Choosing a Whole House Water Filtration System

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Most homes get their water from the municipal water treatment facility. These facilities generally meet minimal local and federal water purity standards. 

So, is a home water purification system even necessary? For some, it isn’t. However, many homeowners wish to go the extra mile to protect their families. Tap water can negatively affect different people in different ways, and many find health benefits in only drinking filtered water. 

If you want to exceed the baseline water purity standards of your local water utility, look at installing a whole-home water filtration system. Whole home main line water filters are different from point-of-use filters in that they filter the water for your entire plumbing system. All water, hot or cold, gets filtered. 

Whole-house filtration systems aren’t the same as whole-home water softening systems, which focus on removing excess minerals from hard water. Filtration systems remove chemical and metallic impurities in the water. Water softening systems remove minerals such as calcium and magnesium from “hard” water. These two systems can be combined to achieve both tasks.

There are many benefits to a whole-home water filter system. They generally eliminate these water quality issues:

    • Sediment: Sand, dirt, and some mineral granules from hard water
  • Bacteria & Viruses: Salmonella, Shigella, and coliforms such as E. coli and viruses such as Hepatitis A, Norovirus, and Rotavirus
  • Chemicals: Chlorine, pesticides, and solvents
  • Metals: Typically iron, which occurs in some municipal water supplies

4 Whole-Home Water Filtration Characteristics

How do you choose a whole-house water filter? There are a few features you’ll need to consider to find the right filtration system for your home.

  1. Flow Rate

Each whole-house filter system has a maximum flow rating expressed in gallons per minute (gpm). Typically, households demand somewhere between 15 to 40 gpm. A filtration system that is rated for only ten gpm would not be sufficient, and the water pressure would be low.

2.Filter Size & Micron Rating

The larger the filter, the more water flow and pressure available. A 4.5 by 20-inch filter would be adequate for most houses. However, houses requiring more than 25 gpm flow rate may require a larger filter. Filters are rated by what size micron they can filter out, which is a tiny unit of measurement.

3. Filter Lifespan

It’s important to consider how often a filter will need to be replaced when choosing a filtration system. This is dependent on the expected lifespan of the filter.

The sediment filter life will vary depending on the amount and size of sediment in the water supply. Typically, carbon filters that remove chemicals such as chlorine can filter up to 150,000 gallons of water before needing replacement.

4. Water Treatment Method

Several methods can be used to treat water, each with different benefits and limitations. Many whole-home filtration systems combine these methods to cover more scenarios. Some methods are better than others for your particular municipal water; these methods may include activated carbon filters, ion exchangers, reverse osmosis, and distillation. 

Not all models using each method will be rated to the same level; each model’s capabilities will depend on the model itself. Here are some of the benefits and limitations of these water filtration methods:

Treatment Method Benefits Treatment Limitations
Activated Carbon Filter (includes mixed media that removes heavy metals)
  • Improves the taste & smell of drinking water
  • Removes harmful impurities like chlorination byproducts
  • Affordable
  • Widely available
  • Not all filters remove heavy metals
  • Needs to be replaced periodically
  • Slow filtration
  • Doesn’t remove nitrates, bacteria, or dissolved minerals
Ion Exchange Unit (with activated alumina)
  • Removes fluoride
  • Removes minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which make water “hard”
  • Removes solids and sulfates
  • Some designs remove radium and barium
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Limited lifespan
  • Effectiveness varies depending on pH levels
  • Gets clogged if water contains oxidized iron or iron bacteria
  • Requires careful disposal
Distillation Unit
  • Removes heavy metals
  • Kills bacteria and other pathogens
  • Removes fluoride (good for your teeth, but potentially harmful to children in large doses)
  • Doesn’t remove all organic contaminants like pesticides
  • Bacteria may recolonize in cooling coils during inactive periods
  • Takes up a lot of space
  • Expensive
  • Removes minerals
Reverse Osmosis Unit (with carbon)
  • Removes chlorine, lead, arsenic, nitrates, fluoride, and more
  • Removes foul tastes & smells
  • Removes or reduces bacteria & viruses
  • Removes or reduces heavy metals and sediments like copper, lead, calcium, and magnesium
  • It may also reduce the level of some pesticides, dioxins, chloroform, and petrochemicals
  • Doesn’t remove all contaminants 100 percent; many still have trace elements
  • Removes healthy minerals as well
  • Uses more water than other systems
  • Slow filter rate

Can I Have a Water Filtration System & a Water Softener?

Some water filtration systems combine their filter functions with a water softener, allowing for full whole-home water treatment. These all-in-one whole-home water treatment systems offer a lot of benefits, as they allow for cleaner and safer water for your family.

These systems will make your water softer and take care of bacteria, chemicals, metals, fertilizer traces, and hard water minerals.

Interested in learning more about what a water filtration system can do for your home and family? Contact Apollo Home for a whole-home water filtration system quote, and we’ll discuss all the advantages of a filtration system for your home. We offer whole-house water filtration systems in the Cincinnati Tri-state area, as well as Dayton, Ohio. 

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