If you’re considering installing a water filtration system in your home, you’re probably wondering which system is best for you.
The answer? It depends on what you want to filter out of your home's water.
To know what you want to filter out of your home’s water, you need to know what contaminants are in your home’s water in the first place.
How do you know what contaminates live in your water? A water quality test.
While you can purchase DIY water tests, these often lead to inaccurate results. For a true view of what’s in your water, you should hire a professional to conduct a water quality analysis, so you can be sure you’re purchasing the right filter for your home.
Let’s start by looking at some common contaminants found in Michigan homes’ water supplies and the filters that can help prevent them from entering your home.
Our team offers free water quality tests so you can have peace of mind that you’re getting the best water filtration system for your home.
Common contaminants & the filters that stop them
The type and quantity of contaminants in your home’s water supply depends on where you live.
In Michigan, some common water contaminants are:
Volatile Organic Compounds- VOCs typically don’t occur naturally in groundwater but can enter the water supply due to a variety of reasons, like a chemical spill, fuel spill or illegal waste disposal. The exposure risk of VOCs depends on which compound you’re exposed to, but some can be harmful to your health.
Nitrate- Nitrate is formed naturally, but can be dangerous to infants if exposed to high levels. Nitrate can enter your water supply from fertilizers, industrial waste or septic systems.
Arsenic- Arsenic can enter the water supply via natural deposits or from agricultural or industrial pollution. If exposed to it in large amounts, it can cause potential health concerns like skin damage or issues with your circulatory system.
Other commonly found contaminants are:
- Bacteria & viruses
As we mentioned above, the type and quantity of contaminants depends on where your home is located, and to accurately determine which contaminants are in your home’s water supply, you will need to conduct a water quality test.
Once you know what’s in your water, you can use the information below to choose the water filter that's best for filtering out those specific contaminants.
There are a variety of different water filters, but a few of the most common and effective are:
Activated carbon ($2,200-$2,500)
An activated carbon filter uses a carbon block (like a magnet) to pull contaminants out of your water.
Activated carbon filters remove organic compounds like:
All of these chemicals can be harmful to humans in large quantities.
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends an activated carbon filter as the only filter to remove all 32 identified organic contaminants.
Activated carbon filters also:
- Increase the life of plumbing, fixtures and water appliances
- Provide cleaner water to every faucet, shower and water appliance
- Are more cost-effective and eco-friendly than bottled water
What activated carbon filters don’t filter out: Heavy metals, fluoride, bacteria or microorganisms.
Reverse osmosis ($1,700-$2,400)
A reverse osmosis system works by pushing water through a semi-permeable membrane, removing contaminants but allowing water molecules through.
A reverse osmosis system can filter out:
- Chemical contaminants (copper, chloride, lead)
- 93-97% of total dissolved solids (TDS)
- Sediment, dirt, sand, etc.
Reverse osmosis systems can also:
- Reduce the presence of heavy metals (rocks, cadmium, lead and mercury, salts, etc.)
- May help reduce the presence of arsenic, fluoride, sulfate, calcium and nitrate.
Reverse osmosis systems are highly-effective at filtering water and are usually used for filtering drinking water only (point-of-use), not as whole-home water filters (point-of-entry). We’ll discuss the difference between point-of-use and point-of-entry later on.
Ultraviolet (UV) ($1,500-$1,700)
An ultraviolet system works by using a high-frequency UV light to rid water of pathogens.
An ultraviolet filter kills:
What ultraviolet filters don’t filter out: Contaminants that are non-living, like chemical contaminants.
Because UV filters don’t remove non-living contaminants, these filters are normally used in conjunction with another filter that does, like an activated carbon filter.
At Thornton & Grooms, we also install Anti-Scale Water Filtration Systems, Iron & Hydrogen Sulfide Filtration, Sediment Filtration, and Acid Neutralization Systems. A licensed plumber will be able to help you determine which system is best for your home.
Point-of-use vs. Point-of-entry
Now that you’ve determined which filter you want, you need to decide whether you need/want:
- All of the water in your home to be filtered (“point-of-entry” system)
- Only some water and/or certain fixtures filtered, i.e. your kitchen sink (“point-of-use” system)
Let’s take a closer look at both types of systems...
Point of entry systems, also referred to as whole-home systems, attach to the main water line in your home, ensuring that all water to your home is filtered.
If you install a point-of-entry system, every water appliance you have will always receive filtered water (faucet, shower, sink, toilet, washing machine, fridge, etc.)
Point-of-use systems are different in that they are compact units that are installed to provide filtered water to one water connection, like a kitchen faucet or sink. A POU system is normally installed close to whatever fixture it’s providing filtered water to (i.e. under the sink).
Ready to install a water filtration system? Hire our Michigan Pros
Our team of licensed professionals is knowledgeable and professional. We offer a variety of water filtration systems and always do our due diligence by providing a water quality test—for free—before suggesting a water filter for your Michigan home.