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The Benefits of a Whole House Water Filter SystemSo you're concerned about the quality of your water and you are thinking about installing some household water filters. With so many different styles and sizes available, it can be a little daunting. Small units (faucet, counter-top or under-sink) are fine if you just want a single source for cleaner drinking water. But for anything beyond that, you are going to want a little more.
Why Go Whole House?The main reason you would want a whole house filter system is because you simple need more clean water than a tap or two is going to provide. That usually means you need treated water for washing dishes, doing laundry, and bathing. Though drinking is the concern when it comes to water, having contaminants in your bathwater or laundry can be harmful as well. A whole house system means you are going to get clean water from every source in the house, offering you more flexibility and greater piece of mind.
What are the Costs?Now that you're thinking on a bigger scale, the first thing that is going to come to mind is the cost. Actually, you can get an entry-level whole house filter system for a very reasonable cost. Though there are units that will run over $1000, you can get a good-quality system for a small house for under $400 such as these budget systems. Considering that it will treat your entire home, that is a very reasonable cost. Keep in mind that the filter cartridges do have a limited lifespan and will need replacing. Some will only last a year, and some will last for 4 to 5 years. It depends on the style of filter, how contaminated your water is, and how much usage the filters get.
Choosing a SystemThis is unfortunately, not an easy task. There are dozens of potential options and you will want to look into the pros and cons of each one before you decide on what is best for your home. Your first concern should be the size of your house and family. A filter system that is too small will do a poor job and may possibly reduce your water flow if too many people are using it at once.
Small homes with families of 4 people or fewer is ideal for the less expensive and smaller systems. Getting a flow rate of 3 to 5 gallons per minute is usually sufficient. If you have more than 4 people, look for systems that will provide 6 to 10 gallons per minute.
With that in mind, you then need to see how much filtration you need. If you have already done some water testing, you'll know what your water supply is like and how much purification is going to be needed. Some models of whole house filter only have 1 cartridges, but many have 2 or 3 that operate in series. The premise is that the first cartridges remove the larger particles and then the filters get finer along the system. Add in a carbon-based cartridge to neutralize many of the chemicals, and you have a very effective arrangement.
Basically, the more stages that a filter undergoes, the better. But even that little rule of thumb isn't perfect. A high-quality single filter may be a better choice than a series of 2 lesser-quality filters. Systems with 2 or 3 filters along with a carbon insert is going to be adequate. Water that is already very clear (little to no sediment) will not require as many filter units and you should focus on the carbon-based parts of the system instead.
Very large systems may have 9 or more filtration stages for some of the cleanest water you can produce at home. Eagle brand systems have more than a dozen stages and will expose your water to various forms of ion-exchange resins, granulated carbons, remineralizing media, oxidation metals and even magnets to help remove as many impurities as possible.
Getting it InstalledThough a filter system may be able to treat an entire home, it usually isn't very large and can be handled by one person. The really large systems (like the Eagle line mentioned above) are far more sophisticated. But on average, one person can easily handle it. If you have some good plumbing skills, you may be able to do the installation yourself. Otherwise, a plumber can handle it without any problems. The series of canisters need to be installed directly on the incoming water pipe but there is fairly high pressures involved since it supplies the entire house. That means you need to ensure that all joins and seals are done properly.
A whole house system is definitely worth looking into if you are worried about your water supply. That way, you can know you are getting clean water anywhere in the house.
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