The importance of having clean water in your home is essential to life. Without access to clean water, we would not be able to survive.
Unfortunately, water contamination is an all-too-common problem in many areas of the United States and the world.
Here are a few reasons why having clean water is so important.
Clean water is essential for good health. Contaminated water can contain harmful bacteria and other microorganisms that can lead to various health issues, from gastrointestinal distress to more severe illnesses. Drinking clean water can help prevent these issues and keep you and your family healthy.
Clean water is also essential for the environment. Contaminated water can lead to algae blooms and other imbalances in the aquatic ecosystem. Having clean water in your home can help protect local waterways and ensure that future generations have access to clean drinking water.
Clean water can also help save you money. By eliminating the need for bottled water or other clean water sources, you can reduce your grocery bill and free up more of your budget for different needs.
All these reasons show why purchasing a quality water filter is an important health decision.
In this article, I will review the most important factors you should consider before purchasing a water filtration system for your home. I have been in the water treatment industry for 32 years and currently am a manager at US Water Systems. Over the years I have designed, installed, and serviced filtration systems ranging in all sizes, from single point-of-use systems feeding a single drinking water faucet to systems treating up to 500 GPM used in large industrial applications.
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Water Filter
These are the most important factors to consider before purchasing a home water filtration system.
1. Type of Contaminants Present in Your Water
The most crucial factor is determining what contaminants you want to remove from your water supply. This requires water testing. Having your water tested before buying a water treatment system is essential because different water treatment systems are designed to treat various water quality issues. Knowing the specific water quality problems you are dealing with will help you determine which water treatment system best suits your needs.
Testing your water also gives you an accurate picture of what is in it, which can help you make informed decisions on how to treat it best. While some of these contaminants can naturally occur, others result from human activities.
The most common type of contaminants found in today’s water supply are chemical pollutants. These come from various sources, including industrial and agricultural runoff, wastewater treatment plants, and household products. The most common chemicals in water include chlorine, lead, mercury, and nitrates. These pollutants can cause various health issues, ranging from skin irritation to organ damage.
Another type of contaminant found in water supplies is biological contaminants. These are usually bacteria, viruses, and parasites, which can cause diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever, and dysentery. These contaminants can enter the water supply through sewage, animal waste, and even improperly washed food.
Finally, physical contaminants can also be found in water supplies. These are usually foreign objects such as dirt, sand, and rocks. These contaminants can cause various issues, such as clogged pipes and blocked filters.
To get a water test, check out this water test kit page for more information.
2. Water Hardness Issues
Hardness in water is another common problem and is caused by the presence of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese. Hard water can leave spots on dishes, clog pipes, and stain clothes. It can also make cleaning difficult and reduce the effectiveness of soaps and detergents. You may want to remove it because it can interfere with the taste of food and drinks and cause skin irritation.
If water hardness is a serious issue then looking into water filtration systems that also include a water softening unit would be ideal.
3. Finding the Right Size Filter for Your House Size
The size of your household is essential when purchasing a water treatment system because it will determine the size and type of system needed to meet your household’s water needs.
The amount of water used by a family of two is much less than a household of four or more. Therefore, a larger home requires a water treatment system with a larger capacity to effectively treat a greater volume of water.
4. Flow Rate Requirements of Your Household
Similar to household size, flow rate requirements are important when purchasing a water treatment system for your home because the flow rate defines the speed at which water passes through the system. If the flow rate is too low, it could lead to ineffective treatment and inadequate filtration of contaminants.
On the other hand, if the flow rate is too high, it could lead to excessive pressure, which could damage the system. Therefore, choosing a water treatment system with the correct flow rate is essential to ensure that your water is adequately treated and filtered.
5. Your Budget Requirements
Your budget is important when purchasing a water treatment system for your home because it will determine what type of system you can afford and the features it offers. A water treatment system can range from a simple filter to an advanced design with various features, such as ultraviolet disinfection, chemical injection, alkalinization, and sediment filtration.
The more advanced systems tend to be more expensive, so having an established budget helps narrow down your options. It ensures you get the best filter for your money. Having a budget in place can also help you anticipate future costs of maintenance and replacement parts.
6. Available Space for Installation
Available space is another critical factor to consider when purchasing a water treatment system for your home because it determines the size and type of design you can install.
A water treatment system requires space for the various components, such as the filter, pumps, and storage tank, so the amount and location of available space will determine the size and type of system best for your home. With inadequate space, you may be unable to install the system that meets your needs.
If you understand all of the above considerations it will allow you to choose a filter that can remove the correct contaminants and do it effectively for the size of your home.
Types of Water Filters to Choose From
Once you have determined what you are trying to remove by running a test, the size and flow rate required, your budget, and available space, you can devise a plan to treat your water.
There are many technologies available (each one designed to remove different contaminants). Here are the most common types of treatment options:
- Sediment Filters: These filters are designed to remove sediment, dirt, and silt from the water. They are typically made of a pleated or spun polyester or cellulose material. They can be used on the whole house or point-of-use.
- Carbon Filters: These filters use activated carbon to absorb contaminants and chemicals. They can remove chlorine, volatile organic compounds, and bad taste and odors from water. A popular use is in a whole house filter system where multiple carbon filters are usually used.
- Water Softeners: Water softeners are designed to reduce the hardness of water by removing calcium and magnesium ions from the water.
- Reverse Osmosis Systems: These systems use a semi-permeable membrane to remove large particles, contaminants, and dissolved solids from water.
- Ultraviolet Lights: These systems use ultraviolet light to kill microbes and bacteria in the water.
- Alkaline Water Systems: These alkaline water machine systems usually combine water filtration with pH optimization giving you filtered alkaline water.
Point of Use vs Point of Entry Filters
Once you decide on the type of filtration needed, you should determine if you’re going to use a Point-of-Use (POU) filter or a Point-of-Entry (POE) filter.
A point-of-use filter is a water filtration device installed at the point in a home or business where the water is used. This filter removes contaminants from the water before it is used, ensuring that the water is safe to drink or use. Point-of-use filters are typically used to provide cleaner water for drinking, cooking, or bathing. They can also reduce chlorine or other contaminants in water used for washing clothes or watering plants.
A point-of-entry filter is a type of filtration system installed in a home’s water line, typically at the main water line entering the house. The filter is designed to remove sediment, chlorine, lead, and other contaminants from the water before it enters the home. Point-of-entry filters can be installed and maintained by a plumber or a homeowner.
Here are some pros and cons to weigh when choosing between point of entry vs. point of use water filtration:
Point of Entry Water Filtration:
- All water entering a household is filtered, meaning it is safe for drinking, bathing, and cooking.
- This filtration method is more efficient, as it filters all the water entering the home.
- Lower maintenance costs since the filters are not replaced as often.
- Higher upfront cost, as the whole house must be outfitted with the filtration system.
- More complex installation, as the filtration system must be installed at the point of entry.
In summary, there are many things to consider when purchasing a water treatment system. The most important thing I always recommend when treating problem water is a comprehensive water test.
The old adage “measure twice, cut once” can be used in water treatment and carpentry. There are too many factors that come into play in water treatment to guess, and this is a substantial investment you want to get correct the first time.
The second most important recommendation is to consult a water treatment professional when deciding which equipment you need. There are many different technologies available to you, and a water treatment professional will be able to explain each option’s pros and cons and their best recommendation for your situation.
US Water Systems