How to Improve Water Quality in Your Entire Home
Are you looking for a way to improve the water quality in your entire home? If the water delivered to your home doesn’t taste good or has other water quality issues, it is time to resolve the origin’s situation.
One of the best ways to do this is to use a whole house water filter arrangement. Such a system filters water as it enters a home so that filtered water arrives at every outlet, such as taps, faucets, showers, the washing machine, and the dishwasher.
What is a Whole House Water Filter, and Why Would You Need One?
A whole house water filter is a system that gets installed when water first enters your house. Treating water at the main water line allows for filtered and clean water to reach all your home outlets, including appliances.
One could argue that a whole house filter is unnecessary and that a filter dedicated to purifying drinking water is enough, but is it?
Tap water is typically treated with chlorine or other disinfectants before being distributed to the people. Part of the chlorine becomes airborne when the water is heated for showering or cleaning purposes. That’s why filtering drinking water is not sufficient. The number of toxins you and your family are exposed to from daily showers and baths through inhalation or skin absorption isn’t negligible.
Researchers in this field have linked baths and showers to cancer risk due to chlorinated water. Also, it came to light that a ten-minute shower using unfiltered water is equally as dangerous as drinking half a gallon of the very same.
And while chlorine may not be present in everyone’s water supply, some other disinfectants and impurities can pose similar risks. For example, sometimes chloramine is used for disinfection. In this case, the danger for your lungs caused by inhalation is even greater.
Bottom line: Using a whole house filter is essential to get access to clean water for drinking, cooking, showering, and bathing.
How Does a Whole House Filter Work?
A whole house filter is composed of several levels of filtration or filters. Each filter stage or layer has a different purpose in cleaning and removing impurities from the water.
- The first layer of filtration takes care of large impurities like sediments (matter that settles to the bottom of a liquid) and sands. Those impurities are microscopic and not visible to the naked eye. Usually, this first layer of filtration will remove any contaminant larger than five microns.
- Typically, the next layer of filtering is done by carbon filters. Using carbon filters is common in whole-house systems and all water filters in general. They use activated carbon granules, similar to charcoal. The granules are porous, and the surface has small spaces and gaps. When water passes through the activated carbon filter, all impurities are trapped within the small surface pores, meaning the carbon absorbs them. Here is where chemicals are removed, including chlorine, pesticides, and solvents.
- Some whole house filters may feature a more complicated filtration process with additional filter media types following next. If not, it’s time for post-filtration processing. This last part of a whole house water filtration system gives the water a final polish, catching remaining sediments and organic particles.
Other Tips to Improve Water Quality in Your Home
Besides using a water filter, what other things can be done to improve the quality of water you are using?
- Check your plumbing: If your pipes are old and start to erode, the water can begin to taste differently. But more importantly, it may be getting contaminated. In this case, you need a professional to come out and resolve the problem.
- Replace faucet aerators: They are the screen at the end of each faucet. With time they accumulate dirt which affects the quality of water.
- Drain water heaters: Draining heaters will remove bacteria and sediments from the tank. This should be done once or twice a year under normal circumstances.
- Use water softener: Using a water softener removes hard minerals and prolongs the life of your plumbing. You can even use a whole house water filter and softener combo – there are plenty of systems available for residential use.
- Do not use hot water for drinking or cooking: Hot water leaches more heavy metals from pipes than cold water. Thus, only use cold water for drinking and cooking.
- Boil water: To kill bacteria and viruses.
- Flush water lines before use: If water has not been used for a while, it is good to let it run for a couple of minutes before using it.
How Much Does It Cost to Install a Whole House Water Treatment System?
Typically, most whole house water filters and softeners cost between $300 to $3,500, depending on their complexity. Installation fees can add a few hundred dollars.
With this in mind, we need to differentiate between:
- Sediment filters
- Carbon filters
- Reverse osmosis systems
- Deionization filters
- UV light filters
- Salt-based water softeners
- Salt-free water softeners
That’s because installation cost vary depending on the type of water treatment equipment you want to install.
Which Type is Right for Me?
The type of whole house water filter or softener you need depends on the contaminants present in your water supply.
If you receive municipal water, you can check the annual water quality report to find out more. You could also get your water analyzed by an independent testing laboratory.
Once you know what types of impurities are present, you can choose the right water filter or softener accordingly.
For example: If you need to remove chlorine as the primary contaminant, you can choose a simple system using activated carbon. If your water contains too many heavy metals, you should consider a KDF filter (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion).
A whole house water filter is needed when water is too dirty. A water softener comes in handy when dealing with overly hard water. Fortunately, complex multi-stage systems that combine different types of filter media for targeting a broad spectrum of contaminants help protect you and your family.