Clean Water for the Entire Home

Whole house water filters are basically what their name implies. They filter the water coming into the house instead of just filtering specific sinks, etc. A properly selected home water filter will clean contaminants from your water while maintaining your current rate of water flow. When selecting a whole home water filter, it is occasionally necessary to balance water flow against filtration. A faster water flow usually means that the water is not cleaned as thoroughly as a slower flow rate.

Choosing a Water Filter

When choosing a water filter for your home, the first criteria to note is the flow rate which is measured in gallons per minute (gpm). While you may not know the average for you home, there are charts out there to help you with a ballpark figure (Example).  For instance, if you have a three bedroom home with 1 ½ baths, you can estimate the you need a 10 gpm filter system. A five bedroom home with 3 baths would need a whole home filter system capable of approximately 17 gpm.

Water Contaminants

Once you have an idea of the flow rate  you need to know what you are filtering from your water. If you want to filter rust, dirt, and sediment only, then you can go with a more basic filter. However, if you want to get rid of chlorine, iron, hydrogen sulfide  (that rotten egg smell), and other contaminants, you may need to get a more specialized filter. There are some whole house water filters that  are specially designed to kill bacteria and viruses if those are an issue in the water coming into your home. If you don’t know what is in your water, you can find water testing kits in your local home improvement store or online. There are many options in choosing a kit but you need to choose one that allows you to test for pH as well as a variety of contaminants including bacteria, pesticides, lead, iron, and chlorine

Types of Systems

Please note that while many systems may use only a single filter (housing), primarily for removing rust, dirt and sediment, many homes will need a double filter system. The first filter will remove the larger contaminants such as dirt, rust, etc. while the second filter may be an activated carbon filter that will remove smaller particles and absorb chlorine and other elements that cause water to have a bad taste and/or smell. To maintain your water pressure,  both filters should have the expected flow rate in gallons per minute. Water filters need to be replaced periodically. Each filter will come with the manufacturer’s recommended policy on replacing the filter. Waiting too long to replace the filter may result in contaminated water entering your home. A typical filter needs to be replaced every 6 - 12 months.

Many homeowners install their own whole house water filter systems. However, if you don’t have any experience in this area it is recommended  to hire a professional plumber. You may save money by buying the filtration system yourself and then having it installed for you.