Whole House Water Filtration Systems

whole house water filter system

Although a whole house water filter system sounds complicated, it's actually simple. It is a point-of-entry filtration system that filters water as it enters a house. This means that not only your drinking and cooking water,  but all the water that you use in the home is filtered.

Looking into whole house water filter systems is somewhat confusing. Go to any search engine and you'll turn up results for $50 filtration systems and $2,000 systems. On top of initial cost, figure in the cost of installation for top-of-the-line units and, if you aren't moderately skilled at plumbing, some of the other units as well. Here is a look at what is on the market categorized by function and price (since the two are so closely related.)

Why Invest in a Whole House Water Filter?

At the very least, a whole house water filter system will remove sediment from the water. The best (and most expensive) systems also soften water; utilize carbon filters; and have a multi-stage filtering process that removes microbiological chemicals, inorganic chemicals, radiologicals, and a whole host of other contaminants.

Minerals in water not only taste and smell bad, but they also cause scale, a build-up that can ruin tub and shower walls and reduce the life of a house's plumbing, water-based appliances, and fixtures. How do you know what chemicals are in your water? If you have a well, you'll have to ask a professional analysis. If you are on a municipal service, the water company should be able to provide you with its latest analysis.

Sediment-Only Whole House Water Filter System

For less than $100, you can purchase a filter that will strain out sediment such as silt, dust, rust and sand. The high end models have self-cleaning filters, but less expensive versions come with disposable filters which need changing twice a year. Filters are about $30, depending on brand and quality.

Moderate Filtration

One of the most common complaints among those who use municipal water is that it has a chlorine taste and odor. Chlorine is the most common disinfectant used to treat water, so it's no wonder that it is such a common complaint. For $200-400, homeowners can get a whole-house water filter system that not only removes larger sediment, but also removes the chlorine taste and odor. These units are often self-cleaning, so no need to spend money on filters. 

Top-of-the-Line Water Filtration

For $700 to $5,000, homeowners can buy a system with superior filtering capabilities that ensure the purest water. These units:

  • soften the water
  • take out sediment
  • remove chlorine as well as industrial chemicals, pesticides, VOCs, radon, nitrates and more.

Because they have multiple stages of filtration, the units are bigger and require more space. You usually must replace a pre-filter sediment filter every 6 months and the filtration media (typically carbon) or the entire tank every 3-5 years. Associated costs and maintenance vary greatly. A pre-filter for sediment generally runs from between $10 and $20 per filter, but replacing the filtering media on the main unit can cost anywhere from $150 to $650 to replace. 

Benefits of a Whole-House Water Filtration System

1. Get great-tasting drinking water

2. Extend the life of your home appliances and fixtures that use water

3. Smooth and soften your hair and skin by bathing in filtered water

Consumer Tips

  • Before you buy, do plenty of research to make sure you aren't paying for features you don't need.

  • When researching and shopping for a whole-house water filter system, look for models that are NSF or UL Certified to be sure that claims are accurate.

  • Have your filter system installed by an experienced, licensed plumber.
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