These days we are all concerned about clean water sources, especially for drinking. Bottled water flies off the shelves of stores. Many people no longer trust what comes out of the faucet at home or work. There are several options for ensuring a healthy water supply from your own faucets, including a whole house water filter system.
It’s easy to install a single filter under your kitchen sink or on the faucet itself. But what about the rest of the house? If your concerns go beyond just drinking water, a whole house system is a viable option. Whether you are involved in new construction or live in your own existing home, it is important to consider the best way to protect yourself and your family’s health by supplying them with clean water.
- 1 What is a Whole House Water Filter
- 2 Benefits of a Home Water Filtration System
- 3 Cons of a Whole House Water Filter
- 4 Conclusion
What is a Whole House Water Filter
A whole house water filtration system is able to remove almost any type of water contaminant from every area of your home. This system is generally installed by connecting directly to the water line where it comes into the house. This line may be before or after outside spigots, so if you’re concerned about watering your garden you may want to research how the water lines run to your house.
A whole house system is a fully integrated system. It cannot be installed and uninstalled easily. The cost of installation may or may not be included with the purchase of the system. A whole house system will provide years of service with little maintenance. Once installed, little maintenance is required.
Benefits of a Home Water Filtration System
Water is essential for life. Having healthy water will ensure your body has what it needs for daily activities and a long life. Whether you have a serious exercise routine, such as distance running, or running around the house or work… your body deserves the best. This is where a whole house water filter comes into consideration.
Peace of Mind
Of course, the biggest benefit of a whole house water filter system is the peace of mind you can have by knowing clean water comes from every source throughout your home. Cooking and cleaning will be healthier for every member of your family. Contaminant-free water will also be available for showers and laundry purposes, as well as for the care of any pets you may own.
A water filtration system eliminates the need to install individual filters in different locations in your home. You won’t have to worry that your kids will drink from the bathroom faucet instead of the kitchen faucet where the filter is installed. Potential contaminants will be captured before reaching any indoor source available for family use.
It also makes keeping up with maintenance or replacement filters easier. Just one filter is easier to remember and may even prove to be more economical in the end. And there are fewer aesthetic or space issues from bulky filters hanging on your faucets or in your shower or taking up storage space under the sink.
Removes Dangerous Chemicals and Contaminants
A whole house system can remove many dangerous substances known to cause a variety of illnesses. It’s a good idea to have your water tested so that you can choose the appropriate system to meet the needs of your area. Some of the harmful contents your filter system may remove include:
Chlorine is considered one of the most dangerous contaminants in our drinking water. In some areas, chlorine levels in homes may be as high as in public swimming pools. Even then, it’s presence may not guarantee the absence of harmful microorganisms. Most experts agree that chlorine should be removed from any water before drinking.
Chlorine can have many detrimental effects, such as allergic reactions or increased risk of asthma attacks. Showering in chlorinated water can cause nasal and throat irritations, sneezing or a mild cough. It can also cause skin irritations. Children are especially susceptible to negative health issues.
Chlorine has been linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer. This dangerous chemical also has the ability to damage cells and tissues in the body, affecting the cardiovascular and digestive systems.
Although fluoride has been added to municipal water systems for years for oral health reasons, long-term exposure has been linked to such health issues as immune system disorders. It also may increase the signs of aging and affect cognitive functions.
Lead may leach into a water supply through old pipes or pipe soldering after the water leaves the treatment plant. Testing your water can tell you if this is a factor in your area. Identifying lead in any amount in your drinking water is cause for immediate action.
There is no known safe level for lead in drinking water, especially for children. It is a highly toxic substance which can slow normal growth, cause learning disabilities, and damage the nervous system and blood cells.
Aluminum can be a by-product of water treatment facilities, but not in sufficient quantities to affect most people. However, some parts of the country experience a greater amount of naturally occurring aluminum in soil and groundwater, and if you live in one of these areas, you could have unhealthy amounts in your tap water.
This is yet another reason to have your water tested. Studies indicate too much of this toxic mineral can accelerate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s or other brain disorders. So if you find you have unusually high aluminum content in your drinking water, you will need a water filter which can accommodate its removal.
Besides the above mentioned, there are many other types of toxins from pesticides, fertilizers, or other pollutants which may not be removed by regular water treatment procedures. These substances may cause a variety of symptoms and disorders, from headaches to mood swings to muscle weakness.
Remove Toxic Exposure
The right home water filter system can remove the dangerous, invisible toxins in your whole water supply. These toxins do not only affect you through drinking water. There are many other day-to-day water uses that can spread potential toxins throughout your home.
Your body can absorb more chlorine through showering than through your drinking water, resulting in eczema and other skin irritations and dryness. A water filtration system eliminates the need to add a filter to the shower-heads in your home.
Some water contaminants may stain your clothing in the wash, fade colors, and make your clothes feel rough or itchy. They can also damage the washing machine itself, shortening its lifespan and adding an unwelcome expense.
Minerals in tap water can cause a buildup on dishes in the dishwasher, as well as on the dishwasher itself. Also, hot steamy water from the dishwasher or shower can easily transfer toxins to the air, increasing indoor air pollution. So filtering your water supply may also help make the air in your home more breathable and healthy for yourself and your family.
Improve Taste and Smell
In some areas, contaminants may cause tap water to carry a noxious smell or an odd taste. The presence of hydrogen sulfide may cause a rotten egg smell, or other dissolved solids may give water a woody or muddy smell. Mercury, lead, iron, or even arsenic may cause a metallic taste or smell.
None of these tastes or smells are desirable, and the added contaminants are not welcome. A whole house filter can help to eliminate these substances, including in well water. So your entire home will smell better as well as your water.
Soften Hard Water
The most common cause of hard water is the infusion of ions from the minerals calcium and magnesium. The higher the concentration of these minerals, the harder the water. Hard water reduces the effectiveness of cleaning products and can build up over time.
Hard water buildup damages everything it touches, from pipes to shower walls. Over time, repairs can become expensive and invasive. Whole house filtration can help soften water by filtering out these minerals.
If you live in an area with hard water, you are aware of the damage it can do to a variety of household appliances. Although these minerals may not be harmful in drinking water, the expense of replacing damaged fixtures and appliances may make it a worthwhile investment.
There is a great deal of concern about the amount of plastic accumulating in landfills and water sources. Using water filtration in your home can greatly reduce the use of bottled water, which is thought to be a major culprit. Reusable drinking containers can be carried most places and easily identified for individual use. Especially if you are planning the building of a new home, a water filtration system could be an important consideration.
In a world of uncertainties, where studies are forever finding more and more unhealthy potential in the environment, clean water is harder and harder to come by. Growing children are especially vulnerable, so you want to make the best choices you can in those areas you have the power to control. Exposure to toxins in the home is one of those areas, including the purity of the water your children drink, bath, and play in.
Many whole house water filters last from 5-10 years. So the system is easy to maintain and can prove economical in the long run. Having the water tested will help you to make the best decision about what type of filter you will need to protect those developing minds and bodies.
Cons of a Whole House Water Filter
Even though the benefits may seem to be many, a whole house system may not be for everyone. There are several reasons why individual filters may be preferred. Some reasons against this type of water filtration system include:
One main drawback is the initial investment, which may be from $500-$10,000. The different choices for filtration systems provide differing results. The system that best fits your budget may not meet your immediate needs.
Also, as mentioned before, a water filtration system for the entire house requires professional installation. If you do not have the necessary skills, you will have to pay the additional cost for a trained plumber. This is not recommended as a DIY project.
Some homes may simply not have the adequate amount of space to accommodate this type of system without some modifications. Some of the systems may be relatively small, others require some dedicated space. This is a factor to consider when deciding to add a filtration system to an existing home.
As stated, not all water filtration systems are created equal. Some of the more inexpensive systems may only filter out sediment or rust. While this may suffice for some water supplies, such as well water, further filtering would be needed to remove harmful chemicals such as chlorine or other toxic substances.
Reverse osmosis systems have also gained in popularity. However, some of these systems may actually remove more minerals than desired, affecting its taste and nutritional value. These necessary minerals would have to be re-added via supplements to maintain good health.
Many whole house filtration systems have a limitation of producing only around 50 gallons of filtered water per day. A filter attached to the faucet may be able to provide as much as 20 gallons of drinking water every minute. On the plus side, these limitations may encourage conservation.
Purchasing a whole house filter system that will meet your clean water needs requires a bit of research. You will need to be educated by online research or speaking with a professional about what the different systems offer.
Of course, you will need to find out about the capacity of different filter sizes and how easily they may clog. You’ll need to find out about cartridge maintenance and replacement costs. Different systems include different back-washing and water channeling features. You’ll want to learn about the difficulties associated with fluoride removal or the limitations of reverse osmosis.
Other factors include the system’s flow rate in gallons per minute (GPM), the filter lifespan of the different systems, and the port size. The ideal port size is 1 inch for most houses. A 1-inch port size minimized the possibility of clogs or detrimental effects on water pressure.
Water filters and water softeners can be two different things, so make sure you know what you are looking for. There are whole house systems which can serve both functions. If that is what you need, it will help narrow your choices and give you a better idea of costs.
If your greatest concern is drinking water, an under-the-counter filter or a filter attached to the kitchen faucet may be all you need. Those types of filters are generally easy to install and will filter out just about all contaminants. But if you find you need to install multiple under-the-counter filters, this option may not be sufficient for your needs.
There are so many different water filtration systems on the market that choosing can be confusing. Researching some websites that compare the offerings of different manufacturers and models will help you make a more informed choice. Even with the cons, there are many positive reasons to invest in a home water filtration system.
To summarize, the first step is to have your household water tested for hardness and contaminants. Then research the various filtration systems available to meet your needs. No matter you choose, the health of your family will benefit. And you will be doing your part to help protect the environment. Clean water is a necessity. Making it safe in your home is vital for the highest quality of life.