Whole House Water System

happyhealthymamacApril 11, 2013

Hi All-

My husband and I are building a house and are researching whole house water filtration and softeners. We are pretty overwhelmed with all the information and are hoping you may be able to give us some direction and help us make a solid decision.

Here are our goals for our water:
-Filter out the chlorine (for the whole house)
-Filter out other contaminants like pharmaceuticals, etc. (for the whole house)
-Get out the VOCs and COBs and whatever else is in there that will compromise the health of our family
-Filter out fluoride (for the drinking water)
-Keep the beneficial minerals in there (for the drinking water)
-Soften the water (based on an online water report for our city, the hardness is 20 gpg or 342 mg/l.)
-A system that does not reduce water pressure

We will have a large house, just under 5,000 square feet including the basement, with 5 full baths. Our family is 2 adults and 2 children. Grandparents visit often and stay for 1-2 weeks at a time.

My husband is very hesitant (actually he is outright refusing right now) to buy anything online without a local dealer.

Can you help us focus our research and/or recommend a system/company/brand based on what I've told you? What size filter system and/or softener will we need for everything to be efficient?
Thank you kindly for any help you can give us!

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Since you have chlorine in the water, can I assume you will have city water?

Start with the city water report - can you link to it or copy it here? That way we can see what your raw water looks like and go from there.

At first glance, you are making a very tall order. All of what you are asking for is possible. However, it won't be very practical unless money is truly no object and you have lots of space for water treatment equipment.

Second, if you want to remove VOCs and pharmaceuticals, you need to know how much is actually in your water. You will need to find a certified lab and ask them about sampling and testing procedures. You can find certified water labs on your state's web site or by calling you city's water treatment facility.

Chlorine and VOCs are relatively easy to remove with a carbon filter. IF VOCs are high enough, you would likely need aeration in addition to the carbon filter. The filter would look much like a softener, with a tank and a valve on top to control periodic backwashing.

Flouride: A reverse osmosis will remove flouride. However, you have stated a desire to keep the minerals in your water and this is where you run into a bit of a problem. Activated alumina filters do exist for flouride removal. However, they are expensive - $50-$60 per cartridge and should be replace every three months. Additionally, If you want to ensure they remove all of the flouride, pH should be between 5 and 6. Your water pH will be higher. So, to make these work really well, you would need to inject acid to drop pH, run through the filter, then inject base to bring pH back up. Alternatively, you install reverse osmosis for drinking and get your minerals from your food.

Softener: This one is easy, but in order to ensure it will work correctly and is size properly, the following analysis is needed: pH, TDS, hardness, iron, manganese, sulfides. Hopefully your city's water report will contain the necessary information.

Pharmaceuticals: For drinking water, the reverse osmosis I mentioned previously will take care of it. You can install the RO in a central location and install a drinking water faucet at every sink throughout the home. However, removing trace pharmaceuticals from the water from your entire home will be impractical and expensive with no discernible benefit. That's not to say it can't be done. BUT, you would need a commercial-sized RO unit, a large atmospheric water storage tank, UV or other disinfection after the tank, a pump to move the water through your home, integrated control systems and the know-how to run it all. Realize also that these units will have about a 60% recovery rate - for every gallon of water they make, 2/3 of a gallon goes down the drain. Further, all of the piping in your home would have to be plastic - absolutely no copper.

All of the above can be obtained from local water treatment dealers. However, if you do decide you want to do all of it, you do not want to deal with just any dealer. You need a company and a rep that routinely deals with commercial buildings and light industry.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 10:42AM
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