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The New Homeowner’s Guide to Home Water Systems

The backside of a family facing a newly bought home

New to being a homeowner and noticing water-related issues? Maybe scale has been building up on your faucets (one of the signs of hard water) or your water tastes or smells strange, leaving you to ask “what water filtration system do I need?” to correct the problem. Knowing how to identify water-related issues in your home and being able to address those problems will go a long way in providing you with home water you can feel confident about.

Understand Your Area’s Water (and its Effects on Your Home)

Knowing your area’s water quality is key to understanding what your new home may need for water treatment systems. Are you pulling water from a well or are you receiving it from your municipality? Whether you have municipal or well water, your water may have unique contaminants that you will want to reduce.

Common water contaminants homeowners with municipal water typically experience include chlorine, lead and nitrate. For example, if your water smells like a swimming pool, that means your municipal supply is likely disinfected with chlorine, which is common. Your municipality is required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to publish an annual Consumer Confidence Report that’s often referred to as a drinking water quality report. This report can be used to understand what’s in your drinking water and how the municipality is treating the water before it gets to your home. You can also have your home’s water tested by a certified laboratory to learn what’s in your water specifically.

Unlike municipal water, homeowners on well water need to monitor and treat their home’s water themselves. Knowing what types of naturally occurring and human activities are taking place near your home will help raise awareness of potential contaminants that could impact your water. Common well water contaminants include sediment, iron, bacteria and nitrate.

Homeowners should test their wells for a variety of contaminants on an annual basis (or more frequently if you notice a change in water quality). Testing should be done by a laboratory that’s certified in your state or territory. If test results indicate you have contaminants that exceed your state’s health standards, then treatment is recommended. Some water quality issues can be resolved easily with disinfection, though a water treatment system may also be required.

In addition to municipal and well water contaminants, hard water may be another problem your new home faces. An estimated 85 percent of North American homes are impacted by hard water. Some regions of the country experience higher levels of hard water than others, but many homes are subjected to moderate to extreme levels. While hard water is considered an aesthetic contaminant, over time hard water minerals, calcium and magnesium, form a buildup that can negatively affect many areas of your home.

Common signs of hard water

Knowing there’s a good chance your home is impacted by hard water, signs that offer proof include:

  • White, crusty buildup on faucets and showerheads
  • Weakened water pressure
  • Water-using appliances break down prematurely
  • Spotty glasses and dishware
  • Soap doesn’t lather when washing hands or showering
  • Dry skin, hair and scalp

Get a water treatment system that fits your home needs.

Use the Interactive Shopping Guide to identify a home water system that will address your water woes.


Interactive Shopping Guide

Homeowner’s Quick Guide to Water Softeners

Once you have determined any water issues affecting your home, you can research how to treat them. If you want to reduce the amount of hard water in your home, adding a water softener is the solution you are looking for.

A water softener installs on your main water line to provide soft water for your entire home. Soft water is simply water with low levels (less than 3 grains per gallon) of hardness minerals, so you’ll experience soft skin and hair, better-performing and longer-lasting appliances, sparkling dishware, and less crusty buildup—all from having a water softener.

Water softeners are designed to last 8 to 12+ years—even in areas that are impacted by the hardest water minerals—so they offer a lot of durability and are affordable when considering how long they will be in service. Water softeners are also easy to maintain. Add salt into the softener’s brine tank as needed, and use water softener cleaner every 4 months to help keep the system running at its best.

Consider this guide when deciding what size water softener to purchase. The number of people in your home, the amount of water regularly used and the water hardness level should all be factored into your purchase decision. And if you want to know more about water softeners, referencing this glossary will help you easily navigate the (sometimes) confusing web of softener terminology so you can make decisions like a pro.

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Homeowner’s Quick Guide to Water Filtration Systems

There are two main categories for water filtration options: whole home and under sink systems. Whole home or point-of-entry systems install on your main water line and filter the water for your entire home. Under sink systems—sometimes called point-of-entry or drinking water systems— are installed right at the kitchen or bathroom sink and are popular for drinking water and cooking.

Whole home filtration

Whole home filtration is a suitable choice for those who want to reduce common water contaminants throughout the home. This is often a popular option for homeowners on well water who want to correct issues due to sediment and iron in the water. For homeowners on municipal water, whole home filtration systems can be paired with carbon filters to treat taste and odor issues caused by chlorine.

Most whole home systems are simply an open sump that you pair with a filter designed to target specific contaminants. These filters come in a variety of media types and capacities, so you can try out different options to find the filtering solution that meets your home water needs.

If you also require a water softening system, a whole home filter will need to be installed between the incoming water source and the softener. If you’re limited on space, 2-in-1 softener and filtration systems are available. These hybrid systems are great for homes on municipal water that need to reduce both hard water minerals and chlorine and sediment. This is the solution for those who want to soften their water and improve the smell and taste of their drinking water.

Whole home filtration systems do require a little maintenance, as the filters will need to be replaced at recurring intervals to keep unwanted contaminants out of your water. Some whole home filtration systems have automatic cleaning cycles that keep the filter going for the life of the system (meaning no filter changes).

Consider this helpful guide when choosing a whole home filtration system.

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Under sink filtration

Under sink filtration helps reduce harmful, often undetectable contaminants such as lead, nitrate and arsenic from your drinking water. Installed in kitchens or bathrooms, under sink filtration systems provide more than just cleaner, great-tasting drinking water for your family and pets; it’s also great for cooking, and making ice, coffee and tea.

To determine the right under sink system for you, it’s important to understand your water quality issues and then choose the system that is certified to solve your needs. Be sure to check the system for third-party certification, like NSF International, to confirm any contaminant reduction claims.

Reverse Osmosis (RO) is one of the most popular filtration methods for drinking water, as it is a proven solution for reducing unsafe levels of contaminants in drinking water. Because of this thorough technology, it’s also the same filtering method that many bottled water brands use.

Due to the thorough filters in under sink systems, the flow rate of the filtered water is decreased. Thus, many systems come with a dedicated faucet for the filtered water, leaving your main tap unaffected. This filtered water faucet can be placed into the soap dispenser hole in your countertop, or a new hole can be drilled.

Like whole home systems, maintenance for under sink systems is typically a few filter replacements each year to keep unwanted contaminants from your drinking water. Homes on well water may want some pre-filtering prior to an under sink system, such as a whole home sediment filter, to help protect the longevity of the under sink system and filters.

Trying to decide between under sink systems? Check out this article that compares two of our most popular options.

Reduce contaminants you can’t see, taste or smell with an under sink filtration system.

Treat your kitchen or bathroom water using a convenient system that easily installs under your sink.

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Forever Chemicals in Your Tap Water

What PFAs & Other Chemicals Do To Your Body


Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals,” are man-made substances that are nearly indestructible. Forever chemicals were manufactured as early as the 1940s and pose serious health risks. Known for being dangerous pollutants that are commonly associated with drinking water contamination, forever chemicals such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are used in firefighting foam at airports, food packaging materials, nonstick pans, waterproof apparel, carpets and more.

Unfortunately, due primarily to industrial pollution, forever chemicals are now commonly found in tap water throughout the United States. By knowing how to protect your home’s water supply and what you put into your body, you will be able to limit the amount of PFAS within you.

There are more than 4,700 known forever chemicals that make up the PFAS family of chemicals with PFOA and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) being the most common. PFAS are made up of linked carbon and fluorine atoms, and because the carbon-fluorine bond is so strong, PFAS are nearly indestructible. They do not degrade in the environment and scientists are not yet even able to determine when they reach their half-life.

PFOA and PFOS are no longer made in the United States, however, manufacturers have replaced them with similar chemicals that also belong to the PFAS chemical family, such as GenX. Created by E.I. duPont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) in the late 2000s, GenX was engineered to be a replacement for PFOA once science, lawsuits and some state regulations began to catch up with how dangerous PFOA and PFOS are. However, EPA and independent researchers now believe that GenX may be even more dangerous than PFOA. Also, despite PFOA and PFOS no longer being made in the United States, some other countries still produce items using them, meaning it’s possible for Americans to still purchase products that contain PFOA or PFOS.

What PFAs and Other Chemicals Do To Your Body

The EPA and federal government currently have no enforceable limits on the level of PFOA, PFOS or other PFAS in tap water. Government health advisories have been established for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water, based on data from lab studies. The EPA’s health advisory for both PFOA and PFOS combined is set at 70 parts per trillion (ppt) over a person’s lifetime.

The advisories, which are not enforceable, offer state governments and municipalities guidelines to help protect local residents from water contaminated by PFAS. However, what states and municipalities have done with that data is inconsistent, as guidance varies based on state and there is little overall government oversight of PFAS. 

The federal government unveiled in October 2021 that the EPA developed and will roll out a PFAS Strategic Roadmap to help protect public health and begin curtailing the problem.

What Happens if You Drink Water With PFAS?

Consuming PFAS in any quantity is alarming, because they will accumulate in your body over time since they are virtually indestructible. Forever chemicals have been linked to a variety of serious health conditions, including:

  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Testicular, kidney, liver and pancreatic cancer
  • Decreased fertility or increased high blood pressure in pregnant women
  • Birth defects
  • Decreased vaccine response in youth

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ​​scientists have found PFOA and PFOS in the blood of nearly all individuals who have been tested. The Environmental Working Group, meanwhile, estimates that more than 200 million Americans have water contaminated by forever chemicals with a concentration of at least 1 ppt, a key figure since many scientific studies suggest a safe level for PFAS in drinking water is 1 ppt or less.

Impacts on a person’s immune system are still being studied and are of particular concern. Many reputable studies show evidence that PFAS alter the immune system and diminish a child or adult’s ability to respond to illness, and in some instances, vaccines.

Finding answers will take time. Independent researchers are unsure of the toxicity levels of many PFAS or their mixtures because they don’t have the opportunity to study the chemicals until they are already on the market. This is because in the United States, in many instances, companies are not required to prove chemical product safety. Historically, the EPA determines whether chemicals and products are safe and acceptable, but EPA analyses don’t usually occur unless health concerns are raised.

Food and Beverage Choices to Reduce PFAS Contamination in Your Body

One way to limit the amount of PFAS you put into your body is to be mindful of what ready-made and takeout food you purchase and how it has been packaged. For example, many fast food restaurants have been using food packaging materials that have been PFAS-treated for years. Paper bags, burger wrappers, bowls and fry containers from several large-scale fast food chains—including Taco Bell, Burger King and McDonald’s—have been found to contain PFAS over the last several years.

Some of these chains have publicly stated they have been or will be switching to PFAS-free wrappers and containers, however, it’s not a quick switch for many fast food chains, as PFAS are used to help make water- and grease-resistant packaging, making them convenient. Further, if you eat fast food and are concerned you have packaging items that contain PFAS, you should not compost those items.

Recent tests and studies have also been conducted which confirm PFAS contaminate a variety of bottled beverages, including spring and sparkling water.

Does LaCroix Have PFAS?

Yes, LaCroix, and many other sparkling water brands—such as Topo Chico, Perrier and Polar—contain PFAS. A 2020 Consumer Reports test shows a variety of canned and bottled water sources are contaminated by PFAS, many of which are considered to be at unsafe levels.

The results indicate Topo Chico, made by Coca-Cola, measured levels of 9.76 ppt, making it the worst offender. Coca-Cola has since upgraded its water filtration methods, however, and Topo Chico tested at 3.9 ppt in 2021, showing significant improvement. However, that level of contamination is still significantly higher than the 1 ppt many scientists recommend for safety.

Does reverse osmosis remove PFAS?

Select reverse osmosis (RO) systems are powerful filtration systems that can reduce PFAS from your home’s tap water. Designed to provide powerful filtration for kitchen or bathroom sinks, RO systems use a three-stage filtration process to move water through a carbon pre-filter, a semipermeable membrane and post-filter.

If you are concerned about forever chemicals in your tap water, investing in a RO system that’s third-party certified to reduce PFAS is likely the best way to look after your drinking water and overall health. While not all RO systems are proven to reduce PFAS, the Brita Total 360 is certified to NSF/ANSI standard 473 for the reduction of up to 97% of PFOA and PFOS in your drinking water. The system installs directly under your kitchen or bathroom sink and will provide your tap with cleaner, healthier water.

Worried about PFAS in your drinking water?

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To explore more about what PFAS are, and the dangers they pose, this companion resource offers additional information.

What Does “NSF Certified” Mean for Water Treatment Systems?

If you’re investing in a product that influences the quality of your water, you want to go the extra mile in making sure it’s going to deliver on its promises. There is one easy way to distinguish a high-quality system from the rest: an NSF certification. While shopping for a new water treatment system, you might have seen the NSF mark or the “NSF certified” label on some products.

But what is NSF, and what does it mean for something to be “NSF certified”? Keep reading to learn how this mark can help you determine the quality of a water treatment system—and why it matters to you.

What Is NSF International?

NSF International is a non-profit organization created in 1944 to give unbiased testing, auditing and certifying to products to ensure they meet public health standards. NSF specializes in certain industries, so you won’t see their label on every single product on the shelves of your hardware store. Products eligible for testing are wide ranging—covering many consumer product industries including food, automotive, water, and construction.

Staffed with a team of food safety specialists, chemists, scientists and public health experts, and with laboratories across the world, NSF has a strict set of tests that products must pass to secure a certification.

Why Does an NSF Certification Matter?

It’s important to emphasize that NSF is non-profit and third-party operated. That means there isn’t a way for companies to buy their way into a certification. Instead, the quality of the products will need to speak for itself over the course of several stringent tests.

For the consumer, an NSF certification gives proof that a product does what it claims to do. A water filtration system that claims to be certified to reduce chlorine smell and taste will be thoroughly tested to ensure it does just that, letting a consumer know it’s a worthwhile investment.

Additionally, in order for a water treatment product to achieve NSF certification, the product must reduce contaminants down to a safe level in accordance with the US EPA Safe Drinking Water Act.

Is an NSF Certification Important for a Water Treatment System?

Products that do not have an NSF certification are not inherently low-quality. However, for consumers who are concerned with product performance, the certification helps to make the shopping process easier. With the distinction of an NSF-certified mark, consumers don’t have to go through an extensive research process to figure out if the filtration system actually performs the way the company claims it does.

If you’re shopping for a water filtration system, it is wise to seek out an NSF certification mark, which will be displayed on the packaging and/or on the product itself. If you have a product in mind that doesn’t have the certification, you’ll want to do some research before spending money. Find out if the manufacturer has sought out third-party tests, and if they have provided proof of lab results. Third-party test information is often included in the owner’s manual, which you can usually find online. This is an important step when you’re making an investment in the improvement of your water.

Which Water Treatment Systems Are NSF Certified?

Whether you’re looking for a water filtration system, a water softener or a replacement filter for your system, you don’t have to look too far to find an NSF certification mark. Several larger brands including Brita, Whirlpool and EcoPure have gone through the process of testing and certifying their products through NSF to ensure they perform as intended for the consumer.

A great example of a product with extensive NSF testing is the Brita Total 360 Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filtration System, which is certified to NSF standards to reduce more than 90 contaminants, including lead, PFOAs, nitrates and chlorine taste and odor. When shopping for a system that reduces contaminants as dangerous as lead, you need to know it can actually do so.

Brita Total 360 Reverse Osmosis System

Offering some of the most powerful water filtration available, this reverse osmosis system from Brita Total 360 can give you cleaner, healthier water right from your sink.


Begin your search for the right NSF-Certified water treatment system

Now that you know how helpful NSF certification can be in your shopping process, it’s time to learn more about the water treatment systems you’re looking for and how to select the best one for your home. Explore the Home Water Resource Center for a wealth of information about water softening, water filtration and so much more.

How to Choose a Whole House Water Filtration System

A woman splashing water on her face

Whole house water filtration systems offer improved water quality throughout an entire house by connecting to a main water line. A whole home system could be just what you need—but it’s a good idea to make sure it’s the right option for you and your home before making a purchase.

What Is a Whole Home Water Filtration System?

As stated above, a whole home water filtration system connects to your main water line, somewhere between your water meter and water heater. Installation on the main line means the filter treats all the water you use, whether it’s for cooking, bathing, drinking or cleaning.

Because whole home systems treat every drop of water that travels through your house, the systems are sometimes referred to as “point-of-entry” systems. In contrast, a “point-of-use” or under sink system will only provide filtration to one specific faucet.

Why You Would Choose a Whole Home Water Filtration System Over an Undersink Water Filter

Now it’s time to decide which system is right for your home. First, you need to determine what you’re trying to filter out of your water. There are several common contaminants both large and small that can range from aesthetically annoying to potentially harmful to your health.

Gain a better understanding of your area’s water quality with the Environmental Working Group’s tap water database. 

If you already know what’s in your water, but you don’t know which system to install, here are the main differences:

Under sink systems:

  • Only filter water for one faucet
  • Reduce chlorine smell and taste
  • Reduce small, harmful contaminants including lead and chemicals
  • Can potentially treat water contaminated with PFAS

Whole home systems: 

  • Treats your entire home’s water
  • Reduce particles such as sediment, sand and iron
  • Can potentially reduce chlorine smell and taste (depending on filter selection)

While under sink systems offer a more thorough filtration solution, whole home filtration systems are best suited for homes that have sediment in the water that could damage plumbing and water-using appliances. It is common to layer up by installing both a whole home and under sink system if you’re worried about more harmful, undetectable contaminants that make it past your whole home system.

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Understanding Filter Media Types—and Your Needs

Whole home filtration systems can feature filters of all different types of media (the material used to filter contaminants). The most common found in whole home systems include:

  • String wound
  • Pleated
  • Melt blown
  • Activated carbon
  • Carbon blocks
  • Flow and Capture Technology (FACT)

There are different advantages and costs to each of these media, so it’s important to pick one that eliminates the contaminant that’s causing issues within your home. Discover the differences between these types of media in EcoPureHome’s Ultimate Water Filtration Media Guide.

Understanding Micron Ratings

At the most basic level, a water filter captures contaminants from the water while letting the rest of the water through. A micron rating is typically given to filters that reduce sediment and helps to describe what size particles the filter is able to capture. The smaller the micron rating, the more sediment captured by the filter. However, that doesn’t mean smaller is always better. If your home has high levels of sediment (dirt, rust, or sand) a higher micron rating might be a better option as you won’t need to replace your filters quite as often.

Drop-in Cartridges and the Difference They Make

Depending on your area’s water quality, most whole home replacement filters should last 3-6 months. The lifespan of your filter will depend entirely on the condition of your water quality, the amount of water you use in your home and the micron rating for your desired filter. Replacing the filters is a fast, easy process with these systems.

You’ll know it’s time to replace your filters when the water pressure in your home decreases significantly. That means the filter has captured enough particles to not allow water to pass through as easily. If you use a whole home system at a vacation home or a place that isn’t used as frequently, it’s still good practice to replace filters at the recommended intervals to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Here are the steps you’ll need to take to clean and replace the filter:

  • Shut off the water and relieve pressure to the system
  • Twist the housing to separate it from the head
  • Remove the old filter cartridge
  • Wash and rinse out the housing
  • Add the new filter
  • Replace the housing
  • Turn the water back on

Yes, it’s easy to maintain a whole home system, but even better than its convenience is the level of customization it can provide. If a certain filter media or micron rating isn’t meeting your expectations, there are many cartridge options available to help find that perfect filtering solution for your home.

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A Maintenance-Free Option

If the maintenance of the system described above isn’t ideal for you, there’s another way to filter your home’s water. Central water filtration systems offer a convenient option that requires virtually no maintenance. Like the other whole home filtration systems, it connects on your main water line. This system works by automatically cleaning its media bed every 14 days so you don’t have to.

Central water filtration systems make a perfect choice for homes with municipal water supplies as they reduce chlorine taste and odor as well as sediment—common issues for city water.


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Find more information on water filtration systems

The good news about whole home filtration systems is that there are so many different options of replacement filters to choose from. If your first or second picks aren’t what you need, be persistent and try out different media types. And if the filters aren’t lasting as long as you’d like, know that moving up in micron rating will help extend the lifespan.

You can also discover a wealth of information within the Home Water Resource Center. Find more information about water filtering and softening solutions so you can equip your home with all the necessary tools to improve your water.

Do I Need a Water Softener, an Iron Filter, or Both?

People who have too much iron in their water may be familiar with issues including metallic-smelling water, reddish-colored water, and rust-colored stains around drains and in appliances. While excessive iron isn’t a threat to health, it can create expensive and unsightly problems around the home if not filtered.

Types of iron that can be found in water

There are three types of iron that can contaminate water supplies: ferrous (or clear water iron), ferric (or red water iron) and iron bacteria. Here is a breakdown of what these types of iron look like in your water:

Ferrous iron: This type of iron is called clear water iron because that’s how it looks in your water: totally clear. That’s because it’s soluble, or dissolved, in water. Even though ferrous iron is clear in water, it will leave reddish stains behind after it has oxidized (reacted with oxygen or chlorine). This type of iron is difficult to remove without being converted to ferric iron, but water softeners are capable of removing low to moderate levels.

Ferric iron: Also called red water iron or insoluble iron, this type of iron is created when ferrous iron is exposed to oxygen or chlorine. It is easy to spot ferric iron water because of its reddish-brown color out of the tap which indicates that the ferrous iron has oxidized. Ferric iron can typically only be reduced by an iron filtration system.

Iron bacteria: While not as common as the two types above, this contaminant is a bacteria that has fed on iron creating a sludgy, stringy rust-colored slime that can do serious damage to pipes and drains by clogging them. The presence of bacteria can also indicate potential health problems with the water. It’s notoriously difficult to remove this type of iron buildup, so testing for it in your water supply is crucial if you notice a slimy material anywhere in your home plumbing. If you have this contaminant you will need to disinfect first to kill the bacteria in addition to iron filtration.

Homes with well water are most susceptible to having iron in their water supplies, but municipal water supplies can have trace amounts that you can detect through the presence of rusty stains left behind after water has evaporated. Treating iron contamination is a unique problem because of the different types of iron, and you’ll need to know which systems will help reduce the type you are dealing with. Both water softeners and iron filtration systems are capable of reducing iron, but there are a few important things to know before deciding between the two. If you’re wondering whether you need an iron filtration system or water softener for iron reduction, you’ll want to continue reading on.

The importance of testing your water

Before you make a decision on which system is right for your home’s water, it is critical to work with a trusted water treatment professional to test your water supply. Knowing the type and amount of iron in your water—as well as any other water problems—will help you understand which water treatment solution is appropriate for iron reduction in your home.

If you test your water and it comes back with more than 0.3 PPM (parts per million) of iron (red water or clear water), you’ll likely see iron staining in your home and want to consider water treatment options for iron reduction. The only effective way to reduce high levels of red water/ferric iron is through an iron filtration system. Most water softeners can reduce low to moderate levels of clear water/ferrous iron, but they are incapable of effectively reducing ferric iron.

An iron filter system is also not the right choice for non-potable water or with water supplies that have bacteria or acidic water. This is why it’s so important to work with a certified lab or trusted professional to analyze your water and find the solution that’s right for you.

How iron filters work

Iron filters are point-of-entry systems, which means they are connected to the main water line right where the water enters your home and filter all of the water before it can make contact with your home’s fixtures and appliances. Iron filter systems contain a media bed filled with an oxidizing agent that converts any clear water iron into red water iron upon contact. The media will then capture the oxidized red water iron so that it won’t pass through the system and into your home.

Iron filters can also reduce low-to-moderate levels of hydrogen sulfide, which is identifiable with its egg-like smell. 

Iron filters are the most effective system for reducing high levels of iron in water—but they don’t catch 100% of iron. Thus, you may want to consider adding a water softener for a total iron solution.

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Pairing a water softener with an iron filter

In addition to hard water minerals, a water softener will also reduce low to moderate levels of clear water iron.

When paired with an iron filter system, a water softener can reduce any remaining clear water iron that may have made it through the filter. Because about 99% of the iron will have been removed by the iron filter, the rest of the clear water iron that makes it to the water softener will not strain the system.

Find the right water softener.

Need to complement your iron filtration system? Look for a water softener to give your water a true polish.

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What else you need to know about iron filtration systems

Iron filtration systems are a big investment, so it’s important to take proper care of them. Iron filtration systems need to be replenished with potassium permanganate on a regular basis. This will help regenerate the system so the media bed can continue to convert clear water iron to red water iron.

Unlike a water softener that regenerates based on your needs, an iron filter will need to be manually programmed to regenerate on a set schedule. The owners’ manual that comes with your system will let you know how often the system needs to regenerate based on your iron levels and the number of people in your household. It’s also important to wear protective gear when handling potassium permanganate and reference the correct Material Safety Data Sheet beforehand.

All the home water resources you need, all in one place.

If an iron filter isn’t the right solution for you, and you’re curious about other home water treatment systems, visit the Home Water Resource Center. You can find valuable information for everything related to water softening and filtration and feel confident in picking the system that’s right for your home.

The Complete Guide to Water System Maintenance

Water softeners and filtration systems are built to last and are relatively easy to maintain, provided they get routine maintenance on a recurring basis. By giving your water softener and filtration systems regular checks and basic upkeep you will ensure your systems are providing you cleaner water for years to come. Follow the guide below and you will be on your way to becoming proficient in completing do-it-yourself water system maintenance tasks.

Below you will find tips for maintaining your water softener and filtration systems, helping keep your water systems operating at full efficiency for years to come. Check out the videos on this page for additional information.

Water Softener Maintenance

Whether your water softener was manufactured by EcoPure, Whirlpool or Kenmore, it was built to last a decade or longer. Choosing the right water softener cleaner, an easy part of regular water system maintenance, will keep your system operating and extend its life cycle.

Ready to ensure your water softening system is operating at full efficiency? Below is a checklist and videos that will provide you with everything needed to jumpstart you on a path to proficiency in do-it-yourself water softener maintenance.

Water softener regeneration

Water softener regeneration is a necessary process for softening water, and a little required maintenance on your part will keep this process going.

Steps for water softener maintenance

  1. Check your water softener about once a month and add more salt when necessary. It’s ideal to keep the brine tank about half full.
  2. Choose the right salt for your water softener to help avoid salt bridges and mushing.
  3. Use a water softener cleanser on a regular schedule (once every four months) to help keep your system operating in top form.
  4. Keep your water softener’s nozzle and venturi clean.

How do I clean my water softener?

Follow these easy do-it-yourself steps, which require no tools, and your softening system will run more efficiently for longer.

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Filtration System Maintenance and Replacements

Performing simple water system maintenance tasks will help keep your system operating in good condition, providing you with cleaner water for longer. One of the simplest ways to maintain your filtration system is by replacing the filter as recommended. This is because filters capture contaminants that can accumulate quickly. It’s critical to replace filters when necessary to ensure best results.

Water filtration system maintenance

Whether you have an under sink filtration system, or a product designed for use throughout your whole home, filters should be replaced on a recurring basis. Whole home filters typically last three to six months, while under sink systems work for up to six months, depending on the quality of your untreated water and the volume of water used.

Want to keep your water filtration system operating at full efficiency? Below are videos for you to watch and additional information to help you become more proficient in do-it-yourself water filtration system maintenance.

Keep cleaner water flowing by changing your under sink water filter

Follow this video’s simple steps to keep cleaner water coming out of your faucet.

Reverse osmosis systems have an extra step for filter replacement, as they include a semipermeable membrane which typically lasts two to three years, depending on the system installed and your home’s water quality.

Looking for more ways to get the most life out of your water filtration systems?

Read Water Filtration System Maintenance Tips and Tricks.

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Looking for more about under sink filtration systems?

Learn the pros and cons of what each system has to offer.

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Reference your complete user manual for required tools, step-by-step instructions for installation and water system maintenance, product programming, and more.

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What Kind of Salt Should I Use—and How Much?

Investing in a water softener is an important step in protecting your home’s water supply from hard water. But it’s just one step, as water softening systems require occasionally adding salt to their brine tank (sometimes referred to as a salt storage tank) to keep it running.

Think of salt as the fuel that powers your water softening system. The salt is used during the regeneration process to rid the resin beads of all captured hard water minerals. Wondering what happens if your water softener runs out of salt? Without salt, the resin beads won’t be able to capture the hard water minerals in your water, and you’ll begin experiencing hard water in the home once again.

These softening salt basics—when to add salt, the correct type of salt and how much salt—will all aid in successful water softener ownership.

When Should I Add Salt to My Water Softener?

It’s necessary to add salt to your water softener on a recurring basis. However, it can be confusing to decide when and how much salt to pour into the brine tank.

The first step is to open the cover to the brine tank and look inside. The brine tank must always be at least one-fourth full for the system to run efficiently. If you need to add salt, a good rule of thumb is to fill the tank to at least the halfway point.

Many water softeners have a ‘low salt’ indicator light, but if yours doesn’t, indicators that suggest the level of salt in your brine tank needs to be adjusted include:

  • The salt within looks dry
  • The tank is less than half full
  • The salt appears very wet
  • The water level inside the brine tank is higher than the salt

For most softeners, we recommend checking the salt level in your brine tank about once per month until you’ve established a refilling routine.

Can you overfill a water softener with salt?

Indeed, it is possible to overfill your water softening system with salt, and that may cause bridging.

Salt bridging is what happens when the salt at the top of the brine tank sticks together to form a bridge but does not drop down into the tank. This means the water softener will run out of salt while appearing full, resulting in hard water throughout your home. To break up a salt bridge, use the end of a broom to gently apply pressure on the bridge, causing it to crumble back to the bottom of the tank. Salt bridging is often caused by high humidity in the install location or by using the wrong type of salt.

What Kind of Salt Should I Use in My Water Softener?

When adding salt to your brine tank, there are two recommended options to pick from: solar salt or evaporated salt.

Solar salt is obtained from the evaporation of seawater and comes in pellet or crystal form. Pellets help reduce the possibility of bridging in the brine tank, which is a key benefit for households that don’t often consume a lot of water. Beyond the pellets helping with bridging, there are no discernible differences in the performance of the two types of solar salt.

Evaporated salt is 99.9% sodium chloride—the purest option. Using evaporated salt–in pellet or nugget form–will result in less storage tank residue, a decrease in bridging, mushiness, and will require less overall maintenance for your water softening system.

Rock salt is a low cost option, but not recommended as it contains higher levels of insoluble minerals than the other two choices. Over time, the use of rock salt can make the inside of the brine tank appear muddy. This will decrease softening efficiency and result in impurities lingering in your water supply.

Have you wondered if water softener salt is the same as table salt? It’s a common question, and the answer is no: table salt should not be used in water softening systems. The crystals from table salt are too small and using table salt will make the inside of your brine tank mushy and cause damage to your water softening system.

Sodium chloride vs. potassium chloride

Sodium chloride (NaCl) and potassium chloride (KCl) are equally effective salt options for water softeners combatting the effects of hard water. Though potassium chloride, the more expensive option, is an effective alternative for those with sodium-related health concerns or living in areas with sodium restrictions.

Many water softener systems allow you to select whether you’re using sodium chloride or potassium chloride in your system. For systems that don’t, increase the hardness setting by 25% if you’re using potassium chloride to compensate.

Boost your water softener’s efficiency with cleaning solution!

By pouring a bottle of water softener cleaner into your brine tank every 4 months, your water softener will work stronger for longer.

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Which Is the Best Under Sink Water Filtration System for Me?

Two types of under sink water filtration systems are best at packing a heavy punch: three-stage reverse osmosis (RO) water filtration systems and two-stage products. Both are practical options to install under sinks in kitchens or bathrooms, and both are good for reducing contaminants to provide you with cleaner water.

Which of the two water filtration systems for use under a sink is best? Though they’re both effective tools in helping clean your water, each has its own unique advantages that could better suit your home. Knowing which is the right choice for you can go a long way in boosting the quality of your water supply for years to come.

Three-Stage RO vs. Two-Stage Water Filtration

What filtration system is most effective?

Reverse osmosis systems provide the most thorough filtration possible and are proven to be among the best water filtration systems installed under the sink. They boast a semipermeable membrane that separates contaminants—including chlorine, lead, sediment and microbial cysts—from your drinking water.

Like two-stage products, RO systems fit under the sink. However, they have a separate water storage tank that needs to be installed. If you live in a home with limited storage under your sink, it may be necessary to install the tank in another room, basement or garage, which may require some additional plumbing work. RO filtration systems require new pre- and post-filters once every six months (depending on your water quality) and their membranes can last two to three years.

Two-stage under sink models are also effective at reducing common contaminants—such as chlorine, lead and sediment—from your faucet’s water supply. Like RO systems, their filters need to be replaced every six months using the same twist-off, twist-on process. There is also no water storage tank to take up additional space.

Are under sink water filters worth it?

Installing a water filtration system under your sink isn’t just a convenience, it can also save you money. With regular access to great-tasting, cleaner water, you can ditch buying bottled water while reducing plastic waste. The water filtration systems themselves are also low maintenance, with filter replacement being a cinch.

When deciding what is the best home water filter system for under your sink, in the case of three-stage reverse osmosis versus two-stage filtration the final decision may come down to accessibility. RO systems, though a little more advanced in contaminant reduction, take up more space than their two-stage counterparts—space you may not have. Two-stage models still pack a punch and are good for reducing most contaminants, including chlorine and lead. You also won’t have to worry about additional plumbing when choosing a two-stage unit.

Know that whichever water filtration system you deem best for under your sink, your days of relying on bottled water for drinking are coming to an end.

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Is Chlorine in My Home Water—and What Should I Do About it?

Tap water for home use comes from a variety of sources, including lakes, rivers and wells. To protect the water supply and public health, it’s vital to prevent contamination. This means some kind of disinfectant needs to be used to kill potential disease-causing germs, such as norovirus and Salmonella.

Enter chlorine, a powerful and proven disinfectant for many home water supplies. Although its presence is necessary, many homeowners wonder if chlorine is safe to consume.


Is chlorine in your home tap water—and is that bad?

Is there chlorine in tap water? The answer is most likely yes, if you’re on a public water system from a municipality. For more than a century, the most common disinfectant used by municipalities to treat tap water in the United States has been chlorine. When used as a disinfectant, chlorine is an excellent tool in killing viruses, bacteria and parasites. Alternatively, if your water supply comes from a private well, you likely don’t have chlorine in your water.

Note that while chlorine in limited amounts is deemed safe for humans—and for other mammals and birds to consume—reptiles, amphibians and aquatic pets should avoid drinking or absorbing water that has chlorine in it.

The biggest issue typically reported with chlorine-treated water is the taste and odor, which can be unpleasant to drink and cook with.

How much chlorine is in tap water?

How much chlorine is in tap water? Chlorine levels up to 4 milligrams per liter, or 4 parts per million (PPM), are considered safe for human consumption, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

If chlorine is in your water, which could be inconvenient and unpleasant, what solutions are available to get rid of it?

How to Remove Chlorine From Tap Water

When determining how to remove chlorine from tap water, there are a variety of proven methods that produce results. Boiling water isn’t the most practical way to remove chlorine from tap water but it’ll do in a pinch. UV exposure, while slow, also works. A creative method some use is adding vitamin-C tablets to tap water.

The most efficient and effective method for chlorine reduction is using carbon filtration. Part of what makes carbon filters so effective is they’re good at adsorbing and removing contaminants and other substances from water. Technology in carbon filtration makes it possible to remove chlorine from your tap water with an under-the-sink system or for the entire house with a whole home system.

Find home water filtration systems from EcoPureHome, where you will come across premium solutions from brands like Whirlpool, Brita and EcoPure that can reduce chlorine, sediment and more from your home’s water supply.

Explore Solutions That Reduce Chlorine in Your Water

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A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Plumb a Water Softener

Installing a large appliance can seem like a challenging task at first. While it’s true that you’ll need a little background knowledge in plumbing and some DIY savvy to install your water softener, the task is simple with the right setup and tools. It’s important to note that houses will vary in setups—installing a unit within an older house might be a more complicated task than a newer home that already has a water softener loop (a pipe that separates your home’s inside and outside water systems). Additionally, if you are simply replacing an older unit, the process will be simpler than a first-time installation.

The tools, extent of plumbing and level of effort will vary depending on these factors. But no matter which scenario you’re in, keeping your water softener’s product manual handy will be one of the most important steps during the whole process. With that said, it’s time to get ready for a successful installation.

Everything you’ll need for water softener plumbing success

Step 1: Find the right location

  • Access to an electric outlet (120v will suffice)
  • A sink or drain that will flush away the waste water created in the regeneration process
  • Water softener plumbing loop (if your house has one) or a spot between the water inlet and water heater

Note that not every home will come equipped with a water softener plumbing loop, but it comes in handy if you want to keep your home’s inside and outside water separate. This means you won’t be wasting soft water on yard maintenance or other outdoor projects.

If you’ve found the right location for your water softener and have all tools on hand, give the product manual a look-over to make sure your purchase came with all the parts needed. These parts include the bypass valve, clips, clamps, a drain hose and a few others you should verify are present in the softener’s installation kit.

Step 2: Turn off your water and attach the bypass valve

This piece of equipment is included with your purchase and allows you to bypass water to the softener in case it needs maintenance. You’ll want to make sure the bypass valve connections are in line with your existing plumbing.

To install the bypass valve into the water softener, press the bypass valve into the inlet and outlet ports on the softener valve and secure with the two clips.

Step 3: Position your water softener and make connections to the bypass valve

Next, you’ll want to measure, cut and assemble the pipe fittings from the main water pipe to the inlet and outlet ports of the bypass valve. This is a step in which you may need to rely on push-to-connect fittings or flex connectors—these pieces are readily available on EcoPureHome or at any local hardware store and eliminate the need for soldering or specialty plumbing.

The threads coming out of the water softener bypass valve are 1” Male NPT, so any fittings you purchase need to fit this standard. The water softener itself is labeled to help you understand which pipes will connect to the inlet and outlet of the softener.


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Step 4: Install valve drain hose and salt storage tank overflow hose

Similar to the pipe fittings, you’ll also need to measure, cut and assemble the drain line. This hose will carry the discharge water your softener produces during the regeneration process and should be placed in a drain, tub, standpipe or sump about an inch and a half above the surface. Follow the same process for the salt storage tank overflow hose. Hose clamps are included in the installation kit to help you secure the hose connection.

Step 5: Test for leaks

Congrats—you’ve reached the final step in water softener plumbing. Turn on the cold water faucet of the sink nearest the softener. While the water is running, push the bypass valve inward into the bypass position. Then, slowly open the main water line and run the water until there is a steady flow free of air bubbles.

Pull the bypass valve out again so the water can travel back into the softener. After about 3 minutes, run hot water from your faucet for a few minutes until there’s a steady flow. Turn the hot water off, then return to the running cold water and turn that faucet off as well.

Go back to the softener and check for leaks around the clips and fittings. If there are no leaks, you have successfully plumbed your water softener!

For more detailed instructions on plumbing your water softener, you’ll want to refer to your product’s user manual. Be sure to follow all the safety guidelines listed within the manual for an efficient and effective installation.

Keep your water softener running with regular cleanings

Make sure your water softener is working at peak condition by adding cleaner to it every four months.

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Where Should You Install Your Water Softener?

If you’ve purchased (or are about to) a brand new water softener, the next step toward soft water is determining where to install your water softener. This guide is designed to help you organize a checklist of all the things you’ll need for an easy DIY installation process. Learn which places around the house are suitable for your system and how a water softener will work in tandem with your other water treatment systems.


Finding the right location

Water softeners are most often installed near the incoming main water line before your water heater. Most commonly, this is in the basement, but water softeners can also be installed in the attic, garage or even a closet dedicated to system storage. Where you install your water softener within your house will depend on a few factors, including your state’s climate, the amount of space in your home and other water treatment equipment you may already have.

Can I put my water softener outside?

This depends on the weather and climate of your area. Outdoor installation is a good option for warm, coastal areas where homes don’t have basements—but even then, there are some factors to consider. Water softeners must be kept out of direct sunlight, protected from animals and water that could damage the electronics, and should not be installed somewhere temperatures fall outside of the range of 35-100°F. If you live in a state like Florida and want to install your new water softener outside, be sure to keep it in a covered location to protect it from the elements. Be sure to refer to your system’s owner’s manual for more specific information on installation requirements.

An alternative option for warmer states is installing your water softener in your garage if it is connected to the house. If kept within the 35-100°F range, a garage offers a shaded location that’s protected from the elements.

Identifying the essentials when choosing where to install a water softener

There are a few key things that will need to be near your water softener to ensure proper performance.

  • Source of electricity: You will need to have a nearby 120V electrical outlet to provide power to the system.
  • Access to drainage: Your water softener should be near a laundry tub, floor drain, sump or drain pipe to carry away regeneration drainage water. The main drain out of the water softener may be run up to 8 feet above the water softener (perhaps to an available drain in the floor above your softener) or can be run horizontally to a drain up to 30 feet away. Always make sure you follow local codes for water softener drain requirements. For outdoor installations, keep in mind that water softener discharge will kill the grass and is not allowed by code in many areas.
  • Proximity to water treatment systems: Installing your softener between the water heater and other treatment systems you may have (such as a sediment or iron filter system) will keep your appliances centralized. By installing in an “order of operation,” you can ensure your water will be high-quality as it runs through your home. To achieve this, in a majority of applications your sediment or specialty filtration system should treat the water first, then the water softener and finally, enter the water heater. This order of operation protects your appliances and maximizes efficiency.

If your house is pre-plumbed with a water softener loop, a plumbing feature that’s becoming increasingly common in newer homes, you have a more obvious location for installation. This feature specifies the location for connecting the water softener and separates the water flowing within your home and outside your home (you only need to soften the water in the home, not the water going to the outside faucets). While it doesn’t hurt to water your garden or perform household chores outside with softened water, it’s typically a waste of salt and water, so it’s best to keep your inside water usage separate.

Next step? Get installing.

Get the step-by-step tutorials you need to successfully complete a DIY installation. Find videos and instructions to help guide you through the process.

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The Long-Term Cost Savings of Softened Water

Do you suspect you have hard water? Maybe you’ve considered taking the plunge and buying a water softener but you’re not eager to spend the money. While it’s true that water softeners can be a big investment, what homeowners often neglect to consider are the long-term cost savings soft water can provide. Typically, water softeners will last 10-15 years with proper maintenance and care, so consider this timeframe as you add up the costs detailed below.

While it can be all too easy to sweep the effects of hard water under the rug, eventually, living in a home with hard water will become much more costly than the upfront cost of a softening system.

How much does it cost to install a water softener?

The cost of a water softener can vary depending on your household size and the level of water hardness in your area. The average cost of a water softener is typically around $500-$1000 for a leading brand-name system. With DIY installation guides ready to help, water softeners from EcoPureHome make installation easy for those who enjoy the challenge of a home improvement project. The purchase of a softener includes a bypass valve and a thorough set of instructions on how to connect your system to your plumbing. Should you require a plumber, you’ll need to factor in that cost as well.

The other costs associated with water softeners are related to the upkeep of the system. You’ll need to add salt as part of the recharging process about every 6-8 weeks. You can find bags of salt pellets or nuggets for under $10, so the upkeep of water softeners isn’t too costly.

Another way to keep your system running efficiently is by adding cleaner to it. Consistently adding water softener cleaner to your system every four months will keep your appliance running at its best and give you the greatest value for your purchase.

See how soft water can make a difference in your home.

Is it time to take control of your hard water issues? Browse EcoPureHome’s selection of top brands.


Can water softeners save you money?

Yes—by installing a water softener, you’ll be reducing several costly symptoms around the home. Some of these costs may seem insignificant but will add up over time, while other issues can result in expensive appliance repairs or even replacements.

Below, you’ll find all the ways soft water can save you money in the long term.

Less money spent on cleaning products

Soap may not seem like a big expense, but when you consider the different types of soaps and detergents you use around your home—think personal care, laundry, kitchen—things can add up quickly. The minerals in hard water interact with soap, interfering with its ability to activate and form suds. This means you’ll go through much more product to feel truly clean.


Besides personal care products, you may have noticed spots on your dishware even after they’ve been through the dishwasher. Residue from hard water minerals stick to dishes and glasses, meaning you’ll need even more soap (and water) to remove the mineral buildup.

Installing a water softener reduces the level of mineral content in your water, which in turn will ensure your soaps will activate and produce suds normally. You won’t have to burn through bars or bottles of soap as you would with hard water.

How is hard water affecting your kitchen?

There are so many ways in which hard water can get in the way of daily life. Do you recognize any of these issues?


Fewer appliance repairs and replacements

While many of the costs associated with hard water accumulate over time, one of the biggest potential one-time costs of living with hard water can be appliance repair or even replacement costs. Hard water minerals leave buildup in pipes and drains, which can often result in clogging. Over time, your water-using appliances, especially your water heater, will become less and less efficient and could eventually break down due to the buildup of minerals.

Calling the plumber for appliance repair when your water pressure is lower is essentially treating a symptom of a much larger problem. If your hard water is left untreated, it will continue to place extra strain on your appliances, shortening their lifespan and leaving you with expensive bills.

With a water softener to reduce the mineral content in your water, your appliances will work at optimal performance for much longer—meaning you can save the money you’d be spending treating the symptoms of hard water.

Lower energy bills

Because appliances don’t work as efficiently with hard water, your energy bills will be higher than they would be with soft water. Inefficient appliances mean more energy will be used, driving up your utility bills.

So, while the investment of a new water softener may seem like a big purchase, it’s clear that the greater cost is leaving your hard water issues untreated for years. Make an investment in your home and see how a water softener can end up saving you more in the long run, all while providing you with all of the additional benefits of softened water.

How much money will a water softener save a family?

This is the big question. Take a moment to add it up. If a water softener costs you $1000 and you install it yourself, that’s your main expense. Any other expenses over time will be related to maintenance and cleaning, which you can ballpark (based on the above info) at around $100 annually. Now calculate your estimated savings. You’ll be saving money on everything from appliance repair and utility bills to soap, shampoo and new clothes.

As you can see, the total amount saved with soft water makes the initial investment worth it, especially when you consider the 10-15 year lifespan of the average system. If you’re ready to make an investment that will not only improve your home’s water but also save you money in the long run, it may be time for a water softener system.

Ready to find the right water softener?

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The Ultimate Water Filtration Media Guide

You’ve decided to take a step toward providing your home with filtered water—that’s great! But before you make your purchase of a water filtration system, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different types of filtration media used in these systems.

Not all water filtration systems are built equally. The right filtration media—the material that captures the harmful contaminants in your water—will depend on what contaminants you’d like to reduce.

Water filter media can be made of naturally occurring materials, including sand, rock and various synthetic materials. Other filters will feature more than one form of media, which can help reduce a wider range of contaminants.

What is the best material to filter water?

In short, the best material to filter water will depend on your unique needs. Some people simply want to reduce the smell and taste of chlorine, while others have more concerning contaminants including lead and PFAS. Since there isn’t really one type of filter media that’s better than the other, it’s important to understand the different types so you can properly target your water’s contamination. The following are a few filter media examples that are most commonly used in water filtration systems.

Activated carbon

Carbon is a common and extremely effective media for adsorption. (Note that adsorption is when molecules and ions are attracted to a surface, as opposed to absorption, where molecules are soaked up like a sponge.) Activated carbon is a powerful way to reduce unpleasant odors and tastes from your water.

This water filter material is made from organic substances that adsorb contaminants. A few different examples of the material used to create activated carbon filters include wood, bamboo, coconut shell and coal.

Activated carbon is effective at reducing chlorine taste and odor, a common issue for households with municipal water supplies. Because of its effectiveness, water filtration systems of all kinds use activated carbon, often paired with other additives focused on reducing specific contaminants. Both under sink and whole home systems can be fitted with filters that feature activated carbon.

Find a Water Filtration System or Filter
That Uses Activated Carbon Filter Media

Carbon block

Carbon block filters use activated carbon bound together into block form. Like activated carbon granules, they filter out chlorine and sediment. Carbon block filters are used in both whole home and under sink filtration systems, often with additives to reduce contaminants such as lead, PFOAs, etc.

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That Uses Carbon Block Filter Media

String-wound and pleated

String-wound filters are typically made of cotton and fit into whole home systems. String-wound filters reliably capture sediment particles that can harm home appliances, faucets and plumbing. If sediment is your main concern, string-wound is an excellent water filter media choice, particularly when dealing with particles as small as 10 microns. String-wound filters are also a great way to eliminate low levels of red water iron, also known as ferric iron.

Pleated filters have several benefits in common with string-wound filters, including the ability to eliminate low levels of red water (ferric) iron. Pleated filters have long lifespans, thanks to their expanded surface area.

Both pleated filters and string filters can vary in the size of particles they can effectively remove. This is known as micron rating and every sediment filter has one. The lower the micron rating, the smaller the particle size captured. Similar to string-wound filters, the size of the targeted particles will depend on how tightly layered the media is, giving homeowners a little flexibility with which filter is right for their home.

Find a Filter That Uses String
Wound or Pleated Filter Media

Flow and Capture Technology (FACT)

A unique and powerful filter media, Flow and Capture Technology (FACT) is made of carbon-impregnated cellulose-based fiber that adsorbs chlorine taste and smell, and captures high levels of particles that could be harmful to your water-using appliances and fixtures.

Fitting into most under sink and whole home filtration systems, FACT filters are uniquely designed to give you higher levels of filtration, better flow and a longer filter life.

Find a Filter That Uses FACT Filter Media

Reverse osmosis

EcoPureHome reverse osmosis filtration systems feature three unique filters: a pre-filter, a membrane and a post-filter. Some of these filters use blended media, or a combination of materials that can reduce specific contaminants in tandem. Each filter targets different contaminants, making reverse osmosis (RO) systems one of the most thorough options available.

The pre-filter, or the first filter that the water will travel through, is a carbon block filter. This filter, as discussed above, will reduce chlorine smell and taste, which will protect the membrane.

The membrane of an RO system is semi-permeable. It neither captures nor absorbs. Instead, it rejects contaminants, flushing them down your drain. This is the stage where contaminants including cysts, lead and total dissolved solids are reduced and flushed away.

Find a System That Uses
Reverse Osmosis


Next, the water is moved into the post-filter, which is another carbon block. You can think of this filter as the polishing filter which removes any lingering odors. In some unique systems, such as the Brita Total360 Reverse Osmosis system, additional filtration components may be added to target contaminants like PFAS, or “forever chemicals.” Not every RO system is designed to capture PFAS, so if this is a concern for your household, be sure to look specifically for a system that’s capable of reducing these chemicals.

Ion exchange

While water softeners don’t filter your water as a true filtration system would, the ion exchange that occurs within the resin tank is another form of filtration that reduces levels of calcium and magnesium in your water. This mechanism is made possible by the resin beads inside a water softener’s tank. These beads have a negative charge, which attracts and binds to the positive charge of calcium and magnesium. Drawing these minerals out of your water turns it soft.

Hard water minerals can be destructive to your home, so the softening process can help you keep your water-using appliances running for many more years. If you suspect you have both hard water and other contamination issues, there are hybrid water treatment systems that can help you work to reduce hard water minerals and contaminants, such as chlorine taste and odor. These systems use a combination of different water filter media, including ion exchange, to ensure your water is soft and filtered.

Find a System That Uses
the Ion Exchange Method

Find the water filter that will fit your needs.

As you can see, there are many options when it comes to picking between water filter media.

The best material to filter will depend entirely on your home’s needs and your own goals. No matter what water filtration system you decide upon, make sure it has third-party performance and a safety certification from NSF, WQA, or another reputable organization that verifies performance. If you want to narrow down your search for the right water filtration system, take a look at EcoPureHome’s Interactive Shopping Tool, which will help you understand your home’s water and which system will make the most difference in your home.

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How Filtered Water Is Better for the Environment Than Bottled Water

Not all forms of drinking water are created equal. While bottled water can seem like a convenient purchase, it’s rarely the best option for your family—or for the Earth. Switching from buying bottled water to installing a water filtration system has benefits for both your wallet and the environment.

The problem with plastic

Single-use plastic bottles can be a cheap and convenient option when you’re on the go, but behind that one-time use is a complex and catastrophic pollution issue. You might think you’re not hurting the planet by using plastic water bottles because they’re recyclable, but the truth is only 1/3 of all plastic bottles get recycled. Plastic takes roughly 450 years to biodegrade, filling up landfills and harming ecosystems and wildlife. It’s estimated that 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the ocean each year, accumulating in enormous patches of plastic waste.

You can cut back on this plastic consumption by switching to filtered water from an under sink or whole home filtration system. If you rely on bottled water because you’re concerned about contamination in your water supply, you can select a filtration system that’s specifically designed to reduce common water issues such as sediment, lead, chlorine and even PFAS, or “forever chemicals.” Filtration systems can offer you peace of mind when drinking, cooking and cleaning with water from your tap—and you’ll know you’re helping the environment by cutting back on single-use plastic.

Is water from a filter environmentally friendly?

Using a water filter is much more environmentally friendly than buying cases or jugs of bottled water. Installing a filtration system gives you a long-term solution to clean water, rather than contributing to the 29 billion water bottles and counting that are filling landfills and the world’s oceans.

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What are the environmental benefits of filtered water?

In addition to having fresh, filtered water whenever you want it, there are a number of other benefits to having filtered water in your home, many of which are good for the environment. The environmental benefits of filtered water include:

  • Reduce water waste
    When you buy plastic water bottles, you’re not just paying for the water. You’re also buying a plastic bottle and paying for the manufacturing that was required to produce it. Not only is it more beneficial to invest in a filtration system to provide filtered water, it’s much more environmentally friendly. To produce one plastic bottle actually takes six to seven times the water that ends up inside the bottle.
  • Fewer emissions
    Producing plastic water bottles also requires a lot of energy and contributes to both air and water pollution. The total energy required for bottled water production is as much as 2,000 times the energy needed to produce tap water.
  • Just as good as bottled water—or better
    Just because your water isn’t coming in a perfectly sealed bottle with a pretty label does not mean it’s any lower quality than what’s in a bottle. Take the reverse osmosis filtration process as an example. This process removes small contaminants by using a membrane filter and depending on the system, a few other steps of filtration. Reverse osmosis filtration systems catch the contaminants and flush them away while the cleaned water flows on to your tap. Bottled water companies use this same process, just on a much larger scale. When you install a reverse osmosis system, you’ll be getting the same fresh, crisp water as you would with bottled water.

Ready to cut back on single-use plastic?

If selecting a water filtration system is part of your journey to a future that’s less reliant upon single-use plastic, it’s important to choose a system that will provide you with reliably filtered water for years to come. EcoPureHome offers under sink and whole home systems that can meet a variety of household needs—from simply making your water taste better to reducing more serious contaminants such as lead.

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Is Softened Water Bad for You?

Debunking Common Water Softener Myths

A water softener is a powerful solution for people struggling with the effects of calcium and magnesium buildup on their water-using appliances. Softer water means dishwashers, washers and dryers, water heaters and other appliances can function without the damaging effects of mineral buildup left behind by hard water. The benefits of installing a water softener are plentiful—but many customers are left to wonder if water treated by these systems is safe to drink. Before you purchase a water softener, it’s important to understand how a water softener transforms hard water into soft. Let’s take a look at the softening process and what it means for you.


How Water Softeners Work

First, let’s brush up on how water softeners work. The goal of the softening process is to remove the mineral content in your water. Connecting to your main water line, a softener sends water into a tank filled with resin beads that attract hard water minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium in exchange for sodium. This turns the hard water into soft water. This water then flows from your softener into the rest of your home.

Eventually, your water softener’s tank will need to be flushed clean by going through a regeneration cycle. During this regeneration process, salt water from the additional tank rinses out the resin-holding tank, washing away the minerals and ensuring the softener can continue to work as intended. Because water softeners do use salt to clean the resin beads, some people wonder if there are any disadvantages to soft water—and, more specifically, whether drinking it is bad for you.

So, is soft water bad for you?

No, soft water is not bad for you. In fact, soft water is much better for your skin and hair than hard water, which can leave your hair brittle and skin dry. Though the process and terminology of water softeners can seem complex, it is a simple but effective process that offers you a much higher quality of water.

Do water softeners make my water taste salty?

The biggest misconception about water softeners is that they use salt to soften water. Salt (sodium chloride) is used in the regeneration process to prepare the resin to continue attracting hard water minerals. Though water softeners use salt in the regeneration process, it will not cause your water to taste salty, as salt and sodium are different. What you think of as “table salt” is really sodium chloride, not sodium.

The amount of sodium found in softened water does not represent a significant portion of the daily intake for the average person—which means drinking soft water is not bad for you. If you have a water hardness of 11 gpg (grains per gallon), the amount of sodium found in 8 oz. of water would come down to 20 mg, which is significantly less than a glass of milk!

What to do if you’re concerned about sodium intake

If sodium intake is a health concern, it’s a good idea to talk about the potential risk of installing a water softener with your healthcare provider. People who need to keep a close eye on sodium intake can install a reverse osmosis system as a filtration method to ensure that any excess sodium from their softened water is filtered out. This filtration system is a sophisticated and thorough way to reduce common water contaminants both large and small.

Supplement your water softener with thorough water filtration.

Enjoy clean, fresh water right from your tap with a reverse osmosis system designed to remove contaminants large and small.

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Even if sodium intake is not a concern of yours, a reverse osmosis filtration system is still a great option if you notice your water smells or tastes like chlorine, or you’re worried about another source of water contamination.

One more option you may consider is to use potassium chloride water softener salt instead of sodium chloride in your water softener. Again, a healthcare provider can give you specific direction on whether sodium in water softeners is something you need to be concerned about.

Start Enjoying the Benefits of Softened Water

Providing soft water for you and your household, water softeners offer a wide range of benefits. Keep your appliances running longer, save more money on energy bills and enjoy healthier skin and hair with a water softener system. Wondering which water softener is right for you and your home? Get started with this comparison guide that helps you see the benefits of each system and what they mean for you.

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What Are PFAS and How Can I Remove Them From My Water?

Some water contaminants are easy to identify by smell or taste — chlorine, sulfur and iron are common culprits. Some you can identify by discolored water, but others are much more insidious and difficult to detect. One such category of chemicals is known as PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. You might have heard of the term “forever chemicals,” which refers to these man-made substances that were created to be incredibly resilient and used for an enormous number of consumer products including nonstick pans, makeup, food packaging, insulation and more.


A study by the scientists at the Environmental Working Group found that more than 200 million Americans most likely have PFAS in their drinking water. So, what are PFAS? Are they dangerous? And how can you protect yourself from exposure? Find answers by reading on.

What are PFAS?

PFAS are man-made chemicals designed to endure extreme heat, water and oil. In short: they’re designed to be nearly indestructible. About 3,000 chemicals fall under the umbrella term of PFAS. Since their invention in 1946, they have been added to an almost unending list of consumer products, ranging from stain removers to pizza packaging. Because of their widespread use, almost everyone has been exposed to these chemicals.

What are PFAS found in?

  • Nonstick cookware
  • Fire fighting foams
  • Household cleaners
  • Stain-resistant carpets
  • Hairsprays and other cosmetic items
  • Water resistant clothing

Are PFOAs the same as PFAS?

PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) is a man-made chemical created by 3M in 1947 and later sold to chemical manufacturer DuPont. It falls under the umbrella term of PFAS, a category used to describe a variety of man-made chemicals of similar makeup and application.

PFOA, which was formerly used to create Teflon, was used in hundreds of consumer products including carpets, cardboard, cookware, waxes, waterproof clothing and many more. It’s also a common water contaminant due to manufacturing plant leaks which end up seeping into local water supplies.

PFOA stands out from other PFAS because of their documented effects on health. PFOA was the subject of a 2001 class lawsuit which charged DuPont with contaminating water sources in Ohio and West Virginia. A PFOA leak occurred from a DuPont plant and eventually was linked to six diseases including kidney cancer. Eventually, PFOA was phased out of production, but due to the deliberate resilience of the chemical, it will continue to linger in water supplies, ecosystems and human bloodstreams for years to come.

Are PFAS Dangerous?

PFAS substances, including PFOA, have all been linked to a variety of health conditions. Unfortunately, even low doses of these PFAS have been linked with the following health effects:

  • Endocrine disruption
  • Birth defects
  • Liver damage
  • Weakened immune system
  • Testicular, kidney, liver and pancreatic cancer

Because PFAS were so widely used in manufacturing, it’s estimated that 99% of Americans have a measurable amount of PFAS in their bloodstreams. While production of PFAS/PFOA has been halted, the resilience of the chemicals mean they’ll be lurking in products and water supplies for decades. So, how can you eliminate PFAS dangers from your drinking water?

How to remove PFAS/PFOA
from drinking water

If you live near a manufacturing facility that used to produce or work with PFAS substances, you’ll want to take extra precautions with your drinking water. Since the United States government has been slow to initiate widespread cleanup efforts, it’s up to homeowners to take matters into their hands.

Right now, many water treatment systems are not capable of filtering PFAS from drinking water, but some filtrations systems including select reverse osmosis filtration systems do. Let’s take a look at how some reverse osmosis systems can reduce PFAS from drinking water.

Reverse osmosis systems work a little differently than other under sink or whole home filters. Learn how they use sophisticated technology to provide thorough filtration.


How do select reverse osmosis (RO) systems reduce PFAS/PFOA from water?

Reverse osmosis systems use a powerful 3-stage filtration process that moves water through a carbon pre-filter, a semipermeable membrane and a post-filter. This advanced water filtration process relies on the sophisticated, semipermeable membrane and high-performance carbon blocks to reduce the most severe contaminants such as PFAS, chlorine, sediment, microbial cysts and lead from your home water supply. Clean water is directed into a storage tank, ready for use, while the waste water is flushed away.

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If you’re concerned about PFAS/PFOA contamination in your drinking water, it may be time to invest in a filtration system specifically designed to reduce these contaminants. It’s important to understand that not all RO systems are rated to reduce PFAS, though. EcoPureHome is proud to offer one that does: The Brita Total360 Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filtration System. This system installs directly under your sink, providing safe, clean water right to your tap.

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How to Choose the Best Water Filtration System

The benefits of filtered water are wide ranging and can protect you and your family from dangerous contaminants. Whether you want to enjoy fresher tap water or you’re concerned about your area’s water supply, a water filtration system is a wise investment that can offer peace of mind. Selecting the right water filtration system for your home can be a big investment, so it’s important to take time to understand the differences in systems to determine which will be the best fit for you and your family. There are several factors to consider when choosing a system — read on to find out how to choose the best type of water filtration system for you.

What Should I Look for in a Water Filter System?

First, Understand What’s in Your Water.

If you’re wondering how to choose a water filter system, the very first step is to determine what’s in your water. There are several common contaminants that households across the country struggle with — whether they are aware or not. If your water smells bad, leaves stains or simply just doesn’t taste good, you may have some level of contamination. To get a better idea of your area’s quality of water, type in your zip code in this database from the Environmental Working Group for detailed results.

If you already know your water simply smells and tastes too much like chlorine — a common issue for households running on municipal water supplies — a basic under sink filtration system or refrigerator filter (wherever you get your drinking water from) will do the trick. Read more on these systems below.

However, if you have sand, sediment or a contaminant such as lead that’s a more serious threat, the best type of water filtration system for you must eliminate the danger of water contamination, and you’ll need to select a more thorough option. If you live near fracking operations, mines or areas notorious for pollution and industrial run-off, you should consider having your water tested to verify what’s going on.

Once you have a better understanding of what’s in your water, there are two categories of water filtration systems to choose from.

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Under Sink Water Filtration Systems

This category offers many options for targeted, thorough filtration and is the best drinking water filter system for those who want better-tasting water or have concerns about serious contamination issues in their kitchen or bathroom. Under sink filtration systems eliminate the smallest of water contaminants, which make them a perfect choice for households with the most common to the most severe contaminants such as lead, sediment, chlorine or even polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).


Another major perk of under sink filtration systems is that they allow homeowners to save money if they’ve been relying on bottled water. If you’re looking to cut back on costs by eliminating bottled water, an under sink filtration system is a great choice. It’s also much more environmentally friendly!

Under sink systems vary in their levels of filtration. For the most thorough option available, a reverse osmosis water filtration system is your best bet. Reverse osmosis filtration systems work by filtering water through a pre-filter, and then through a membrane. This process results in two solutions of water: the contaminated water that is flushed away and the fresh water that’s clean and ready for consumption.

For households with more moderate levels of contamination, a dual-stage (or two-stage) water filtration system makes a great option. These systems are effective at reducing contaminants such as lead, microbial cysts, sediment and chlorine and require two internal filters.

Finally, offering another stage of filtration, three-stage systems powerfully reduce up to 99% of lead, chemicals, bacteria, viruses and pharmaceuticals from water. This is a perfect choice for households that want an extra layer of filtration but aren’t concerned about contaminants such as PFAS that a reverse osmosis system would remove.

Whether you choose a single-stage, dual-stage, three-stage system or an advanced reverse osmosis water filtration system, these options are generally compact and fit neatly under your sink, as the name suggests. Most systems include a separate faucet from which you can access the clean, filtered water.

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Whole Home Filtration Systems

Wondering how to choose a water filter system, but don’t need the targeted treatment of an under sink system? Whole home systems, as you might have guessed, filter your entire home’s water supply. They are a great option for homes with larger contaminants such as sand, sediment, iron or chlorine taste and odor. Sand, sediment and iron are all contaminants that can negatively affect appliances around your home, and iron can leave unsightly stains. So, investing in a filtration system that can stop these contaminants before they can wreak havoc on your home will save money in the long run.

Whole home filtration systems connect to your house’s main water line, allowing water to pass through the system’s internal filter before moving along to your appliances. Depending on your area’s quality of water, you’ll need to replace the system’s filter every six months, and the design of most systems allow for quick, clean and easy replacements. There are also maintenance-free models that include a lifelong filter which never needs to be replaced.

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Find the Best Water Filtration System for Your House.

Ultimately, the best drinking water system for your house comes down to what your goals are for your water. It’ll also depend on your household size, budget and whether you’re looking for a softening solution as well. EcoPureHome offers a variety of water filtration systems for households of all sizes. Find the system that’s right for your home and experience all the benefits that filtered water has to offer.

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Water Softeners vs. Water Filters: What’s Right For My Home?

You know something is wrong with your water. It either smells, leaves stains or makes your skin feel dry and itchy. But what can you do about it? The water treatment market is full of products with confusing science that can leave you with more questions than you had to begin with. The first step toward finding the best water treatment system for your home is to identify the issues you’ve been noticing around your home. This will help you assess how severe the problem is and how to tackle it. When choosing between water softeners vs. water filters, take a look around your house and see if you recognize any of these symptoms:

Signs you have hard water:

  • Your dishes are spotted with residue, even after going through the dishwasher.
  • Your faucets and showerheads are coated with a white, crusty buildup.
  • You have dry, itchy skin all year round.
  • Your hair is flat and brittle.

Signs your water is contaminated: 

  • Your water smells musty, metallic, sulfuric or fishy.
  • Your water tastes bad.
  • You are located in an area with poor water quality.

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Water Softeners vs. Water Filters: What’s the Difference?

The difference between water softeners and water filters comes down to the type of contaminants you want to remove from your home’s water. Each system uses different technology to improve your water, so understanding the difference between the two is important before selecting a model for your home.

Water filters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from pitchers, faucet and water bottle attachments, all the way up to a whole home water filtration system that treats water before it travels throughout your entire home. The terms water filters and water filtration systems are sometimes used interchangeably. For this article’s purpose, the water filters being referenced indicate installed water filtration systems rather than smaller pitchers and other low-cost, limited-use filters.

Water softeners remove hard water causing minerals like calcium and magnesium from your water. While technically both filters and softeners reduce certain levels of contaminants, softeners use salt to exchange the ions of calcium and magnesium, instead of simply trapping them with activated carbon or another kind of filtration media.

But which is better, a water softener or a water filter?

This is a common question, but the answer depends on your needs. A water filter reduces common—and potentially harmful—contaminants, providing healthier, better-tasting water. A water softener will remove the minerals that make your water hard, providing more comfortable, cleaner water that combats nagging hard water symptoms around the house. In some cases, it’s not an either or question—you may want both.

Choosing the Right Water Softener

If you’ve identified some of the common problems hard water is causing in your home, it’s time to find the best system for your needs. Using the ion-exchange technology through a salt brine tank, water softeners all are designed to reduce the level of hard minerals in your water. When selecting the right model for your home, you’ll need to assess the following:

Compare and contrast different kinds of water softening systems based on the items above to help you navigate the many options available.

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Choosing the Right Water Filtration System

Water filtration systems vary much more than water softeners. Depending on your water quality and your home’s needs, there are a few different options to consider when selecting a filtration system. Start with these basic categories and determine which will be the best fit for you.

Under sink water filtration

These filtration systems are a great option for people looking for high-quality water to cook, drink and eat with. As you can guess, they install directly under your sink and remove common contaminants – like lead and chlorine – that cause your water to smell and taste poorly, or worse, cause health problems. The types of under sink water filters vary in price and levels of filtration, so understanding the quality of your water will be critical in choosing the right filtration system. Under sink filters are simple to install and their compact designs don’t take up too much space in kitchen cabinets.

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Whole home water filtration

This type of filtration system is best suited for people who want to reduce contamination across the entire home, from drinking water to bath water. If you are struggling with severe water taste, smell or you’re aware of local contamination, a whole home filter is a great way to treat your water before you make contact with it.

To install a whole home filter, you will need to attach it to your home’s main water supply line so any contaminants or sediment will be stopped as soon as it travels into your home.

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Find the Right Water Solution for Your Home

Choosing between water softeners and water filters can seem daunting at first, especially with so many options to consider. But understanding what issues you’re currently experiencing at home and what goals you have for your water quality is a great way to determine which system to choose. Next, take time to learn more about each system and find the right solution for your home’s water.

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Browse Water Softeners / Browse Under Sink Water Filters / Browse Whole Home Water Filters

What Size Water Softener Does My Family Need?

You’ve determined that your home would benefit from a new water softener, but which size softener is right for your family? The differences in softening systems can vary widely, and it’s crucial to select the right size so that you enjoy all the benefits that come with a system that is perfectly suited to your needs. Selecting the right size water softener ensures that enough water is softened and the minimal amount of salt and energy is required for maximum energy efficiency. Learn the differences between softening systems, what grain capacity means for your choice, and ultimately, pick the right system for you and your family.

The right water softener depends largely on your area’s level of water hardness and the size of your household. So, start by determining those two factors.

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Understand your city’s level of water hardness

One of the first things to determine is how hard your water is. You can perform a DIY test at home using soap and a clear water bottle. After mixing soap and water in the bottle, the amount of bubbles formed will indicate the hardness of your water: the less sudsy the result, the harder your water is.

You can also investigate your city’s water supply if you receive municipal water. A few major metro areas including Minneapolis, Las Vegas and Los Angeles are known to have some of the country’s highest levels of hard water, so if you live in the surrounding area, there’s a good chance that you’d benefit from a water softener.

How much water do you use?

Knowing how much water your household uses per month is another good place to start when determining the right water softening system. Your water bill should include a graph of your historic water usage. From here, you can determine a rough estimate of how much water your household consumes per day. If you don’t have access to this information, use this quick formula: for each person in your household, multiply by 75 and add the totals together (for example, a household of three would total to a rough estimate of 225 gallons a day).

Determine how many grains need to be removed

The next step in choosing the right size of water softener is determining how many grains to remove. A grain is a unit of measurement in which one grain is equal to approximately 65 milligrams of calcium carbonate. Water softeners are rated according to how many grains of calcium they can remove, as calcium is the mineral that causes hardness.

When purchasing a water softener system, you’ll notice the grain capacity labeled anywhere from 24,000 gpg (grains per gallon) to 64,000 gpg. Simply put, the smaller the number, the fewer grains will be removed.

If you have had your water tested and know the level of grains per gallon in your supply, take that number and multiply it by the number of gallons your household consumes per day. Using the example from above, a household of three that uses 225 gallons per day with a hardness level of 10 gpg would require a softening system that can remove 2,250 grains of hardness every day.

Since water softener units regenerate once a week, you’ll need to multiply 2,250 by 7 to get the correctly sized softener. In this case, the household would need a softener rated to remove 15,750 gpg of hardness.

What size water softener is right for a family of 4?

In general, a 32,000 or 33,000 grain water softener will suit most families of four. Does that seem too high of a number based on the formula above? It is! But salt usage also needs to be considered when purchasing a softener. A 24,000 grain softener may technically fit the needs of this family, but it will require much more salt. A 32,000 softener won’t require as much salt as the other unit, saving money in the long run.

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What size water softener is right for a family of 5?

Using the 75 as the average use of gallons per day, multiplied by five, a family of five would generally be expected to use 375 gallons per day. With a water hardness level of 10 gpg, this family would need to remove 26,250 gpg of hardness per week. Finally, taking into consideration salt use, the right size of water softener for a family of five would be a 40,000 grain softener.

What size water softener is right for a family of 6?

A family of six with a low-to-medium amount of water hardness should consider a water softener rated for about 48,000 grains.

For more information on water softening terms, please consult EcoPureHome’s glossary.

Time to select the right size water softener.

Of course, selecting the most effective water softener for your family will depend on your unique circumstances such as your water use and the levels of water hardness. But knowing how to accurately use this information to find the most efficient system for your home will bring you one step closer to enjoying a life at home with soft water. Take time to compare different models of water softeners, then make your selection.

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The Benefits of Water Softeners

With more than 85% of American homes dealing with hard water, it’s safe to say that may be the case in your house. Because hard water is so prevalent, it can feel like this is just how water is — you may not link some of the frustrations you have to what’s coming out of the tap, but the benefits of soft water in your home can’t be overstated. Water softeners help eliminate hard water which is the root cause of everyday annoyances from spotty dishes to dry and itchy skin.

Hard water occurs when the minerals calcium and magnesium dissolve into a water source. The hardness level depends on the concentration of these minerals, which varies due to a number of factors like where your water comes from and how long it takes to travel from its source. Because water sources differ across the country, sometimes changing from one neighborhood to the next, homeowners should have an idea of how hard their water is within their home.

No matter the level of hardness, every home can enjoy the benefits of water softeners. Water softening systems eliminate minerals in your home’s water before they reach your water heater, faucets and appliances. The water that runs out of the softener is cleaner and more efficient, leading to a whole range of benefits.

What Are the Benefits of Softened Water?

There are several major benefits of soft water in your home. By installing and using a water softener, your family will:

  • Have better skin and hair
  • Keep a cleaner home
  • Maintain household appliances for longer
  • Save money in the long run

Keep reading to learn more—or, try our new interactive shopping guide.

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Better Skin and Hair

If you’ve ever dried off from the shower to find your skin and scalp feeling worse than when you got in, you know how uncomfortable hard water can feel. Hard water is full of minerals that strip your skin’s natural oils and leave behind a buildup of soap residue which, in turn, clogs your pores and keeps your natural oils from coming to the surface. The result ranges from dry skin that feels scaly and itchy to increased dandruff and dull hair. In fact, the University of Sheffield found a connection between hard water and the development of eczema — a chronic skin condition that can lead to persistent rash patches on the body. However, the impact goes much deeper, literally.

The fact is that healthy skin is much more important than simply looking and feeling good. Your skin is your body’s largest organ. It regulates temperature, holds fluids in and keeps dangerous microbes and toxins out. It acts as a natural filter and protective layer between your vital organs and the outside world while providing you with information about what’s happening around you via nerve endings. But despite being your heaviest and largest organ, your skin is only a few millimeters thick at most. When hard water builds up on the skin, it disrupts its natural functions.

Soft water helps your body get back to normal by removing those skin-damaging minerals that hinder the way it’s meant to function. Investing in a water softener fixes the problem of having hard water and the unfavorable effects rather than relying on band-aid solutions like lathering up on lotion or making more frequent appointments at the salon.

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A Cleaner Home

Like it does to your skin, hard water causes scale buildup in your home. Over time, that buildup begins to leave less-than-pleasant stains on dishes, faucets and even around your tub and toilet bowl. If you haven’t done a deep clean into your water-using appliances like your coffee maker, you can be certain that hard water has started to settle into those unseen corners of your home also.

The truth of the matter is, hard water does damage to whatever it touches. For your home, that means appliances will break down more often, unsightly film will spot your dishes and you’ll spend more time scrubbing away stains in the sink, toilet and shower. Water softeners nip the problem in the bud by ensuring that the water that runs through your home effectively removes minerals.

Longer-Lasting Clothes

Hard water doesn’t only wreak havoc in the kitchen and bathroom: when pumped into your washing machine, the calcium and mineral deposits latch onto the fibers of your clothes, causing them to wear and fade faster. What’s more, these deposits trap dirt and soap, yellowing and dulling the appearance, which can actually be made worse when you try to undo the damage with bleach.

Fewer Breakdowns of Your Water-Using Appliances

One spot in your house that is out of sight and out of mind until it suddenly isn’t is your water heater. This vital appliance can become costly when it breaks down or needs repairs — two things that happen more often when hard water scale builds up inside the tank. What’s worse: The higher the temperature of the water, the faster and denser these minerals solidify, leading your hot water tank to become a hot spot for hard water damage.

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Saves Money

If the up-front cost of getting a water softening system has stopped you from taking the leap, one of the biggest benefits of water softeners is the money it saves over its lifetime.

  • Water and electricity bills: Hard water impacts your bills in a few different ways. From needing to work harder to keep water hot due to scale buildup to narrowing pipe openings so more water pressure is needed, hard water consistently appears as added costs to your monthly bills.
  • Appliances: Buildup in appliances from your coffee maker to ice maker, dishwasher and water heater will keep these appliances from working at their best and potentially cause premature breakdowns and need for replacement.
  • Personal products: When hard water dries out your skin, dulls your hair and causes dandruff, band-aid solutions like lotion, salon appointments and flake-control shampoos are needed more often. Nixing the problem altogether with a water softener means purchasing and using less product.

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