Everything You Need to Know About Water Filtration for Your Home
Even if the water that comes out of your sink and shower looks and smells clean, it may not be. Microscopic contaminants can make water taste bad or even be unsafe to drink.
Instead of buying bottled water, you can solve this problem and drink straight from the tap with a home water filtration system. Why is water filtration important, and are whole-home filtration systems worth it? In this guide from the water experts at Jeffco Enterprises, we’ll explore everything you need to know about your home’s water filtration.
Why Is Water Filtration Important?
Before your drinking water reaches your home, it passes through several water filtration systems. These ensure that you get clean water directly from your tap, but are they effective enough to provide safe drinking water for your family? And don’t assume that bottled water is better — studies have shown that they’re roughly equal in quality.
Water will always contain trace elements of minerals, heavy metals, and yes, even bacteria. It’s not the presence but the concentration of these elements that affect how safe your drinking water really is. When governmental water filtration systems fail, your next recourse is a whole-house water filter system that provides clean drinking water throughout your entire home.
Potential Contaminants in Your Drinking Water
Most water analysis tests look at the overall quality of the water. They analyze the amount of chlorine, total dissolved solids, and other trace elements that can affect your water quality. A good water quality test will test for:
- Total dissolved solids
- Turbidity – total undissolved solids
- Magnesium and calcium, which cause hard water
- Ferric and ferrous iron
- Bacterial iron
- Hydrogen sulfide
Many of these elements may not have health implications, but they can affect the taste and usefulness of the water. For instance, excess magnesium and calcium won’t affect your health, but they will affect your ability to clean your home effectively.
Frequently Asked Questions
The type of filter you choose will depend on the contaminants found in your water. In most cases, you don’t need completely pure, 100% distilled water, so focus on the water filtration systems that are most effective for your situation.
- Mechanical filters remove large physical particles by placing a barrier that catches these particles, leaving behind clean water. Mechanical filters vary in pore size, which will determine how effective they are. Large 5-micron pores will remove visible sediment and dirt but will let bacteria and other small particles through. 0.5-micron pores will block everything, including bacterial spores.
- Absorption filters are great at removing chemical contaminants that can affect your water’s taste and smell. The most common absorption filter is activated carbon that can trap chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, and many other chemicals.
- Sequestration filters isolate a substance, either by causing it to remain in solution or precipitate out.
- Ion exchange filters are used in water softeners. These filters use negatively charged salt ions (sodium or potassium chloride) to attract and remove calcium and magnesium from the water. While these filters do add a bit of salt to the water, the health impact of sodium from a water softener is negligible.
- Reverse osmosis filters use water pressure to force water through the semipermeable membrane while leaving the contaminants behind. Osmosis is a process by which water through a membrane to equalize salt concentrations. Reverse osmosis effectively removes biological, chemical, and physical contaminants, making it a great option for the cleanest water possible.
- UV filters sterilize water by inactivating any bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Hospitals often use similar filters to sanitize air. You can also install a UV filter in your water supply, which won’t remove any physical or chemical particles but will ensure that your water contains no potential pathogens.
The cost of installing water filtration systems varies dramatically, ranging from $900 to $10,000. The reason for this variance is because different homes need different filtration systems. If you have water that tastes like chlorine, you only need an activated charcoal filter. If you want to go for the highest-quality purification, consider reverse osmosis. Although it is very effective, the efficiency comes with a higher price tag.
You also need to consider whether you want a whole-house water filter system or whether you would prefer filters on your drinking water faucets. The more complex the system, the higher the total installation cost.
Different water filtration systems have different maintenance schedules. Mechanical and activated charcoal filters need regular filter replacement but don’t require much servicing otherwise. In general, sediment and charcoal filters need replacing every six to twelve months, even more often if you have heavily contaminated water.
More complex systems, such as reverse osmosis water filtration systems, require yearly preventative maintenance. This maintenance ensures the unit runs smoothly and optimally, extending its lifespan and increasing its efficiency. You will also need to replace the semipermeable membrane every two to five years, depending on the water quality and total dissolved solids in your area.
While you may have heard both terms used interchangeably, they refer to two very different systems. Water filtration systems remove most impurities from water using a system of filtration methods. Water softening specifically targets excess magnesium and calcium, which cause hard water.
Home Water Filtration in Pennsylvania
Water filtration systems can be as simple or complex as you need them to be. If you’re unsatisfied with your water quality, give Jeffco Enterprises a call at (412) 221-4153. We’ve helped hundreds of Pennsylvania households get better water, and we’d love to do the same for you!