Does a Whole House Filter Really Make Water Safer to Drink?

Regardless of whether you have a municipal or private well water supply, you are likely to have concerns about your water quality. Poor water quality has been hitting the headlines in recent months and years, with events like the water crisis in Flint, Michigan highlighting the issues we can face. So, it seems inevitable that many homeowners are considering water treatment systems, particularly whole house filters, but do they really make your water safer to drink?

The Importance of Water Testing:Does a Whole House Filter Really Make Water Safer to Drink?

Before you even consider installing a whole house filter, you need to understand the issues that are affecting your water quality. Whole house filters are only effective when they are tailored to suit the specific needs of your water supply. You won’t gain the benefits of a water treatment system designed to eliminate iron if you have a hydrogen sulfide problem. This is why it is vital that you have your water supply tested properly. If you have a municipal water supply, your utility company should send you a yearly report that lists the contaminant types and levels that have been found in your water. The report also typically lists the EPA limits for each pollutant to ensure that your supply complies with these standards.

If you have a private well water supply, you will need to arrange for water testing. Most well owners are aware that their water has certain characteristics such as odd smells, colors or an unclear appearance. Unfortunately, many contaminants do not affect the aesthetic appearance of your water. Laboratory testing can also confirm the levels of any contaminants to provide an accurate assessment of your water quality.

What Can a Whole House Filter Really Treat?

There is a wide variety of whole house filtration systems that can be used to treat a myriad of water quality issues. Softener units use ion exchange to remove scale and some types of mineral from your water supply. Unfortunately, chemicals, chlorine, bacteria and heavy metals will not be removed by this type of device.

Activated carbon whole house filters can be used to remove most of the common chemicals that are found in tap water including disinfectant products such as chloramine or chlorine that are added at municipal water treatment facilities. Even when they are in low levels, these chemicals can add an unpalatable taste to water and may even cause allergic reactions or skin rashes.

Many consumers opt for a reverse osmosis system that uses a membrane filter that can eliminate up to 99% of water contaminants. RO systems can effectively remove e.coli, giardia, salmonella, cryptosporidium and other types of bacteria that can be harmful to health. Although these forms of bacteria are usually eliminated by disinfection at the municipal facilities, they can infiltrate water supplies if a water main breaks or the supply is compromised by accidental water siphoning or leaks.

If you are thinking about a whole house water filter, you should speak to a water treatment professional. An experienced and fully WQA certified technician can not only assess your water quality, but also guide you through the myriad of options on the market that meet the industry standards to address your specific water quality issues.

By Mark Williams (NicMar President Mark Williams holds degrees in Applied Science and Industrial Thermodynamics, along with Agricultural Mechanization and Systems Engineering from Ohio State University. He also holds the highest possible industry ranking, being WQA (Water Quality Association) LEVEL 6 Certified.)

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Nicmar Water
999 Baltimore Road York SpringsPA17372 USA 
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