Should You Choose a Whole House Water Filter or Reverse Osmosis System?

If you are considering a water treatment device for your home, you may be struggling to decide between a whole house water filter or reverse osmosis system. So, here we will explore these two types of systems to help you to make an informed decision.

The Basics: Should You Choose a Whole House Water Filter or Reverse Osmosis System?

The most obvious difference between these two types of system is that reverse osmosis is a POU or point of use system, while a whole house system is a POE or point of entry system. Point of use means that the system is installed in one location, typically under your kitchen sink to treat the water used for drinking and preparing meals. As the name suggests point of entry systems are installed where the main water line enters the home, so the entire home’s water supply is treated.

The Implications of POU vs. POE:

Whole house or POE systems are designed to treat the water used for general purposes such as bathing, cleaning, and laundry. These filters can be used to treat contaminants with a micron size as small as 10 microns. This means that you can eliminate hard water minerals, iron, and many other contaminants that can have a detrimental effect around your home. Many consumers notice unpleasant effects of poor quality water in bathrooms in the form of scale or staining or staining on laundry and dishes. In these types of scenario, a point of use system would not provide any measurable benefit.

An RO point of use system is designed for a more specialized purpose; to improve drinking water quality. The membrane filter inside an RO system can eliminate up to 99% of the contaminants found in water supplies, including disinfectants, minerals, heavy metals and even bacteria. The filtration size of an RO system can be as small as 0.0001 micron, so it can deliver a pure source of water for drinking and preparing meals. This can provide an immediate improvement in drinking water quality, but would not impact the water quality in other areas of your home.

The Importance of Water Testing:

Before you can make a decision about which type of water treatment system is best suited to your home, you need to understand your water quality. If you have a municipal water supply, your utility company should send you a water quality report each year, detailing the levels of contaminants in your water supply and whether they are compliant with the EPA contaminant levels. If you have a private well water supply, you will need to arrange for laboratory testing to assess the levels of contaminants in your water.

Once you have established what contaminants are affecting your water quality, you can then assess the type of system that would be best suited to your needs. For example, if you have traces of disinfectant in your water, remaining after it has been treated by the utility company, this may make the water taste unpalatable, but not be detrimental in other areas of your home. In this scenario, a point of use device is likely to be sufficient. On the other hand, if you have significant iron levels in your water supply, it may not only have a metallic taste, but could leave stains on your bathroom fixtures, dishes, and laundry. This means that a whole house system would be needed to solve these 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.)

Print Friendly
Nicmar Water
999 Baltimore Road York SpringsPA17372 USA 
 • 800-542-8649

Water Solution Center

Educational Center