When it comes to filtering tap water, there are usually two avenues that you can follow–install a filter to a single point of use, or install a point-of-entry water filter. Both types of filters produce quality filtered water, but point-of-entry filters or whole house water filters deliver freshly filtered water to every water outlet throughout your home.
Whole house water filtration systems are convenient, cost-effective, and they ensure that whichever tap you turn on in your home, you get the same quality filtered water.
Our comprehensive guide to whole house filtration systems will cover all that you should know about whole house water filters before you install one in your home.
When Do You Need to Install a Whole House Filtration System?
For the most part, your daily filtered water consumption needs can be met by a countertop water filter or an undersink water filter.
For cooking, drinking, washing dishes, and other kitchen activities point-of-use filters are usually enough. The problem appears when you want to have filtered water in other parts of your home as well.
Let’s say you live in a large household with two or more bathrooms, and you want to have filtered water in both. Point-of-use filters installed in your kitchen won’t be able to meet this demand. Only a whole house water filter will be able to deliver filtered water to any and every water outlet in your house.
Here’s when you should opt for a whole house water filter rather than a countertop or undersink water filter:
- Your filtered water consumption needs extend beyond drinking and cooking;
- You live in a large home with multiple baths and a higher than average water consumption;
- You want a multi-stage water filter system so you can target multiple contaminants at once.
Whole house water filters are great at removing sediments, chlorine, taste and odour issues, and other tap water contaminants. These whole home filtration units are multi-stage filters with a high filtered water output, and robust filter cartridges built for durability and high usage.
As with most multi-stage water filters, proper maintenance is imperative for the optimal functioning of your whole house water filter system.
As we will discuss further on in this article, failing to maintain your whole house water filter system will lead to malfunctions, low water pressure, and more importantly, bad quality filtered water.
A whole home water filter has a series of advantages over simple POU filters, namely:
- Higher filtered water output– compared to a POU filter, a whole house filter has the capacity to filter all the water needed for cooking, drinking, washing, bathing, etc.;
- Convenience– installing and overseeing a single whole house filtration system is easier than overseeing multiple point of use filters;
- Multiple contaminants removed at once– due to them being multi-stage filter systems, whole house water filters remove hundreds of contaminants like chlorine, VOCs, bacteria, heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides, and many more;
- Cost-effective– installing a whole house water filter is more economical than installing a point-of-use filter at multiple water outlets in your home;
- Less scale– certain whole house filters have descaling effects as well, which means that you’ll experience less scale in your appliances and bathroom sanitary ware;
- Brighter clothes and less detergent usage– with less scale in your water, the efficiency of your detergents will be improved, and you can preserve the colour and texture of your clothes;
- Healthier baths –with a whole house filter you’ll experience healthier baths as contaminants that may cause skin irritations or that may damage your hair will be removed;
- Flexibility– if you notice any changes in the level and type of contaminants present in your tap water, you can replace your existing water filter cartridges with other filter cartridges that can target those newfound contaminants as well.
Are There Disadvantages to Installing a Whole House Water Filter?
In terms of the disadvantages of a whole house water filter, here’s what you should know:
- Installing a whole house water filter may be more difficult than installing an undersink water filter;
- Maintaining a whole house water filter may require more attention, especially that any decrease in the system’s efficiency due to improper maintenance can interfere with the quality of the filtered water produced by the system;
- Customisation of the type of filtered water (e.g. alkaline filtered water, non-scaling filtered water, etc.) can happen only for the entire system, but not for individual water outlets. To customise the type of filtration at individual water outlets, you will have to install additional undersink filters.
As you will see below, there are various types of whole house water filters that you can use to improve the quality of your tap water in your entire house.
Types of Whole House Water Filters
Not all whole house water filters are made the same, thus, we distinguish the following types of whole house water filters:
Simple Taste & Odour Whole House Water Filters
As their name implies, these whole house water filters are designed to target tap water taste and odour altering substances like chlorine. Besides chlorine, these filters may also remove sediments, and inhibit scale formation.
The Watts Pro 4.5 x 10 Inch Scale Treatment and Chlorine Filter System is an example of this type of whole house filter. This filter comes with two filter cartridges– a filter cartridge that targets scale by transforming calcium ions into calcium crystals, thus rendering them unable to stick to surfaces, and a coconut shell carbon block filter that removes chlorine, improves taste and odour, and reduces sediments.
Of course, you can always add an undersink or countertop filter to any water outlet in your home if you want to customise the level of filtration at that particular water outlet. For example, you may want to remove bacteria and heavy metals from your drinking water, so you can install a POU filter in your kitchen.
Traditionally, these types of taste and odour whole house filters are more affordable than more advanced models, and their price is comparable to the price of undersink water filters.
UV Whole House Water Filters
These types of whole house water filters use ultraviolet light to treat tap water or other water sources. UV water filters can be used on their own or in addition to a taste and odour whole house filter, or even in combination with POU water filters.
All UV whole house filters must be equipped with a pre-filtration system that removes sediments from water before treatment with UV lights. UV water filters don’t remove chemical contaminants, VOCs, heavy metals or suspended solids, these filters can be used only to sanitise tap water, and destroy any harmful microorganisms.
For a more complete filtration, we recommend using whole house UV water filters together with other whole house filter systems, undersink water filters or countertop filters.
Some UV whole house filters may be supplied with filter cartridges that can target various other contaminants as well. For example, the the Pentek 7.6 LPM UV-110-2 UV Whole House Water Filter System is supplied with a carbon block filter cartridge that reduces bad tastes and odours, sediments, chlorine, and Giardia and Cryptosporidium cysts. The system is capable of producing 7.6 litres of UV purified water per minute.
High-Efficiency Whole House Water Filters
These types of whole house water filters are the ultimate in whole home water filtration. They are also the costliest compared to the other whole house filters we’ve discussed.
While simple taste and odour whole house filters and UV whole house filters are priced between £200 and £350, high-efficiency whole house water filters can cost double or even triple that amount.
These filters combine carbon block filters with sediment filters, ceramic filters or granular activated carbon filters, and some even feature KDF filter media. The multi-stage filtration process that these filters employ reduce an impressive number of contaminant.
Some of the contaminants removed by these filters include: microorganisms (e.g. Cryptosporidium, Giardia, E-coli, Pseudomonas, etc.), chemical disinfectants and their by-products, hormones, toxins, volatile organic chemicals, organic matter, herbicides, pesticides, fluoride, sediments, heavy metals, hydrogen sulphide, bad taste and odours, etc.
The Osmio PRO-III-XL Ultimate Whole House Water Filter System is capable of removing all these contaminants and more, with the help of the three heavy duty filter cartridges that make up the system: an active ceramics whole house filter, a 5-micron carbon block filter, and a granular activated carbon filter with KDF filter media.
The active ceramics filter contains a blend of 4 different ceramics that each have their role in the removal of contaminants. Besides removing contaminants, the active ceramic filter has water pH balancing properties, adding antioxidants and minerals back into the water to make it more alkaline. This filter has an impressive service life of 3 years or 300,000 litres.
The carbon block filter has a filter life of 6 to 12 months, while the GAC & KDF filter will last up to 12 months.
The challenge with most multi-stage filter systems is to remember to replace the filters on time. Given that different filter cartridges have different filtration ratings, their replacement may have to be carried out at different intervals. Read our tips below on how to care for your whole house water filter:
How To Care For Your Whole House Water Filter
Monitoring the performance of your whole house water filter is key to ensuring that everything works fine, and quality filtered water is delivered to every tap in your house.
Changing filter cartridges in a whole home water filter system may be more challenging than replacing filters is a simple POU filter. Even though whole house filters usually operate with no more than three filter cartridges, these are often replaceable at different intervals.
For example, a sediment filter in a whole house water filter may need replacement every 6 months, while other filters in the filtration process may last as many as 24 or 36 months.
Forgetting to replace the pre-filters on time may lead to clogging issues, system malfunctions, damage to other filters in the process, contaminated water, and low water pressure, which will affect every single water outlet in your home.
In cases when filters are overused, bacterial grow-through issues may appear, which in turn can cause bad tastes and odours in tap water, or even gastrointestinal problems.
To make sure this never happens, set reminders for each individual filter cartridge that you must replace in your whole house water filter. Make sure to have replacement filters ready by the time you need to replace your filter cartridges.
Even if you have an UV whole house water filter that eliminates bacteriological issues, it’s not enough to remember to replace the UV lamp on time. You also have to remember to replace the sediment filter cartridge in your UV pre-filtration system, which is a key element in ensuring that suspended solids do not block out UV lights.
If you’re using other filter cartridges in combination with your UV system, their replacement on time is just as important, especially if your tap water has other contamination issues, besides bacteriological problems.
Sometimes, even though filter cartridges in your home filtration system have not yet reached the end of their service life, you may still notice changes in the taste and odour of your tap water.
This may be due to increased water usage, which may shorten filter lifespan, or changes in the levels of contaminants in your tap water. When this happens, you may still have to replace your filters despite these not having reached the end of their service life.
Besides the Osmio Pro-III XL whole house filter system presented above, our selection of whole house water filters includes other heavy duty whole house water filters that may interest you. You can read about some of these filters in our review below:
Whole House Water Filtration System Reviews
Here at WaterFilterShop.co.uk, we bring you a large selection of whole house water filters that meet all budgets and filtration requirements.
For the purposes of this review, we’ve chosen two budget-friendly whole house water filters from the high-efficiency whole house water filter category:
Osmio PRO-II-A Advanced Whole House Water Filter System
This affordable whole house filtration system features only two filter cartridges housed in separate filter housings. The Osmio Pro-II-A is a filter system suitable for medium to large homes, and it’s designed to offer flow rates of 40 litres per minute.
The first filter in the system is a large active ceramics filter that contains four different types of active ceramics, which offer a uniquely thorough filtration. This filter has an extraordinary filter live, providing up to 300,000 litres of filtered water before needing replacement.
The second filter is a 5-micron carbon block filter rated at 46,000 litres that stands out through its high dirt holding capacity and virtually zero pressure drop.
These two filter cartridges together remove the following contaminants from your tap water: chlorine, heavy metals, toxins, hormones, bacteria (e.g. E-coli, Pseudomonas), VOCs, sediments, and other microorganisms and organic contaminants, improving the taste of your tap water.
The Osmio Pro-II-A will not only filter out contaminants, but it also improves tap water by adding minerals and antioxidants, and balancing the pH of water. The system also produces non-scaling water that is gentle on your skin, hair, and appliances.
This whole house filter is an excellent choice if you want a high-efficiency whole house water filter at an affordable price.
Osmio Large Whole House Water Filter System
This Ecopure premium whole house filter is a single-stage filter system that uses an active ceramics filter that combines four different active ceramics for an advanced and in-depth filtration.
Despite being a single-stage filter, this whole house filtration unit can deal with the following tap water contaminants: chlorine, heavy metals, bacteria, fluoride, toxins, etc.
The filter will increase the pH of water by 0.5, adding trace amounts of healthy minerals and antioxidants to your filtered water.
Thanks to the bacteriostatic environment within the filter bacteria, algae, and fungi cannot grow within the filter, which is rated for 300,000 litres or 3 years of usage. Replacing the filter every three years is the only maintenance required by this whole house filter, which makes this filter one of the least maintenance-intensive filters on the market.
If you want to install a whole house water filter in your home, but you prefer to have a set-it-and-forget-it type of water filter that requires minimal maintenance, yet it doesn’t compromise on efficiency, the Osmio Large Whole House filter can be an excellent choice for you.
Whole house filtration is an economic and efficient way of dealing with tap water contamination issues throughout your home. The sheer number of whole house water filters on the market makes it easy to find a filter system that meets your budget, your filtered water consumption needs, and contaminant removal requirements.
If you live in a large household with a higher than usual water consumption, and your tap water has contamination issues that would require the installation of several POU filters, a whole house water filter system can be an affordable and efficient alternative.
Best Overall: APEC ROES-50 Reverse Osmosis System
Along with the typical lead and other heavy metals, bacteria, and chlorine, this removes as many as 1,000 different unwanted contaminants from the water. This filtering system uses five separate stages of filtering to remove 99 percent of contaminants.
A home water filtration system costs about $2,076 for the unit and installation. On the low end, expect to pay $1000; on the high end, you could spend $3,100 or more. Alternatively, you can opt for an under-sink filtration system. These point-of-use units are easy to install yourself and cost about $150 to $1,200.Which water filter system is best UK? ›
- AmazonBasics 2.3L Water Filter Jug: The best budget option. ...
- Aqua Optima Oria: The best-value water system. ...
- Philips AWP2915: The tough jug with long-lasting filters. ...
- Brita Marella XL: The best jug for families. ...
- ZeroWater 10 Cup Water Filter Jug: The best jug for removing all impurities.
Usually, the best place for a whole house water filter is near your main water shut-off valve, which is usually located in a basement or on the perimeter of the house in a utility closet or other such area if you don't have a basement.Which is better reverse osmosis or filtration? ›
Carbon filtration excels at removing chlorine taste and odor. It also does a great job of capturing large particulates. Reverse Osmosis, on the other hand, will remove almost anything from your water, but it works better if the large particles are removed ahead of it to prevent premature fouling of the membrane.
Generally speaking, a whole house water filter is meant to last no longer than 12 months. As long as you understand when to change your filter and signs that it's time to do so, you never have to concern yourself with waiting too long.How much does a water filter system cost UK? ›
Our standard drinking water filter which includes a drinking water filter tap will cost you £93.99. The replacement water filter cartridge is £17.99 and this cartridge lasts up to 12 months.
How long do filters in those systems last though? On average you're looking at about three to six months before you need to replace the filter. That said, it varies by the water filtration system. Some newer models may have multiple filters active at once and may require fewer replacements.Which water filter removes the most contaminants UK? ›
High-quality reverse osmosis filters are the best water filters for removing unwanted contaminants. Their complex structure and several filtration levels will eliminate virtually every impurity, down to the tiniest microorganism. However, you need to ensure that it's truly a high-quality product.
Tap water in the UK is among the safest in the world, according to Dr Jim Marshall, senior policy adviser at Water UK. 'It passes more than 99.9 per cent of quality tests. As a result, there are no specific health benefits to water filters and their use is a matter of personal preference.
The smaller the micron number the better. Try imagining microns like a sieve. A 5 micron water filter will sieve out particles that you can see – but all the other smaller particles will pass through it into your drinking water. By contrast a 1 micron filter will remove particles not visible to the naked eye.
Reverse Osmosis is the most effective and widely accepted water filtration for both residential home and large water treatment plant. And can really make a difference in the catching contaminants in tap water.Should a whole house water filter be installed before or after the pressure tank? ›
You'll want to make sure that you place your filter on the pressure side of the pump, after the pressure tank. This helps to ensure that you're protecting the pump. It also allows the filter to be cleaned without losing any pump prime.
DIYers with a moderate amount of plumbing experience can learn how to install a whole house water filter. If you'd rather leave whole house water filter installation to a professional, consider using The Home Depot's water treatment services.Does a whole house water filter reduce water pressure? ›
Additionally, whole house water filters may reduce water pressure if they fall into disrepair. The best way to prevent this is to schedule regular maintenance so that any problems are caught early and fixed quickly.
Whole house water filters should be installed first when water contains a high amount of chlorine or sediment, and water softeners should go first when water has high hardness and manageable levels of chlorine, sediment, and iron.What is the disadvantage of reverse osmosis? ›
Disadvantages of Reverse Osmosis
It requires routine filter changes and maintenance. The installation cost of a reverse osmosis system is high. The whole process is very slow when it comes to household application, as the pressure used is very low. The process does not help in disinfecting the water.
A whole house reverse osmosis system is only necessary for very specific water problems. There are very few water quality issues that are so severe they can only be addressed by whole house reverse osmosis.Does RO water cause kidney stones? ›
RO filtration removes the unhealthy, inorganic minerals that the body cannot process. The build-up of these kinds of minerals, especially calcium salts, leads to problems such as gallstones and kidney stones.
Though it costs more to install a whole house water filter, you won't have to think twice about the water quality throughout your home. A whole house water filter should be changed every three to six months. Learn more about when to change your whole house water filter.
Thankfully, water filtration systems are here to save us from the health hazards caused by hard or contaminated water. Water filtration systems for your house can help reduce contaminants such as chlorine, iron, sulfur and more from your water. Whole house water filters bring cleaner water to every tap in your home.
The bottom line
Brita's Longlast filter is by far the most cost effective, lasting three times more water than most of the other brands and removing more heavy metals than the basic Brita. Brita's new filter does everything most people need, and it lasts a long time.
Individuals with older homes with outdated plumbing, like lead pipes and fittings, or homes that use well water should consider using a whole-house water filter. These systems can remove dirt, rust, sediment, parasites, and depending on the system, they can also remove heavy metals and harmful chemicals.
There is virtually no tried-and-tested evidence to suggest that reverse osmosis water is harmful to your health. If you eat a balanced diet and do not suffer from conditions like severe acid reflux or gastrointestinal ulcers, drinking reverse osmosis water will have no impact on your overall health and wellbeing.What is a two stage water filter? ›
During stage 1, the 5 mic sediment filter offers cleaner drinking water by reducing unwanted particulates, such as sand, rust and dirt. In the 2nd stage, the 5 mic carbon block filter reduces pollutants such as lead and chlorine.
Most homeowners pay $1,400 – $2,100 for water filtration system installed by a pro. The cost ranges from about $360 for a basic DIY system to more than $3,500 for a professionally installed system with advanced filtration features.Can filtered water go bad? ›
In short, no, unused water filters do not expire. There is no set shelf life for water filters, as long as they're not exposed to any moisture. That's the key — moisture is what makes water filters work, and without that, they're sitting pretty and ready for use at any time.
Carbon filters should be replaced after 18-24 months of continuous (24/7) usage. Although this may vary depending on the company product, it has been shown that carbon filters can last for up to four years. These filters' lifespan is largely dependent on their carbon quality, use, humidity, and plant type.Which water filtration system removes the most contaminants? ›
Reverse osmosis systems are some of the best options for your water. The Reverse osmosis system in the 4 stage design is a design that will help you remove the maximum number of contaminants from your water.
The Aquarium uses three main types of filtration: mechanical, chemical, and biological. Mechanical filtration is the removal or straining of solid particles from the water.
The most common way to filter tap water is using activated charcoal, also known as carbon filtering or prefiltering. The carbon in the charcoal acts as a filter, letting the clean water pass through while chemicals, including pesticides, chlorine and some microplastics stick to the carbon.
Tap water is generally a better choice because it's less expensive and doesn't create single-use plastic waste. The pH level and mineral content varies between different types and sources of water, but these don't drastically affect the overall healthfulness of the water.What is the healthiest water to drink? ›
Tap water is generally a better choice because it's less expensive and doesn't create single-use plastic waste. The pH level and mineral content varies between different types and sources of water, but these don't drastically affect the overall healthfulness of the water.
Filtered water reduces corrosion and improves pH levels also extending the life of household fixtures. It not only aids in preventing rust stains in sinks, tubs, dishwashers, and toilets, but offers softer, brighter and longer lasting clothing. A carbon filter effectively removes chlorine, chloramines, and odor.