What is the best whole house water filter for me?
That's a great question! Firstly, let's discuss a few details...
The purpose of a whole house water filter is to reduce contaminants in the household water supply. By installing the filter right at the point where the water enters the house, all water used in the building passes through the filter system, whether from a tap in the kitchen to the bathrooms.
Generally, to filter all water in the house means the filter cartridges won't be as fine as you would find under a kitchen sink, for example, because it is very important to keep the flow rates up - if your filter is too fine (lower micron rating) then this could reduce the flow too much.
Whilst there is no exact specification, it is widely accepted that a flow rate of at least 30-40 Lpm (litres per minute) is required for whole house use. Depending on the size of the house and the number of water outlets, if the flow rate is too low then you are likely to find annoying fluctuations when taking a shower and another tap is opened. Naturally, the larger the house the more chance of multiple taps being used concurrently!
Another factor which affects this is the pipe size. Larger pipes mean less drop in water pressure, so Plumm Water's whole house filters systems use 1" BSP (25mm) or 1.5" BSP (40mm) ports - this really helps. If you use a small filter with 3/4" BSP (20mm) connections for whole house use, you'll very likely regret it.
Remember, the water flowing through the filter housings is usually under high pressure, and it is often a legal requirement to use only WaterMark approved filter housings. This means they have been certified as being 'fit for purpose' - installation of a non-WaterMark approved system can potentially result in an insurance company rejecting a claim for damage in the event of a failure.
When filtering all water in the home, it's best to use a filter system which has two housings and cartridges. Usually one cartridge is to reduce sediment, and the other to reduce taste and odour. Here's a tip - always install the sediment cartridge prior to the carbon cartridge, because the sediment ones are usually cheaper!
Selection of the correct whole house filter cartridge is very important. There is no 'one size fits all' solution.
If you're using rainwater, generally you will have a pressure pump supplying the house, which you need to take into consideration, because any filter will have an effect on flow and pressure.
One of the great advantages of rainwater is you wouldn't expect there to be chlorine in your water, so you can use a carbon cartridge which has less carbon and offers higher flow rates (i.e. provides less resistance to flow). It's still important to select the right type of carbon - Plumm carbon cartridges use premium carbon derived from coconut, not cheap and dirty 'coal carbon' which often releases carbon fines into your water. The pleated carbon cartridges used in Plumm's whole house water filters are specifically designed for rainwater, where you may need to remove some taste, colour and odour due to the organic nature of rainwater.
Rainwater also tends to contain organic sediment (such as dirt and plant matter which lands on your roof) and potentially some rust. To reduce these particles, a pleated sediment filter is best. By using a pleated cartridge, you can maintain higher flow rates and also go longer between filter replacements. Plumm recommends washable pleated cartridges for rainwater - these can be simply removed, rinsed, air-dried and replaced - further reducing maintenance costs.
If the biological quality of the rainwater is unknown, it's a good idea to use a proven Ultra Violet (UV) system after the water has passed through the filter cartridges.
For a mains water application, you may find the water supply to be smelly, distasteful and potentially containing sediment. Different cartridges are used for mains water, due to the higher pressure and different contaminants present.
Chlorine taste and smell in water is often the biggest issue for homeowners using mains water (town water). To address this, a special type of carbon cartridge is used, which reduces chlorine taste and odour. The Plumm whole house water filter systems for mains water (designated with '-M') use the innovative 'Silver Carbon Block' series cartridges which incorporate anti-bacterial silver to reduce the possibility of bacteria buildup on the cartridge. These cartridges also use the premium coconut carbon for the ultimate in clean, healthy water!
Whilst mains water has already been filtered, it often contains sediment. This can be due to maintenance at the treatment plant, damaged & rusting pipes (some pipes are over 100 years old!) and disturbance of pipework (due to roadworks, new subdivisions etc). To reduce this, a polypropylene cartridge (which doesn't impart taste) is often used. In Plumm whole house systems, a 'Graded Depth Cartridge' is specified. These cartridges for water filters give higher sediment loading capacities (i.e. they hold more sediment before requiring replacement) than traditional cartridges, which reduces maintenance costs.
One of the great benefits of the Plumm whole house water filter systems is the cartridges can easily be swapped out and are not brand-specific - which means you can customise the set-up to your unique requirements!
If you're still not sure which is the best water filter for you, please contact us now - we're always happy to help!