable filters or disposable filters in your whole house water filter system. For higher levels of sediment, multiple stage filters work particularly well.
Chemicals are the most frequently found contaminant in any municipal water. Because municipality water utilities typically use chlorine and other chemicals to treat water for contaminants, you can expect a high build-up. As mentioned earlier, carbon-based whole house water filters are the most effective means of removing chemicals from your water.
Iron as a contaminant comes in two forms: ferrous and ferric. The former is typically invisible to the naked eye, as ferrous iron is dissolved into the water supply. Ferric iron contamination, on the other hand, makes the water appear red due to the rust build-up. Sediment filters work particularly well for filtering ferric iron contaminants out, whereas ferrous contamination typically requires oxidation.
Buyer’s Guide – What to Look For in Buying the Best Whole House Water Filter System
First and foremost, you need to establish what type of whole house water filter you need based on your local contaminants. Once you know whether a carbon-based filtration system or a replaceable cartridge model would be better suited, you can begin narrowing down your selection according to the following criteria:
- Flow Rate: Flow rate is measured in gallons per minute (GPM) and determines how much water your whole house water filter system is able to process. Showers typically require a flow rate of 2.5 to 5GPM, toilets 5GPM, and dishwashers 3GPM. You should take a look at the demand ratings, which are printed onto appliances and toilets. The average household will have a flow rate requirement of between 15 and 40GPM, depending on the size of your home and family. In order to enjoy uninterrupted, optimal water pressure during your water consumption at peak hours, a whole house water filter will need to have a flow rate that matches or exceeds your needs. Larger homes are best suited with a minimum of 25GPM flow rate.
- Filter Size: Your filter size will affect the amount of time it takes for water to be filtered as well as the resulting water pressure. As mentioned in our pros and cons section, whole house water filters are typically far superior in these regards. However, your filtration system’s port size will have a great impact on the GPM as well as water pressure. For most households, the ideal filter size would be 4.5” by 20”.
- Port Size: The ideal whole house water filter is equipped with 1” ports. You’ll find that there won’t be any bottleneck issues even if your house uses 3/4” pipes. Larger houses benefit from 1.5” ports. The typical household, however, is ideally fitted with a 4.5” by 20” filter and 1” ports.
- Filter Life: Filter life is a highly important consideration in selecting a whole house water filter system. Carbon filter cartridges in good quality 4.5” by 20” filters typically last between 100,000 and 150,000 gallons, depending on the level of water contamination. Stand-alone carbon filter beds can last longer, but only if equipped with a back-washing valve and set to a regular back-wash cycle.
Best whole house filter system = high capacity
For the typical size home, you need a high capacity system. Otherwise you may face issues like low water pressure or only partly filtered water. The lowest recommended capacity to a serve an entire home is five gallons per minute. Premiere Sales has the best whole house water filter system ranging from 8 gallons per minute capacity to 40 gallons per minute high flow capacity. Smaller houses, apartments, condos and mobile homes might be able to get by with a lowered capability, but unless there is a big cost difference, you’re better off with the highest capability possible relative to the functions you want it to do.
Best whole house water filter system = actually the whole house
Not all “whole house water filters” are entire systems either. Some companies sell components of the units individually. You will get an improved cost and much better performance if the system is actually for the entire home. Premiere Sales’ whole house water filtration systems are actually for your entire home so rest assured.
Best whole house filter system = thorough filtration
A whole house water filter system should incorporate a pre-filter unit, a primary filter unit, and an installation kit including the mandatory hardware.
Best whole house water filter system = emergency turn off
There must also be an emergency turn off valve on the unit in the event there is leaks.
Best whole house filter system = quick, easy filter change
The best whole house filter is quickly and easily replaced with no plumber needed. Again, any whole house water filter system from Premiere Sales features quick, easy filter change.
What’s the Difference Between a Whole House Water Filter and Water Softener?
Did you know that more than 85% of the US has hard water? This has lead to a rise in the popularity of water softeners. These help to break-down the heavy mineral build-up in your water.Water softener systems, like other water filters, come in many forms and tackle different minerals. It’s possible to install a whole house water softener on your mainline.
But does that mean whole house water filters and whole house water softeners are the same thing? Absolutely not, although it’s a common misconception.
The biggest difference between the two is the basic application. Whole house water filter systems target chemical contaminants predominantly, making your water safer. Water softeners, on the other hand, only filter out and break-down the minerals found in hard water.
Contrary to popular belief, hard water poses no health risks whatsoever. However, it can lead to scale, damage clothing and linen over time, and leave stains in your sinks and tubs. The most common scale-inducers are calcium and magnesium.
If you are concerned about having hard water issues in your home, it would be our best recommendation to make use of a point of use water softener. Safe drinking and showering water should be a higher priority, for which a whole house water filter is going to be the best solution.
Why Do I Need to Replace My Whole House Water Filter Cartridges Regularly?
Whole house water filter systems are incredibly low-maintenance, as we mentioned earlier. The only real maintenance to a whole house water filter system is replacing your whole house water filter cartridges.
Whole house water filter cartridges need to be replaced regularly to ensure that they continue to function properly. These components trap sediments and debris, which means that over time they can become clogged. Once they become too clogged, the whole house water filter cartridges begin inhibiting water flow, causing a drop in water pressure. By replacing your whole house water filter cartridges in a timely manner, your system is able to continue operating optimally.
So how often should you change your whole house water filter cartridges?
Sediment pre-filter cartridges should typically be replaced every 3 to 6 months, or as soon as you notice a drop in water flow rate – or your water is becoming noticeably darker. The sub-micron post-filter cartridge, on the other hand, only needs to be replaced every 9 to 12 months. The best news about Premiere Sales’ replacement water filters is they are high capacity, upgraded replacements that only need to be replaced half as often as standard filters. Please refer to the respective product specifications for exact capacity and maintenance schedule.
What are the best whole house water filters of 2017?
- High Flow Membrane Water Purification System for whole house water filtration
- Point of Entry / Whole House Water Filter System – 316L Stainless Steel
- Stainless Steel Whole House Water Filter Housing – Better than the 3M Aqua Pure SST2HB!
- Whole House Water Filter for Sediment/Taste/Odor/Scale
- Point of Entry / Whole House Water Filter – 316L Stainless Water Filter – 10 year warranty!
- Whole House / Point of Entry 0.2 Sub Micron Water Filter
- Two Stage Whole House Bacteria Water Filtration System