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Most of us are familiar with home water filters, such as a common Brita filter pitcher, for example, but what is a whole house water filtration system and does it perform the same functions as a standalone water filter?
In a nutshell, a whole house water filter system treats water for the entire home at the point of entry of the mains water supply. The key difference with a whole house water filtration system is that they are designed to treat water for general usage such as:
- bathing and showering
- and laundry.
If you require improved quality drinking water it is best to also employ a drinking water filter specifically designed for this purpose.
Why do I Need a Whole House Water Filtration System?
Whilst mains water is treated, it can still contain a wide variety of contaminants, such as chlorine, for example.
These contaminants can be absorbed through the skin during washing, showering or bathing and also inhaled, so employing a whole house filtration system can significantly reduce contact with these pollutants.
Many people have experienced a reduction in conditions such as eczema, psoriasis or asthma when exposed to lower levels of chlorine.
Types of Whole House Water Filtration Systems
There are generally two main types of whole house water filtration systems available:
1 – Standard whole house water filter system
These are general purpose filters, which use granular activated carbon and are ideal for general, multi-purpose whole house filtration.
They are effective at reducing or removing chemicals (including herbicides and pesticides), chlorine and chloramine, many volatile organic chemicals (VOC), as well as benzene, trihalomethane (THM) compounds, radon, solvents and many other man-made chemicals which can be in tap water.
They are generally not effective at removing metals or sediment.
2 – Heavy duty whole house water filter system
If you have a specific water contaminant issue – for example iron or other heavy metals, fluoride, sediment, or bacteria – you will require a whole house system designed to address that particular contaminant(s).
For example, if you have orange and brown staining around the fixtures in your home, this indicates iron, so you will need to employ a whole house iron filter to address the issue.
The filters require regular replacement, as they will become exhausted after a time, although this will be dependent to some extent on the size/capacity of the filter unit.
Are Whole House Filters the Same as Whole House Softeners?
A whole house softener is not a filter – it is simply deigned to soften hard water in hard water areas.
A whole house softener can be combined with a whole house filter system and is specially designed to remove ‘hard’ particles of lime and calcium, which can lead to build ups of scale and, over time, start to affect pipework and efficiency of appliances.
7 Benefits of a Whole House Water Filtration System
The benefits of installing a whole house water filter include:
- filtered water available from every water source in the house
- chlorine and other chemicals removed at the point they enter a home’s plumbing system, which means they are no longer released into the air
- healthier showers, baths and general washing
- extended life of water using appliances and household pipes
- softer, brighter and longer lasting laundry
- healthier skin and hair, which become less subject to contaminants
- reduction in conditions such as skin complaints and asthma.
Many whole house water filtration systems, however, are relatively expensive to install and maintain.
If you have very sensitive skin or other health concerns related to contaminants in your municipal water supply, a whole house filter may well be a great investment.
But bear in mind, if you’re considering a whole house filtration system, filters need to be changed frequently.
Bottom Line – Whole House Water Filtration Systems
Whole house water filtration systems are designed to treat water for general usage such as cleaning, bathing, showering and laundry.
For general, multi-purpose whole house filtration on water from a municipal supply, a standard whole house carbon filtration system will likely suffice. If you have particular water concerns, such as sediment or heavy metals, then you will need to employ a more heavy duty whole house system that is designed to treat that problem.
For hard water issues, you can combine a whole house softener with a whole house filter system.
If you are thinking about a whole house water filtration system, keep in mind that they are generally both expensive to install and maintain. So if you simply want to filter your drinking water, a water filter designed specially for this purpose is likely to be sufficient.
Popular Whole House Filters
- iSpring WGB22B 2-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System w/ 20-Inch Big Blue Sediment and Carbon Block Filter – (manufacturer claims it removes up to 95% of sediment, chlorine, rust, pesticides, herbicides, industrial solvents, VOCs, and various other contaminants)
- Home Master Whole House 3-Stage Water Filter with Fine Sediment, Iron, and Carbon – (manufacturer states it removes up to 95 percent of sediment, chloramines, chlorine, chemicals, heavy metals, and other contaminants)
- 3M Aqua-Pure Whole House Water Filtration System (manufacturer claims it reduces chlorine, sediment, rust and dirt)