Everyone knows that pure water should taste and smell like nothing. Unfortunately, the water that comes from the municipal supply or out of private wells is anything but pure – and it often smells and tastes like it! If bad smells and tastes are causing you to regret opening your taps, or if sediment and scale are ruining your dishes and clothes and damaging your pipes, you don’t need to move – you just need to install a water filtration system.
To figure out which type of water filtration system you need, the first thing you should do is figure out what you want to filter out of your water. If you are on city water, the most common contaminants you will find are chlorine chemicals, sediment and hardness minerals. If you are on well water, you will probably have sediment, iron and hardness minerals in levels that can range from harmless but annoying to mildly toxic. Acidic water is also a common problem in well water in this area.
Sediment – sediment refers to visible particles present in the water, including dirt, dust, rust and sand. Most city water supplies have filters set up to trap most sediment (the big pieces), but that filtration doesn’t take out everything. Smaller particles always go through – and even though you may not be able to see them – they’re there! Sediment in your water is typically filtered out by a cartridge filtration system (sediment filter).
Chemicals – the most common chemical contaminant found in city water is chlorine, which can be effectively removed using activated carbon filtration. Chlorine is there to kill bacteria, viruses, parasites and such, but it is not an appealing taste to the palate. And it’s not particularly good for you. Activated carbon filters do a great job of removing chlorine from the water as well as reducing other volatile organic compounds, pesticides, etc.
Iron – there are two types of iron that can wind up in your water: ferrous (dissolved, clear water iron) and ferric (rust or red water iron). Clear water iron can be removed via oxidation or ion exchange. Red water iron can be removed with a sediment filter.
There are lots of different kinds of contaminants in our water supplies and many of these contaminants require special treatment. The first step is to get a water analysis that shows exactly what is in the water. Once that is done, the correct treatment protocols can be established.
Flow rate – your filter’s flow rate is probably the most important thing you should take into consideration before you install a new water filtration system in your home. Flow rate is measured in gallons per minute (GPM) and it determines the amount of water that is available to run your showers, sinks, dishwashers, etc.
To determine your flow requirements, look at the demand ratings on your appliances and your toilets (typical flow requirements for showerheads are 2.5 – 5 GPM, toilets 5 GPM and dishwashers 3 GPM). For most families, total flow requirements fall in the 15 to 50 GPM range. Make sure your water filtration has a flow rate that will allow for comfortable water pressure even during times of peak demand.
Port size – the ideal port size for a whole house water filtration system is 1”. This will prevent bottlenecks and help eliminate drops in water pressure.
Filter size – as expected, larger water filters will allow for more water flow at greater pressure. The size of your water filter will depend greatly on your port size.
If you want to install a water filtration system in Maryland or Washington, DC, call James A. Wheat & Sons today!