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Whole-house water filtration removes a wide range of health-threatening contaminants and makes your home’s drinking water taste better. It reduces chlorine, chloramines, disinfection byproducts, VOCs, and heavy metals (including lead and uranium) in municipal and well water.
It also filters out sand, silt, rust, and organic chemicals. Some systems include a salt-free softener to coat hard minerals and prevent them from sticking to pipes, faucets, and your hot water tank.
A whole-house water filtration system is the best way to get cleaner, safer water throughout your home. The system is installed where the water line enters your home, typically in the basement but sometimes in a utility closet or other location. It provides filtered water to every faucet in your home, so you can cook, clean, shower, and do laundry with a better-tasting and more hygienic source of water.
There are a variety of reasons you might want to install a whole-house water filter, but the most common reason is that the water contains a troublesome contaminant like sediment or chlorine. The other main reason is that you want the water to be soft, but this can be accomplished by installing a water softener rather than a whole-house water filtration system.
Your whole-house water filtration system should consist of multiple filter stages, each designed to remove different contaminants. The first stage, called a pre-filter, is usually designed to trap larger particulates that might clog later filter stages. These include sediment and silt, which can cause long-term damage to your plumbing and appliances. Most whole-house systems also include a post-filter that removes any organic particles that might still be present in the water supply.
The next filter in the system is usually a carbon filter that reduces chlorine and other chemicals that make your water taste bad. This can be especially beneficial if you’re on municipally treated water. Other filters might be included in your system to reduce other troublesome contaminants like lead or arsenic. Most manufacturers use only NSF-certified filters for their systems.
You should always choose a system that includes shut-off valves before and after the system, which enable you to shut off your water supply both to the system and to your home. This will be useful if you need to perform maintenance or if the system develops a leak. A bypass valve goes one step further, allowing you to switch over to a secondary water supply line while the system is shut off.
Installing the system
Whole-house water filters can improve the taste and quality of your home’s tap water, saving you money on bottled water. They also reduce your environmental impact by eliminating the use of single-use plastic. Water filters for whole-house use work in conjunction with water softeners, and they can be installed before or after the water heater, depending on the type of filter you choose.
Before starting your project, it’s important to know what types of contaminants your filter removes from the water supply and how these contaminants are removed. This helps you decide if a filter is right for your home and what size and power it should have. You can find this information on the product packaging or online. You’ll also want to purchase any tools and materials that you don’t already have on hand.
If you’re installing a filter that includes a bypass valve, select a location where it will be easy to access. You will need to be able to shut off the water flow before and after your system is repaired or maintained. If your filter is more complex, you may need to install a drain connection for backwashing cycles.
In order to attach a water filtration system to your home’s main line, you will need to cut through a portion of the pipe. Before you do so, place a bucket under the area where you plan to cut to catch any residual water that drips. If you are not comfortable cutting into plumbing pipes or don’t have the proper tools, it may be best to hire a professional plumber to complete the task.
Most whole-house water filtration systems include a sediment pre-filter, which catches dirt and rust particles. Many also have a second filter that contains a carbon filter that removes other contaminants. These filters are often paired with a UV light that sends ultraviolet radiation into bacteria, viruses, and other microbes, damaging their DNA and killing them.
Before you start the installation process, check to make sure your local laws don’t require a permit or other special requirements. Then, locate the main water shut-off valve and choose a spot for your filter, such as near it. You’ll need to access this unit regularly to change the filter cartridges, so choose a location that will be easy to get to.
Maintaining the System
A whole-house water filtration system works to reduce contaminants at the source, providing clean, healthy water for your entire household. Installed right at the main water line entering your home, a whole-house filter addresses all problem water sources, like your showers, sinks, and kitchen appliances. These systems can help remove chlorine, iron, arsenic, sulfur, and other harmful contaminants from your family’s drinking and bathing water.
These types of contaminants aren’t necessarily dangerous when consumed, but they can lead to long-term health effects when repeated exposure occurs. These include cancer, kidney disease, liver disease, and other conditions.
Water filters have different features and capabilities to address all different types of water quality issues in your home. A filtration system can remove a range of harmful contaminants, including hard water minerals, sediment, chlorine, and herbicides. It can also eliminate odors and tastes, improve water chemistry, soften the water, and extend the life of your pipes and appliances.
Some filters have different maintenance schedules than others. For example, a pre-sediment filter should be replaced every 3 to 6 months, while a sub-micron-post or salt-free water softener will need to be recharged or regenerated on a regular basis. It is important to stick to a maintenance schedule so your home’s water remains safe and clean for your family to drink.
Maintaining your filtration system is very simple. Most filters unlock, unscrew, or pull out easily to allow for easy cleaning and replacement. Before beginning any maintenance or changing the filter, be sure to turn off your water valves so no impure water is running through the system. You will also need to drain the sump of your filter before replacing it.
Water filtration systems are an excellent investment in your family’s health. They can help ensure that your family is drinking healthy and high-quality water every day and can save you money on bottled water. A filtration system can also help reduce your ecological footprint by eliminating the need to purchase and dispose of thousands of bottles of water each year. In addition, you can enjoy cleaner and healthier skin, hair, dishes, and appliances with a filtration system in your home.
Removing the sediment filter
If your whole-house water filter is giving you trouble or it’s time to change the sediment filter, it’s important to shut off the main water line before you unscrew the housing and remove the old filter. Shutting off the water prevents a flood of water from flowing into your home and can keep you safe while you’re working on the project.
Once the water is turned off, open faucets downstream of the filter to relieve pressure and flush out the system. This will also help to clear any contaminants that may be clogging the system.
The system usually includes a pre-filter that removes the majority of sediment, rust, and other impurities from your water before it goes to your appliances. It also helps protect the rest of the filtration system from clogging and extends the life of the filters. Next, the water flows through an activated carbon filter that reduces chlorine and other chemicals. Then, it moves through a copper-zinc and mineral filter that further reduces chlorine and other heavy metals. Finally, it passes through a post-filter that further reduces any organic debris that might still be present.
Sediment filters work like sieves, trapping any sediment particles that are larger than a specific size. These are typically rated in micron sizes and come in a variety of pore sizes to target different sediment problems. The most common are sand and silt, which can be removed with sediment filters with pore sizes ranging from 10 to 50 microns.
Other types of filters used in a water filtration system include carbon blocks, granular activated charcoal, ion exchange, and oxidation reduction. These are designed to address specific contaminants in your water, such as fluoride, nitrate, iron and other metals, chlorine, volatile organic compounds, and odors. Home test kits are available to check your water for specific contaminant levels and allow you to monitor them over time so that you can make informed decisions about which filters and systems are best for your home. The best whole-house water filtration systems will offer a combination of filters to provide the optimal solution for your home.