How to Choose a Whole House Water Filter (and Why You Need One) (2023)

A whole house water filter provides safer drinking water, healthier showers, less wear-and-tear on appliances, and is eco-friendly too.

As mamas, we spend a surprising amount of time thinking about water: the quantity of water we drink, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding, when babies can drink water, and how to make sure we’re drinking the healthiest water possible.

Many of us probably have filters in our fridges, but have you ever considered a whole house filter? I have, and I’m here to share everything my family loves about it.

In this blog, I’ll cover everything you need to know about whole house filters, including:

  • What whole house water filters are
  • Benefits of a whole house filter
  • How to choose a whole house filter
  • How much a whole house filter system will cost
  • How to get your city’s water report

What Is a Whole House Water Filtration System?

Maybe you have a pitcher with a filter sitting in your fridge right now. Maybe you use the water that comes from a filtered water dispenser in your fridge. Or, maybe you have a portable gravity-fed system that you bring camping. Regardless, you’re probably used to the idea of drinking filtered water.

I know what you’re thinking: I already use filtered water, so why do I need a whole house filter?!

A whole house water filter does so much more than what a 1-gallon pitcher filter can do! A whole house filtration system treats water as it enters the main water line into your home. Also known as a point of entry (POE) filter, this means that the water that flows from every faucet or through any appliance is clean and filtered. Whole house water filters are point of entry (POE) filters, so whether you’re brushing your teeth in the bathroom or filling up the wash tub to give Fido a bath, rest assured that every single drop of water in your house is pure and filtered.

How to Choose a Whole House Filter System

When it comes to choosing a whole house filter, you’ll need to gather a few key facts before determining which filter is right for you.

You’ll need to know:

  1. How many bathrooms are in your house (helps determine the right size filter)
  2. How many people in your home (helps determine drinking water usage)
  3. Information about your current water (helps determine your goals of a water filter)

Genevieve’s whole house water filter

The Best Whole House Water Filter System

While there are many different whole house filter systems available, we chose Radiant Life for our home. Radiant Life is a family-run, woman-owned online health and wellness company specializing in food-based supplements, nutrient dense foods, eco-friendly housewares and water filtration and purification.

We chose Radiant Life for manyreasons, but one of the most important reasons is that their customer service is top-notch.

Customer service

As a company, Radiant Life is extremely accessible, and you can speak with a water expert who will recommend the perfect water filter for your home. This is especially important if you’re new to the idea of house filtration systems and aren’t sure what exactly you need. We even emailed Radiant Life our local water report, and their water expert incorporated our specific water needs into their recommendation. We weren’t just sold a filter. We were matched with the right filter for our family’s specific water and our specific needs.

Pure water you can rely on

Not only does Radiant Life have stellar customer service, the filter itself is what initially drew us into the company. We chose the Radiant Life Series 4 whole house filter, as it was designed to remove chlorine, chloramines, and even fluoride from municipal water.

Key features of this whole house water filtration system include:

  • Removal of chlorine, chloramines, fluoride, heavy metals and VOCs in one tank
  • Removal of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like paint thinner, pharmaceuticals, and gasoline that leached into groundwater
  • No need to replace a monthly filter — this baby lasts for one million gallons!

Options for municipal and well water

The Radiant Life filtration series include the Series 2, Series 4, and Series 6. Series 2 and 4 are designed for those with municipal water, but what if you don’t? Even if you have well water, you’re not out of luck. The Series 6 water filter is designed to accommodate those with municipal or well water. This whole house filtration system removes everything that the Series 4 does,plus iron, hydrogen sulfide, bacteria, algae, and fungi.

The Series 6 does all of this while retaining essential minerals that are naturally present in your water supply.

Oh, and did we mention the Series 6 filter lasts for 1.25 million gallons! Talk about maintenance-free!

our whole house water filter in garage Radiant Life

Benefits of a Whole House Water Filter System

Water is essential for life. 60% of our bodies are made up of water! We drink it, we cook with it, we clean our bodies with it, and we bathe our little ones in it.

But even if our water tastes and smells good, there can still be hidden contaminants. Lead, fluoride, and even pharmaceutical residue can hide in water. Not to mention, hard water can take a toll on your appliances.

Enter: the whole house water filtration system. A whole house filter isn’t just about making water potable (it probably already is). A whole house filter is about so much more.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of a whole house filter:

1. Safer drinking water

Whether you have municipal water or private well water, it’s probably already potable, meaning it’s safe to drink. So, if your water is already potable, why get a filter? A whole house filter makes it safer. Most water in the United States contains some level of contamination due to pollution, and the only way to know for sure what’s in your water is by having it testing professionally.

You can also learn more about your water by reading your town’s water report. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires all water suppliers to provide a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) (a water report) to consumers each year by July 1. You might receive yours in the mail with your water bill, but you can also find it online through the EPA’s database. The water report provides a ton of valuable information about your water quality, including any detected contaminants.

Once you know your starting point, it’s easier to see how a whole house water filtration system can benefit you. For example, if your report shows fluoride in your water, then you can feel good about investing in a house filter that removes fluoride.

Installing a water filtration system ensures that you and your family drinking pure, healthy, and delicious-tastingwater.

2. Healthier showers

Whole house filters can do many things. We often think of filters as making water healthier to drink, but water doesn’t just enter your body through your mouth. Remember, your skin is your largest organ, so it’s important the water you shower or bath in is just as healthy. You wouldn’t want to soak in a vat of toxins! Yuck!

Chemicals like chlorine can cause skin irritation and/or dry skin — even at “safe” levels. A whole house filtration system treats all of the water in your home, including the water you shower or bathe in.

3. Less wear-and-tear on your appliances

Filtered water is good for you… but it’s also good for your appliances! Who knew!? Hard water, which contains hard minerals, can shorten the life of your appliances if those minerals build up. This includes everything from the water dispenser in your fridge to your dishwasher to your hot water heater to coffee pot.

4. Better for the environment

While bottled water can deliver safe, filtered water on-the-go, it can wreak havoc on the environment. An estimated 40 billion water bottles are used each month … and if you do the math, that’s about 1 million bottles each minute. Ahh! You might be one person (or one family) but you can do your part by not contributing to that number — and a whole house filter can help you do your part in protecting the environment.

Radiant Life series 4 whole house water filters

Whole house water FAQs

Investing in a whole house filter isn’t a decision to make lightly. After all, water is the fuel that goes into your body so you want to make sure you’re choosing the right one. Here are a few common questions regarding whole house filters.

Does a whole house water filter need a drain?

Yes! Whole house filtrations systems are typically installed wherever the main water supply enters your home. For many, this is the basement, but if you don’t have a basement, it could be your garage or even a water closet. For climates where freezing temperatures are highly unlikely, your system could even be installed outside. Regardless of where it’s installed, you’ll need access to an electrical outlet and a drain.

How long should you run water after changing a whole house filter?

Typically, you should run your water for about five minutes after changing the filter. However, keep in mind that this number can vary depending on which brand of filtration system you choose. You can also re-test your water to ensure the filter is working correctly.

What about trace minerals?

Filtering water removes a lot of elements from your water: heavy metals, fluoride, VOCs, etc. But what about essential minerals? Yes, the whole house filter removes those too. If you’re interested in remineralizing your water, you can add a special filter to the Point-of-Use (POU) AKA your faucets. The 14-Stage Biocompatible Water Purification System complements the whole house filter so that you can enjoy delicious mineral water that is also safe bathing water.

If you’re not concerned about trace minerals (or if you consume your minerals via supplement), you do not need a POU filter in your house.

Do whole house water filters affect water pressure?

When installed correctly, a whole house water filtration system shouldn’t affect your water pressure. Some whole house filters (like Radiant Life) come with installation instructions, but keep in mind, if you’re uncomfortable installing one, you can always call a licensed and bonded plumber to install it for you.

Does a water filter reduce hardness?

A water softener and a water filter both improve your water, but they do different things. If you want to remove hardness from your water and soften it, you’d want a water softener. A water softener doesn’t filter out hard minerals like calcium or magnesium. Rather, the water softener exchanges calcium and magnesium for sodium ions. Softened water is great for your hair, skin, and your pipes, but it’s not a replacement for a water filter.

If you already have a water softener, it is removing the hard minerals from your water, but it won’t:

  • Improve the taste of your water
  • Improve the purity of your water
  • Remove fluoride or chlorine
  • Remove VOCs
  • Remove heavy metal
  • Remove waterborne pathogens

How much should a whole house water filtration system cost?

This answer varies depending on the brand and size of your filter. Key factors that influence price include:

  • How many bathrooms are in your house
  • Estimated water usage (and how many people in your home)
  • What type of water you have and what (if any) added features you select
  • Installation costs (DIY or professional)

With all of these customizations in place, a whole house filter can run anywhere from $600 to $5,000. However, many systems include lifetime warranties and essentially zero maintenance.

Why is water sterilized?

The goal of disinfection of public water is to eliminate the pathogens that are responsible for waterborne diseases. This is a serious health risk as the World Health Organization warns that ” “every year more than 3.4 million people die as a result of water-related diseases, making it the leading cause of disease and death around the world.”

Most municipal water sources clean water with chlorine. This does an amazing job at making water safe to drink — and cutting back on waterborne diseases. While cleaning water is 100% necessary, using a whole house filter goes the next step to then remove the chlorine.

Does a water filter remove bacteria?

Not all water filters remove bacteria, so it’s important to double check and compare all of the filters you are considering. Even among one brand, there are many different types of filters. If you have well water, you should definitely consider a filter that does remove bacteria, fungus, and algae.

Radiant Life Catalog water filtration

Take the Next Step to Clean, Healthy Water in Your Home

Are you considering a whole house filter? Be sure to check out Radiant Life’s various water filtration systems. Do you already have a whole house system? I’d love to hear your experiences below!

How to Choose a Whole House Water Filter (and Why You Need One) (1)

Read This Next…

  • Benefits of Drinking Water + How Much You Need Each Day


How to Choose a Whole House Water Filter (and Why You Need One)? ›

A large filter is the best, as it means increased water supply and longer service interval. You also need to check the port size of the filter since it impacts the gallons per minute and the pressure of water that flows into your house. For an average home, the ideal size of a whole house filter should be 4.5″x 20″.

How do I know what whole house water filter to buy? ›

The best and easiest way to determine the type of whole house water filtration system you need is to purchase a home water testing kit. It tests for common contaminants found in water, such as chloride, total iron, manganese, water hardness, copper, and more.

How do I know if I need a whole house water filter? ›

Contaminants can be absorbed through the skin and inhaled from our lungs, so it is extremely important to be protected throughout the entire home. If you have no special water contaminant issues then a whole house carbon filtration system is recommended for general multi-purpose whole house purification.

Why get a whole house water filter? ›

Many homes have contaminated and polluted tap water that is unsafe for consumption. Luckily, a whole-house water filtration system will filter out all of these dangerous contaminants including by not limited to chlorine, pesticides, and other toxins and chemicals.

Are whole house filters worth it? ›

If you need chlorine-free water 24/7 for your bathing and washing, a whole house water filter will be worth the investment. But if you just need your shower water to get filtered, a shower filter will also be good enough.

What is the most effective type of water filter? ›

Reverse osmosis filters are top of the line for removing a large percentage of contaminants out of the water, potentially including dangerous waterborne bacteria. The filters work by pushing water through the reverse osmosis membrane using pressure.

What is the best micron size for a whole house water filter? ›

Generally, we recommend pleated 50-micron filter cartridges followed by a dual grade 25/1 micron depth filter. For very fine sediment in the range of 1 to 5 microns, we recommend dual-grade depth filters.

Can you drink tap water with whole house filter? ›

It is best to use a point-of-entry filter system (where your water pipe enters your house), or whole-house filter system, for VOCs because they provide safe water for bathing and cleaning, as well as for cooking and drinking.

How many gallons is a whole house filter good for? ›

Good quality whole house 4.5" x 20" carbon filter cartridges will last 100,000 – 150,000 gallons in normal municipal water supplies. Stand-alone carbon filters with carbon beds, as opposed to carbon filter cartridges, will last much longer ONLY if they have a backwashing valve and a regular back wash cycle.

Should I buy a water filter or just buy water? ›

Filter water vs. bottled water. Although both filtered water and bottled water can provide healthier, better-tasting water, the cost-effectiveness and smaller environmental impact of filtered water beats out bottled water at every turn.

What are the disadvantages of filtered water? ›

The Cons of a Water Filtration System:
  • Speaking of cost, initial installation is more expensive than other filtration methods. ...
  • You can't pick and choose what gets filtered. ...
  • Fluoride and your teeth: If you choose a whole house water filtration system that removes ALL chemicals, you will also be removing fluoride.
Apr 12, 2019

What is the average cost of a whole house water filtration system? ›

Whole House Water Filtration System Cost Range

Most homeowners pay between $900 – $3,100 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.

Where is the best place for a whole house filter? ›

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.

How often should you filter your whole house water? ›

Whole House Filters

To maintain the best quality and reliability of your whole house water filter, it is recommended that you change it every three to six months. This helps to keep the water free from impurities and contaminants that can be harmful to your health, your home's plumbing system, and your appliances.

How long does the average whole house water filter last? ›

On average, whole house water filters will last for the following lengths of time: Pre-Filter: Three- to Six Months. Carbon Filter: 12 Months. Post-Filter: Up to One Year.

Which is the No 1 water filter brand? ›

Best Overall - Pureit- HUL Pureit Vital Plus Mineral RO+UV+MP 6 Stage, 7L Wall mount Water Purifier. Anybody looking for clean, secure, and delicious drinking water should consider the Pureit HUL Vital Plus Mineral RO+UV+MP 6 Stage, 7L Wall mount Water Purifier. Pureit is one of the best water purifier brands in India.

Which water filter removes the most contaminants? ›

Reverse Osmosis Systems

A reverse osmosis system combined with a carbon filter is most effective at removing water contaminants.

Which is a good water filter to buy? ›

Best Water Purifiers in India (April 2023)
Best Water PurifiersPrice in India
HUL Pureit Eco Black 10L Water PurifierRs. 13,999
KENT Supreme Plus RO+UV Water PurifierRs. 14,900
V-Guard Zenora RO+UF+MB Water PurifierRs. 8,699
Aquaguard Aura RO+UV+UF+Taste 7L water purifierRs. 15,999
6 more rows
Apr 8, 2023

What are the different types of whole house water filters? ›

There are five main types of whole house water filters: water softeners, ultraviolet purification systems, sediment filters, carbon filters, and acid neutralizers.

Do you want a higher or lower micron filter? ›

When filtering solids from liquids, the smaller the micron rating, the more effective the filter and the greater the number of particles that are removed from the final filtrate.

Which is better 3 micron or 5 micron filter? ›

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.

Do I need to boil water if I have a whole house water filter? ›

Do I need to boil my tap water if it is filtered? Yes, it is important to boil all tap water even if it has been filtered. Most water filters (activated carbon, charcoal, pitcher filters, etc.) are not suitable for use on microbiologically unsafe water and do not kill bacteria or viruses.

Do you need refrigerator filter if you have whole house filter? ›

Your whole-house water filtration system will take care of removing contaminants in your water with little maintenance required. You can then run your fridge's water dispenser without the added filter to have quick access to cold, filtered water from your filtration system.

Do whole house filters 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.

What is the most common house filter size? ›

Historically, when you've gone to your typical home supply store, you'd find between 10-20 size variants to choose from. These sizes reflect the most common sizes of return air vents that push or pull air into your HVAC system: 20 x 20 x 1.

How often should you backwash a whole house filter? ›

Simply put, backwash filters will need to backwash once there is noticeable pressure loss through the filter – typically once every 1-2 weeks.

What water filter lasts 10 years? ›

Berkey Filter Details

The Black Berkey revolutionary filters inside remove up to 99,999% of harmful chemicals and heavy metals from your tap water while leaving undisturbed the essentials minerals your body needs like magnesium, calcium. They will last up to 11 years before replacement filters are recommended.

Does it matter what water filter you use? ›

No filters or treatment systems are 100% effective in removing all contaminants from water, and you need to know what you want your filter to do before you go shopping (see Step 1). Not all filters of a particular type use the same technology, so you should read the label carefully.

What is the best water to drink at home? ›

Without a doubt, spring water is the winner. It is considered the best water to drink, providing vital nutrients as it moves through the body. This is, of course, spring water that is bottled at the source and proven to be actual living spring water.

Are some water filters better than others? ›

Not all filters are created equal. Different water filters have different functions. Some can make your water taste better, while others can filter out harmful chemicals or germs. No single filter can keep every type of contaminant out of your drinking water, and not everyone needs a water filter.

Is it worth installing a water filter? ›

These include traces of sediments, rust, chemicals, heavy metals, bacteria, cysts, fluoride and chlorine. In rural areas, pesticides and herbicides can leach into the water system as well. So a water filter is always a smart way to go.

Is filtering water healthier to drink? ›

Drinking filtered water lowers your risk of developing certain cancers by removing the chlorine. The list includes rectal, colon and bladder cancer. Although water filters remove the minerals that can be harmful to health, the minerals that you want to stay are kept in the water.

How difficult is it to install a whole house water filtration system? ›

It is not overly complex or difficult to install under sink systems. There should be room under kitchen and bathroom sinks to fit an under-sink water system of each type (reverse osmosis, carbon filtration, and ion exchange). You should only need moderate plumbing skills to install under-sink filtration systems.

Is it cheaper to filter your own water? ›

What's the annual cost of bottled water versus using water filters? It's about $80 cheaper to use a water filter in the first year than it is to buy bottled water for a household. You save even more the following year when all you're doing is replacing the filter at regular intervals.

How much does labor cost to install a water filter system? ›

Water filtration system installation labor cost

Labor costs to install a water filtration system average $200 to $300 if you plan to hire a pro to do the work. If you are in the market for a whole house water filtration system, you can take the DIY approach, or you can hire a professional to do the work.

How long does it take to install a whole house filter? ›

Installing a whole house filter system could take an experienced plumber two to four hours. If you're installing it yourself, then it may take a little longer depending on your level of experience.

How many filters do you need for a house? ›

Typically, a house will have 2 air filters in their intake vents. In some cases, there can be more or fewer depending on the square footage of the home or apartment and the number of floors that need to be supported by the central air system.

Is reverse osmosis better than filtered water? ›

Unlike other forms of water filtration, reverse osmosis is considered one of the most all-around effective ways of eliminating water contaminants. Even residential-grade reverse osmosis filters can remove up to 99% of lead, asbestos and 82 other additional contaminants.

Should I leave my water filter on all the time? ›

Every filter has to run all the time. Filters that are above the water level will break the water continuously. This water flow will create more oxygen cycles in the water.

What happens when you use a water filter too long? ›

If you don't change the filter when it's spent, the contaminants can start to come off the activated carbon and back into your drinking water. This degrades the quality of your water and can make you sick if consumed over a long period of time.

How long does it take to flush a whole house water filter? ›

Whether you have a whole-house or commercial water filter or an under-sink filtration system , you need to flush the system for at least five minutes.

How long do whole house water filters last? ›

On average, whole house water filters will last for the following lengths of time: Pre-Filter: Three- to Six Months. Carbon Filter: 12 Months. Post-Filter: Up to One Year.

Are all whole house water filters the same? ›

No filters or treatment systems are 100% effective in removing all contaminants from water, and you need to know what you want your filter to do before you go shopping (see Step 1). Not all filters of a particular type use the same technology, so you should read the label carefully.

How much does it cost to filter the whole house? ›

A whole-house system will generally cost at least $1,000, while an individual unit could be as little as $150. The best whole-house water filters treat water as soon as it enters a home and are usually larger in size. They can cost from $1,000 to $4,200 or even more.

What is the most common water filter size? ›

Standard 2.5" x 9.75" Size Cartridges

This is the most common size made in water filter cartridges. It is essentially a drinking water size, though some discount store manufacturers use this size in inexpensive whole house filters.

Is there a difference in water filters? ›

Not all filters are created equal. Different water filters have different functions. Some can make your water taste better, while others can filter out harmful chemicals or germs. No single filter can keep every type of contaminant out of your drinking water, and not everyone needs a water filter.

Which is better 1 or 5 micron for water filter? ›

What is better 1-micron or 5-micron? Generally speaking, a 5 micron filter is better for removing larger particles from your water such as sediment and rust, while a 1 micron filter is better for capturing smaller particles like bacteria and cysts.


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