A Comprehensive Whole House Water Filter Guide

If you truly care about your health and happiness, start from the water you use in your house. Unfiltered water has chemicals from treatment or disinfectants that could go airborne when subjected to heat in the shower, dishwasher, bath, laundry, etc. When these airborne chemicals are inhaled, the resulting impact could be more hazardous than consuming unfiltered water. The best whole house water filter would mitigate these situations by checking on and filtering all water entering your house through the main line. 

What is a Whole House Water Filter?

A whole house water filter is basically a filtration system that treats water right where it enters your house or at its POE (point of entry). The filter is usually connected to the primary water line of your house. Such a filtration system is available in different forms, which includes UV water purifiers, water softeners, or carbon filters. A “whole house” filter would treat all water entering your house, which means your washing machine, coffee brewer, dishwasher, or shower heads would have good-quality water supply.

What Type of Whole House Water Filter Do I Need?

The whole house filtration setup you require would depend on the actual water to be filtered. For example, if your house’s water source is a well, the filtration system would be a lot more elaborate – comprising a water softener, mechanical sediment filter, ultraviolet system, etc. This filtration system would soften, remove debris, and purify the water before it enters the house. In case of a city-based water supply, the filtration would entail getting rid of sediment, chloramine, and/or chlorine. 

The whole house filtration type you need would depend on the quality of water being supplied to your house. For instance, if the water department supplying water to your locality uses chloramines and not chlorine to disinfect water, a carbon-based filtration system would not work as it is designed to fight chlorine and not chloramines. To find out the treatment method your water department employs, get your hands on the water quality report of your water department. 

Water Softening Vs. Water Filtration

A water softener would specifically remove hard minerals from the water. Water filters, on the other hand, go beyond and remove a wider range of contaminants. A filter could be a modest RO drinking water setup or a big whole house filtration system. 

Types of Common Contaminants

  • Sediment: These are basically water particles visible to the naked eye, which can be mechanically strained out. These include dust, dirt, sand and rust. Highly sedimented water should undergo multiple sediment filtration stages, with the various levels becoming finer gradually. Reusable filters must be strongly considered too. Water with minimal sediment could use finer, disposable filters. 
  • Chemicals: These include chlorine and other chemicals used to treat water. Carbon filtration can help remove most chemical contaminants from water. Some of the other chemicals found in water include acetic acid, benzene, bleach, chloroform, chloramine, dyes, diesel fuel, gasoline, and nitric acid. 
  • Iron: There are two kinds of iron generally found in supplied water: ferrous and ferric. Ferrous is clear, dissolved iron. Ferric is basically rust that could give the water a reddish hue. Sediment filter can help remove these rust particles, while clear water iron would need ion exchange or oxidation treatment. 

Selecting a Whole House Water Filter – What to Look For?

  • Flow rate: Flow rate ascertains the total water available for your toilet, shower, dishwasher, hot water heater, etc. Based on the number of people in your family and your house’s size, your flow rate requirements could fall in the 15 – 40 gpm (gallons per minute) range. 
  • Filter size: The bigger the filter, the lengthier the service gap. Also, it would have an impact on water flow and pressure to an extent. The filter size ideal for most houses is 4.5 inches x 20 inches. 
  • Filter life: The life of a sediment filter would vary based on sediment quality and quantity. A good-quality carbon filter cartridge (4.5 inches x 20 inches) for the entire house would last anywhere between 100,000 and 150,000 gallons in regular municipal water supplies. Standalone carbon filters would last much longer.  
  • Port size: The ideal size of a port for a whole house filter setup is an inch. Even if your house employs ¾ inch piping, a one inch ported system would not lead to any bottlenecks when its affixed to a ¾ inch pipe. Whole home filter systems with a 4.5-inch x 20-inch filter and one-inch ports carry enough water, which means pressure drops are almost zero.