Whole house water filters are an easy and convenient way to get high-quality, great-tasting tap water in your home. These filters hook up to your home’s main water supply, and then after stripping out contaminants, filtered water gets sent to your home’s pipes to feed into your faucets, showerheads, toilets, and appliances. Unlike other water filters that only clean small amounts of water at a time, whole-home systems filter your water on demand. These powerful filters provide far more than just drinking water; they give your entire household clean water to cook and clean with, too. If you are considering a whole house water filter system for your home, then Home Water can help. We’ve done the research on whole house filters, so you don’t have to. Keep reading to discover how these filters work, their benefits, and everything else you need to know before you buy.
How Does a Whole House Water Filter Work
Most homes in the United States and Canada are hooked up to a city water supply. Water typically goes from a water treatment facility where the water gets filtered with chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride to make it safe to drink. While government agencies set guidelines for water safety, these standards are unfortunately not always achieved. According to one report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, over 5 million people across the U.S. have recently been exposed to lead in their water that exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommendations for safe drinking water. 
Sadly, this is just one example of a growing concern with water safety in the U.S. Whole house systems help protect against unsafe water when other safeguards miss the mark. While most homes receive water straight from their city supply, whole-home filters act as an intermediary by connecting directly to your home’s water supply in order to filter out any of the bad stuff before it gets to your pipes. Once installed, your home’s water will run through a filter that was designed to remove a wide range of contaminants, chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals, and hard minerals. Most modern water filtration systems for your home will take advantage of a multi-step process that may include water softening, an activated carbon filter, and a reverse osmosis filter. The filtered water that is produced as a result offers many advantages for your health as well as the integrity of your home’s pipes, faucets, and appliances.
Whole House Water Softener
Water softeners and water conditioners are among the most common whole-home water filtration systems. Water softeners are used to reduce water hardness and scale buildup in your home. If your water is too hard, you may have noticed calcium buildup on things like your showerhead in the form of a white, chalky substance that is difficult to remove. Eliminating calcium from your water will make it “soft.” One way you can tell if your water is soft is from that soapy, or slimy feel the water has when you bathe or wash your hands. Traditional water softeners use a process of ion exchange where calcium and magnesium ions in the water get exchanged for sodium ions from salt. This process is the reason you need to refill water softeners with those heavy bags of salt. Other whole house filters use a similar process that conditions that water. Water that is conditioned binds calcium and magnesium molecules so that they won’t stick to surfaces like pipes and faucets. One advantage of water conditioning is that you will not need any salt to make it work, requiring less maintenance and upkeep for the homeowner.
Whole House Water Filter Installation
Installing a whole house water filter is relatively easy and many whole house water filters will offer affordable, and sometimes even free, installation when you purchase them. Every water filter for your home will be different depending on the size and complexity of the system. However, most can be installed using an install kit and following the seven steps below. 
Step 1: Choose a location for your filter.
Step 2: Shut off your main water supply and let the system drain.
Step 3: Cut your pipes and install a new shut off valve.
Step 4: Place in the new fittings for your filter.
Step 5: Install your filter and secure your fittings.
Step 6: Turn your water back on and check for any leaks.
Step 7: Replace the filter cartridges as needed.
Whole House Water Filter Benefits
Whole house water filters are increasingly popular for many reasons. Some of the benefits of filtering your water with an entire house system include advantages for your health, home, and pocketbook.
Better Health for You & Your Family
Everyone needs water to survive, but contaminated water can actually harm your health. Filtering your water at home with a whole house filter will give you peace of mind that you and your family are always drinking pure H2O. If you are unsure about your home’s water quality, you can always perform a water test to be sure. High-quality filters using the latest technology will help ensure your water never has significant amounts of the following: 
Protection for Your Home
Water with extra stuff in it is not only bad for your health, but it can also cause damage to your home. Hard water minerals can damage your pipes, faucets, showers, and appliances. That’s because calcium and other minerals stick to nearly any surface they touch, and over time buildup and cause damage and wear. Softening or conditioning your water can prevent buildup and may extend the life of your home’s pipes and water fixtures. 
Substantial Cost Savings
There are several ways that using a whole house water filter will help save you money. In addition to possibly helping extend the life of your home’s pipes, it could help your family save hundreds of dollars on bottled water costs every year. Additionally, many whole house filters have low yearly maintenance costs and can be more cost-effective than some other filter alternatives.
Whole House Water Filter Cartridge
Whole house water filters will probably require a filter cartridge. These filter cartridges are usually carbon-blocks or activated carbon filters. These filter types absorb chemicals, minerals, and other contaminants, and will need to be replaced periodically to maintain their effectiveness, similar to a refrigerator or a pitcher filter you may already be using at home. 
Whole House Water Filter Replacement
Every filter type will have a different lifespan, and if your whole house filter employs multiple stages, each using a different kind of filtration, then you will be replacing filters at different times throughout the lifespan of your system. Below are some of the average expected use times for different filters. How long your filters last will vary on your filter type and brand and the water supply it is connected to. 
Entire Whole Home System: 3-10 years
Sediment pre-filter cartridge: 3-6 months
Activated carbon filter cartridge: 3-6 months
Salt-free water softener: 5-6 years
Reverse osmosis filter: 2-5 years
Post-filter: 3-6 months
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- Khazan, Olga. “The Trouble With America’s Water.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 11 Sept. 2019, www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/09/millions-american-homes-have-lead-water/597826/.
- “How to Install a Whole-House Water Filter.” DIY, www.diynetwork.com/how-to/skills-and-know-how/plumbing/how-to-install-a-whole-house-water-filter.
- “Choosing Home Water Filters & Other Water Treatment Systems.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/home-water-treatment/water-filters/step3.html.
- Dennis, Tom. “Does a Water Softener Hurt Your Plumbing System?” Home Guides | SF Gate, 7 Oct. 2016, homeguides.sfgate.com/water-softener-hurt-plumbing-system-96097.html.
- “Filtration Facts.” Environmental Protection Agency(EPA). https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-11/documents/2005_11_17_faq_fs_healthseries_filtration.pdf.
- “How Often Should I Replace the Filter in My Whole House Water Filter?” Filter Butler Blog, filterbutler.com/blog/how-often-should-i-change-the-water-filter/.