CHOOSING A WATER FILTRATION SYSTEM
THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU
Step 1: Decide what Water Treatment issue you want to treat: - There are several factors homeowners and businesses face when considering their water treatment needs. Systems typically fall in one of two categories:
POE (Point of Entry) System – Treats entire home, business, etc.
POU (Point of Use) System – Treats localized problem, drinking water, etc.
Problem Area 1 = Hard Water – Causes scale build up, appliance failure and much more.
Treated with a Water Softener / Water Conditioner / Multi-Media System
Problem Area 2 = Contaminants, Chlorine, Chloramines, Bad Taste, Bad Odor, VOC’s & much More
Treated with Whole Home Water Filtration / Multi-Media System.
Problem Area 3 = Safe Drinking Water – Point of Use
Treated with Filter Systems or Purified Drinking Systems (Reverse Osmosis Systems)
Step 2: Determine Plumbing Requirements:
Do you have a loop? This is necessary for any point of entry system (Softener / Conditioner / Whole Home Filtration / Whole Home Reverse Osmosis) If not, it is recommended to schedule a Free On-Site to determine options and costs:
If there is a loop, what kind is it?
After Market Full Line
After Market Reverse
Hot Water Only
(See below for more details on types of loops)
How do I know if I have a loop?
Normally you will see a section of 3/4" - 1" copper plumbing shaped like the diagram. This typically is located in the garage.
Establishing a loop can range from $500.00 to $1,500.00 or more, with the average around $650.00.
Builders Loop - Loop put in by the builder at the time of construction - With a builder’s loop there is a 99% chance the cold side of the kitchen sink is bypassed. Therefore, the cold-water supply at the kitchen sink will not be treated by any point of entry (POE) whole home system, and you may still want to consider an under-sink point of use (POU) filtration system or reverse osmosis for cooking and drinking water. Depending on the age, and style of the home it is possible to have a re-connect done on the plumbing. A free estimate can be done to determine options and costs. In some cases, to complete this it can be very expensive requiring drywall to be cut open and more.
After Market Full Line - Established after construction of the home, treats entire home - All water supplies lines will be treated. If you are installing any system that uses salt or potassium to soften the water, you may want to consider adding a point of use (POU) system under the sink (reverse osmosis system) to remove any leftover sodium residue from the water. In most cases this can also be connected to the refrigerator (ice line).
After Market Reverse - Established after construction of the home, treats entire home - All water supplies lines will be treated. If you are installing any system that uses salt or potassium to soften the water, you may want to consider adding a point of use (POU) system under the sink (reverse osmosis system) to remove any leftover sodium residue from the water. In most cases this can also be connected to the refrigerator (ice line).
Hot Water Only - Establish after construction and is connected to hot water lines only. (None of the cold-water supply is treated) - In some cases there is no other option depending on the construction, age, and overall cost effectiveness. However, a lot of companies that promote free installation with rentals, or larger priced packages instruct their installers or third-party plumbers to take the path of least resistance. So, they will not put in the time or money to complete a full loop ending up connecting to the hot water only and in a lot of the cases will even put the systems outside. If you the homeowner request something different this in when additional costs come into play. Or if you don't ask, they will not tell you all your options. This is very common when companies sent sales associates to your home and not actual installers.
Some companies promote whole home filtration providing safe drinking water to the entire home eliminating the need for additional water treatment products like a reverse osmosis. A lot of the time this is simply not true. 99% of cooking and drinking water comes from the cold side of the kitchen sink. If the cold side of the kitchen sink is bypassed the water is not treated. Other factors to consider if the cold side is not bypassed is the taste, if you prefer purified water, you more than likely will not be happy. If you purchased purified bottled water, you would want a Reverse Osmosis System. If you purchase mineral or spring water than you will want a filtration system or maybe, consider an Alkaline reverse osmosis system. Additionally, a reverse osmosis system can remove a lot more contaminates than traditional carbon filters even those using KDF 55 or 85. A Reverse Osmosis provided Purified Water, all other systems proved filtered water.
Step 3: Determine Size Requirements for point of Entry Systems:
How do I know what size system I need?
(Based on a Regeneration cycle of every 7 days for most efficient operating parameters)
Take the total number of people in home multiplied by an average gallons per day per person of 75 (national avg.) multiplied by water hardness (20 is avg. for Phoenix and surrounding cities) = daily grain requirements, multiplied by days of recommended regeneration (7) equals unit size.
You should also take into consideration the # of bathrooms and if you have multiple body sprayers and frequency of quests. You should always consider rounding up to the next size unit to cover extra factors plus your system will operate more efficiently using less salt and regenerating less. The difference in costs upfront is minimal and will pay for itself many times over.
Another Quick Rule for the most common sized units is as follows:
32K - 32,000 Grain - 1.0 Cu. Ft. - 9 x 48 - 1 to 3 people
48K - 48,000 Grain - 1.5 Cu. Ft. - 10 x 54 - 3 to 5 people
64K - 64,000 Grain - 2.0 Cu. Ft. - 12 x 52 - 5 to 8 people
Drinking Water Filters/ Reverse Osmosis / Water Coolers / Ice Machines
Does the counter-top need hole drilled for faucet? Ice Line Pre-Plumbed? Electrical and or Drain for Pumps, UV, Ice Machines, Coolers? Free On-Site offered determine options and costs
Specific Contaminants – Fluoride, Arsenic, Lead, Chromium etc.
Some contaminants are expensive to treat, require specific filters and system types.
Whole Home Filtration Notes:
The most common reason homeowners choose a whole home water filtration system, is to remove Chlorine, Bad Taste and Odor. There are a number of specific contaminants that some people also look to remove, therefore the system should be customized to meet your individual needs.
Organics (including VOCs, or "Volatile Organics"). In this category the EPA lists 32 very nasty chemical contaminants — many with familiar names like benzene, dichlorethylene, carbon tetrachloride, dioxin, styrene, toluene, chloroform, and vinyl chloride. To give an idea of the extensiveness of this list, a single one of the 32 items is "Total Trihalomethanes", a category made up of still uncounted chemicals, assumed to number in the thousands that are formed when water containing organic matter (i. e., virtually all water) is treated with chlorine.
Organics category, the primary treatment in all cases and the only recommended treatment in most cases, is activated carbon.
Pesticides category lists 14 familiar poisons such as Aldicarb, Chlordane, Heptachlor, and Lindane. In all 14 cases, activated carbon is the only recommended treatment. Of the 12 Herbicides listed (2,4-D, Atrazine, etc.), activated carbon is the only treatment recommended.
Chlorine removal is what carbon is best at, and nothing else equals carbon's ability to remove chlorine.
What carbon filtration doesn't do can be seen in the remaining three categories of the EPA contaminant list. Carbon is mentioned as a treatment for only one of the four Microbiological contaminants listed: turbidity. It is not recommended for coliform removal or for cysts, though ironically, some of the very tight solid carbon block filters now on the market remove bacteria (though manufacturers seldom make this claim) and cysts like giardia and cryptosporidium quite handily.
The same is true in the Inorganic category. Activated carbon itself appears in the EPA list as a preferred treatment only for mercury, but carbon block filters can also be engineered to remove lead. Some are NSF-certified for lead removal and for asbestos removal. By large, removal of inorganics is the property of reverse osmosis, distillers, and ion exchange systems.
The same is true in the final category, Radionuclides, where carbon is ineffective and reverse osmosis (RO) and ion exchange are definitely the treatments of choice. Radioactive forms of elements are called radionuclides. Some occur naturally in the environment, while others are man-made, either deliberately or as byproducts of nuclear reactions.