How to Choose a Water Filter for the Home
The most important aspect of choosing a water filter for the home is to know what you’re trying to remove. Physical, chemical, biological, and radiological contaminants can all be found in water supplies. Your water may contain sediment, chlorine, heavy metals, salts, pesticides, bacteria, viruses, parasites, radon, uranium, and/or a whole variety of other contaminants.
Safe, healthy water requires a relatively small investment in a good home water filter system. Keep reading to find out how to choose a home water filter system that will improve your water quality.
Know Your Water Source
Your water is likely to come from a private well / cistern, or a public system. Knowing where your water comes from is important because the quality of your particular water supply affects your filtering needs.
Here are three ways to find out what’s in your water:
- Home water test – Home testing kits vary in price, quality, and what they test for. You can purchase a water testing kit online or at a home improvement store. Some water test kits from online and big-box stores are pretty worthless, so be sure the test is qualified and processed by a certified lab. Click here to find a certified laboratory (with contact information) by state.
- Water quality test from your water supplier – Water utility companies and suppliers in America are required to conduct routine water tests and issue an annual drinking water quality report. This report indicates some of the contaminants found in the supply and which chemicals are used for disinfection. Keep in mind they do not test for all contaminants and your water may pick up other contaminants before it comes out your tap.
- EWG Tap Water Database – The EWG Tap Water Database was last updated in 2019. This tool still works to check your water quality by zip code however, keep in mind the data only reflects 2019 or before. Water quality may have changed significantly since then so your best bet is to contact your water supplier for the most recent water quality report.
We offer a free analysis of your water test results to check it over and make equipment recommendations. Please send your water test results to email@example.com, and we’ll look over the water test results and send you some recommendations.
If your water comes from a public system or a private well / cistern, there are different issues that could impact which water filter system is best suited for you.
For example, if you get your water from a public or municipal source, they may put chlorine in the water to kill bacteria which causes an undesirable chlorine smell and taste. You may therefore want a water filter system with a carbon block cartridge which reduces and/or removes chlorine taste and odor.
Whereas if your water comes from a private well, there may be bacteria present and therefore you need a very tight water filter capable of reducing and removing bacteria such as ultrafiltration or a reverse osmosis system.
(Chlorine and bacteria are not the only issues associated with either water source).
Why do you want a water filter?
Another important consideration in choosing a home water filter system is your reasons for wanting a water filter. Some common reasons include:
- Taste and odor
- Remove contaminants for safer water
- Get rid of water spots and stains
- Reduce plastic waste / stop buying bottled water
- Clothes not getting clean during washing
- Shower ruining my hair and skin
By identifying why you want a water filter, it will help determine whether you need a whole house system or a drinking water filter. Your reasons for wanting a water filter will also influence what type of filter media will address these concerns.
Decide between drinking water filter, whole house filter, or both
It’s important to consider how the filter fits your home and budget. Deciding between a drinking water filter, whole house system, or having both is a fundamental decision.
Whole house water filtration systems connects to the main point where water enters the property and provides filtered water all around the house. It improves the taste, odor, look, and safety of the water you drink and use in your home.
Drinking water filters come in a few different designs with different capabilities. Examples of drinking water filters include water filter pitchers, refrigerator filter, faucet-mounted filters, faucet-integrated filters, countertop filters, and under-sink filters. Drinking water filters provide filtered water for drinking and cooking.
Advantages of Whole House Water Filtration Systems
- Convenience. A whole house water filter system treats water as soon as it enters your home. This means you’ll have high-quality filtered water whether you’re using your kitchen faucet, taking a shower, or doing laundry. A single filter system takes care of all your water needs, versus installing a filter for each tap in your home.
- Cost Efficiency. One filter system means less time and money spent on maintenance compared to several water filters throughout your home. Ditch the pitcher filter or faucet filter- these are cheap, temporary solutions that do not deliver the safest, cleanest water possible. The replacement cartridges on pitcher filters and faucet filters may need to be changed frequently (monthly) and can cost more than a whole house system in the long run.
- Filtration for all your water issues. Whole house water filtration system may be single-stage or multi-stage depending on your water issues. By combining filtration methods or filter media you can eliminate a huge range of contaminants that other types of home water filters may not be able to get rid of.
Advantages of Drinking Water Filters
- Compact. Drinking water filters are more compact than whole house filtration systems. They can be installed under your kitchen sink so they stay out of sight and don’t take up useful space in your kitchen.
- Easy installation and set-up. Although installing an under sink water filter may require some basic plumbing skills, it’s easily done and most times no plumber is required. Water filter pitchers, faucet-mounted filters, faucet-integrated filters, and on-counter filters require even less effort getting them set up.
- Cost-efficient. A drinking water filter typically costs less than a whole house system. Water filter pitchers and faucet-mounted filters are the cheapest, followed by faucet-integrated filters and countertop filters, and under sink water filter systems are the more expensive. Keep in mind the filtration capabilities between drinking water filters varies greatly so sometimes, you get what you pay for (and not in a good way).
- Variety. There’s a variety of under sink water filters, water filter pitchers, faucet-mounted filters, faucet-integrated filters, and countertop filters available. These filters range from simple to advanced filtration capabilities, and may target specific contaminants that are dangerous or may make tap water undrinkable.
As you’ve probably noticed, there are a lot of different types of filters on the market. Determining which type is best for you depends on what functions you want a filter to provide.
Do Your Research and Compare Systems
Hopefully this article has provided some food for thought into picking a home water filter system. Once you know what you want to filter out, and whether you want a whole house or a drinking water filter system, you should begin to research specific systems. In the product description, be sure to thoroughly review the list of contaminants that the water filter can remove.
If you need any help in choosing a water filter for your home, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re an independent, family owned and operated business that has been solving water filtration problems since 1997.