A Better Understanding of Whole-House Water Filters
Home water quality continues to be an important topic for Denver-Boulder area homeowners. Whether your water is supplied by a well or a municipal water system, there are often reasons to consider products to improve the quality of the water you drink and cook with at home. Options range from handy refrigerator items such as water pitchers with built-in filters to high-performance point-of-use filters for kitchen and bathroom sinks, to whole-home systems that can address a wide variety of contaminants. The latter, whole-house water filters, are the focus of this blog article.
Available in a variety of designs and performance levels, whole-house water filters can address sediment, sand, odor and taste issues, and the removal of a broad range of substances such as fluoride, chlorine, iron, rust, pesticides, sediment, and heavy metals.
Whole-house water filters are designed to treat all of the water entering your home, regardless of what rooms or on what levels of the house you are using water. When properly specified, installed, and maintained, a quality whole-house water filtration system will typically provide the same volume and flow rates of water that you are accustomed to.
Do I Need a Water Softener Or a Water Filter?
When learning about whole-home water quality solutions, you often hear about water softeners and water filters. While these products both address water quality concerns, they solve different types of issues. Water softeners remove “hardness” from water, while water filters can remove a broad range of other unwanted contaminants. If hardness is your only water quality issue – often rearing its ugly head as limescale, affecting plumbing all around your home – then talk with your trusted plumbing pro about water softeners.
If your water quality concerns center on substances such as the chemicals, compounds, and byproducts mentioned above, then it’s time to look closer at a water filtration system. There are cases where both a water softener and a water filtration device are used in tandem in order to achieve the desired water quality. We see this most frequently in homes whose water supply comes from a well.
Whole-house water filters can address:
- Odor and taste issues (sulfur)
- Iron and rust
- Fertilizers and plant hormones
- Organic compounds
- Heavy metals
- And more
Types of Water Filtration Systems
Multi-stage RO Water Filters
The most effective filtration available for residential applications is a multi-stage reverse osmosis (RO) water filter. While these products are not made for whole-house applications, their effectiveness is so impressive that they bear mentioning here. The technology employed in point-of-use RO water filtration was originally designed for desalinization and chemical removal processes, and was later adapted for home use. Contained in as many as 5 separate filtration stages in some models, RO filters may incorporate various types of filter media, both granular and block-form activated carbon, and in some cases ultraviolet (UV) light for optimal water filtration and treatment. RO water filters do the best job of removing and neutralizing the widest spectrum of contaminants that may be present in your water. These products are a great compliment to a quality whole-house system.
Multi-stage Water Conditioners
While not as effective as RO systems, in the proper application, multi-stage water conditioners provide high quality water filtration. These products typically incorporate a series of sediment filters along with activated carbon. While a quality water conditioner may also remove low levels of hardness or sediment, don’t expect this product to carry a heavy load that a softener would be a better match for. Homeowners that have a well with hard water, please take note.
Heavy-Duty Sand and Sediment Filters
In certain cases, we encounter homes that have water wells that have very high levels of sand, silt, and sediment present. The proper remedy for this situation may require a specialty water filter to fully address the issue. Enter, a sand filter as the right solution. We often find that wells that require a sand filter may have other issues that should also be addressed – again, possibly combining two water treatment products into a single comprehensive system.
In-line canister water filters, also known as cartridge water filters, also provide a broad range of water filtration – albeit less effective, as compared to quality RO filters and water conditioners. In cases where your issues are not significant, but you desire to improve certain aspects of the water quality in your home, these products might make sense to consider. When choosing a whole-house in-line canister filter, care must be taken to choose a product whose flow rates match the demands of your home. This is where a knowledgeable, experienced plumber will make all the difference for you. While our team doesn’t trip over ourselves recommending these types of water filters, we’re glad to discuss and quote them, always in a low-pressure, informative manner, answering any and all questions, so our customers can make educated decisions they feel comfortable with.
Have Your Water Tested First!
Before choosing a water filtration system for your home, the first step is always having your water tested so you can determine its exact makeup. Once you have that information, you can then proceed to learn about appropriate treatment options for your specific water quality issues, if any. For homeowners in the Denver-Boulder metro area, our team provides in-house water testing services, and if more detailed analysis is dictated, we consult with specialized area laboratories.
Before deciding on a new whole-house water treatment system, take the time to understand the maintenance requirements and recurring expenses involved with each product you’re considering. Avoid surprises down the road and be prepared to do what’s necessary in order to keep your filter functioning at optimal performance levels, year after year. In the Boulder-Denver metro area, you can count on the experience and expertise of our plumbing team at Save Home Heat Company to help guide you as you learn more about water quality issues. To have your home’s water tested, or to learn more about whole-house water filters and other home water quality products, please contact us today.