The benefits to having a whole house filtration solution versus just “what’s on tap”
When you hear the words “whole house water filtration system”, what comes to mind?
Generational perspective is interesting.
Customers from older generations often feel this is a lofty luxury geared toward younger, wealthy professionals who didn’t spend enough time toughening up their insides on the backyard garden hose as kids.
Conversely, younger consumers tend to consider it an increasingly mandatory health and safety issue as failing municipal water infrastructures and contaminated supply lines make national headlines at an accelerating rate.
Not all contaminants are manmade and not all non-filtered water supplies are dangerous. There are several reasons people may choose to install a whole house water filtration system. They’re also referred to as POE, or point of entry filters, which means the filters are on the main line that runs into the home.
Here’s a closer look at the reasons, solutions, pros and cons of a whole house water filtration system.
Why should you consider whole house water filtration?
Foreign contaminants: It’s just a fact that water is never truly, naturally 100% pure. There are different kinds of biological, chemical, and environmental contaminants in water. They enter the water supply as the water travels through the pipes. The further water is traveling, the greater the odds it will pick up foreign contaminants along the way. Some common contaminants that can end up in a water supply are aluminum, arsenic, lead, mercury, radium, selenium, and silver.
Biological hazards: Bacteria that can make you ill can lurk in your water supply. These include the toxigenic Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Campylobacter, viruses like Norovirus and Hepatitis E, and protozoans like Giardia and Cryptosporidium.
Hard Water Issues: Foreign and biological risks in water aside, just having hard water can be reason enough to get a whole house water filtration system. Hard water is the term given to a water supply that experiences calcium buildup which affects water pressure and overall water quality. It can cause limescale deposits that leave a hard-to-clean, corrosive residue on sink and shower areas and even ruin pipes or other outlets like faucets and showerheads. (It can also do a number on anything you put through the washing machine).
Before we talk about the pros and cons of whole house water filtration, let’s go over the three most common types of systems.
- Reverse osmosis: With reverse osmosis, air pressure forces water through a semi-permeable membrane. This method is highly effective and removes nearly all contaminants from the water supply. Typical output with this type of system is between 50 and 90 gallons per day.
- Activated carbon. This is considered one of the more common and affordable filtration methods. It is most often installed underneath a sink and customers can easily change out the carbon water filter cartridges as often as needed. Carbon filtration is effective in removing a high volume of metals, chemicals, and parasites from tap water.
- Ion Exchange Filters (Water Softeners): This filtration system works off of the “opposites attract” approach. Positively-charged ions are used to attract harmful, negatively-charged ions, such as barium and calcium. Barium is an earth metal that is associated with internal organ damage after long-term exposure. Other ions, such as magnesium and calcium, can damage pipes and produce a bad taste in water.
Here are the Top 5 Pros of Whole Home Water Filtration
1. Safer drinking water: As we’ve already discussed, regular tap water from city and county supply lines come with a variety of potential foreign and biological contaminants. Water filtration systems remove most of the over 2,000 known toxins that can be present in regular drinking water.
2. Cost savings: This is a no brainer, really. If you invest in a whole home water filtration system, you will be filling every glass, reusable sports bottle, and cooking pot with automatically purer water without the cyclical, compounding cost of buying bottled water. To put some quick math behind this, consider the cost of the most affordable and popular filtration system, reverse osmosis. These systems cost between $300 and $500 to install, with new annual filters averaging $50 to $80. If you drink three, 16-ounce bottles of water a day, you will spend about $700 dollars annually (based on 24-bottle packs that cost approximately $5 each). Those savings add up quick and the filtration system essentially pays for itself in less than the first year. Plus, bonus—filtered water just tastes better!
3. Save your pipes, your clothes, and your skin! Reducing the amount of limescale, heavy metals, and chlorine in your water will mitigate corrosion in your pipes, keep your washing machine water from ruining your clothes, and prevent contaminants from irritating your skin. This can also save you money on plumbing repairs because the “hard water” damage that tap-fed appliances usually suffer will be greatly reduced.
4. Keep parasites away: Removing the many microorganisms that live in unfiltered tap water will reduce or eliminate a number of gastrointestinal diseases. You’ve heard the old travelers’ warning “don’t drink the water” when it comes to traveling to countries with substandard drinking water systems? You don’t want to tell guests that in your own home, and a whole home filtration greatly lowers that risk.
5. Living More Earth-Friendly: According to Healthy Human Life (healthyhumanlife.com) Americans buy 29-billion bottles of water a year and, of those, only one in six is properly recycled. Discarded in a landfill or along a road, it can take around 1,000 years for that bottle to decompose. With whole home water filtration, you remove yourself from being part of that problem and join the much needed solution to stemming plastic waste worldwide.
With Every List of Great Pros, Comes Some Full-Disclosure Cons
1. Higher initial investment: Whole house water filtration systems do cost more upfront compared to POU, or point of use, options such as filtered pitchers or in-sink filter attachments.
2. Not always DIY friendly: Given that a whole house filtration system is POE (point of entry) based, it should be done by a licensed, skilled, and insured plumbing professional like the ones at your local Ben Franklin Plumbing.
To give you an idea what it would take to install a POE water filtration unit, here are the basic steps.
- Shutoff the water at main valve, drain the lines
- Select an easy-to-access location for the water filter
- Cut the pipe at the spot where you want to insert the filter
- Install the filter on the line using a compression nut and the included fittings
- Teflon tape can also be used in lieu of the fittings
- Ensure intake and outflow ports face the opposite direction, rotate filter if needed
- Turn OFF inlet valve on the filter
- Release main valve so water flows back to house lines
- Turn inlet valve ON
- Let the water run and inspect for any leaks
As you can see, it’s not at all “plug and play” plumbing. Let the insured, bonded, and certified professionals at Ben Franklin Plumbing address your plumbing concerns correctly, safely, and affordably the first time. We’ve been proudly serving customers in Charlotte and the surrounding area for decades, including Indian Trail, Concord, and Mooresville.