Safe, clean drinking water is vital to the health of you and your family and a quality water filter will remove harmful contaminants. Not only does this make the water safe for consumption, but it also improves the taste.
You have a lot of options for home water filters. Although each type has its pros and cons, a whole house water filter is one of the very best.
This type of water filtration system actually connects to your home’s main water line – so that all of your water outlets (sinks, showers, laundry, etc) provide filtered water.
Here’s what you need to know to buy the best whole house water filter.
Editor’s Choice Best Whole House Water Filter
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- 1 The Best Whole House Water Filter Reviews Of 2020
- 2 What is a Whole House Water Filter?
- 3 Why Do You Need a Whole House Water Filter?
- 4 How Does a Whole House Water Filter work?
- 5 Whole House Water Systems Installation & Maintenance
- 6 Pre-Purchase Considerations
- 7 Final Thoughts
The Best Whole House Water Filter Reviews Of 2020
1). iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System :
This whole house water filter from iSpring is highly regarded for its featured packed design and stellar performance.
It’s based on a three-stage filtration system to more effectively remove contaminants (including chlorine, pesticides, solvents, sediment, and more) from your home’s water supply.
Like all whole house water filters, this model hooks up to your home’s main water line to supply your entire home with clean, safe drinking water. Despite its superior filtering ability, this device only removes the bad stuff from your water. It leaves healthy minerals in the water system. There’s a minimal impact on water flow and water pressure.
The three-stage filtration system utilizes a polypropylene sediment filter and CTO Carbon Block filters to efficiently filter, on average, up to a one-year supply of water for a family of four before changing the filters.
The only downside is the filtration system’s bulk – it’s a big device. Make sure you have room for it before purchasing. DIY installation can also be time-consuming, so most users hire a professional.
The iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage is an efficient, effective, and low-maintenance whole house water filter for those with larger homes.
2). Aquasana Whole House Water Filter :
Aquasana is a leading name in the water filtration industry – and their whole house water filter exceeds the high standard set by the company.
Although it’s available in a number of models (including a more affordable 5-year model), our review is focused on the 10-year model with water softener, UV filtration, and professional installation kit.
What this means is that the filter lasts for up to 10 years. It’s capable of filtering 1,000,000 gallons of water for your entire house, that’s a lot of capacity.
The system removes 97% of chlorine, 99.99% of bacteria, and other major contaminants from your home water supply. The addition of the water softener filter helps protect your home’s pipes and plumbing fixtures from damage.
A major feature of this filter unit is the dual tank design for more efficient filtration. The double tanks also prevent clogs and other problems.
Although their products, including this one, are top-notch, Aquasana has a reputation for lackluster customer service – which is a potentially big negative if you have a problem with this whole house filtration system.
The Aquasana 10-Year Whole House Water Filter comes with everything you need for clean, drinking water in a small, easy-to-install package. The catch is potentially difficult customer service.
3). Home Master HMF3SDGFEC Whole House 3-Stage Water Filter :
This whole house water filter from Home Master is a burly device with over sized filters.
It utilizes a three-stage filter, including replaceable carbon fiber filters, to provide clean drinking water for a family of four for up to one whole year before replacement.
The device filters down to 1 micron, effectively removing 95% of contaminants to improve safety and increase taste in your home’s water supply.
Like all whole house water filters, it connects directly to your home’s water supply so that every tap or outlet in your home pumps out safe, clean water for many months before maintenance is required.
The key difference between this filtration system and other filter systems is the large fittings. 1-inch ports in the filter allow for higher water flow and water pressure than seen in almost any other device in this class.
Although there are very few negatives to this Home Master filter, one that did stick out is the inclusion of some plastic fittings. Not only are these prone to damage, but they also have a higher potential for leaking.
Quality is everything when it comes to this Home Master three-stage water filter. It’s built from the ground up with performance and durability in mind. It’s perfect for anyone looking for a simple, straightforward whole house filter with an all but indestructible design.
4). 3M Aqua-Pure Whole House Water Filtration System :
This 3M Aqua-Pure water filter is a simple, scaled-down take on a whole house filtration system.
Although it performs much the same task as the other whole house filters on this list, it does so in a much smaller (and far easier to install package).
It’s important to note, however, that this is a single-filter device. It does not incorporate a 3-stage filter system like many other whole house systems.
Despite the single filter, the 3M Aqua-Pure Whole House System is still highly effective at removing contaminants from your water, particularly chlorine.
The company itself recommends pairing this water filter with a pre-filter system that enables it to catch more dirt, dust, and sediment for even cleaner, healthier drinking water.
One major benefit of this particular whole house water filtration system is the massive flow rate. It provides almost 20 gallons of water per minute.
Those looking for a simple, straightforward, easy-to-install solution to whole house water quality should look into this filtration system from 3M Aqua-Pure.
5). Home Master HMF2SMGCC Whole House 2-Stage Water Filter
Another top-notch whole house water filter from Home Master, the HMF2SMGCC utilizes a two-stage rather than a three-stage filter.
It’s two-stage filtration system is capable of filtering water from 25 microns to 1 micron to eliminate the bulk of harmful contaminants.
Like all Home Master products, this device is built to last. It’s constructed from durable fittings to ensure it keeps your family’s drinking water clean from years to come.
Another highlight is the high flow rate. Thanks to the massive filter housing, the device provides very high flow rate and water pressure – up to 10 gallons per minute.
The filter removes up to 95% of contaminants – including chlorine, heavy metals, sediment, and much more.
The only downside is potentially difficult installation. You’ll likely need to hire a professional plumber to install this water filtration system for you.
Not everyone needs a three-stage filtration system. For those that prefer something simpler (and cheaper), this Home Master two-stage filter is a quality option.
What is a Whole House Water Filter?
A whole house water filter system is one that is installed at a single point of entry in the household or a business and filters all water from that point to the rest of the home or business. The main distinction to understand versus a countertop or under-sink filter is that the whole house filter will treat the water once at this point and then deliver filtered water to the rest of the residence or business. This means that all faucets in the home, all appliances, and all water that will be used will be treated water and there’s no need for any other filters in the home.
Why Do You Need a Whole House Water Filter?
A whole house water filter may be necessary for your home due to a variety of situations that make your existing water supply that is being delivered to your home either unsafe to consume or unpleasant to use. There are a couple of main situations to understand first when it comes to the need to filter your water.
The first is if your water source is from a well on your property or a community well that you are sharing for your home. Well water may need to have several types of filters run against it to make it safe and desirable for home use. Because the well water is not a municipal water supply that has typical precautions taken for it, such as disinfection, you will need to disinfect the water to make sure that it’s safe for drinking. Another stage of filtering may be necessary to filter for sediment and debris. Yet another stage may be required to remove iron from the water. You can see that the whole house filter in this type of situation is one that requires multiple stages of filtering and is not simple.
The second type of water delivery that a house may have is via a local water utility. These community or city water supplies have some standard steps taken to make sure the water is safe for the population. One of these steps is to add chemicals to disinfect the water. These same chemicals, however, may be exactly the need for why you want a whole house water filter to take it out and make sure you and your family are not consuming them. Thus, this is a common filtering need for people that purchase water filters is to take our chlorine and chloramine, which are the common chemicals used by municipalities in treating water for their citizens.
Other common reasons to have a whole house water filter is to remove other contaminates and undesirable elements in the water supply. These include a range of items in the water, such as fluoride, herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, and many others.
The reason to consider a whole house water filter as opposed to another type is that it protects the entire house and treats water just once in one place instead of many places in the home. Under-sink water filter systems, such as those that employ reverse osmosis technology, are an extremely popular choice for consumers. Those systems reside underneath a sink and treat water and send it back up to the sink area with their own special faucet. People can then use this secondary faucet to get the treated water for drinking or cooking.
There are also water filters that are not under-sink and instead reside on the countertop or maybe attached to the faucet itself. These systems are typically smaller in size and more visually appealing since they’re not hidden away in the cabinet under the sink.
Both above filter options, however, are specific to the sink and faucet that they’re attached to in that certain location, like a kitchen. So, if you wanted to drink water from your bathroom sink, you wouldn’t be drinking treated water. This may not be a real concern for most homeowners as they will focus on getting their drinking water in the kitchen. As well, their cooking is contained in the kitchen, so obtaining treated water from the sink area is not an issue.
The more significant concern is likely to be for appliances like dishwashers and laundry machines that won’t have access to the treated water from an under-sink or countertop installation. This is where a whole house water filter system starts to make a lot of sense. Because the whole house system is installed at the point where the water is then distributed to the rest of the house, you have filtered water that is available for every faucet and every appliance that uses water in the home.
Whether you need a whole house water filter or any other type, the process is the same to make sure you get the right one that you need. You need to understand what your water supply being delivered to your house right now is like. What is inside this water, what does it have, and what doesn’t it have. The reasons for filters are to not just to remove contaminates, but also to add chemicals to treat the water so that it’s used better in your household.
A very common style of whole house water filtering is to use a system that incorporate salt crystals or pellets to “soften” the water. So called “hard” water is a common condition where too many minerals or the wrong combination of minerals are present in your water and it causes issues for homeowners. Hard water can stain your dishes, plumbing fixtures, and make doing laundry challenging with more soap needed and maybe even prematurely age your clothing.
It’s very important to understand where your water is coming from, a well or a municipality, and what it contains, or doesn’t that will present challenges to your use of it. Well water situations can be much more complex than those receiving their water from a local city supply. We mentioned that you may need to remove sediment, soften it, remove contaminates, disinfect it, and even maybe need to remove gasses from it. One example of an undesirable gas that may be present in well water is hydrogen sulfide. This is the familiar “rotten egg” smell and taste that this gas produces, and it is an obvious thing that a homeowner would like removed from their water.
How Does a Whole House Water Filter work?
There are different types of whole house water filters and which you use or which combination of them you use will depend on the problems you have with your water supply. Remember that a main tenet of a whole house water filter system is that its installed at the earliest main point of entry of your water supply to your house. In order to get the full benefits to the whole house, you’ll want to place the system as early as possible to getting delivery of your water from the street line or other main access point.
It’s a common practice to see whole house water filters installed in people’s garages. Not only is the point of entry of the water supply likely routed through the garage in many homes. But, it’s also an ideal place to install and locate the filter system away from the more valuable livable space inside the home. The systems can be large and often not exactly physically attractive. So, fitting them into a garage, basement, or similar area where space is available, and looks aren’t important is what makes such placement choices so popular. We also explained earlier that if you have several types of problems with your water supply, it could be that single system won’t solve all those problems. In these cases, you may have a multi-stage filtering solution that encompasses multiple filter systems. This is another good reason to place such a system in a garage or other area with less valuable living space.
The different types of filter systems are interesting in their range of technologies employed and the problems they address. One very simple solution is a straightforward cartridge that is placed at the point of entry of the water supply and has a filter within its cartridge housing that can block sediment and then deliver clear water to the household. This simply filtering system is ideal if the only problem you have is sediment in your water and that’s all you need to address.
A similar system is one where you have another cartridge type of filter system, but this time the filter in the housing isn’t just for trapping sediment. This may be a carbon block filter that does additional things to treat your water. Carbon block filters are very popular because of their capabilities, such as being able to remove a variety of contaminates such as lead, biological hazards, chlorine, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They also filter our sediment, as well, so they’re a great all-around solution.
We talked earlier about the need to not only remove things from the water but also sometimes add things to the water. This is where water conditioners and softeners come into the picture as good choices for the homeowner. First, we’ll talk about conditions as they’re a bit simpler and play a more limited role. Conditioners act to solve the main problem of the minerals in your water or so-called “hard water” to have less effect in your home.
Conditioners accomplish their treatment by having a material in their housing where your water if forced to go through and as a result it will force the minerals in the water to form crystals. Why this is useful is that the minerals in their new crystal form will not have the same ability to form scale and hard water deposits around your household like on faucets, fixtures, toilets, and bathtubs. Their effectiveness is limited, however, when we compare them to water softeners and we’ll now explain what softeners do and why it’s more far reaching than what conditioners do.
Water softening systems incorporate a process at their core called ion exchange. This can be explained at a very high level that you have water in a tank that is treated with salt before getting treated and sent inside your home. What water softeners do is remove the minerals that are part of hard water. Its that hard water that causes scaling on fixtures, make your clothes appear more dingy and stiffer, and forcing you to use more soap for your laundry, or shampoo in the shower. The conditioning systems alter the minerals so that they don’t do as much scaling. However, the softener system goes further in removing the hardness minerals and you gain the additional advantages of not having minerals in your house water. The benefits are being able to use less soap for laundry, less shampoo in the shower, and clothes will not get as dingy or stiff.
Another water filtering system that we’ll talk about next is the ultraviolet or UV water purifier. These systems are especially important for those that have well water and do not have the benefit of their water supply being disinfected by a municipality. It can also be a nice backup system for those that have city water because problems can occur to local water sanitation systems and it’s nice to have a UV water purifier as an insurance policy.
What these UV water systems do is very simple is that their only role is to kill or deactivate living organisms that are in the water supply. It does this with the use of a lamp that emits a special wavelength of light that is damaging to living things. This wavelength is shone on all the water that is forced to go through this UV water filter system and results in all treated water coming out to be free of any harmful biological contaminates such as cysts, bacteria, or viruses.
Let’s discuss one other filter type for a problem that we haven’t yet discussed. Another issue you could have from well water is acidic water. Acidic water is a problem because of the destruction in can cause throughout your house to your plumbing, appliances, and fixtures. The type of filter system that is used in these situations is a calcite filter. A calcite filter is another whole house water filter that exposes the water coming into the house to a buffering media which contains calcium. This buffering media raises the pH of the water so that it achieves more alkalinity and is safe for your household.
As you saw, there are a variety of different filters that are used as whole house water filters and we explained how some of these systems work. It all beings with identify the exact type of water problems you have and then identify a single or multiple stage solution of water filters that will do everything necessary to treat your water and solve of the problems. We can’t talk about all the systems under the sun, but we hope this was a good review of how whole house filters work and when you would need certain systems and make the right decision for your household.
Whole House Water Systems Installation & Maintenance
Whole hose water system installation is varied depending on the type of filtering system that you need to use and the overall system that you’re assembling. At a high level, it’s simple to understand that each type of system has an inlet of where the untreated water is coming into it, the process in between where the unit does its work, and then an outlet where the treated water is sent to household. Most of the installation is often just making sure you have a clear and organized work space to install or mount the filter or filters you are going to use in your whole house water system and have it be easy to maintain later.
More elaborate systems, like when treating well water supplies that are known to have multiple issues, will be best setup in a big enough space in a garage or similar location. What is often a great approach is to mountain a large piece of plywood on the wall and then use that as the foundation for the various components to come together as overall neat and easy to build and maintain system.
This video shows you a quality installation of an overall whole house water filter system:
Maintenance is also going to be dependent on exactly what kind of filters you have in your system. If you have a single type of water filter as part of your whole house solution, then it can be very simple. For example, if you have just a sediment type of filter, the maintenance may be to just empty out the accumulated sediment frequently. Often, these filters have a clear housing that helps you to observe the debris build up and you can determine when you need to remove the built-up debris.
UV filter systems incorporate a UV lamp that will need to be replaced every year. They also use a quartz sleeve that the UV lamp resides within and that needs to be cleaned every year when you replace the UV lamp. You should also replace that sleeve every 2 years to prevent any problems like it breaking due to age.
Calcite filters, water softeners, conditioners, and other systems that incorporate some sort of medium within their process will each have maintenance cycles that you’ll need to pay attention to and refill, replenish, or replace the medium to maintain maximum effectiveness of the filter.
The five water filters we just looked at are among the best of the best.
But which one is right for you? Because everyone’s needs and preferences are different, it’s important to understand the factors and features that influence your whole house system’s filtration quality and performance.
Here’s what you need to look for to find a quality whole house water filter:
1. Evaluate Your Needs
Not every home or family requires the same type of water filtration system.
Spending a few minutes evaluating your needs greatly helps narrow down your options for whole house water filters.
At the top of the list is the size of your home. The number of bathrooms, in particular, will dictate the size/output of filter. Larger homes typically require more powerful systems.
Similarly, the size of your family dictates the type of filter. Larger families also require more powerful systems.
At the same time, a larger family likely uses more water. It’s beneficial to invest in a filter with a longer lifespan between replacements/maintenance to accommodate more people.
Finally, your home water habits are important to consider. Once again, those that use more water should look for a filtration system that meets these particular needs.
2. Identify Main Contaminants :
Some models filter out all contaminants while others only filter out specific contaminants.
Because of this, it’s essential to understand which contaminants are in your home’s water supply.
If possible, test your home water supply before buying a filtration system. This gives you a clear understanding of the specific contaminants your home water supply contains.
Some filters are best for sediments while others are best for chemicals and others are best for bacteria/viruses – many filter out all three and then some.
See Also :
- Best Water Filters For Removing Lead
- Best Water Filters For Removing Iron
- Best Water Filter For Removing Fluoride
3. Types of Whole House Water Filters :
Whole house water filters can be broken down into sub-types by one major factor: number of filters.
Although single-stage systems are available, most whole house systems utilize two-stage or three-stage filtration systems.
Single-stage systems are more affordable. They are also typically easier to install. The downside is they filter out a smaller range of contaminants.
For example, single-stage systems use a single filter. This filter is often designed for one type of contaminant, such as sediment.
Two-stage and three-stage systems, on the other hand, use multiple filters. Each of these can be designed for a specific type of contaminant.
That taken into consideration, three-stage systems are undoubtedly the most efficient and produce the cleanest water.
However, depending on your home water quality (get it tested!), a three-stage filter might be overkill.
4. Important Features to Consider :
There are several other important factors to consider in addition to whole house water filter type and the main contaminants.
The most important additional features include:
- Filter Type – Different filters block different contaminants. Select one that blocks the contaminants in your home water supply.
- Filter Longevity – Most filters have either a 100,000-gallon rating or 1,000,000-gallon rating. This dictates how often you’ll need to change the filter.
- Water Flow – Most whole house filters produce between 10 gallons and 20 gallons of water flow per minute. Larger homes need a higher output while smaller homes can get away on less.
- Microns – This relates to the size of the contaminants. The best filters block down to 1 micron or smaller. Your water quality test will tell you the size of the particles in your home.
- Installation – Some whole house water filters are much easier to install than others.
These factors will all help you find the right device for your needs and preferences.
5. Alternative Options
A whole house water filter is only the tip of the iceberg as far as water filtration goes.
Although they are very effective, especially for those that want to filter all the water in their home (not just drinking water), they are expensive.
Small families, those with smaller homes, those on a budget, and those just concerned about clean drinking water (not clean toilet water or shower water, for example) might look into alternative options like under sink filters or even reverse osmosis.
Installing a whole house water filter is the best way to ensure good water quality throughout your home.
These devices connect to your home’s main water line so that all your water fixtures provide clean, safe water to protect the health of your family.
The five water filters we’ve covered are the best of the best. You won’t go wrong when you select one of these whole house filtration systems.