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Confused About Whole House Water Filters? Three Little-Known Things You Need to Know

Confused About Whole House Water Filters? Three Little-Known Things You Need to Know

Buying a whole house water filter can seem daunting. You’re making an investment in your health and you want to make sure it’s a smart one. You have questions like "do I need a whole house filter", "do whole house filters remove chlorine", or "does a whole house filter work".

How many times have you thought about getting a whole house filter only to become bogged down with questions and doubts?

And, what happens? Nothing! That’s right. You end up doing nothing because you can’t get your questions answered. It certainly isn’t your fault.

This time, we’ve got you covered. Here are the three little-known things you need to know about whole house filters. Guaranteed to answer your questions and get you on your way.

Let’s start with some quick basics – what is a whole house system and why you need one.

What is a Whole House Water Filter System?

A whole house water filter is installed where your main water line enters your home. By installing it at the entry point, your whole house system will deliver filtered water to all of your taps and appliances including your hot water heater.

Some people wonder if they need to buy a whole house filter for each hot water heater. The answer is no. Even if you have multiple hot water heaters, you do not need multiple whole house filter systems. 

Like drinking water filters, whole house water filter systems come in a variety of filter media including carbon, reverse osmosis, or advanced next-generation filter technology. 

Carbon-based whole house filter systems are the most economical to purchase and maintain compared to the others. Many carbon-based whole house filters are less than $800 and will last at least 300,000 gallons before the main tank needs to be replaced. As a point of reference, an average family of four uses about 100,000 gallons of water each year. 

The most effective carbon whole house filter systems use a three-stage filter system including:

  • Pre-filter to remove sediment, rust, and other large contaminants.
  • Copper-zinc blend designed to remove chlorine as well as lead, mercury, nickel, and other dissolved metals.
  • Carbon/activated carbon filter that will remove dangerous organic compounds (such as VOC’s).

Reverse Osmosis (RO) whole house filters are also available. Whole house RO systems are generally more effective at removing contaminants than carbon-based systems.

Unfortunately, the improved contaminant removal comes at a price. RO systems for the whole house typically run over $4,000, require sizable water storage tanks as large as 300 gallons, and are relatively expensive to maintain.

These systems can produce a significant amount of wastewater and also strip beneficial minerals from your water. The benefit is that you will not require separate drinking water filters at your taps (more on this later). 

Next Generation Technology whole house filters are a third option. Next Generation whole house filters surpass carbon filter performance and can be as effective as RO systems at a lower cost, without wasted water, and without removing beneficial minerals.

Propur Whole House Water Filter is one example of a whole house filter that uses next generation technology. 

As an additional benefit, these whole house filters tend to require a smaller footprint than the RO and carbon whole house systems, so you can continue to park your car in the garage. 

Now that you understand more about whole house water systems, let's discuss why you might need one. 

Why Do You Need a Whole House Filter?

You need a whole house filter for filtered water to every outlet inside your home.


Because your water has treatment/disinfectant chemicals that can become airborne when heated in your shower, bath, dishwasher, or laundry. Studies have shown that when you inhale these airborne chemicals, it can be more dangerous than drinking unfiltered water.

Just think about it. A hot shower can release 50-80% of the chemicals in your water into a steamy vapor that you can inhale.

Kind of scary, right?

I bet you did not know that your dishwasher also releases that same chemical vapor into your indoor air every time you run it.

Using a whole house filter means cleaner, healthier water for drinking, cooking, showering, and bathing, as well as the water used in your dish and clothes washers.

And, it means you and your family are not inhaling dangerous vapors.

Next, let’s talk about three little-known things you need to know and probably don’t!

Three Little-Known Things You Need to Know When Buying a Whole House Filter

1. If you opt for a Carbon-based whole house filter, you need to know if your water department is using chlorine or chloramines to disinfect your water.


Because most carbon-based whole house filters are designed to remove chlorine, but won’t remove chloramines. If your water company uses chloramines then you will need a filter that is specifically designed to remove chloramines.

So how do you find out if your water department is using chlorine or chloramines as the primary disinfectant?

It’s easy. Google your water department’s water quality report. If you see chlorine listed in the report, then you know you to look for a whole house filter that removes chlorine. On the other hand, if you see chloramines listed, then you must find a whole house system that removes chloramines.

Don’t skip this step because 20% of water departments use chloramines as a disinfectant and if you buy the wrong filter, it won’t do you any good!

2. You need to know if the whole house filter has been tested and you need to read the report.

When considering a Whole House filter you should make sure it has been tested by either a certified third-party lab or certified by NSF. 

And, you should also read the water quality test report. Not all filters are equally effective, even filters made with the same media, so you shouldn't assume that all carbon-based whole house systems remove the same contaminants.

The report will show, for each water contaminant, if the filter removes 99% or say 50%. Obviously, the higher the removal rate, the better.

3. Finally, if you opt for a carbon-based whole house filter, you need to know that it is not the best solution for ensuring the purest possible drinking water. So, you’ll need a separate drinking water filter.

You may think this seems crazy but it does make sense. Here’s why.

It’s all about water flow and filtration. With a carbon-based filter, the higher the water flow, the less filtration is possible. If you compare a carbon whole house water filter in terms of the number of contaminants removed to a drinking water filter, the drinking water filter is able to remove many more (in some cases 10 times more) contaminants.

Even though whole house filters use a carbon/activated carbon filter which is also a primary part of most drinking water filters, there is one key difference. Whole house filters must process all the water coming into your home without significantly impeding water flow and typically have a flow rate of at least 6-7 GPM (gallons per minute).

Contrast that with a high-quality drinking water filter that is certified to remove chlorine, chloramines, lead, mercury, MTBE, and VOC’s. That drinking water filter will only have a flow rate of less than 1 GPM. 

In summary, if you opt for the more economical carbon-based whole house solution, then you'll need a separate drinking water filter that removes more contaminants to improve the health of your water. If you opt for an RO or Next Generation whole house filter, then you will not require additional drinking water filters because those types of whole house systems provide superior water filtration. 

Which Drinking Water Filters Are Best For You?

You have many options when it comes to drinking water filters. The solution can be as simple as an effective pitcher or larger countertop filter that you fill with tap water and let gravity do the work.

Or a countertop filter that easily attaches to your non-pull out faucet and delivers filtered water with the turn of a switch. An under counter filter will tap into your cold water line and deliver filtered water to a separate tap. 

Not sure which filter is best for you? Check out our Complete Beginner's Guide to Water Filters. It has a short list of third-party tested and certified water filters. 


Advantages of Carbon-Based Whole House Water Filters

  • Delivers clean chlorine and chloramine-free water for all your household uses, including drinking, cooking, showering and bathing, and cleaning.
  • Reduces risk of inhaling dangerous airborne water disinfectant chemicals
  • Long life filters (3+ years) making them relatively worry-free.
  • Due to the long filter life and lower purchase price, they are a relatively inexpensive way to provide filtered water throughout your home.
  • Is the most effective way to remove chlorine and chloramines from your shower and bath, and eliminates the need for separate shower filters.

Advantages of RO Whole House Water Filters

  • Delivers clean water for all your household uses, including drinking, cooking, showering and bathing, and cleaning.
  • Reduces risk of inhaling dangerous airborne water disinfectant chemicals
  • Eliminates the need for drinking water filters at the tap.

Advantages of Next Generation Whole House Water Filters

  • Delivers clean water for all your household uses, including drinking, cooking, showering and bathing, and cleaning.
  • Reduces risk of inhaling dangerous airborne water disinfectant chemicals
  • Eliminates the need for drinking water filters at the tap.
  • Does not strip beneficial minerals from water
  • Does not create large amounts of wastewater


Advantages of a Drinking Water Filter

  • Ensures clean, pure healthy water for drinking and cooking
  • Removes the contaminants that are typically found in water supplies today.
  • Water that has been processed through a high-quality filter removes contaminants that Carbon-based whole house filters leave behind resulting in the healthiest drinking water.

    Check out our whole house water filters and drinking water filters. All Pure Living Space’s recommendations are certified by a third-party and have the best test results for contaminant removal.



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