Why Invest in a Whole House Water Filter?
However, here’s the disturbing truth published by EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) Tap Water Database—which is that every time most Americans drink a glass of unfiltered water, they are also consuming a dose of agricultural and industrial contaminants that have been linked to serious health issues like cancer, hormone disruption, fertility problems, developmental defects, nervous system and brain damage and more. And EWG’s database has been prepared by combining and analyzing data collected from more than 50,000 municipal water services nationwide, which also makes it the most comprehensive source available on the subject till date.
Add to it the fact that there is a growing number of emerging contaminants which are yet to find their way into EPA’s list of water contaminants. And this is partly because the adverse health effects linked to these emerging contaminates are yet to be adequately researched and thus established. For more information on this subject, please visit NSF International website.
Now, it is not our intention to throw the reader into a state of panic. It is simply that the above are just a few of the alarming facts regarding the quality of drinking water in the US. And in view of these facts, it is highly recommended that homeowners consider using filtered water not only for drinking, but also for cooking, bathing and other similar purposes.
And this is why investing in a whole house water filter is a wise option for all homeowners. Also called POE or point of entry filters, these systems are installed right at the point where water enters your home and therefore treats all waters dispensed through various water fixtures and appliances in your home.
Steps to Selecting the Best Whole House Water Filter (For Your Home)
Step 1: Test your water
Water filtration systems of different types remove or reduce different types of contaminants. So the first step on your journey to find the right system is to test your water and to identify what’s in there.
To know what contaminants are present in your water, you need to do two things:
- Check the Annual Water Quality Report of your local water utility service.
- Have your water tested at a state-certified lab located near your home; especially make sure to test for lead, bacteria and nitrates.
(NOTE: You can find the water report, also known as CCR or Customer Confidence Report, at the EPA website. You will also find a list of certified laboratories near your location at the same website.)
If you are using private well water, you must get your water tested at least once a year.
Step 2: What type of water filter do you need
As we mentioned, different filtration systems work best at removing different sets of contaminants. This is since different products use different technologies to treat the water. Let us take the example of RO (Reverse Osmosis) systems. These systems do an excellent job of blocking microorganisms as well as chemicals like arsenic, fluoride, lead and nitrate. However, an RO filter won’t protect you against chlorine, VOCs or thrihalomethanes.
Again, carbon block filters are effective at removing VOCs, radon and other organic compounds, but they cannot block inorganic elements such as fluoride, arsenic or heavy metals. This means that you need to know what type of filter will best remove the contaminants found in your water.
Step 3: What size water filter
Now is the time for ‘sizing’ your whole house water filter. Sizing refers to determining the right size and flow rate of the filtration system you will invest in. However, in order to do that, you first need to make a list of all the water dispensers found in your home and check the flow rate of each of these appliances. Flow rates are given in gpm or gallons per minute and you will definitely find the flow rate of any specific appliance on its user manual. If the latter is not handy, check the labels on the body of the appliance. Proper flow rate that your whole house filter should have will depend on the number of water fixtures in your home, the respective flow rate of each fixture, and daily average use of all these different dispensers.
You can calculate this yourself, however we suggest that you engage a professional for this task. This is since choosing a filter of the right size and flow rate for your home (in most filters, these two aspects are inter-related) is essential. Otherwise, you will have to deal with issues like interrupted flow of water, low water pressure as well as insufficiently treated water, especially during peak usage hours.
Well, that’s about it. One final thing, you must make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to a tee when it comes to the maintenance of the system. And this obviously includes knowing the lifespan of your filter and always staying up to date with your filter replacement requirements.