Clean water is a necessity for every house. Making sure that every faucet in your home has filtered water is extremely important, and a whole house water filter system will ensure that all your water is properly treated and safe for consumption.
If you rely on well water rather than public or city water, you need to be extra careful with your filtering because your water doesn’t automatically come treated like municipal water does.
In this article, we go over what whole house water filter systems are, the treatment processes that go into them, their advantages and disadvantages, and much more.
Let’s get started!
What Is Well Water?
To find out whether or not you need a whole house well water filter, you first need to know if your house uses a well for its water supply.
A well isn’t necessarily those stone structures you see in old-time movies. A well can be any kind of underground system in which untreated groundwater is stored. A pump is then used to bring the water up into your home.
If this sounds like the kind of water system you use, a whole house well water filter might be just the thing you need.
What Is a Whole House Water Filter?
A whole house water filter is a type of POE filter. This stands for point-of-entry, which means that the water line to your house is connected directly to the filter, not just a single point-of-use. The water quality in your entire house will then be very high, giving you a purer experience.
Even if you use well water, you can still get a whole house filtration system that filters the water from your well.
Clean Water from Every Faucet
Water filters come in different shapes, sizes, and types. The water filter in your kitchen sink might be a reverse osmosis or carbon filter system, as these do not require a high water flow rate. But this won’t work for your entire house.
This is where a whole house water filter comes into the picture. With a whole house water filter, water treatment happens at the entry point of the main line, giving you fresh water in every faucet of the house.
Even when you’re running your washing machine or using a hose to water your garden, you’ll get a supply of clean, purified water.
In order to get an acceptable quality of water in your entire household, these water filters employ a large number of processes to ensure that clean water is available when you need it.
A whole house filter can come in many different types depending on the kind of impurities present, the amount of water that needs to be filtered, water pressure, and water flow.
Types of Whole House Water Filters for Well Water
Not everyone has the same reason to get a whole house filter. People live in different areas with different types of water and the many kinds of impurities that come with them.
This means that your personal needs for water filtration and treatment will be different than the next person’s, especially if you’re using your own well water system.
For this reason, there are a large number of types of water filters prevalent in the industry today. These filters do everything from softening your water to removing impurities to making it taste more fresh.
Let’s look at a few of the types of whole house water filters for well water.
Because well water isn’t treated by the city, it can contain a lot of minerals that it wouldn’t otherwise have. These minerals can create what’s referred to as “hard water.”
What Is Hard Water?
You might’ve learned about hard water in your high school science class. In case you don’t remember, hard water has a large amount of calcium and magnesium salts dissolved in it.
This can cause a lot of problems in homes, like the presence of a weird foam when mixed with soap, or all of your dishes and bathroom appliances getting caked with white mineral deposits.
The dissolved minerals can also get coated on the inner layer of your pipes, reducing the water pressure and flow rate, and can cause appliances like washing machines to malfunction. You can learn more about these issues by checking out this article on hard water vs soft water.
To get around these problems, you can get a whole house water filter that also acts as a water softener. The chemical process that these filters use is called ion exchange.
Calcium and magnesium are present in water in the form of positive ions. A water softener will use a porous material full of negative charges to attract these positive ions.
When water flows through a water softener, the positive ions from these impurities get attracted to the negative charge, while clean water continues to flow through.
Water softeners are excellent for removing the hardness of your water, and your dishes, your appliances, your pipes, and even your body will thank you for investing in a good water softener.
If you live in an area where your well water supply is full of undissolved impurities, a sediment filter can be an excellent option for you.
Sediment filters remove dirt, clay, sand, rust particles, and turbidity from your water, making it easier and safer for you to use this water, and also making it ready for other filtering processes.
Many sources of water can be polluted by sand or other such impurities. This can happen due to polluted stormwater, and it can have a harsh effect on your appliances and body.
Your washing machine can get clogged up, and your pipes might eventually have lower water pressure if too much sediment water gets into them.
For this reason, sediment filters are an easy and effective solution. Sediment filters are often used as pre-filters instead of standalone water filtration systems. This means that the water will first pass through a sediment filter before being treated for hardness, bacteria, or the presence of heavy metals or pesticides in the water supply.
The Mechanical Method
The process of filtering out sediments in a water filtration system is a simple, mechanical method. The water first passes through a sieve or carbon filter to remove undissolved impurities.
A porous membrane in the pre-filter holds back all of the impurities that are bigger than its pore size. This ensures that your washing machines, water heaters, and other appliances work at their optimum capacity, and that you don’t end up drinking sediment.
If your water source is well water or something similar, you should consider investing in a sediment filter. This will not only improve your whole house water filtration, giving you a better experience overall, but the pre-filter system will also improve the efficiency of the other components of your water filtration systems.
Carbon filters are some of the most effective, optimized, and accessible filters present on the market today. They work in a combination of different methods, which include both mechanical and chemical water filtration systems.
What Makes Carbon So Popular?
The different processes that make carbon filters so popular include the following: a mechanical sieve that filters out particles as small as half a micron, a chemical process of electrokinetic adsorption, and a process of mechanical adsorption that makes particles stick to the porous layers of the filter.
Carbon filters remove pesticides, herbicides, microscopic cysts, and bad odors from your water, making it safer and improving its taste. Also, if you use chlorine to disinfect your well water, carbon filters can get rid of the excess chloramine molecules as well.
A Versatile Element
Carbon filters are made out of a lot of different natural materials. The most common ones are coal, wood, or nutshells. Coconut shell carbon, in particular, is the most popular material because of its availability, low price, porosity, and thickness.
Carbon filters are also inexpensive to make, are easily accessible, and ensure a decent water flow. They can also be made in compact sizes, which gives people the freedom to create the designs of their choice in a small space.
While the whole house filtration systems mentioned above mostly deal with chemicals and minerals present in your water, an ultraviolet system can protect you from living organisms like parasites or bacteria that may cause diseases in your home.
How Does UV Work?
If you’ve ever been sick with a bacterial infection like E. coli, you might’ve been advised to drink boiled water. This is similar to what ultraviolet purifiers do.
With an ultraviolet, or UV, purification system, no chemicals are used to clean the water. There will also be no wasted water, as a UV system merely passes the water through a UV light.
A UV purifier is usually a post-filter, which means that it’s used after the water first goes through a sediment or carbon pre-filter. Once the harmful pollutants are removed, the UV filter kills off the microorganisms in the water that could cause diseases like giardia or other infections.
You can learn more about this process by checking out this article on how UV filters work.
The Bacteria Buster
UV light has a harmful effect on all living organisms. When parasites, viruses, bacteria, and fungi in the water are subjected to this light, their body structure and DNA gets damaged. This in turn ensures that they cannot multiply or cause harm to your body if they enter it.
Once the water filtering process is done, a UV filter works as an excellent post-filter to ensure that neither living organisms nor water contaminants can harm you or your family.
For peace of mind when it comes to bringing clean water in your house, UV filters are highly recommended. They can kill almost 100% of living organisms in your water, keeping you and your family safe. UV purifiers would make a great addition to your whole house system.
Acid Neutralizing Filters
The water in your area could be acidic in nature. Safe water has a pH of 7, which means that it is neither acidic nor basic. You should not use acidic water for any purpose, including consumption, washing your dishes, or bathing.
What’s Wrong with Acidic Water?
Acidic water can eventually destroy your pipes and bathroom equipment, so it’s certainly not safe to drink either. You can learn more about this problem by checking out this article on the harmful effects of acidic water.
If you know that you may be exposed to acidic water, you can use an acid neutralizing filter to ensure that your family, your appliances, and your plants stay safe. This is especially important in whole house well water filters, because well water can often turn acidic due to impurities found in the ground.
Acidic water in your home can also be caused by chemical runoff from industrial sites and other local and environmental pollutants. You don’t want to ingest those chemicals!
The Great Neutralizer
The way an acid neutralizing filter works is very simple. Since the water is acidic, some amount of basic products (the opposite of acidic on the pH scale) are added to the water to neutralize the acid content.
In this case, calcite is used. The mineral is stored in a tank, which is then gradually mixed in with the incoming water in an adequate amount to neutralize the acidity.
If you want to protect your body, your appliances, your dishes, your garden, and your pipes, investing in an acid neutralizer is a good idea.
Find out where the water in your faucets comes from, and you can easily find out what the pH of the water is. Taking proper care of these potential issues is easy with an acid neutralizing filter.
How Are Whole House Filters Different from Other Filters?
There are several different ways in which whole house well water filters are different from other filters. The flow rate and water pressure in gallons per minute can also be different depending on the type of filter you have.
Point-of-Entry or Point-of-Use
Whole house water filters are POE filters, as mentioned earlier, which means that they’re point-of-entry filters. These filters are connected directly to the water line. Pitcher filters for drinking water and countertop or sink filters are POU filters, which stands for point-of-use.
In those cases, the filter is attached right under the faucet or the tap, and it functions only at the point where you install it, not throughout the whole house.
The filters in your kitchen or your sink only treat the water that comes from that particular faucet. Whole house water filters, on the other hand, treat every drop of water that you use in your house.
Whole house water filters protect more aspects of your day-to-day life than point-of-use water filters do. For example, if you only have a filter in your sink and in a pitcher for drinking water, then only your dishes and your drinking water will be protected.
Unfortunately, your pipes and your garden will still be subjected to impure water, which means that they will have no protection if you have hard or acidic water in your area. This is just one of the reasons why whole house systems are so useful.
Advantages in Using Whole House Water Filters
As you’ve likely already seen from the previous sections in this article, there are a large number of advantages that come with having a whole house water filter system fitted in your home, especially if you use well water.
The benefits that these systems provide aren’t just limited to your health though, but also in keeping your home, pipes, and appliances safe from corrosion.
The Health Factor
Certainly, the most important advantage in using a whole house water filter system is the positive impact it can have on your health. These systems remove dissolved materials, sediments, and kill microorganisms in the water to give you a healthy and safe experience.
The water is filtered in every area of your home according to your personal needs, which means that you and your family can breathe easy knowing that all possible measures have been taken to keep you healthy.
Home and Appliances
Another advantage in using these systems is that they keep your appliances safe. Household electrical appliances that deal with water, like water heaters and washing machines, do not work well with hard water, water with sedimentary deposits, or acidic water. You can greatly increase the lifespan of your appliances with the help of these water filtration systems.
The filter systems are also good for the plumbing health of your house, as your pipes will not have to deal with hard water or acidic water that might clog or corrode them. You can ensure proper water pressure and flow for years, as your pipes will be kept safe from the harmful effects of impure water.
Lastly, a whole house filter system is good for the environment too. If every drop of water that comes into your house is safe for drinking, it removes the need for buying plastic water bottles and other non eco-friendly materials from the house. In a way, you would be doing your part in making the world a greener and cleaner place to live.
Disadvantages in Using Whole House Water Filters
Although whole house well water systems are extremely useful and can help you make your house a cleaner and safer place, they don’t come without their share of disadvantages. In this case, the big disadvantage is their cost.
The Cost of Convenience
Depending on where you live and the quality of the water you’re storing in your well, you might need two or more filtration systems, including a pre-filter and a post-filter for your complete needs. This can get on the expensive side.
Besides this, costs are also added when you talk about the installation of these systems. This won’t just be a simple filter that you can install by yourself in your kitchen. You will need a professional plumber or a team of plumbers to complete these installations for you, which will certainly add to the overall cost of the system.
There’s also the question of water pressure. While these systems will continuously filter water for you, it doesn’t all happen in one smooth motion.
As you might have noticed with reverse osmosis filters, there’s a water flow variable in the equation that can reduce overall water pressure if too many faucets are running at the same time.
To fix this problem, you might have to invest in extra equipment that will, of course, add to your total cost again.
To sum up, although water filtration systems for your whole house can sound like a great idea to help you and your family lead a longer, healthier life, you definitely need to consider the costs that go into such systems, their installation, the equipment, and the extra price that you need to pay for safety.
Whole house well water filter systems are becoming very popular due to their overall approach, their comprehensive filtering strategies, and the safety and peace of mind that they offer. It’s a whole new level of freedom when you can drink the water from any tap in the house.
You should definitely do your research about where you live and the quality of water around you before you decide to get any system installed. The cost of the system should be kept in mind as well, as sometimes the overall price might outweigh the benefits.
If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about similar topics, please feel free to check out our other articles as well.
Wishing you a safe and healthy drinking experience!