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What is Whole House Water Filter and How Does it Work?

Tap water has a bad reputation.

Which is where a good water filter comes into place.

A whole house water filter is a filtration system that can decontaminate all the water used at home since it’s installed either right at the water tank or connected to the main pipe.

It works by running several stages of filtration from the water’s main point of entry so pollutants, chemicals and pathogens from the local water source would not stand a chance to even reach the whole house pipeline.

Do you want to know the truth on what is a whole house water filter and how does it work?

These five facts may help you go with the right flow so your money won’t go down the drain.

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Fact#1: Not Every Home could use a Whole House Water Filter

In Europe and North America, clean water just gets flushed in the toilet. In fact, you can drink water straight from any faucet in countries like New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland and the UK.

If you live in a country where tap water is better than bottled, getting a whole house water filter could do you more harm than good.

But in most countries, tap water has a questionable reputation.

PFAS—widely used chemicals in nonstick pans and shoes—are contaminating water in parts of Australia and the US. Elsewhere, treated tap water isn’t 100% safe.

National Geographic revealed that a host of natural disasters, chemical spills and industrial accidents can leave even filtered water contaminated after getting processed from treatment plants.

Drinking contaminated water or even bathing in one could lead to health problems; from skin diseases and kidney failure to cancer.

Could your tap water be contaminated? Don’t get a whole house water filter yet. Not until you read the next facts.

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Fact#2: There is No 100% effective whole house water filter system

A whole house water filter system is designed to remove specific contaminants but never a 100% decontamination.

The type of impurities a filter can handle depends on the water treatment technology.

Here’s an overview of the widely-used filtration methods from CDC:

filtration methods

Fact#3: The Best Whole house filter system depends on your needs

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that the most effective choice for PFAS-tainted tap water is a reverse osmosis technology with an activated carbon filter.

But what if you only want to soften your tap water laden with minerals? Any stage of filtration with an ion exchange filter is the wiser choice.

Reverse osmosis offers the most effective filtering but it’s also the most expensive. Carbon filters can reduce contaminants but it needs constant replacement.

Some filters use a combination of technologies, while others rely on just one or two stages of filtration. The bottom line: there is no single best answer on what is the best whole house water filter.

But the first step in finding the right one for you is on the next fact.

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Fact#4: Compare filter Systems only after you get your Water tested

Start by checking if a consumer confidence report from your municipality is available online. Often, the EPA does a handy job of posting water reports.

You can also test your water yourself by buying test kits or by sending samples of your tap water to a certified lab for analysis.

Whatever species is lurking in your water, you can scout around for different brands (especially online) and enter the filter’s model number on the NSF site to check out the list of contaminants it can filter.

The point is, when you know the contaminants present in your tap water, shopping around for a whole house filter system can be easier.

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Fact#5: Don’t buy a whole house filter system if you can’t maintain it

Maybe you found out that you have hard water at home which is everything but healthy. Or test shows your tap water is high in volatile organic compounds which are deadly.

A whole house water system is right for you.

But it’s not just complex, it’s also costly. Hundreds to thousands of dollars are required for a professional installation and to modify your household plumbing.

Finally, all filtering systems work the same way in one aspect—they require constant maintenance. Cartridges need to be replaced or they won’t work when clogged.

Wash away your Worries

Know the facts before buying a water filter. When you do get a whole house water filter, read the fine print. Water is life and life is in the smallest of details.

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