Water treatment comes in two basic types: point of entry (POE) that treats all the water that comes into your home, and point of use (POU) that treats the water that comes out of one specific faucet or fixture, typically your primary source of drinking water. Whole House Water Filters are POE systems attached to your main water line that can remove many different contaminants from your water supply, leaving your water cleaner, clearer, and better tasting.
What types of contaminants can a whole home water treatment system remove?
There are several different types of whole home water treatment systems, and many options within each type. While each system differs in the exact contaminants they target, options are available to remove:
- Silt and sediment
- Chlorine and chloramines
- Pesticides, herbicides, and other dangerous chemicals
- PFOA and PFOS
- Bacteria, algae, and other harmful microorganisms
- Calcium and magnesium (systems that remove these are known as water softeners)
- Bad tastes and odors
Can you customize the system for issues specific to my area?
Yes! The first step before installing any type of water treatment system is to test your water to determine its composition and flag any concerning contaminants. Once Dierolf has completed this analysis, we’ll be able to suggest the best system to correct your issues. Some homes do well with a simple carbon filter based system, while others need a more complex reverse osmosis system. You may also need to add a UV purification system to kill bacteria or other microorganisms, or a water softener to correct hard water, which is a common problem in Eastern Pennsylvania. The best solution may be multiple systems working together to address several concerns simultaneously.
Does the size of my home matter?
Typically, yes, although it’s more about the amount of water used than square footage. Larger homes typically have more bathrooms, more residents, and use appliances like washing machines and dishwashers more frequently than smaller homes. Most filter based whole home systems come in different sizes depending on anticipated water usage and number of bathrooms in your house. Installing a system that’s too small could lead to a drop in water pressure as the system struggles to filter your water fast enough. Remember, whole home systems filter every drop of water before it’s sent to its fixture – that means the water from your toilets, showers, and washing machine as well as the kitchen sink! It’s better to overestimate your water usage than underestimate it. But don’t worry, Dierolf can help you select a system that’s the right size for you and your home.
Does a professional need to install a whole house water filtration system?
Because whole home systems are hooked up to your main water line, they should be installed by a licensed and certified plumber. Attempting to do it yourself could result in leaks and water damage to your home, while improper placement could mean all your water isn’t actually being filtered or make cartridge changes unduly difficult. If you try to install the system yourself there’s a chance you could damage it or even void your warranty.
When you purchase a whole house water filtration system through Dierolf Plumbing and Water Treatment we will guide you through the entire process, from water testing and analysis to choosing the right size and type of system to professional installation. As your local water experts, let us make sure your home water treatment is done right.
What certifications/standards should I look for from a home treatment system?
Water filters and treatment systems are certified by The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). They set standards and benchmarks that filters must meet if they claim to remove certain contaminants. Any system you purchase should have a NSF seal on the packaging and clearly state that it is certified to NSF/ANSI standard with a number that gives more details. Beware of any system that claims to be “tested according to NSF standards” and does not include the seal, as it has not gone through formal review at an independent lab. The following NSF certifications are common with water treatment systems:
- NSF Standard 42: Aesthetic Effects – These filters may make your water taste or smell better, but they won’t remove anything that could be damaging to your health.
- NSF Standard 53: Health Effects – This is the minimum standard that we recommend for your whole home water treatment system. These filters remove many contaminants known to cause health concerns, including lead and several dangerous microorganisms, including cryptosporidium and giardia.
- NSF Standard 58: Reverse Osmosis – This is the standard used for reverse osmosis systems. You may select this type of system if you have arsenic in your water.
- NSF Standard 401: Emerging Compounds/Incidental Contaminants – Filters with this standard remove specific chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides.
- NSF Standard P473: PFOA/PFOS – Filters certified to this standard can remove PFOA and PFOS “forever chemicals” that have leached into groundwater from manufacturing processes.
- NSF Standard P231: Microbiological Filtration – These filters will neutralize microbial threats such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.
Dierolf can help you select the standard that is best for your home, depending on your water analysis.
What drawbacks or limitations should I be aware of with a whole home system?
- Not every whole home water treatment system is designed to remove all possible contaminants. It’s important to first complete an analysis of your water supply to determine what you’d like removed before you decide what system to install. It may be necessary to install several systems to achieve your desired water quality. For example, you may need to install a water softener or a UV purification system in addition to a carbon based filter system for the best results.
- Maintenance must be performed regularly or performance will suffer. Many whole home water treatment systems have filter cartridges that must be replaced on a regular basis. Replacement frequency varies by system, but is typically three to six months. If cartridges aren’t replaced according to the manufacturer’s schedule, the system will not be able to work as effectively and your water quality will decrease over time. Old cartridges can also cause decreased water pressure in your home. Replacement cartridges are typically cost effective and easy to change, but you must not skip this important maintenance. Other types of systems may have additional maintenance requirements. For example, the lamp in a UV purification system must be replaced every year.
- If you don’t install a robust enough system, it may affect your water pressure. A properly sized and installed whole home water filtration system should not decrease your water pressure to a noticeable degree. But if you try to cut costs by underestimating your water usage and choosing a system meant for a smaller house, this could happen. It’s important to be realistic about water usage and overestimate, not underestimate, so the system you choose is able to keep up.
What factors affect the cost of a system?
- Type of system: Carbon filter systems are typically less expensive than reverse osmosis systems.
- Water usage: The more water your household uses, the larger the filtration system must be to keep up, which often comes at additional cost.
- Necessity of add-on systems: If you live in Eastern Pennsylvania, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll need to add a water softener to prevent hard water from damaging another system. Or you may choose to add a UV purification system to neutralize microbial threats. While multiple systems may yield the best water quality, they do come with additional costs.
- Don’t forget about maintenance: Most whole home systems have cartridges that need to be replaced on a regular basis. Depending on the type of systems, you may need to replace lamps or membranes as well. Although these costs are typically very reasonable, you should keep them in mind when considering the overall cost of a system.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to water treatment, and whole home filters are no exception. But there’s no need to be overwhelmed by the options. As your local water experts, Dierolf Plumbing and Water Treatment is here to answer all your questions and help you select the best whole house filtration system to purify your water supply. Contact us today!