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The Complete Guide to Microplastics

Plastics can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes, and those that are less than 5 millimeters—or 0.2 inches—in length are what scientists and researchers call “microplastics.” Overall, there are two types of microplastics: primary and secondary. Primary microplastics are particles shed from textiles and clothing, tires, and a range of commercial products. Secondary microplastics are particles that come from larger plastic items, like plastic bags, and single-use water or soda bottles.

Despite being tiny, microplastics—like other plastics—can take centuries to decompose. While there is still a lot to learn about this emerging water contaminant, and its effects on health, there is already a lot of peer-reviewed scientific information providing facts about microplastics that are causing alarm.

A Closer Look at Microplastics in Water

When many people think of microplastics in water, they likely imagine a picture or video of the well-documented Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a swath of plastic and garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean that is twice the size of Texas. However, there’s an abundance of near-invisible microplastics contaminating freshwater sources, too. Wetlands, rivers and even the Great Lakes are impacted by this contaminant, challenging ecosystems, marine life, and other organisms that grapple with plastic ingestion.

How do microplastics get into drinking water?

It’s been estimated that more than 10 billion tons of plastic has been made throughout world history. Annually, more than 380 million tons of the stuff is manufactured. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that roughly 10 million tons per year ends up in Earth’s oceans. Much of that waste becomes secondary microplastics, which spread across the planet’s waterways—ending up in marine and bird populations, eventually finding their way into local water systems and municipalities.

With much of the focus on single-use plastics and our oceans, oddly enough textiles with synthetic fibers, like polyester, are the biggest source of microplastics contamination. Polyester is the most widely used clothing fiber in the world for its strength and affordability, and when you do your laundry, tiny fibers shed from these synthetic materials. During the washing cycle, these fibers are flushed away with dirty laundry water where they end up at your local waste treatment facility that typically doesn’t filter microplastics. During the drying cycle, these fibers are vented out of your home where they spread and can be ingested through the air—by you or an animal—or land back into a water source.

In addition to water sources, microplastics have also been found in beer, seafood, table salt, and food packaging. Imagine, every time you unwrap a burger from a fast food restaurant, tiny little plastic particles break off into your meal before you eat it. Later on, when your body eventually expels the plastic, it then enters your local sewage system or septic tank.

Are microplastics harmful to people?

There remains a lot to learn about microplastics. Still an emerging field of study, methods for collecting samples continue to be developed and tested among scientists, government agencies and other stakeholders. While the examination of microplastics is in its early stages, existing studies indicate microplastics ingested by people can cause negative health effects which include:

  • Cell death
  • Damage to cell walls
  • Allergic response

Additional Facts About Microplastics

A research article from 2019 states Americans eat, drink and breathe in an average of more than 74,000 microplastic particles each year. Other estimates come in even higher. Why is this alarming? If you didn’t know already, the raw materials needed to make plastic come from oil and natural gas, which are poisonous. Further, it can take hundreds or even thousands of chemicals to alter the plastic into what’s needed for an application.

Microbeads, a type of primary microplastic, are tiny bits of polyethylene plastic that were used as exfoliants in health and beauty products like toothpaste until 2015, when the United States Congress amended the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act with passage of the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015. The act, signed into law by former U.S. President Barack Obama, prohibits the manufacturing and distribution of plastic microbeads in rinse-off cosmetic products. What’s also key in this legislation and its passage is that it has brought a lot of public awareness to the issue of microplastics contamination in water.

Are microplastics related to BPA and PFAS?

Bisphenol A, otherwise known as BPA, is an industrial chemical used for making a variety of plastics and resins. Since the 1950s, BPA has been found in epoxy resins and polycarbonate plastics, and it’s commonly found in microplastic samples analyzed by scientists.

According to the Mayo Clinic, exposure to BPA is concerning because of its possible health effects on the brain and prostate gland of fetuses and children. Research also links BPA to cardiovascular disease, increased blood pressure and even type 2 diabetes. If BPA concerns you, look for the “BPA-free” label on a variety of plastic products that are sold.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are man-made substances—like microplastics—that are very slow to degrade and are used in a variety of applications. PFAS use dates to the 1940s and they are commonly found as a contaminant in tap water. PFAS and microplastics have a lot in common with regard to industrial and consumer use, but they are not the same thing. Researchers are still determining how long it takes for microplastics and PFAS to break down and exit the body.

Reducing Microplastics in Drinking Water

While the experts determine the health effects of microplastics contamination in drinking water, you don’t have to stand by and wait for the results. There are NSF-certified filtration systems that will reduce microplastics from your drinking water. And since bottled water is frequently known to contain microplastics, it’s recommended you filter your tap water at home.

Filter microplastics out of your home water

Explore drinking water filtration systems that are NSF-certified to reduce microplastics from your drinking water.

 

Brita Total 360 Undersink System

Is a Drinking Water Filtration System Worth It?

Interested in drinking water filtration systems and the value they add to a home but aren’t sure where to start? See what Doug, the Water Buff, had to say in an installment of the video series “Stump the Water Buff” when asked “is a drinking water filtration system worth it?”

(Spoiler alert: It is worth it.)

When looking into home water filtration solutions, there are a lot of considerations and options that should be explored. This quick guide and episode companion is here to help with that process while detailing some of the benefits drinking water filtration systems provide.

The Benefits of Drinking Water Filtration Systems

Having a drinking water filtration system in the home provides a range of benefits, which include convenience, savings, and the ability to cut down on plastic waste. Drinking water filtration systems, which are typically installed under a sink, can also be used to filter water in refrigerators.

Imagine all those single-use plastic bottles you can keep out of recycling plants and landfills by drinking filtered tap water that rivals the same quality most bottled water companies provide. With a drinking water filtration system, you can enjoy better-tasting water, coffee, tea, and the water you cook with will lead to better results you can taste on the plate.

In the bathroom, a drinking water filtration system can provide you with cleaner, healthier water while you brush your teeth or have that midnight glass of water.

Under Sink Systems, and a Look at Reverse Osmosis

Drinking water filtration systems, also known as point-of-entry or under sink systems, are designed to reduce both common contaminants – like sediment and chlorine – and more harmful contaminants – like lead, arsenic, PFOA and PFOS – from your drinking water. When deciding which system is right for your home, you’ll want to consider the contaminants that are impacting your home water and match them with the system that can reduce those. Additionally, you’ll want to consider where you’ll install the system and where you want the filtered water to dispense from.

There are a variety of under sink filtration systems available, but two- or three-stage systems are very popular. Many two-stage under sink systems on the market today offer advanced contaminant reduction, and their compact size allows them to be easily installed under your kitchen or bathroom sink without additional plumbing. Three-stage/reverse osmosis (RO) systems offer more extensive contaminant reduction than their two-stage counterparts, reducing serious water contaminants like PFOA, PFOS, arsenic, and nitrate. Because of the slow, yet thorough filtering process reverse osmosis requires, these systems do require a storage tank for holding the filtered water.

Reverse osmosis is also what most bottled water companies use for their filtration method, so installing one of these systems in your home is like having bottled water right from your tap. If you have concerns about the safety of your drinking water, investing in an RO system is a great solution. If you only want to reduce taste and odor issues, then a system with carbon filtration may be right for you.

Want to know more about under sink filtration?

Having a two- or three-stage filtration system is a popular choice. Explore your options.

 

Under Sink Filtration Systems

Upgrade the Water You Depend On

Having access to filtered drinking water at home is an investment you can feel good about. From the convenience of cutting bottled water purchases from your grocery hauls, to using less single-use plastic, filtering your own water is actually cheaper, as well. So, maybe instead of asking “is a drinking water filtration system worth it?” the question should be “which filtration system should I buy for my home?”

Ready to add a drinking water filtration system in your home?

EcoPureHome offers a range of filtration systems that provide great-tasting water that can easily be installed.

Explore Filtration Systems

Want to ask the Water Buff a question related to water treatment systems? Go to the YouTube episode page, post a comment, and your question might be answered in an upcoming “Stump the Water Buff” episode!

What’s Best: A Whole-House or Under-Sink Water Filter?

If you are asking yourself, “what kind of water filtration system do I need?” You are in the right spot. When considering the best water treatment system for home use, choosing between whole-house filtration or an under-sink filtration system is often a key part of the decision. Both types of systems have their advantages and, in some instances, it’s ideal to have both in your home.

This guide can serve as a starting point, highlighting many of the key differences and benefits among the system options to help you discern which system choice may be ideal for your filtration needs.

 

What’s the Best Type of Water Filtration System?

Your home’s water—whether it comes from a well or municipality—could be impacted by contaminants that vary in severity. Some contaminants are nuisances, doing little more than affecting taste or smell, but others can harm you if consumed in large quantities. The purpose of adding a water filtration system to your home is to filter and reduce contaminants. Each water filtration system is designed to reduce specific contaminants, and some systems reduce more contaminants than others. Although water filtration systems are not created equally, they all are meant to provide you with better water.

To determine the best water treatment system for your home, you need to know what’s impacting your water. A good starting point is referencing the Environmental Working Group’s Tap Water Database. This resource can be used to reference what water threats members of your community are facing. After looking at the database, you should contact a Water Pro who can test your water.

Whole-House Water Filtration

Whole-house water filtration is how it sounds; it’s a point-of-entry filtration method that treats water throughout your home. These systems are installed on your main water line, before the water heater, and are your first line of defense against water contaminants. Because you are filtering water for your entire household, whole home water filters are designed to target particulates, and taste and odor issues. Some whole-house water filtration systems have two-in-one capabilities, doubling as water softeners. For homes on municipal water that can benefit from soft water and chlorine reduction, a hybrid system may be your best solution.

Benefits of whole-house water filtration include:

  • Reduce contaminants throughout the home at point of entry
  • Filtered water at all faucets and showerheads
  • Great for well water issues, like sediment and iron
  • Systems with carbon filtration improve taste and smell of water

Most whole-house filtration systems are designed with an open housing that you pair with a drop-in filter cartridge of your choice. These filter cartridges are universal in size, giving you the ability to try different types for a truly customizable solution.

And maintenance is pretty quick and simple, too. Depending on your home water quality, filter cartridges usually last three to six months, and you will know when to replace them when your water pressure sharply decreases. This drop-off indicates your filter has captured a level of contaminants where the water can no longer pass through easily.

If regular filter changes sound like one more thing to remember, there are whole-home filtration systems that don’t require filter changes. These systems do the work for you by automatically cleaning themselves at the cadence you set.

Discover a filtration system that meets the needs of your whole home.

Explore whole-house systems that reduce water contaminants at every faucet.

 

Whole Home Filtration Systems

Under-Sink Water Filtration

Under-sink or point-of-use systems are installed in a kitchen or bathroom. They connect to your under-sink plumbing and are convenient, cost-effective solutions for reducing a variety of more serious contaminants in your drinking water, including ones you can’t see, taste or smell.

Under-sink systems typically allow water to pass more slowly through the filter(s) than whole home filtration, capturing much smaller contaminants like lead, PFAS, nitrate, and arsenic. This thoroughness does impact the water flow rate and is why you’ll often see under-sink systems come with a dedicated faucet for the filtered water to dispense from.

Benefits of under-sink filtration include:

  • Reduce contaminants at one faucet in the home
  • Ideal solution for drinking and cooking water safety concerns
  • Improve taste, smell, and reduce more serious contaminants in your water
  • Can replace buying bottled water
  • Take up minimal space, as they fit under a kitchen or bathroom sink

Many under-sink filtration systems today come with everything you need for a do-it-yourself installation, like these popular two- or three-filter systems that can be installed in an afternoon. The installation kits for these systems come with color-coded tubing making following along with the step-by-step instructions a snap.

To keep your drinking water as safe and clean as possible, it’s important to maintain the system with recurring filter changes. Today’s drinking water filtration systems are often designed with encased filter cartridges, which keep the captured contaminants away from you and allow you to replace the filters with just a simple twist. Replacement filters typically last up to six months, and some systems even include technology that indicates when filters need to be changed.

With the cost of the system, plus regular filter changes, you may be wondering, ‘how is this better than bottled water?’ While bottled water may be a convenient, on-the-go option, point-of-use filtration systems outshine bottled water in both cost savings and environmental impact. And in many instances, the water from your under-sink system is also safer than what comes bottled. Need more proof? We break it all down here.

Thinking an under-sink system is your best option?

See a range of systems to get the ideal water filtration solution that installs right under your kitchen or bathroom sink.

Under-Sink Filtration
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Why Having Both a Whole-House and Under-Sink Water Filtration System May Be Best

If you are someone who faces a variety of contaminants in your water, the best water treatment system for your home may be having both a whole-house and under-sink filtration solution installed. Combined, the two can provide greater protection than using just one type of system. We highly recommend this option for homes with well water, as sediment and iron will be captured by the whole-house system before it contacts the under-sink system, protecting the longevity and effectiveness of the under-sink filters.

Water filtration systems, and under-sink systems in particular, also pair well with water softeners. For those who don’t like the taste of soft water, or are concerned about the sodium level in soft water, filtered water is a great way to improve taste and reduce the sodium. But before you start making purchases, and looking at do-it-yourself projects, test your water to know exactly what your home water is facing.

10 Ways Soft Water Contributes to Your Well-Being

Soft water is one of those things many people take for granted, not fully realizing the benefits they receive until they’ve gone on vacation or are stuck for an extended period at a location that has hard water. On the other hand, many people have never had soft water and don’t realize the kinds of problems hard water is causing them. This is common—roughly 85 percent of American homes have hard water.

With hard water, soap lathers poorly, it’s rough on the skin, causes blemishes that can affect a person’s confidence, and it creates a myriad of other issues many people face on a daily basis. The bottom line: hard water can impact the health, happiness and even comfort of an individual negatively. But when you’ve got soft water, soap lathers great, your scalp feels smoother, you’ve got fewer blemishes on your skin, and even your clean laundry is brighter.

Overall, many of the individual benefits of having soft water may seem small, but they add up to more than the sum of their parts, contributing to a greater sense of well-being. With this guide, discover the benefits of soft water and how it will contribute to your overall well-being in a positive way.

Beneficial to the Body

For many individuals, a key part of their well-being and even self-confidence comes down to their appearance. It’s simple: if they look good, that helps them feel good. And it’s not just about their height, weight, or even what clothes they’re wearing. Skin condition, hair and scalp health, and other factors can also play into a person’s sense of well-being.

Having access to soft water helps with many of these concerns, since with soft water you can spend less time correcting skin and hair problems. This one change really can make a major impact on your well-being in a positive way.

Benefits of soft water include:

  1. Increased soap lather, which allows you to use less soap to get a thorough clean
  2. Less soap scum lingering on the body, making your skin smoother and naturally hydrated
  3. Reduced dandruff and flaky scalp, making your head and hair feel easier to manage
  4. Less greasy, brittle-feeling hair
  5. Relieved eczema symptoms

In addition to your skin and hair looking and feeling better, you will also spend less money on treating blemishes and other hygiene issues caused by hard water. Specialty soaps, lotions, and other beauty products that you purchased in the past may no longer be needed with soft water, because a water softener will treat the root cause of your issues. Access to soft water will also help you speed up your daily grooming routine, giving you more time to do the things you like!

Soft water won’t cure eczema, remove 100 percent of dandruff, or anything else that extreme, but it will ease the symptoms caused by hard water and allow you to scale back on beauty purchases. This shift will also likely lead to increased confidence because you will be happier with how you look and feel.

Interested in getting soft water to improve your well-being?

Learn how to choose a water softener system with this comparison guide.

Compare Water Softeners

What Is the Cost of Hard Water in Your Home? More Soft Water Benefits

If you’ve been dealing with hard water for an extended period, it’s easy to overlook the details of how it impacts your home. In addition to how it affects your own body, soft water will provide you with:

  1. Softer towels for more restorative showers and baths
  2. Softer linens for more pleasant, restful nights of sleep
  3. Reduced scale and build-up, which means less house cleaning and more time for whatever makes you happy
  4. Improved pride of place and less stress over the appearance of your home
  5. Less wear on towels, linens and home appliances, giving more peace of mind and less stress

Soft water will also save you money on home expenses because you will need fewer repairs for your water-using appliances. Water heaters, washers, dryers, and other water-using appliances will work stronger and last longer. Meanwhile, your clothes, linens and towels will stay bright and won’t have to be replaced as often.

Take Care of Yourself with Soft Water

Sometimes self-care isn’t the obvious thing, but making the simple change to soft water can impact your life positively, in a variety of small ways, that can add up to a significant result. Overall, when you’re dealing with the many hassles of hard water, you may get into the cycle of predicting when the “next thing” is going to strike. Your next eczema flare-up. When the water heater is going to fail. When you’ll feel confident enough to have family or friends over. Reducing hard water may not solve all of your well-being woes, but beyond the surface-level benefits are a myriad of positive changes that will make all of the difference in how you feel about yourself and your home.

Ready to enjoy the benefits of soft water?

Start reducing hard water in your home to experience the many ways soft water benefits your well-being.

Shop Water Softeners

Is Reverse Osmosis Bad For You?

If you’re considering purchasing a reverse osmosis water filtration system, there’s a good chance you have some questions about what reverse osmosis is and what it can do for you—and you might have even heard rumors that it’s harmful to your health.

You can watch the following video from Doug the Water Buff, which will answer some of the most common questions about reverse osmosis. Or, keep reading to learn more about reverse osmosis and whether it’s the water solution your home needs.

Do You Need to be Concerned About Reverse Osmosis?

The biggest question in considering a reverse osmosis filtration system is what water problem you’re trying to solve in your home. Ask yourself the following two questions before making a decision:

  1. Are you concerned about reducing unsafe levels of contaminants in your water?
  2. Or, are you only concerned about the odor and taste of your water?

What contaminants are you concerned about in your water?

Have you taken a moment to answer the two questions above? If so, it’s time to consider what water contaminants are concerning you.

Households often turn to reverse osmosis as a filtration method because they want to reduce unsafe levels of contaminants in their water, like lead, VOCs, PFAS, and more. Because reverse osmosis reduces water to a near-pure state, that also means that beneficial minerals—calcium, magnesium and sodium—will be reduced as well, but those minerals can be consumed in other ways.

When making this decision, it’s smart to consider the high amount of unsafe contaminants a reverse osmosis system reduces and weigh it against your concerns about your water. Keep in mind that you can offset any reduced minerals through a diet that includes appropriate amounts of calcium, magnesium, and sodium.

Acid levels in reverse osmosis water

The next consideration is related to acid levels in water produced by reverse osmosis systems. RO systems will drop the pH level of your water slightly to between 5 and 7 pH, which could be more acidic than what you’re expecting. If you regularly consume beverages like sodas, orange juice, sports drinks, energy drinks, even certain coffees and teas, they are all more acidic than reverse osmosis water.

So, Is Reverse Osmosis Right for You?

As noted in the video above, the decision is now up to you. If your primary concern is reducing harmful contaminants from your water, a reverse osmosis system is a top choice. But if you’re more concerned about odor or taste, then you might be better off with a carbon filtration system, which is not as thorough as a reverse osmosis system but will not drop pH or reduce dissolved minerals.

Have a question for the Water Buff about home water systems? Leave a comment on the YouTube episode page and Doug might answer your question in an upcoming “Stump the Water Buff” episode!

Want to filter your home water with reverse osmosis?

Reduce 25+ contaminants with the Whirlpool UltraEase™ Reverse Osmosis Filtration System, which is easy to install under your kitchen or bathroom sink. Get free shipping with Amazon Prime.

Get the Whirlpool RO System

What Exactly Does a Water Softener Do?

Want to learn about water softeners from an expert? Doug, the Water Buff, shared some professional insights when he was asked “what does a water softener do?” Check out what he had to say in this installment of the video series “Stump the Water Buff.”

Water Softeners Provide a Range of Benefits

Hard water, if left untreated, can create many problems throughout your home—and roughly 85% of North American homes have hard water. Simply put, water softeners turn hard water into soft water. The water softening process uses ion-exchange technology to capture hard water minerals, calcium and magnesium, from your water so they don’t leave their mark on the rest of your home. From there, you’ll experience a myriad of benefits, like softer skin and hair, better-performing appliances, and sparkling glassware.

Looking for more details about water softener capabilities? Explore additional information and resources below for a thorough understanding of what a water softener does.

Water softeners help protect water-using appliances

Hard water affects things like your plumbing, water heater, dishwasher and showerheads negatively, forming a crusty buildup that’s difficult to remove and causing a decrease in water pressure and performance over time.

Want to protect your water-using appliances from hard water and keep them in good shape for as long as possible? Installing a water softener is the best solution available. Using soft water will not only prevent further hard water damage to your water-using appliances, it will also lower your energy bills (including your water heater costs by up to 24%) since your water-using appliances will run more efficiently. Better appliance performance also means less money spent on repairs and premature replacements over time.

Want to know even more about water softeners?

Nearly all homes can benefit from adding a water softener. Discover how with this in-depth resource.

 

The Benefits of Water Softeners

A water softener can help with household cleaning

Hard water buildup is easy to notice and difficult to remove. From spot-filled glassware to scratchy towels and sheets, hard water leaves its mark and slows cleaning efforts. No one wants to host friends or family for a meal knowing they have spots all over their glasses and cutlery.

In the laundry room, hard water minerals combine with soaps and detergents to wear away at clothing fibers causing them to fade faster and wear prematurely. A water softener prevents hard water from interacting with your linens, glassware and surfaces, so you can tackle household cleaning with ease.

Soft water improves personal hygiene

Hard water impacts personal hygiene more than causing dry skin and scalp conditions. The minerals from hard water can strip natural oils from skin, which people often mistake for the “squeaky clean” feeling. This abrasiveness when mixed with soaps, strips the skin and leaves behind a soap residue that can clog pores and keep your natural oils from coming to the surface of your skin. The residue can cause acne breakouts and other hygiene problems over time.

Using hard water won’t just dry out your skin, it can make your hair flatter, brassy and difficult to manage. Instead of purchasing specialty soaps and lotions to minimize the effects of hard water on your personal hygiene, a water softener can address the issue at the source. Look no further than this resource for more information about how personal hygiene is impacted by hard water.

Have a question for the Water Buff about home water systems? Leave a comment on the YouTube episode page and Doug might answer your question in an upcoming “Stump the Water Buff” episode!

Ready to add a water softener to your home?

Explore EcoPureHome’s water softeners. From brands you trust to value systems, there’s a wide range of softening systems to fit any homeowner’s needs.

Shop Water Softeners
http://Whirlpool%20water%20softener

What Exactly Does a Water Softener Do?

Want to learn about water softeners from an expert? Doug, the Water Buff, shared some professional insights when he was asked “what does a water softener do?” Check out what he had to say in this installment of the video series “Stump the Water Buff.”

Water Softeners Provide a Range of Benefits

Hard water, if left untreated, can create many problems throughout your home—and roughly 85% of North American homes have hard water. Simply put, water softeners turn hard water into soft water. The water softening process uses ion-exchange technology to capture hard water minerals, calcium and magnesium, from your water so they don’t leave their mark on the rest of your home. From there, you’ll experience a myriad of benefits, like softer skin and hair, better-performing appliances, and sparkling glassware.

Looking for more details about water softener capabilities? Explore additional information and resources below for a thorough understanding of what a water softener does.

Water softeners help protect water-using appliances

Hard water affects things like your plumbing, water heater, dishwasher and showerheads negatively, forming a crusty buildup that’s difficult to remove and causing a decrease in water pressure and performance over time.

Want to protect your water-using appliances from hard water and keep them in good shape for as long as possible? Installing a water softener is the best solution available. Using soft water will not only prevent further hard water damage to your water-using appliances, it will also lower your energy bills (including your water heater costs by up to 24%) since your water-using appliances will run more efficiently. Better appliance performance also means less money spent on repairs and premature replacements over time.

Want to know even more about water softeners?

Nearly all homes can benefit from adding a water softener. Discover how with this in-depth resource.

 

The Benefits of Water Softeners

A water softener can help with household cleaning

Hard water buildup is easy to notice and difficult to remove. From spot-filled glassware to scratchy towels and sheets, hard water leaves its mark and slows cleaning efforts. No one wants to host friends or family for a meal knowing they have spots all over their glasses and cutlery.

In the laundry room, hard water minerals combine with soaps and detergents to wear away at clothing fibers causing them to fade faster and wear prematurely. A water softener prevents hard water from interacting with your linens, glassware and surfaces, so you can tackle household cleaning with ease.

Soft water improves personal hygiene

Hard water impacts personal hygiene more than causing dry skin and scalp conditions. The minerals from hard water can strip natural oils from skin, which people often mistake for the “squeaky clean” feeling. This abrasiveness when mixed with soaps, strips the skin and leaves behind a soap residue that can clog pores and keep your natural oils from coming to the surface of your skin. The residue can cause acne breakouts and other hygiene problems over time.

Using hard water won’t just dry out your skin, it can make your hair flatter, brassy and difficult to manage. Instead of purchasing specialty soaps and lotions to minimize the effects of hard water on your personal hygiene, a water softener can address the issue at the source. Look no further than this resource for more information about how personal hygiene is impacted by hard water.

Have a question for the Water Buff about home water systems? Leave a comment on the YouTube episode page and Doug might answer your question in an upcoming “Stump the Water Buff” episode!

Ready to add a water softener to your home?

Explore EcoPureHome’s water softeners. From brands you trust to value systems, there’s a wide range of softening systems to fit any homeowner’s needs.

Shop Water Softeners
http://Whirlpool%20water%20softener

Water Softeners Provide a Range of Benefits

Hard water, if left untreated, can create many problems throughout your home—and roughly 85% of North American homes have hard water. Simply put, water softeners turn hard water into soft water. The water softening process uses ion-exchange technology to capture hard water minerals, calcium and magnesium, from your water so they don’t leave their mark on the rest of your home. From there, you’ll experience a myriad of benefits, like softer skin and hair, better-performing appliances, and sparkling glassware.

Looking for more details about water softener capabilities? Explore additional information and resources below for a thorough understanding of what a water softener does.

Water softeners help protect water-using appliances

Hard water affects things like your plumbing, water heater, dishwasher and showerheads negatively, forming a crusty buildup that’s difficult to remove and causing a decrease in water pressure and performance over time.

Want to protect your water-using appliances from hard water and keep them in good shape for as long as possible? Installing a water softener is the best solution available. Using soft water will not only prevent further hard water damage to your water-using appliances, it will also lower your energy bills (including your water heater costs by up to 24%) since your water-using appliances will run more efficiently. Better appliance performance also means less money spent on repairs and premature replacements over time.

Want to know even more about water softeners?

Nearly all homes can benefit from adding a water softener. Discover how with this in-depth resource.

 

The Benefits of Water Softeners

A water softener can help with household cleaning

Hard water buildup is easy to notice and difficult to remove. From spot-filled glassware to scratchy towels and sheets, hard water leaves its mark and slows cleaning efforts. No one wants to host friends or family for a meal knowing they have spots all over their glasses and cutlery.

In the laundry room, hard water minerals combine with soaps and detergents to wear away at clothing fibers causing them to fade faster and wear prematurely. A water softener prevents hard water from interacting with your linens, glassware and surfaces, so you can tackle household cleaning with ease.

Soft water improves personal hygiene

Hard water impacts personal hygiene more than causing dry skin and scalp conditions. The minerals from hard water can strip natural oils from skin, which people often mistake for the “squeaky clean” feeling. This abrasiveness when mixed with soaps, strips the skin and leaves behind a soap residue that can clog pores and keep your natural oils from coming to the surface of your skin. The residue can cause acne breakouts and other hygiene problems over time.

Using hard water won’t just dry out your skin, it can make your hair flatter, brassy and difficult to manage. Instead of purchasing specialty soaps and lotions to minimize the effects of hard water on your personal hygiene, a water softener can address the issue at the source. Look no further than this resource for more information about how personal hygiene is impacted by hard water.

Have a question for the Water Buff about home water systems? Leave a comment on the YouTube episode page and Doug might answer your question in an upcoming “Stump the Water Buff” episode!

Ready to add a water softener to your home?

Explore EcoPureHome’s water softeners. From brands you trust to value systems, there’s a wide range of softening systems to fit any homeowner’s needs.

Shop Water Softeners
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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.

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Forever Chemicals in Your Tap Water

What PFAs & Other Chemicals Do To Your Body

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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 Reverse Osmosis System 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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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?

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.


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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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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.


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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.


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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 if so, what are the health effects, and how do 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 and can last thousands of years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 9,000 synthetic chemicals are classified as PFAS with at least 4,700 available for commercial use in applications. Since their invention in the mid-20th century, PFAS 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
  • Fast food packaging
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Is PFOA the same as PFAS?

PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) is a man-made chemical created by 3M in the 1940s that was 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. PFAS:

  • Do not biodegrade
  • Can move through water and soil, contaminating community resources
  • Bioaccumulate in people and wildlife

PFOA, used for decades in Teflon items manufactured by DuPont, was used in hundreds of consumer products including carpets, cardboard, cookware, waxes, waterproof clothing, and more from the 1950s until 2015. As a result of widespread use, PFOA has become a common water contaminant throughout parts of the United States due to manufacturing plant leaks that end up seeping into local water supplies.

PFOA stands out from other PFAS because of its long-documented effects on health. PFOA was the subject of a 2001 class lawsuit that 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. DuPont and Chemours, a spin-off of DuPont, settled for more than $670 million in 2017. 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 generations to come.

More recently, a 3M settlement generated headlines in the Upper Midwest. The Minnesota-based organization settled a lawsuit in 2018, paying $850 million to the state of Minnesota due to the company dumping PFAS in landfills east of St. Paul, Minnesota, which later leached into groundwater throughout parts of the east metro area.

Are PFAS Dangerous?

PFAS, 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
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Even though PFOA is no longer in production, other PFAS—like GenX and PFBS—have taken its place. Because PFAS are so widely used in manufacturing, it’s estimated that 99% of Americans have a measurable amount of PFAS in their bloodstreams. In the case of GenX, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report in 2021 confirming through animal testing that GenX causes negative health effects on the liver, kidneys, the immune system, development of offspring, and is associated with certain types of cancers. There are red flags with PFBS (perfluorobutanesulfonic acid) too, as it’s associated with harming the thyroid and kidneys.

As you can see, while the production of some legacy PFAS, such as PFOA, has been halted, new chemicals are taking their place that pose significant danger to public health. So, how can you eliminate PFAS found in your drinking water?

How to remove PFAS in drinking water

If you live near a manufacturing facility that produced or worked with legacy PFAS—like PFOA or PFOS (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid)—or if the plant works with PFAS like GenX that are currently in production, you should take extra precautions with your drinking water. Since the United States government has been slow to initiate widespread cleanup efforts, and state governments are not in alignment on what is acceptable for PFAS contamination and consumption levels, it’s up to individuals to take matters into their own hands.

Right now, the vast majority of water treatment systems are not capable of filtering PFAS from drinking water. Further, some wonder if PFAS can even truly be filtered out of water. There is a bit of good news here. Some reverse osmosis filtration systems can significantly reduce the amount of PFAS found in home 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.

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How do select RO systems reduce PFOA and other PFAS from home 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 PFOA or other PFAS contaminating your drinking water, it may be time to invest in a filtration system specifically designed to reduce these harmful contaminants. However, it’s important to understand that not all RO systems are certified to reduce PFAS. EcoPureHome is proud to offer an RO system that is certified to reduce PFAS: The Brita Total 360 Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filtration System. This product, which installs directly under your sink to provide safer, clean water right to your tap, is NSF-certified to reduce up to 97 percent of PFOA and PFOS.

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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).

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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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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

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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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Understanding Common Water Softening Terms

When it comes to understanding hard water basics, the facts are pretty straightforward — hard water causes many problems like spotty dishes straight from the dishwasher and dry, itchy skin — but understanding water treatment terminology can leave you confused when shopping for a new water softener.

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This water treatment glossary contains a list of common terms and definitions that will help you understand that confusing web of terminology and navigate products like a pro. When you understand the information, choosing the water softener with the best capabilities for you is a snap — not a chore.

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Water Softening Treatment Glossary

 

Alkaline

Having a pH greater than 7, also described as being basic (versus being acidic, which is when a substance has a pH lower than 7). Minerals such as calcium and magnesium that cause hard water are alkaline; therefore another way to describe hard water is to say it is alkaline.

Brine/Brine Solution

A liquid that contains salts like sodium chloride and potassium. During the regeneration process, the brine interacts with the water, and calcium and magnesium are exchanged with sodium ions. Brine is an important aspect of water softening as it is necessary for ion exchange, the method in which the softener removes calcium and magnesium particles that cause the water to be hard. Without it, there won’t be anything to condition the hard water.

Brine Tank

The physical portion of the water softener where sodium is added (it should be at least 50 percent filled with salt) and the resulting brine is housed.

Deionization

The removal of ions. Hard water is caused by a high concentration of positive ions (calcium [Ca2+] and magnesium [Mg2+] are both positive ions). During the deionization process, ionized minerals are removed from water by exchanging them with sodium, making the water “softer.”

Grain

A measure of unit in which one grain equals an approximate 65 milligrams of calcium carbonate.

Grain Capacity

A unit of measurement that is commonly used when describing how much water hardness a water softener can remove before needing to regenerate. Understanding grain capacity is helpful in determining the right water softener, especially if you know the hardness level of your water. If your hardness level is high, but you have a lower grain capacity unit, it will need to regenerate more often than if you had a water softener with a higher grain capacity.

Grains Per Gallon (gpg)

A unit of measurement in which the amount of grains (~65 milligrams of calcium carbonate) per gallon of water are determined. Hard water has a gpg of 7 or greater, while soft water has a gpg of 7 or fewer. For example, a water hardness with a gpg of 7 would mean that for every gallon of water, you would find ~455 milligrams of calcium carbonate.

Hard Water

When water has a gpg of 7 or greater, meaning it has at least ~455 milligrams of calcium carbonate per gallon, it is considered “hard.” Hard water occurs when the water flows through soil, rocks and other materials containing calcium carbonate, which then gets mixed into the water and flows to the final destination.

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Ion

An atom or atoms that have an electrical charge, whether positive (formed by a loss of electrons by the atom) or negative (formed by a gain of electrons by the atom).

Ion Exchange

When one type of atom or atoms is switched with another of equal charge between an insoluble (chemical makeup that can’t break down in water) solid and a solution (chemical makeup that can be broken down in water). In water softening, ions are exchanged between sodium (a solution) and the alkalis calcium and magnesium (insoluble solids). Because the calcium and magnesium are insoluble, they can be filtered out.

Ionization

The addition of ions. Opposite of deionization.

NSF

The National Sanitation Foundation, now known as NSF International, sets standards for food service, swimming pools and healthcare equipment by testing and certifying products are in compliance with public health guidelines.

Parts per Million (ppm)

Less common than gpg, parts per million (ppm) is a unit of measurement, especially for water that contains iron. The conversion between gpg and ppm is 1 : 17.1. Therefore, hard water with a gpg of 7 has a ppm of 119.7.

Regeneration

The process in which sodium ions are added or returned to a mineral as a water softener removes hard water minerals. When a water softener exchanges sodium ions for calcium and magnesium (which are causing water to be “hard”) it eventually will run out of sodium. During regeneration, the sodium ions are replaced so that the water softener can continue to exchange sodium ions with calcium and magnesium.

There are two types of regeneration: timer-based and demand-initiated. Timer-based regeneration occurs on a set schedule while demand-initiated regeneration uses sensors to monitor the mineral exchange, regenerating when needed on its own rather than on a timed schedule.

Resin

A synthetic plastic made from polystyrene sulfonate that is shaped into beads and added to a water softener. The physical location of the resin beads is called the resin tank, and it’s within this tank that hard water is passed through. The resin beads contain sodium or potassium (which are soluble) which are switched with calcium and magnesium (insoluble) during the ion exchange process. If you have an older water softener installed but the water still seems harder than you’d like, it may be time for a water softener update since resin can lose its sodium over time.

Softened Water

When water has undergone a process to remove the calcium and magnesium ions, reducing the grains per gallon (gpg).

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

The total amount of substances dissolved in water — aka, soluble substances — including solids such as magnesium, bicarbonates and chlorides.

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Meter

A hand-held device that indicates the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in a solution by measuring the conductivity of a solution (because dissolved solids such as salts and minerals increase the conductivity of a solution). Because it is exclusively a TDS water tester, it does not measure contaminants such as lead, pesticides, arsenic, etc.

Water Conditioning

When a solution added to water doesn’t remove minerals such as calcium and magnesium — which occurs during water softening — but instead changes the ways in which a liquid solution behaves, keeping the calcium and magnesium present from adhering to surfaces. If you’re conditioning your water rather than softening it, the calcium and magnesium are still there but they won’t cause build-up on your glasses or in your faucets.

Water Control Valve

Valve which controls the flow of water through a water softening system. Most are designed to maintain maximum water pressure throughout the home.

Water Softening

The process of removing calcium and magnesium ions through ion exchange with sodium so that the gpg falls below 7.


Learn What Water Softener
is Right for You

Now that you have an idea of the basics of water softener technology, it will be easier to understand the different capabilities as you consider various models.

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All About EcoPureHome’s Partnership With charity: water

EcoPureHome is a proud brand partner with charity: water, a nonprofit organization dedicated to equipping communities in developing countries with safe drinking water. Both organizations share a common belief: access to safe, clean drinking water changes everything. When you buy from EcoPureHome, you’re helping support and elevate charity: water’s mission.

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Get to Know charity: water

charity: water was founded in 2006 by Scott Harrison with the mission to deliver clean and safe drinking water to families in developing countries across the world. Through the years, charity: water has built 91,414 projects that have delivered clean water to 14 million people and counting.

charity: water takes a long-term approach to their solutions and prioritizes complete transparency with their projects. You can actually see where their completed projects are, who they’re helping and what technology they’re using as their partners tag projects with GPS coordinates. To ensure the people they provide resources to have a reliable source of clean water, they work with mechanics who are able to easily access and repair water points and partner with local originations and governments to strengthen community ownership.

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EcoPureHome’s Partnership and Impact With charity: water

EcoPureHome is proud to partner with charity: water to support clean water efforts in developing countries. One project that EcoPureHome supported was a clean water initiative in Cambodia, a country where safe water can be hard to come by and effective solutions can be costly. EcoPureHome helped fund the implementation of BioSand Filters in households across the country where water sources are often contaminated by iron, arsenic and other toxins. EcoPureHome looks forward to continuing its support of charity: water and Clear Cambodia, its implementation partner.

Since 2019, EcoPureHome and charity: water helped fund 5 projects in Cambodia, giving clean water to 834 people.

How You Can Help

If you’re looking for a trusted and transparent organization to support, charity: water is an outstanding candidate. Here are some ways to support their cause:

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If you choose to support charity: water, you’ll be able to track where your money goes and the impact it makes. EcoPureHome hopes you’ll join the effort to ensure clean, safe drinking water for all.

Concerned About Your Own Water? Try EcoPureHome’s Interactive Shopping Guide.

Do you have concerns about your home’s water, whether contaminants, lead, or hard water? Use EcoPureHome’s interactive shopping guide to find the solution to your unique water needs.

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5 DIY Solutions for Your Home’s Hard Water

If you’re here, you know that hard water is something that can cause a variety of problems around the home. From dry skin to clogged appliances, hard water can quickly become an unwelcome guest. The good news is there are many ways to combat hard water symptoms. The methods vary, and depend on your budget, handiness and ultimately your desire to rid your house of hard water issues. Each one of these five ways to get rid of hard water require a little research and elbow grease — perfect for the avid DIY-er.

DIY hard water test

Maybe you’re aware of hard water, but are unsure if it’s in your home or not. Here’s a simple way to find out. All you need is a clean and clear water bottle (a reusable one works fine) and pure castile liquid soap. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Fill a third of your bottle with water from your tap.
  2. Pour a few drops of the liquid soap into the bottle and give it a good shake.
  3. Set the water bottle down. If you have soft water, the bottle will be filled a third of the way with soapy bubbles. If there is only a thin layer of bubbles and the water looks cloudy, you have hard water.

If your water bottle lacked bubbles and you’re wondering how to get rid of hard water, it’s time to find a solution. Here are ways to fight hard water around your home.

Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the most powerful home remedies for hard water scale build up — it’s acidic, which makes it a powerful tool for dissolving calcium-based hard water stains. If you’re looking for ways to treat hard water, especially in the kitchen where calcium buildup appears on dishes and appliances, you’ll want to use vinegar to remedy these issues. Here are two ideas to get you started:

  1. Soak a cloth with warm vinegar. Then, place the cloth over your faucet to let it dissolve calcium buildup. You can also fill a Ziploc bag and fasten it over the faucet for the same effect.
  2. Fill a bucket or large bowl with warm vinegar, and place kitchen items that are spotted with calcium into it. Let it soak for a few hours. This removes calcium deposits and leftover scum your soap may have left behind.

Specialty shampoo & soap

Have you noticed your skin is itchy, or your hair is a little drier than it should be? Hard water could be to blame. If you’re worried about the effect of hard water on your hair and skin, you can fight back with shampoos and soaps made with ingredients that help dissolve calcium. Clarifying (or chelating) agents stop minerals in hard water from interfering with soap while you wash up. When you clean with hard water, your soap is less sudsy, which you discovered through the DIY hard water test. Using clarifying soap means you’ll be able to enjoy soap and shampoo the way it was meant to be. If you do opt for clarifying shampoo, be sure to use an extra-moisturizing conditioner, as chelating agents can be tough on treated hair.

Showerhead filters

If you don’t want to buy specialty beauty products, consider installing a showerhead filter, which will filter out hard water minerals and other contaminants that could be in your water. These specialized filters make a good choice for people who are sensitive to the minerals in hard water, which can make skin conditions like eczema worse. When picking a showerhead filter to install, be sure to find one that specifically filters out hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium, otherwise you’ll continue to experience issues caused by hard water.

Rinse aids

A rinse aid is a product you can use in your dishwasher to help prevent spots of calcium buildup and soap scum. Rinse aids are surfactants, or something that helps reduce the surface tension of whatever liquid it’s dissolved in. Despite the name, rinse aids actually help your dishes dry faster, and doesn’t have much to do with rinsing itself. Using rinse aid is particularly useful with hard water, as it thins out the water, preventing it from forming droplets and leaving residue on your dishes and glasses. Not only does it prevent buildup, but without droplets on your dishes, it means they will dry faster when you open the washer.

How to use rinse aid

Typically, there are two compartments in a dishwasher’s dispenser: one for soap, one for rinse aid or other product. If your dishwasher doesn’t have a dispenser, there are pods that include both soap and rinse aid that release during a cycle. Rinse aid is an easy and cheap way to combat the pesky spots and stains caused by running a dishwasher with hard water.

Water Softener

All of the above products are great ways to treat hard water symptoms for individual needs, but the only way you can truly get rid of hard water throughout your home is with a water softener. The products above cost less up front, but none eliminate the problem entirely. Cleaning the buildup caused by hard water is a great way to keep a tidy home, but if you fail to address the root issue, your water-using appliances will break down sooner and more often — a costly and preventable expense. Yes, you’ll have to spend a little more upfront with a water softener system, but it will pay for itself by keeping your appliances and pipes working in prime condition for much longer and allowing you to cut back on soap and detergent costs.

How to choose the right water softener

Selecting the right water softener will depend on your household size, budget and whether you’re looking for a filtration solution as well. EcoPureHome offers a variety of water softeners for households of all sizes. Find the system that’s right for your home, and experience all the benefits that softer water has to offer.

Home Water Softeners Comparison

How to Choose a Water Softener System

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What are the best water softener systems to buy for your home? To answer this question, start by asking another — what are your family’s water usage needs? While the purpose of a water softener is to remove the concentrations of magnesium and calcium that cause water hardness, the product you choose to accomplish this goal depends on a wide range of external factors. The number of people in a home, the amount of water those people regularly use and the existing water hardness levels should all be considered in your product purchasing decision.

Below, you can compare our selection of water softener systems and brands. Each option comes with a convenient user manual that will simplify the installation process.

Product / Model Name EcoPure 31,000 Grain Water Softener

EP31
EcoPure 42,000 Grain Water Softener

EP42
EcoPure EPHS Whole Home Hybrid Water Softener & Filter

EPHS
Whirlpool 30,000 Grain Water Softener

WHES30
Whirlpool 40,000 Grain Water Softener

WHES40
Whirlpool Pro Series Water Softener/Whole Home Filter Hybrid

WHESFC
Dimensions D 19.75 in
W 16.5 in
H 47.75 in
D 19.75 in
W 16.5 in
H 47.75 in
D 19.75 in
W 16.5 in
H 47.75 in
D 19 in
W 18 in
H 43 5/16 in
D 19 in
W 18 in
H 47 7/8 in
D 19 in
W 18 in
H 47 7/8 in
Rated Softening Capacity (Grains @ Salt Dose) 12,300 @ 2.4 lbs.
26,200 @ 7.7 lbs.
31,300 @ 12.9 lbs
16,600 @ 3.3 lbs.
35,300 @ 10.3 lbs.
42,200 @ 17.4 lbs
14,000 @ 2.9 lbs.
29,800 @ 9.3 lbs.
35,600 @ 15.6 lbs.
12,800 @ 2.9 lbs.
24,600 @ 8.0 lbs.
28,900 @ 13.1 lbs.
11,900 @ 2.4 lbs.
31,600 @ 9.0 lbs.
40,000 @ 15.5 lbs.
11,000 @ 2.6 lbs.
24,700 @ 7.8 lbs.
31,100 @ 13.4 lbs.
Minimum Water Supply Flow Rate 3 gpm 3 gpm 3 gpm 3 gpm 3 gpm 3 gpm
Maximum Drain Flow Rate 2.0 gpm 2.0 gpm 2.0 gpm 2.0 gpm 2.0 gpm 2.0 gpm
Water Supply Max. Hardness 110 gpg 110 gpg 100 gpg 95 gpg 125 gpg 120 gpg
Certifications NSF International against NSF/ANSI Standard 44 for hardness reduction and efficiency, and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 372. NSF International against NSF/ANSI Standard 44 for hardness reduction and efficiency, and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 372. NSF International against NSF/ANSI Standard 42 for the reduction of chlorine taste and odor, and Standard 44 for hardness reduction, efficiency and the reduction of barium and radium 226/228, and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 372. NSF International against NSF/ANSI Standard 44 for hardness reduction and efficiency, and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 372. NSF International against NSF/ANSI Standard 44 for hardness reduction and efficiency NSF International against NSF/ANSI Standard 42 for the reduction of chlorine taste and odor, and Standard 44 for hardness reduction and efficiency, and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 372.
Reduce Chlorine Taste? No No Yes No No Yes
Reduce Calcium & Magnesium? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rated Efficiency (Grains/Pound of Salt @ Minimum Salt Dose) 5,090 @ 2.4 lbs. 5,090 @ 3.3 lbs. 4,230 @ 2.9 lbs. 4,410 @ 2.9 lbs. 4,958 @ 2.4 lbs. 4,230 @ 2.6 lbs.
Ideal Household Size (# of people) 1-4 1-5 1-5 1-4 1-6 1-5
Free Shipping? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Smart Regeneration Technology Variable Salt Dosage Variable Salt Dosage Variable Salt Dosage Demand Initiated Regeneration Demand Initiated Regeneration Demand Initiated Regeneration
Low Salt Light? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
High Flow Valve? Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
Full Parts & Labor Warranty 1-Year 1-Year 1-Year 1-Year 1-Year 2-Year
Water Softener Price $490 $540 $625 $570 $630 $690

Be sure to consider how much water people in your home regularly use — a household with 5-6 people will require a higher grain capacity model than one with 2-3 people. More people in a home leads to higher water and salt usage. You can use salt more efficiently with a softener that is designed to match the number of people in your home. If you’re unsure how many people will be using your water softener, it’s better to overestimate than underestimate your grain capacity needs — otherwise your equipment might not meet your performance expectations.

It’s important to take your water’s existing hardness into account when choosing a softener. In the table above, pay close attention to the maximum hardness for each softening system. This figure is measured in grains per gallon (gpg). One grain per gallon is the equivalent of one grain of calcium carbonate dissolved in one US gallon of water. Water hardness levels of 7 gpg or more are considered hard, with levels of 10.5 gpg or more being considered very hard. If you are unsure whether your water can be considered hard or not, request a free water hardness test kit to learn your exact water hardness level.

Every salt-based water softener requires regeneration to remove impurities such as mineral particles in the resin tank. Most water softeners schedule this regeneration process for a set time of day, with a predetermined amount of salt used for the process. Smart regeneration reduces the amount of salt used during regeneration cycles and limits the number of cycles that take place. Both of our water softener brands feature exclusive smart regeneration technology.

EcoPure Variable Salt Dosage

This exclusive feature automatically uses a predictive algorithm to calculate the amount of salt and water necessary to regenerate the system. The technology senses the hardness level of the water it collects in order to calculate regeneration requirements. It only uses what is necessary, resulting in a significant reduction in salt and water usage.

Whirlpool Demand Initiated Regeneration

This technology learns and predicts your daily water usage patterns. It makes adjustments based on these patterns and regenerates only when you need it. Demand Initiated Regeneration automatically calculates how much salt to use as opposed to using a fixed amount.

Both of these features are an ideal way to save salt and water if you’re away for an extended period of time.

Water softeners are used to remove calcium and magnesium, while central water filtration systems are used to remove sediment, chlorine, taste and odor. A non-hybrid water softener can prevent spotty dishes, dry skin and appliance stains, but it will not address many of the water contaminants that can lead to health issues. On the other hand, the best whole house water filtration and softener systems provide an all-in-one solution in a single unit.

If you already have a whole home filtration system in place, there is no need to install a hybrid softener. In these situations, a standard EcoPure or Whirlpool water softener can be integrated into your existing setup.

The rated capacity of a softener is the maximum number of hard water grains the unit can remove prior to regeneration. These figures vary depending on the amount of salt you’re using and a home’s water hardness level. For this reason, the same product may regenerate more frequently in a different household with higher water softening demands.

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Get More Information

Still undecided and want to learn more about your water softening options? Visit the Home Water Resource Center to find valuable information for all of your water softening needs. Then, you’ll be ready to find the system that’s right for your home and experience all the benefits that soft water has to offer.

Still Not Sure? Try EcoPureHome’s Interactive Shopping Guide.

Answer a few simple questions and get a recommended water treatment solution based on your unique water needs.

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My Kenmore Water Softener Needs Replacing … Now What?

Wondering what to do when it’s time to replace your trusted Kenmore water softener? Fortunately, if you’ve come to rely on a Kenmore water softener, you can find the same quality options when the time comes. EcoPureHome offers three models of Kenmore water softeners that provide the same level of water softening and filtration. Read on to find more information about these new water treatment systems.

If your Kenmore water softener is showing signs of decreased performance, take a look at these new models of Kenmore water softeners to evaluate and find the best fit for your home.

Kenmore 350 32,000 Grain Water Softener

  • Height: 47-3/4″
  • Width: 16-1/2″
  • Depth: 19-3/4″
  • Height to IN – OUT: 41-1/2″
  • Width between IN – OUT: 3-3/8″

This system is a perfect fit for households of 1-4 that are seeking a reliable replacement to provide soft water. Designed with Kenmore’s intuitive IntelliSoft® technology, this system monitors and adjusts to your water usage and regenerates beforehand, saving you money on energy, water and salt costs. It also ensures you’ll never run out of soft water.

Advanced electronic controls help monitor current water flow and salt levels within the tank, making the Kenmore 350 a user-friendly system. You can count on this system to help reduce mineral stains and calcium buildup and promote healthier skin and hair.


Direct Replacement for Older Kenmore Models

The Kenmore 350 Model 625.383500 has the same height (floor to inlet-outlet) and same 3/4” valve size as these older Kenmore models:

625.340700, 625.340752, 625.342802, 625.348320, 625.348321, 625.348420, 625.348470, 625.348490, 625.348471, 625.348491, 625.348541, 625.348551, 625.348570, 625.348590, 625.348571, 625.348591, 625.348751, 625.3488003, 625.348812, 625.348832, 625.383000, 625.383001, 625.383060, 625.383500, 625.383560, 625.386200, 625.388100, 625.388150, 625.388160, 625.388170, 625.388180, 625.388200, 625.388250, 625.388251, 625.388260, 625.388270, 625.388280, 625.3483400, 625.3483500, 625.3484400, 625.3484500, 625.3485400, 625.3485500, 625.348732

The following older Kenmore models have the same 3/4″ valve size, but the height (floor to inlet-outlet) is shorter. Additional plumbing will be required to replace with the Kenmore 350 (41-1/2″ height to inlet-outlet):

625.340400 (34″)

625.340500 (36-3/4″)

625.348460 (22-1/2″)

625.348512 (36-1/2″)

625.388110 (36-1/2″)

NOTE: Due to variances in production and assembly, the Kenmore water softener valve height may vary by up to 1/2″ from an existing water treatment system, including existing Kenmore models. This potential change in valve height will not affect system performance.

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Kenmore 420 40,000 Grain Water Softener

  • Height: 48″
  • Width: 17″
  • Depth: 21″
  • Height to IN – OUT: 41-1/2″
  • Width between IN – OUT: 3-3/4″

Designed for households of 1-5, this Kenmore water softener is both a sophisticated and reliable system that can provide a wide range of benefits around the home. The Kenmore 420’s IntelliSoft® technology monitors and adjusts to your water usage and regenerates beforehand so you never run out of soft water. It’ll also save you money on water, energy and salt costs. It also features more advanced electronic controls than that of the Kenmore 350. This system allows you to easily monitor average daily water usage, current water flow, and current salt level.

Like all other Kenmore water softeners, this system eliminates mineral stains and helps you maintain healthy hair and skin. It will also protect your home’s water-using appliances from calcium buildup that can result in costly maintenance fees.

Direct Replacement for Older Models

The Kenmore 420 Model 625.384200 has the same height (floor to inlet-outlet) and same 1” valve size as these older Kenmore models:

625.348600, 625.348670, 625.383760, 625.384200, 625.384260, 625.385200, 625.388400, 625.388450, 625.388460, 625.388480, 625.388800, 625.388880

NOTE: Due to variances in production and assembly, the Kenmore water softener valve height may vary by up to 1/2″ from an existing water treatment system, including existing Kenmore models. This potential change in valve height will not affect system performance.

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The Kenmore Elite 520 Water Softener + Filter In One

  • Height: 48″
  • Width: 17″
  • Depth: 21″
  • Height to IN – OUT: 41-1/2″
  • Width between IN – OUT: 3-3/4″

If you’d like to add a filtration component to your home’s water treatment systems, the Kenmore 31,000 Grain Water Softener and Filter Hybrid system provides softened and filtered water throughout your entire home.

Like the other two Kenmore water softeners, the Kenmore 520 is also built with  IntelliSoft® technology that tracks your water usage over time to regenerate soft water accordingly. This cost-effective feature helps you save on energy, water and salt costs.

This system will reduce mineral buildup and stains and promote healthier hair and skin. The filtration component will also provide your home with better-tasting water—with no need to replace the filter, as the system cleans the filter every time it regenerates.

 

Direct Replacement for Older Kenmore Models

The Kenmore 520 Model 625.385200 has the same height (floor to inlet-outlet) and same 1” valve size as these older Kenmore models:

625.348600, 625.348670, 625.383760, 625.384200, 625.384260, 625.385200, 625.388400, 625.388450, 625.388460, 625.388480, 625.388800, 625.388880

NOTE: Due to variances in production and assembly, the Kenmore water softener valve height may vary by up to 1/2″ from an existing water treatment system, including existing Kenmore models. This potential change in valve height will not affect system performance.

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What Else You Need to Know About Replacing Your Kenmore Water Softener

When you buy your new water softener, you will need to replace your bypass valve as well. Every new softener comes with a bypass valve that will work in your current application. This bypass valve may be different than the one you currently have, with a potential for a difference in height to your plumbing.

Note that the Kenmore 350’s 3/4” bypass valve has an updated design with threading directly on the plastic mold and no separate adaptors are needed. If preferred, the older 3/4” bypass kits with adaptors remain available to purchase separately.

1” bypass valves that come with the Kenmore 420 and 520 have not had their design changed but the adaptors are now made of plastic. If desired, copper adaptor kits are available for purchase which connect to the plastic bypass assembly the same way.

Please keep in mind updated bypass designs when planning and measuring your plumbing connections.


Instructions for installing a new Kenmore water softener

The tools you need to install your water softener include an adjustable wrench, utility knife, bucket, bleach and water softener salt. After gathering all the necessary tools and hardware for your new install, you’ll be ready to start the installation process. These are general steps to follow:

  1. Shut off your main water supply line
  2. Open faucet and drain water lines
  3. Disconnect water lines to your existing water softener and remove softener
  4. Install new bypass valve in your new water softener
  5. Position water softener and connect water lines to bypass valve
  6. Attach drain lines to water softener and appropriately run them to desired drain
  7. Ensure bypass is in service position, slowly turn main water supply back on while checking for leaks
  8. Open cold water faucet to remove air and flush until water runs clear
  9. Plug system into power supply and begin programming procedure
  10. Add two gallons of clean water to salt storage tank and fill half full with water softener salt
  11. Follow sanitation procedure

For additional information, watch the do-it-yourself instruction video above, and please follow your owner’s manual for specific details.

Buy Your New Kenmore Softener Today

Shop EcoPureHome now to find the right Kenmore water softener to replace your previous model.

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Discover How Hard, Unfiltered Water Impacts Life in Your Kitchen.

This interactive video shows you how to identify and solve common water problems that may negatively affect your cooking and cleaning.

If your water is hard and unfiltered, it could be causing a number of problems in your kitchen. While you might be unaware of most of them, after watching the interactive video above or reading the list below, you will be able to identify common issues like why your water-using appliances are breaking down more often than they should, or why your dishes are spotty after going through the dishwasher. This list breaks down the five most common effects hard, unfiltered water can have in a kitchen, from food odor to dishwasher scale.


Spotty dishes

Hard water contains minerals that cause a number of problems throughout your home. Have you ever noticed spots on your dishes, even after a full cycle in your dishwasher? Those filmy spots are called scale, which is caused by high mineral content. Installing a water softener will help avoid water spots on dishes caused by mineral buildup. Cleaning with soft water also means using less soap — this allows you to save a little extra money.

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Soap activation

If you have hard water, the minerals that cause buildup on your dishes will interfere with soap, too. Soap is not as effective with hard water, meaning you’ll have to use several more pumps than you would with soft water to get everything clean. While the amount of soap you’re using may not be as obvious of an issue as spots or broken appliances, when you make the switch to soft water, you’ll notice the difference immediately.

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Scale buildup on appliances

You know that minerals from hard water create residual buildup on your glasses — the same thing happens in your appliances. In the kitchen, this can mean the lifespan of your dishwasher is cut down by as much as 50%. When you install a water softener, you can expect all of your water-using appliances such as dishwashers, laundry machines and other expensive equipment to operate as intended for years. This means less money spent on costly repairs and replacements.

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To see if you have scale buildup, take a look at the drain in your dishwasher. If you see white streaks, you have hard water that may be harming the performance and lifespan of your water-using appliances. It may be time to start protecting your appliances with a water softener.

Recognize any of these issues in your kitchen?

It might be time to install a water softener. Browse the top brand names in the industry and see the difference a softener can make in your home.

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Dull flavors

You can enjoy more flavorful food and beverages when cooking with soft water. Have you ever made yourself a cup of tea, only to be disappointed in its dull flavor? It’s likely that you have hard water that’s interfering with the infusion process. When you install a water softener, you’ll begin to notice bolder flavors while cooking and making tea. If you like to bake bread, you’ll also notice that yeast performs better with soft water and that vegetables and rice will be more tender. These improvements to cooking and baking are due to the reduced level of minerals in your water.

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Water odor

Unpleasant odor is a common issue for people with hard, unfiltered water. It is usually caused by chlorine, which is added to water during the treatment process in municipalities. If you get your water from your city’s treatment plant, you might have this exact issue. Unfortunately, this odor can affect the food you cook and the beverages, giving your meals an unpleasant smell.

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Other contaminants such as lead, microbial cysts and other chemicals can be harmful to your health, but may not give off odors. If you believe your water is contaminated, an in-line water filter for the kitchen sink is a good start, but you may need a whole home water filtration system with the proper filter.


Solve your water issues

Untreated water can be the culprit for a number of problems you may not be aware of. Water that smells bad, among other issues, can make the smallest daily tasks much bigger chores than they should be. Solve all of these issues with the necessary water treatment systems and experience the difference treated water can make for you. Always check with a water expert if you are uncertain about your water.

Find your perfect water system.

Answer a few questions about your home’s water and you’ll be matched with a water treatment system fit for your home.

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My Kenmore Water Softener Needs Replacing … Now What?

Wondering what to do when it’s time to replace your trusted Kenmore water softener? Fortunately, if you’ve come to rely on a Kenmore water softener, you can find the same quality options when the time comes. EcoPureHome offers three models of Kenmore water softeners that provide the same level of water softening and filtration. Read on to find more information about these new water treatment systems.

If your Kenmore water softener is showing signs of decreased performance, take a look at these new models of Kenmore water softeners to evaluate and find the best fit for your home.


Can’t remember which parts you need?

If you’ve forgotten which part needs to be replaced, please refer to your owner’s manual. Your respective owner’s manual will inform you of the parts and accessories needed in your system in the “Parts & Tools” chapter. The manual also describes the installation and replacement process for your new parts. You may also refer to this online Owner’s Manual glossary of Brita Total 360, EcoPure and Whirlpool systems.


How to find parts and accessories to order:

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The fastest way to find the part you need is by typing the part number into the search bar in the top-right corner of this page. The product will appear in the search results, and all you need to do is click the appropriate option. Once you’ve found the correct part or accessory, add it to your cart and check out. Can’t find your part? Contact us for product questions and information.

My Kenmore Water Softener Needs Replacing … Now What?

Wondering what to do when it’s time to replace your trusted Kenmore water softener? Fortunately, if you’ve come to rely on a Kenmore water softener, you can find the same quality options when the time comes. EcoPureHome offers three models of Kenmore water softeners that provide the same level of water softening and filtration. Read on to find more information about these new water treatment systems.

If your Kenmore water softener is showing signs of decreased performance, take a look at these new models of Kenmore water softeners to evaluate and find the best fit for your home.

Reduce the contaminants in your water.

Feel good about drinking the water that comes from your tap. See how an under sink filtration system can provide you with better-quality, great-tasting water.

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Lead

Lead is a toxic metal that is dangerous to consume. It is a contaminant you cannot see, taste or smell. Fetuses, infants and young children are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning.

What Causes It?

Unlike many other types of common water contaminants, lead typically enters the water supply after it leaves the water treatment plant if lead plumbing materials are being used.

Homes and municipal service lines constructed prior to the 1930s are often the culprits of lead problems, as many of them still have lead pipes or solder (which was used until 1976). However, this does not mean newer homes are immune to lead contamination—even brand new homes are susceptible to lead problems if they are built and connected to municipal water lines that still contain lead. Service lines using brass materials may also have lead in them.

Unfortunately, fixtures with any lead content can lead to water contamination. But there is good news: EPA rules are being put into effect so that by 2024 lead should become less of a water contaminant problem nationwide. NSF-certified systems will require evaluation and testing to make sure water systems meet updated regulations.

Health Impact

The impact of lead poisoning varies greatly depending on exposure levels, a person’s health and age. The symptoms listed below can affect anyone, but infants and young children are especially susceptible to problems with lead poisoning as it can cause irreversible harm to their brains.

Symptoms from prolonged lead exposure may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability

Prolonged exposure may also lead to heart or kidney disease, reduced fertility, high blood pressure and heart disease.

How to avoid it

Many water municipalities will test your water for lead for free or you can have your water tested through a certified lab. Also, replacing lead materials with safer alternatives can significantly reduce lead levels in water. Because this isn’t always feasible, however, utilizing a water treatment system may be the best course of action to reduce the amount of lead contamination or provide protection in the event of any future contamination. Drinking water filtration systems, including reverse osmosis (RO) systems, can help reduce lead levels in your home’s water supply.

Check lead levels in your area with this helpful tool.

The interactive tap water quality map identifies your local lead contamination levels.

Lead Mapping Tool
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Chlorine

Chlorine is best known as the chemical used to disinfect swimming pools that has a distinct odor. Most municipalities use chlorine in the public water supply to kill harmful microorganisms that may be present. While chlorine can reduce the risk of disease-causing germs, such as Salmonella and norovirus, ingesting too much of it can also lead to health problems.

What causes it?

Chlorine, a proven disinfectant that’s been widely used for more than a century, is intentionally added to the water supply by the vast majority of public municipalities in the United States. Homes on private well water are less likely to have chlorine disinfectant in their water as the homeowner is responsible for monitoring and treating their own water supply.

Health Impact

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and EPA, chlorine levels of up to 4 parts per million (ppm) are safe for humans to ingest. Chlorine is not known to create widespread health problems when consumed at or below the 4 ppm threshold. However, it dries out your skin and hair.

Many people don’t like the smell and taste of chlorine, which is a primary reason why people with municipal water supplies choose to remove it.

How to avoid it

If you live in a home with chlorinated water, the most effective way to reduce the amount of chlorine in your water supply is with carbon filtration. Carbon filters are effective at adsorbing and reducing common water contaminants, including chlorine taste and odor, from water. Installing a whole home or under sink system designed to reduce chlorine taste and odor can go a long way in removing that unpleasant smell from your water supply.


Iron

Iron is a common water contaminant and a natural element that tastes metallic and leaves stains on surfaces. There are multiple types of iron that can contaminate water, with red water (ferric) and clear water (ferrous) iron being the most common. Red water iron appears a cloudy, reddish-orange color as it comes out of the tap, while clear water iron looks clear out of the tap, but leaves brown or red stains as it oxidizes on surfaces. The EPA provides recommendations to municipalities regarding iron concentration in water, but there are no enforceable regulations.

What causes it?

Iron is most common in well water sources, such as private wells. It’s naturally occurring in the soil and through the hydrological cycle it ends up in the water supply.

Another contributor to iron in tap water is corroding pipes. Over time, pipes and tanks corrode and subsequently show signs of rust. As plumbing infrastructure deteriorates over time, the pipes may flake bits of iron content into passing water.

Health Impact

So, is iron in water bad? Compared to many other common water contaminants, iron is a secondary water contaminant that does not threaten health, according to the EPA. However, the stains left behind by iron are one of the most common factors people consider when deciding whether to invest in a filtration system. Additionally, the metallic taste of iron in the water is another common reason homeowners choose to remove it.

How to avoid it

The most effective way to reduce iron in your home water is by installing a water softener or an iron filter. An iron filter will reduce both red water and clear water iron from your water, while water softeners are great at reducing clear water iron. You’ll want to have your water tested to determine which type of iron you have, along with any other water quality issues you need to correct, prior to purchasing a system. If you want a total iron treatment solution, having both a water softener and iron filter will provide impactful results. Using a hybrid softener/filtration system is not recommended for homes with high levels of iron.


Arsenic

Arsenic is a naturally occurring chemical that is notoriously toxic, which is why the federally regulated limit for the substance in tap water is a mere 10 parts per billion (ppb), the equivalent to about 10 drops of water in a swimming pool. It doesn’t take much arsenic to cause health issues, making it critical to remove as much of the chemical from your water supply as possible before use.

What causes it?

Arsenic can come from rocks, soil, plants, animals, water and air. In the United States, arsenic tends to be more of a problem in rural communities that do not use municipal water. Groundwater often contains some arsenic, so you should be aware of the substance if your home’s water is coming from a groundwater source such as a well. You can use the EPA’s drinking water mapping application to find the source of your local tap water.

Health Impact

Long-term consumption of arsenic in water can cause a wide range of health issues. In humans, arsenic in drinking water has been linked to:

  • Skin discoloration and rashes
  • Heart, lung, nervous and reproductive system problems
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Shortage of red and white blood cells
  • Lung and kidney cancer

How to avoid it

If you’re wondering how to remove arsenic from water at home, reverse osmosis (RO) systems are highly effective for reducing the contaminant from your drinking water. Whole home arsenic removal systems are also an option to filter the contaminant for your entire home. Homes on private wells should test their water on a recurring basis to ensure the problem is controlled.


Hyfrogen Sulfide

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Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless chemical compound that is extremely dangerous in its gaseous state. In water, hydrogen sulfide poses less risk, but getting rid of it should be a priority.

What causes it?

How can you tell if your water is contaminated with hydrogen sulfide? This is primarily a private well issue, and the scent of your water should clue you in. If your water smells like rotten eggs, it may contain sulfur bacteria. That distinctive scent is hydrogen sulfide, the gas that certain sulfur bacteria produce in and around groundwater. In a large enough quantity, it may be corrosive, tarnishing copper and silverware, or produce yellow or black stains on fixtures.

Health impact

While small amounts of hydrogen sulfide in tap water don’t pose an immediate health risk, many people decide to reduce it from their water due to its unpleasant taste and smell. The presence of hydrogen sulfide gas could also indicate other types of contamination, such as sewage in the groundwater. Toxic substances such as coliform bacteria or nitrate may exist alongside the gas, and it’s important to take steps to remove them.

How to avoid it

It’s necessary to get your water professionally tested if you suspect hydrogen sulfide in the water. If the smell is coming from just the hot water, this is an indication that your water heater needs to be looked at. Replacing the magnesium anode rod in the water heater may be able to cut the production of hydrogen sulfide gas at the source.

Getting rid of hydrogen sulfide in water can also be accomplished by installing an iron filter. Iron filters are effective at reducing hydrogen sulfide, as well as red water and clear water iron, and some manganese. These systems will reduce the unpleasant smell, taste and risks associated with the contaminant.


Nitrate

While plants rely on nitrate to stay alive, it poses a significant risk to humans. Rural private well water is especially susceptible to nitrate contamination because it may be exposed to soil with this contaminant. If you source your water from a private well or live in a rural area, take some time to learn about the risks of this harmful substance.

What causes it?

Nitrate is colorless and odorless, but not harmless. While nitrate is a naturally occurring form of nitrogen, it’s used heavily in agriculture to assist with crop growth. For this reason, people who live in rural communities near farming should be mindful of nitrate levels in their drinking water.

Health impact

Infants are especially at risk for health problems associated with nitrate in water. This is because the substance can cause a fatal blood disorder known as methemoglobinemia or “blue baby” syndrome. When an infant consumes too much nitrate, their blood has more difficulty carrying oxygen throughout the body. Research indicates nitrate above 10 milligrams per liter (mg/L) can cause methemoglobinemia in kids less than six months old.

How to avoid it

You can reduce the amount of nitrate from your drinking water with a reverse osmosis system.


Bacteria and Viruses

There are many types of bacteria and viruses that are common in water, including cysts, rotavirus, norovirus, and hepatitis A and E. The types that carry diseases are known as pathogens, and although the EPA regulates levels of these health hazards, pathogens can enter a water supply after leaving a water treatment facility.

Municipalities are required to test and treat for bacteria and viruses, often using chlorine or chloramines to properly disinfect. Private wells are particularly at risk for these contaminants because they are not monitored by the EPA, and the homeowner is responsible for testing and treatment.

What causes it?

There are many sources of viruses and bacteria in water. Some of the most common include:

  • Sewage
  • Animal waste
  • Dead and decaying animals

These sources of microbes contaminate underground water supplies. In many cases, there are no clues or indicators that harmful viruses or bacteria are present in the water. Many people only learn that their water is contaminated after getting sick.

Health Impact

Drinking water contaminated with disease-causing bacteria and viruses can make you ill. Gastrointestinal illness symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting and cramping. The elderly, young children, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get sick and experience severe symptoms.

If you suspect problems with bacteria or viruses in your drinking water, such as E. coli, your best course of action is to switch to another water source, such as bottled water, until you can identify the correct water treatment solution and have it installed.

How to avoid it

The most effective way to reduce viruses and bacteria in drinking water is with disinfectant water treatment systems. There are several treatment options available, including ozone, chlorine, chloramine and UV technology. Some filtration systems, such as water purifiers, can also be used to reduce dangerous pathogens found in drinking water. A water system that is tested and certified to the NSF/ANSI standard P231 will do the trick.


Pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceutical water pollution is a growing problem in the United States. Chemicals from prescription drugs, such as birth control, mood stabilizers and painkillers, have been found in many municipal water supplies. Since some water treatment facilities do not account for pharmaceutical contamination, it’s important to be aware of the potential presence of pharmaceuticals in your drinking water.

What causes it?

Traces of pharmaceuticals enter the water supply mostly due to bodily excretions. These compounds start in toilets and make their way to wastewater treatment plants, where they are not removed, and through the natural hydrological cycle end up in the water supply. While the amount of pharmaceutical compounds in tap water is much lower than you’d find in a prescription, the safest course of action is to remove them entirely.

Health impact

Exposure to pharmaceutical compounds can impact your health negatively. Even at low doses, some pharmaceutical chemicals can exert a range of adverse effects and cause unpredictable health outcomes. Endocrine disruptors are of particular concern since they disrupt many internal biological processes such as growth and development.

How to avoid it

The most effective way to reduce common pharmaceutical compounds from drinking water is through select drinking water filtration systems. You’ll want to scan the performance data on the system you are interested in, to ensure it’s reducing the contaminant(s) you are concerned about.


PFAS

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are man-made substances dating back to the 1940s which are nearly indestructible, earning them the nickname “forever chemicals.” More than 4,700 chemicals are classified as PFAS, with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) getting the most attention from federal and state regulators.

PFAS are particularly dangerous because they have contaminated a lot of groundwater, are difficult to detect and do not degrade in the environment. It’s estimated that more than 200 million Americans have water that’s been contaminated by PFAS with a concentration of at least 1 ppt, which is significant since many scientific studies suggest a safe threshold for PFAS in drinking water is 1 ppt or less.

What causes it?

PFAS such as PFOA and PFOS were created for industrial applications, and they are commonly used in firefighting foam at airports, waterproof apparel, stain-resistant carpeting, food packaging materials and nonstick pans. PFOA and PFOS manufacturing has been phased out in the United States, but some stock may still exist, many foreign products still use them and hundreds of other PFAS chemicals are now being used in their place.

Health impact

Federal and state regulators disagree on how much PFAS contamination is safe for humans but they all seem to agree that at a certain point they are dangerous. The federal government is rolling out a PFAS Strategic Roadmap to help protect public health and begin curtailing the problem, but it’s still in its early stages.

PFAS exposure is linked to a variety of serious health problems which include:

  • 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

How to avoid it

The safest and most convenient way to reduce PFAS contamination from drinking water is with a reverse osmosis system that is NSF certified to reduce PFAS. The Brita Total 360 RO system, which can be installed under a kitchen or bathroom sink, is certified to reduce up to 97 percent of PFOA and PFOS.

Other drinking water and whole home filtration systems have been developed to target the reduction of PFAS in home water.


Chloride

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A common anion in tap water, chloride typically combines with calcium, magnesium or sodium to create different types of salts. Chloride is naturally found in groundwater, but human impact has led to higher levels in certain areas. There are no federal regulations for chloride in drinking water, as small amounts have a negligible health impact.

What causes it?

Chloride makes its way into tap water from human or animal waste, road salt, seawater and oil drilling operations. If your home is near any of these sources, you may notice a slightly salty taste to your drinking water.

Health impact

In small quantities, chloride in water is relatively harmless. When chloride concentrations in water exceed 250 mg/L, however, people with existing heart conditions may experience complications, and consumption could lead to higher blood pressure.

How to avoid it

There are two main ways to reduce chloride from tap water: using a reverse osmosis system or a distiller.

Find Your Water Treatment Solution

There are many contaminants that can enter your drinking water, and some of them could make you sick. The most important step you can take to protect yourself from water contaminants is to have your water tested so you know which water treatment system will best solve your home water woes. Referencing the Environmental Working Group’s Tap Water Database is a good resource to find additional water contaminant information in your area. Once you know which contaminants you should reduce, there are a variety of water systems to choose from.

Find a filtration system fit for your home.

Answer a few questions about your home’s water to get a personalized recommendation for your unique water needs.

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The Effects of Hard Water on Your Skin and Hair

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Hard water is known for leaving mineral trails in its wake. From crusty faucets to stain rings around toilet bowls—wherever hard water goes, remnants stay behind long after the water has drained. You may already know that calcium and magnesium mineral stains are slowing down the efficiency of your home, but the effects of hard water can also show in your skin and hair.

Are You Concerned About Hard Water in Your Home?

If you’re worried about hard water and its impact on your hair and skin, take a look at EcoPureHome’s wide variety of water softeners.

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The Effects of Hard Water on Skin

Warning signs of hard water include:

Dry and itchy skin

Stiff and tight skin

Increased sensitivity

Amplification of existing eczema or psoriasis

Persistent dry skin and itchiness is a common symptom of hard water. Dry skin may be caused by high mineral content found in hard water, as these minerals strip your skin of natural oils that would otherwise keep your skin healthier and moisturized.

Hard water also prevents soap from lathering correctly and you will likely notice fewer suds in bathwater. This can lead to soap scum staying on your body even if you think it has been washed away. The soap scum can clog your pores, leaving your face susceptible to acne breakouts.

When your skin is dry, this can lead to skincare issues. It’s important to keep your skin moisturized, but if you use hard water your skin may dry out and feel tight. You’re also more likely to be left with bumps and razor burn due to hard water after shaving.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have reported hard water igniting the development of eczema—a skin condition that leaves a dry, red rash on the body. Similarly, those experiencing psoriasis could see an increase in irritability when they use hard water.

It’s not just your skin feeling the negative impact of hard water, it’s also your hair and scalp.


The Effects of Hard Water on Hair

You may notice hard water affecting your hair through:

Fading color

Flat, dull and brassy hair

Increased dandruff

Dandruff is a fact of life for many people. But they often treat the problem by using special shampoo and conditioner products to keep the flakes to a minimum. What won’t help, however, is washing your hair with hard water. The same minerals irritating your skin are likely worsening dandruff on your scalp. Hard water can also cling to your scalp’s natural oils, leaving your scalp feeling greasy even if it’s just been washed.

The effects of hard water don’t end on the scalp. Hardness minerals can build up onto the hair, resulting in less lathering and less effective cleansing. You’ll need to use more product to get the same result, so you’ll go through shampoo and conditioning products more often. Hard water can also fade new hair color treatments quickly and has been known to flatten perms faster.

No matter what product is being used, hard water’s effects are hard to mask when it comes to making your hair shine and your scalp healthy. This means more trips to the salon and increased stress on your self-care budget.

Are You Struggling with Dry Hair and Skin?

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Challenges Affecting Personal Hygiene & Your Bathroom Routine

Dull hair and itchy skin are only the beginning of the personal hygiene challenges related to hard water. The leftover minerals in your water could also create a difficult experience for you in your bathroom.

Everything from residue stains on your shower to the white crust around your sink’s faucet could be from hard water. Mineral buildup in your home’s plumbing from unsoftened water can also cause weak water pressure to your showers and faucets. Even your fading, scruffy towels can be caused by the washing machine using hard water.


How to Protect Your Skin & Hair From Hard Water

By now, you can understand the widespread effect hard water has on your skin and hair. Specialty lotions and new hair products may help minimize the effects of hard water on your skin and hair, but a water softener will eliminate the issue at the source. Water softeners remove the hardness minerals from your water before they reach your showerhead (and the rest of your home) so you can take control of your beauty routine.

Leave skincare and dandruff issues in the past. Experience softer, healthier skin and hair by installing a water softening system in your home.

Hard Water Basics: What Is Hard Water & What You Can Do About It

Over 85% of North American households live in areas with hard water. Yet many homeowners are still unsure of the effects of hard water on a house and what consequences their family may face because of it.

To respond accordingly to a hard water problem, it’s important to take a step back and understand what hard water is and where it comes from.

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What Is Hard Water?

Hard water contains varying amounts of dissolved minerals like calcium, lead, and magnesium — with the very real possibility of many more. Water picks up these minerals as it trickles from its source and gets transported to your supply. The hard water level and specific minerals in your water depending on where it comes from and how long it takes to get to your home. The main reason many areas have different levels of hard water is that no supply is the same.

Hard water can have annoying to downright detrimental effects on your home and family, no matter the severity. White, chalky residue on sinks and higher utility bills from appliances working overtime are just a few signs (and costly results) of hard water. Learn how to take the best care of your home and family by understanding the level of hard water in your area and its potentially costly effects on your daily life.

How Is the “Hardness” of Water Measured?

The level of hardness in water is measured in grains per gallon (gpg). One grain is equivalent to 17.1 milligrams of magnesium or calcium dissolved into one liter of water. Soft water is lower than 1 gpg, whereas hard water is anything over 7 gpg.

For example, a single aspirin is equivalent to 5 grains — when dissolved into a gallon of water, the unit of measure would be 5 grains per gallon. Your local municipal water supply may use mg/L or ppm to measure water hardness. If so, then use this calculation: 1 gpg = 17.1 mg/L or 17.1 ppm.

How Do I Find My Water Hardness Level?

You can find out how hard your water is by reviewing the annual drinking water quality report, contacting your local water municipality (if the report neglects to include a hard water rating), or by using a free water test kit.

If you suspect you have hard water but don’t have the time to test its hardness rating, there are symptoms that will help you identify if it’s a problem. You can do this by taking a brief quiz. Select which symptoms you’re noticing, and then find the right solution for your home.

If you’re reading this and nodding your head about all the hard water problems you’re noticing in your home, you can act now. View our wide selection of water softeners and find the best system for the size of your home.


How Water Softeners Work

Water softeners are the key to cleaner dishes, brighter clothes, lower energy bills and a healthier family — especially in places with critical hard water problems. Investing in a water softener makes life easier with minimal work needed from a homeowner.

Water softeners should be installed on a water pipeline before the water heater. After installation, the water softener will do the work for you — simply monitor salt level every 2-3 months.

The Water Softening Process

  • Once installed, hard water enters the resin tank and flows through resin beads
  • Water circulates in the tank where tiny resin beads swap minerals in the water for the tiny sodium ions they’re holding
  • This iron exchange results in soft water that can then enter the home
  • When the resin beads have maximized their ability to hold the minerals, they need to go through a regeneration

The Regeneration Process

After the minerals have been stripped from the water, they can’t stay in the tank forever. An automated system will begin a regeneration process that will flush the minerals out of the softener and down the drain. Here’s how it works:

  • Resin beads are “washed” with a highly concentrated brine solution created from the salt tank
  • The brine solution forces the minerals out of the resin beads and replaces them with the sodium ions
  • Once the resin beads have been recharged, the brine solution, along with the minerals, are flushed from the softener down the drain

Experience the difference a water softener can make.

Discover how installing a water softener can improve your life around the home. Browse systems from leading brand names like Whirlpool and EcoPure.

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Water softeners are now built to time the regeneration process automatically. Depending on your machine, the process will occur in one of two different ways.

 

Older machines: A set timer on a predetermined schedule (i.e. every 3 days at 11pm) to regenerate no matter if the resin beads actually need it or not.

Newer machines: A computerized sensor monitors bead depletion and other metrics based on water use to regenerate only when needed. These demand-initiated regeneration softeners are ideal for saving money and energy by using less water and salt.


When to Refill a Water Softener

Generally, homeowners should open the lid of their brine tank and check for a salt refill every 2-3 months. Water softeners will do the bulk of the work for you, but it’s important for you to maintain the salt levels so the machine can work properly. When a refill is needed, it’s important to purchase high-quality salt pellets and fill your tank no more than half full to avoid salt bridging. The more you know about maintaining your water softener, the longer it will last.

Key Signs a Tank Is in Need of a Refill:

  • The salt appears overly wet or dry
  • The tank is less than half full of salt
  • Water has started to build-up
  • A salt bridge has started to form
  • Salt is sitting at the same level as the last checkup

What to keep in mind:

  • Machine age: The older the machine, the more often you must refill because older machines are not as efficient as newer models.
  • Level of hard water: The harder the water in your area, the more often you must check and refill your tank.
  • Size of the tank: Naturally, the smaller the tank, the more often you will have to refill.

Find a water treatment system fit for your home.

Answer a few questions about your home’s water to get a personalized recommendation for your unique water needs.

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What’s Contaminating Your Home’s Water

258 million Americans — nearly 80 percent of the population — receive their water from treatment facilities. While these facilities claim to remove water-borne illnesses such as E. coli from your drinking water, they can’t do anything about the pollutants that enter your water after it leaves their facility. Here is a look at some of the culprits contaminating your home’s water.


What Are the Main Causes of Water Contamination

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1. Agricultural Runoff

In 2014, people in Toledo, Ohio were told to steer clear from their water. Approximately 400,000 people couldn’t drink their water for 3 days. The cause of this water crisis was the formation of an algae bloom on Lake Erie.

Nitrates are also a threat to our water supply. They find their way into our water sources when rainfall transports excess fertilizer from crop fields into nearby rivers and lakes.

The EPA’s legal limit for nitrates in water is 10 parts per million (ppm). But a study by the National Cancer Institute discovered that water containing nitrate levels of just 5 ppm could increase the risk of a handful of cancers, including colon, kidney and ovarian.

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2. Fracking

There are 137,000 fracking wells across the United States. Many of these wells are sprinkled across the country in the Marcellus Shale (Appalachian Basin), Bakken Shale (North Dakota & Montana), Haynesville Shale (intersection of Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas) and Eagle Ford Shale (Southern Texas).

353 chemicals are used in fracking operations and all of them have the potential of reaching water sources.

In 2011, a Duke University report found that methane contamination was 17 times more likely to appear in areas within a mile of a fracking site. Methane is a colorless and tasteless gas that can occur naturally or through landfills and gas well drilling. Water well owners who live near fracking sites should test their water for this contaminant.

Do You Need a Water Filter?

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3. Industry Runoff

In 2018, the state of Minnesota settled a lawsuit with the 3M Company and the manufacturing giant paid $850 million in damages. The state claimed 3M had polluted drinking water with PFCs, which is a form of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances that are known as “PFAS.”

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that have been manufactured in a number of industries. PFAS are in packaging materials, stains and other water repellent fabrics, cleaning products and fire-fighting foams. These dangerous “forever chemicals” have been known to interfere with the body’s natural hormones and increase the risk of cancer.

These chemicals affect people through their drinking water. The Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University found that 16 million Americans have received water from sites that have been contaminated with PFAS. Overall, 94 sites in 22 states have reported PFAS contamination.

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4. Service Lines

The Safe Water Drinking Act (SWDA) was created in 1974 and last amended in 1996. This law authorizes the EPA to establish the “national health-based standards for drinking water to protect against both naturally-occurring and man-made contaminants that may be found in drinking water.”

It doesn’t require school districts to test drinking water for lead contamination, according to Rhea Suh, the president of the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC). In 2016, New York became the first state to test its school district’s water.

The state found that 82% of the 5,000 districts studied had at least one tap that exceeds the state’s lead action level. In New York, the threshold at which action must occur is 15 parts per billion (ppb).

Another big concern with lead leaching into tap water is the number of lead service lines still in use across the country. This became a predominant issue in 1991 when the EPA implemented the lead and copper rule.

At the time of the ruling, the EPA estimated 10 million service lines were in use across the country. Nearly 30 years later, 6.1 million lead service lines are still in use.

This can have detrimental effects on young people and children. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “all sources of lead exposure for children should be controlled or eliminated.” They found lead exposure in young adults and children can lead to startling health problems. Lead exposure can lead to behavioral problems and learning disabilities.

Is My Water Contaminated?

There are several steps you can make to ensure your water is safe. The first is discovering if your water is contaminated or not. You can start this by smelling your water. If there’s anything fishy, take action.

However, some contaminants can’t be detected by smell alone. You can reference the Environmental Working Group’s tap water database by simply entering your zip code.

What Should I Do If My Water Is Contaminated?

If you suspect your water is contaminated by agricultural runoff, industry runoff, fracking or lead pipes, you should find a filtration unit for your home’s drinking water. Whirlpool and EcoPure have several filtration systems that can reduce lead and other harmful contaminants from reaching your family.

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Is Your Furry Friend Safe? How Water Contaminants Affect Your Pets’ Health

Are you giving your pet a fresh bowl of water straight from your tap? That bowl of water might not be as fresh as you thought. If you wouldn’t drink your tap water, your pets shouldn’t either.

If you do not have a system in place to soften and remove contaminants from your water, you could be stunting the growth of your dog or cat and exposing them to dangerous chemicals.

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Hard Water Effects on Dogs and Cats

Magnesium and other alkali earth metals accelerate water hardness when these minerals are present near your water source.

Calcium, on the other hand, is an element that naturally exists in water. The source of calcium in water is rocks such as limestone, marble, calcite, dolomite, gypsum, fluorite and apatite that have dissolved into the water. Like magnesium, calcium is a determinant of water hardness.

While there is no conclusive evidence suggesting pets could be harmed by drinking hard water, a 2016 Trupanion study found a relationship between medical claims for pets with urinary issues and areas of the United States with very hard water.

Trupanion’s study concluded that in areas with extremely hard water, cats – especially males – were three times more likely to have urinary complications than male cats in areas with lower levels of hardness.

Dogs aren’t in the clear, however. While dogs don’t develop kidney stones from hard water, they can be exposed to struvite or calcium oxalate stones. These stones can harm the bladder and lead to your dog getting a urinary tract infection.

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Tap Water And Pets: A Guide to Potential Contaminants

 

Lead

Lead is a toxic metal that is very unsafe to consume. If there are excess amounts of lead present in your water system, your pet will be affected. Water isn’t the only source of lead poisoning but it is one of the most frequent.

Common symptoms of lead poisoning include stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. If pets are exposed to lead for a longer period of time it may cause neurological symptoms such as seizures. They may also experience fatigue, poor appetite, extreme anxiety, blindness and other changes in behavior.

Chlorine

Chlorine is purposefully dissolved into the water at treatment facilities across the country. They add this chemical in the water that goes to your home because of how effective it is in killing pathogens.

Chlorine levels up to 4 milligrams per liter in water are considered safe for human consumption. However, areas that have a high bacteria count in their source water tend to use more, leading to the increased likelihood of chlorine contamination in your water.

It is very probable that the health issues that chlorine causes in humans are similar to the issues it causes in our pets. If your pets drink water with high amounts of chlorine, they might experience GI irritation, red eyes and itchy skin.

Iron

Iron is a natural element that tastes metallic in high concentrations. Small amounts of iron are safe for your pets to consume. However, higher amounts of iron in your water may cause symptoms in your pets such as diarrhea and vomiting, pain and swelling in the abdomen, loss of appetite, low blood pressure, and fatigue.

Nitrates

Water that is high in nitrates is most common in water sourced from a well because it is often exposed to soils with this contaminant. The health risk of over-exposure to nitrates in your pets include abdominal pain, fre­quent urination, diarrhea and other signs. Other symptoms include tremors, coma and occasionally convul­sions.

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What to Do If Your Pet Is Drinking Contaminated Water

It is extremely important that you test your water for contaminants that could be affecting your pets’ health.

If you know your water is contaminated, but don’t know if you need either a filtration or softening solution, you can use this guided shopping tool to pin down the best solution to keep your pet safe.

Our pets are our best friends. We are responsible for maintaining their health while they keep a smile on our faces. Whatever water solution you choose to install in your home, remember it’s on you to keep them hydrated and healthy. Ensure your pet is protected from unhealthy water by knowing the signs of contaminated water and acting fast, so you can keep them away from the vet and safe in your arms at home.

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Gain peace of mind with a water filtration system.

Reduce common water contaminants with either an under sink or whole home filtration system.

 

Why Does My Water Smell? 6 Common Smells & Their Causes

Bad-smelling water is a problem that can arise with no warning. Tap water with a foul smell can hurt your personal hygiene habits, ability to host guests, and even your basic hydration habits. Here are a variety of different scents you may be smelling from the faucet:

  • Sewage
  • Sulfur (rotten eggs)
  • Musty
  • Metal
  • Fishy
  • Chlorine (swimming pool)
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So why does your water smell? Let’s dive into the causes and solutions to these smelly water issues.


1. My Water Smells Like Sewage

When the aroma of dirt, grime and waste strikes your water supply, the smell can be appalling and insufferable.

The sewage smell you’re experiencing can be caused by several factors. It could be the bacteria left by food and soap in your drain. You might think you’re smelling sewage from your faucet, but it could be the scent of bacteria in your drain, resulting in your sink generally having an unpleasant smell.

Another reason your water smells like sewage could be the water in your water heater has been left unused for too long. Were you away from home for an extended period of time and shut it off to save energy? The smell could be originating from the bacteria that was harvested in the lower temperatures while the water heater was turned down or off. The smell can become quite pungent.

What you should do

Pour two glasses of water from the faucet—one from the cold tap and one from the hot side—while plugging your nose. Walk away from the sink with the water glasses in hand, then take a whiff from each once you’re in another room. If the water in both glasses smells normal, the odor is likely coming from bacteria build-up in your sink drain.

To remove the smell emanating from your drain, pour ¼ of a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by ¼ cup of white vinegar. It’s going to bubble, but let this continue for 10 minutes. While waiting, boil a pot of water and then pour the hot water into the drain. This will disinfect your pipes and remove the foul odor.

If the water smell is from the hot tap only, it’s recommended you flush and disinfect your water heater with a chlorine bleach solution, which a water treatment professional can help with.

A water treatment professional can also test for contaminants and hydrogen sulfide if disinfecting the water heater doesn’t resolve the problem. The smell of sewage can often be mistaken for hydrogen sulfide, or rotten egg smell, which you’ll learn more about in the next section.

2. My Water Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your water smells like rotten eggs or sulfur, not only will it be too pungent to enjoy, it’s recommended you don’t drink it.

If your water smells like sulfur, it could be because of the presence of sulfur bacteria or hydrogen sulfide. The bacteria feast on decomposing organic matter, which leads to the creation of hydrogen sulfide gas, which becomes trapped in the plumbing system.

Sulfur bacteria alone is not a threat to your wellbeing, but it promotes the growth of other harmful materials such as iron bacteria that can clog wells, plumbing and irrigation systems. Elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide can harm you by causing nausea, headaches, delirium and convulsions.

What you should do

If the smell is only coming from warm or hot water out of the faucet, it’s most likely your water heater. If this is the case, contact a water system professional to replace your magnesium anode. This attachment is connected to a plug on top. Replacing the original anode rod may cut the production of hydrogen sulfide gas at the source. However, the rod’s removal will most likely decrease the life expectancy of your water heater.

You can also use a chlorine bleach solution to flush the water heater. This solution can be tricky, so proceed with caution. It’s recommended you consult with a professional for assistance.

If the scent emerges when either warm or cold water is running, it could be coming from one of these two sources:

  • Distribution System
  • Groundwater

Hydrogen sulfide in your water can be reduced by installing an iron filter, which will treat your home’s entire water supply. An iron filter will help remove red and clear water iron, which will help reduce water staining.

Remove hydrogen sulfide with an iron filter.

Get rid of the rotten egg smell.

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3. My Water Smells Musty

Your water should smell fresh, not damp and aged like it’s been sitting in your basement for a week. While your water will not smell like mold, a musty scent could faintly resemble just that.

If your water smells musty, it could be caused by organics polluting your water.

What you should do if your water smells musty

A solution for removing musty smell is to sanitize your plumbing system, including your water softener, which a water treatment professional can help with. Otherwise follow the process that’s detailed in the owner’s manual for sanitization of your water softening system.

If your home’s water smells musty on a recurring basis, installing a reverse osmosis (RO) system from Brita Total 360 can reduce the odor in your drinking water.

Reduce odors long-term with a reverse osmosis filtration system.

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4. My Water Tastes Like Metal

The reason your water tastes like metal could be because old metal piping has been slowly deteriorating into your water. Manganese, zinc, iron or copper could be rusting away after years of use. Generally, these traces of metal aren’t harmful, but they can add a less-than-ideal taste to your water. Clear water iron in particular is known to have a metallic taste.

There is also a possibility that lead is in the water, though lead is usually without taste or odor. Most cities stopped using lead piping in the 1920s due to its toxicity. However, it took until 1986 for lead pipes to become banned in national plumbing codes. If you have a home that was built before 1986, a filtration system that reduces lead can help alleviate any concerns.

The metallic taste coming from your water could also be a product of a low pH level (less than 7). Low pH means your water is acidic, which can cause erosion of your plumbing and can result in a taste resembling metal.

What you should do

A solution for removing the metallic taste and lead from your drinking water is by installing a reverse osmosis system. Also, water softeners can help get rid of the metallic taste from clear water iron.

If looking to balance the pH level of your water supply, you may need a neutralizing filter, which will balance your water back to a neutral pH level.

Thinking you need a reverse osmosis system?

Reduce lead and lose the metallic taste in your home’s drinking water supply and more with a reverse osmosis system from Brita Total 360.

 

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5. My Water Smells Fishy

You would never drink water directly from a pond or lake. There are too many microscopic bacteria swimming around that could get you sick. If your home’s water smells fishy, the same bacteria could be infiltrating your water supply.

Organic matter could be the culprit, such as decaying leaves or broken-down plants.

What you should do

Contact your water provider if your water has a fishy smell. If you’re on a city water system, local officials are required by the EPA to maintain the levels of organic compounds in the water supply so it’s safe to use.

Whether looking to remove fishy smells, or other smells detailed above, you can also go a step further and take action in your own home by installing a water filtration system. Whirlpool and Brita Total 360 have several options to help filter your water and chase away pungent smells preventing you from using your home’s supply.

Whirlpool and Brita Total 360 have your back for all smelly water issues. You can browse our home water supply solutions to find what’s right for you.

6. My Water Smells Like a Swimming Pool

If your water smells like a swimming pool, it likely means it’s contaminated with chlorine. Chlorine is a common contaminant in homes that get water from municipalities, since it’s a proven disinfectant that has been used in cities for more than a century.

Chlorine, which kills viruses, bacteria, parasites, and more, is safe in limited quantities for humans, other mammals and birds. Reptiles, however, along with amphibians and aquatic pets, should avoid drinking or absorbing water that has chlorine in it.

Oftentimes, the biggest complaint with chlorine-treated water is the taste and odor, which can be unpleasant to drink and cook with.

What you should do

Installing a carbon filtration system is the most effective way to reduce chlorine in your home, as the filters adsorb contaminants which include chlorine. Efficient carbon filtration can be achieved by purchasing and installing either an under-the-sink or whole-house filtration system.

If you continue to struggle with a solution, or need help in diagnosing what your specific issue is, contact a local water professional to test your water.

Bottled Water vs. Water Filters: What Should I Use?

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If you have determined there’s something fishy about your water—perhaps it smells funny, leaves a bad aftertaste or seems to be too cloudy to be safe—and you want a solution to enjoy safer, great-tasting water, you have two options: Drink bottled water or add a filtration system to your home.

In the fight between bottled water versus water filters, what’s the right choice for you? Discover the differences, from examining the benefits of each, to breaking down the cost over time.


Round 1: Bottled Water vs. Water Filters

Bottled water’s greatest benefits are mobility and convenience. You can take it with you and drink anywhere. The cap is sealable, so you don’t have to worry about spilling, and the bottle is durable enough to withstand falling or being crushed by the other items in your bag. You can also buy bottled water nearly anywhere. This makes it more convenient than other solutions, like drinking from a water fountain, where sanitation is questionable.

A little less convenient, 5-gallon jugs of water for cooler systems are a popular option for many people. They can be purchased at hardware and grocery stores, or in some instances people rely on a delivery service. They are cumbersome, however, and take up a lot of space, but they are practical for supplying large volumes of water.

Convenience isn’t just for bottled water or water jugs, however. Water filters can be purchased to filter all the water in your home or just the water coming from your kitchen or bathroom sinks–and you’ll have immediate access to it. Many under sink filtration systems are compact, so you’re not wasting valuable storage space.


Round 2: Which Option Is Cheaper?

It’s time to up the ante in the matchup between bottled water versus water filters with a look at cost considerations, and how either choice impacts your wallet.

If you want to go the extra mile in protecting you and your family from contaminants and drinking water of questionable quality, you’re going to need to make an investment. Bottled water seems relatively cheap, but over time, the cost adds up. Can the same be said about water filters? Let’s find out.

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How Much Does It Cost to Drink Bottled Water?

It’s a no-brainer that buying bottled water in bulk (35-48 bottle/pack) is much cheaper than going to the local convenience store to purchase a single bottle of water for $1.99 or more.

Where can you buy bottled water in bulk? Giant box stores are one option. However, businesses like Sam’s Club and Costco require a yearly membership fee that ranges from $45-100 per year.

At the time of publishing, the top-rated water bottle item at Sam’s Club lists a 40-pack of 16.9-ounce bottles of Ice Mountain for $4.98. That’s 12 cents a bottle, which seems cheap, right? But how long will that 40-pack last?

If you are in a home which uses and drinks a total of one gallon of bottled water per day you will go through about 7.5 bottles of water each day, meaning a 40-pack will last less than six days. Perhaps you use a little less than that and a case can last a full week. If so, you will pay roughly $260 per year on bottled water, and that’s if you buy only the value-priced 40-pack cases from Sam’s Club or Costco.

How Much Will a Water Filter Cost Me?

While the cost of drinking bottled water progresses incrementally, a water filter is going to be more expensive upfront. A simple yet effective filtration system can go for a little more than $100.

The filter will last up to 6 months in most filtration systems and then need to be replaced. Replacement filters generally cost $60 to $85, depending on manufacturer and the filter’s capabilities.

If you’re using a gallon of water per day, consider how this reflects in your water bill. According to the EPA, if your home’s water bill is set at a uniform rate structure, the average charge is $0.00295 per gallon. Using a gallon of water per day from your home’s tap will cost you roughly $1.08 per year, plus the cost of the filtration system and periodic filter changes.

When you combine the small increase in your water bill, the cost of the system and one filter replacement the first year, you’re likely spending about $180 to leverage a water filtration system. And remember, the system chosen in this example is easily installable, so you won’t need to pay someone to come to your home to install it.

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


Final Round: What Filters Remove From Your Water

In the debate between bottled water versus water filters, the number of contaminants being reduced should shift the argument one way or the other. As determined, water filters are cheaper, but are they reducing as many contaminants, and is it possible they’re reducing more than some bottled water brands?

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Bottled Water

There are two main types of bottled water. The difference between the two is the source of where the water comes from.

  1. Spring Water: Evian, Crystal Geyser, Ice Mountain, Fiji
  2. Purified Water: Smartwater, Dasani, Aquafina

To use “spring water” on its label, brands such as Evian, Crystal Geyser and Ice Mountain must actually get their water from a spring. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) ensures spring water companies adhere to good manufacturing practices by setting quality standards. Spring water companies typically filter their water with 0.5-micron filtration, which reduces sediment and microbial cysts from the water.

To combat the growth of microorganisms in the water after it’s bottled, these companies use a treatment called ozone. This disinfection method allows the bottled water to sit on shelves of supermarkets for months at a time.

Purified water is the most regulated form of bottled water for the FDA and the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA). The IBWA was formed to raise the standards set by the FDA for stricter bottled water regulations.

The IBWA states in its Bottled Water Code of Practice that “Purified water is water obtained by distillation, ion-exchange treatment, reverse osmosis, or other suitable processes.” To acquire the IBWA certification you must comply “with the regulations of the federal Environmental Protection Agency with respect to drinking water. It (your water) contains no added substance.”

To adhere to the standards set by the FDA and IBWA, purified water companies do a great job of filtering water. But there’s a different story to tell when the water goes in a plastic bottle.

How Plastic Bottles Impacts Your Water

Orb Media, a nonprofit journalism organization, released a report in 2018 that stated 93% of bottled water showed signs of microplastic contamination. The research included 11 brands—including Dasani, Evian and Aquafina. The report found 63% of the plastic debris in bottled water (10.4 particles per liter) were fragments like polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

The migration of PET from the plastic bottle — mainly the cap — to the water poses a problem for bottled water drinkers. Although the health risks are still being assessed, microplastics are harmful to the environment and are rarely recycled.

Water Filter

Many people think that if their home is supplied with municipal water, their water is already being treated for harmful contaminants. While this is true, to an extent, municipal centers can’t do anything about the contaminants that find their way into your water while traveling from the treatment facility to your home. Corroding water lines and excess chemicals, like chlorine disinfectant, can enter your home even after being treated.

There are a number of filtration systems that reduce different water contaminants. Some are more thorough than others—so it all depends on the type of filtration you wish to install.

Here are some examples of common filtration systems you can install and what they reduce:

  • Carbon Block filter: Chlorine taste and odor and sediment
  • Premium Main Faucet Filtration: Chlorine taste and odor, sediment (< 1 micron), cysts, lead, chemicals and pharmaceuticals
  • Dual Stage Filtration: Chlorine taste and odor, cysts, lead, chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Reverse Osmosis: Chlorine taste and odor, cysts, lead, chemicals, total dissolved solids, PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) and VOCs
  • Purification System: Chlorine taste and odor, sediment (< 1 micron), cysts, lead, chemicals, VOCs, bacteria, viruses and pharmaceuticals

To pinpoint the exact system you need, you’ll have to identify what’s in your water first. If your water smells or tastes off, you can start by using the smell guide. From there, you can do further research or have a water professional test your water.

Environmental Factors

The bottled water industry in the United States reached $19.4 billion in 2019, with nearly 98% of that water being bottled within the country’s borders. While the industry continues to boom, concerns over its environmental impact are worthy enough to consider in the bottled water versus water filter debate.

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Bottled Water

It takes about 2 liters of water to produce the plastic for a liter of bottled water, plus a third liter to fill the bottle. Most plastic used for bottled water is made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Companies claim they use this material because it’s thinner plastic, thus cutting back on plastic waste, but humanity’s reliance on single-use plastic bottles is occurring on a detrimental scale.

Water Filter

Filtering your home’s drinking water causes minimal environmental impact. Most drinking water and whole home filtration systems don’t require any energy to filter your water.

Water waste is nearly non-existent with home filtration systems as well. The only filtration style that produces any waste is reverse osmosis (RO), as it typically takes 3 or 4 gallons of unfiltered water to produce a gallon of purified water from an RO system. This ratio may seem high, but when considering the amount you’re drinking per day, using an RO system is equivalent to flushing your toilet 1-2 more times than usual. Reverse osmosis is a proven solution for safer, cleaner drinking water–that’s why most bottled water brands use this method as well.


What’s the Best Water Filter for Your Home?

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When matching up bottled water versus water filters in the fight against water contaminants, the clear winner is performing your own in-home filtration with a water filtration system.

The next step is picking from the types of water filters that seem best for your home. Under sink filtration systems provide a convenient way to receive great-tasting water from your kitchen or bathroom faucet while reducing advanced contaminants. Whole home filtration systems will reduce common contaminants throughout your entire home’s water supply.

Find the right water filtration system for your home.

By answering a few questions, you can find the right water treatment system for your unique water needs.

Find Your Solution

When Should a Water Softener Be Replaced?

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Knowing how long your water softener should work, in addition to knowing the signs of when your water softener should be replaced, will go a long way in ensuring you have properly softened water, helping optimize your home water system.

How Long Do Water Softeners Last?

Water softeners work at an optimal level for 8 to 12 years, contingent on them getting proper care and maintenance at regular intervals. The lifespan of a water softener is also dependent on it getting cleaned with solution on a recurring basis.

Other factors that determine how long a water softener lasts are the quality and quantity of the water that’s been treated. Water conditions vary widely in different parts of the country, and conditions such as high chlorine and iron levels may reduce the lifespan of your water softener.  For quantity, a family of five uses more softened water than a single person living alone.


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​​When it comes to the lifespan of a water softener, anything over 12 years of performance is a bonus. However, once your softening system has reached this stage, if it’s working as it should and regenerating normally, it will likely become less effective and may require more salt to achieve the same results once reached. This is why it’s important to know when a water softener was installed when moving into a new home, to help identify when a replacement is needed.

You should also keep track of how often you replenish the system with salt. If your softener isn’t working properly, you will begin to see hardness symptoms and iron popping up in the home, and your softener will use less salt than it had previously. You may also notice less water pressure throughout the home. Other signs around your home will tell you when a water softener should be replaced, which are detailed below.


Signs Your Softener Isn’t Working Properly

1. Scale buildup inside water-using appliances
2. Reddish/yellowish stains around drains and faucets
3. White crust buildup on faucets
4. Mineral spots in bathroom and on dishes

5. Clothes feel scratchy and the color is fading
6. Lower water pressure in the shower
7. Using more soap to lather hands and dirty dishes

If these signs seem a lot like the symptoms of hard water, it’s because they are. If you notice hard water symptoms in your home, your water softener may not be regenerating anymore or functioning properly, indicating it may need repair or replacement.

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Discover How Hard, Unfiltered Water Impacts Life in Your Kitchen.

This interactive video shows you how to identify and solve common water problems that may negatively affect your cooking and cleaning.

If your water is hard and unfiltered, it could be causing a number of problems in your kitchen. While you might be unaware of most of them, after watching the interactive video above or reading the list below, you will be able to identify common issues like why your water-using appliances are breaking down more often than they should, or why your dishes are spotty after going through the dishwasher. This list breaks down the five most common effects hard, unfiltered water can have in a kitchen, from food odor to dishwasher scale.


Spotty dishes

Hard water contains minerals that cause a number of problems throughout your home. Have you ever noticed spots on your dishes, even after a full cycle in your dishwasher? Those filmy spots are called scale, which is caused by high mineral content. Installing a water softener will help avoid water spots on dishes caused by mineral buildup. Cleaning with soft water also means using less soap — this allows you to save a little extra money.

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Soap activation

If you have hard water, the minerals that cause buildup on your dishes will interfere with soap, too. Soap is not as effective with hard water, meaning you’ll have to use several more pumps than you would with soft water to get everything clean. While the amount of soap you’re using may not be as obvious of an issue as spots or broken appliances, when you make the switch to soft water, you’ll notice the difference immediately.

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Scale buildup on appliances

You know that minerals from hard water create residual buildup on your glasses — the same thing happens in your appliances. In the kitchen, this can mean the lifespan of your dishwasher is cut down by as much as 50%. When you install a water softener, you can expect all of your water-using appliances such as dishwashers, laundry machines and other expensive equipment to operate as intended for years. This means less money spent on costly repairs and replacements.

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In addition to using water softener cleaner, setting the softener’s hardness level correctly and periodically checking for salt bridges, other tasks should be a part of your water softener maintenance checklist to optimize performance throughout the lifetime of your system. But if occasional maintenance isn’t doing the trick, it may be time for a replacement.


The True Cost of Hard Water Plumbing Problems and How to Fix Them

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Are you struggling to keep up with plumbing problems such as clogged drains, appliance breakdowns and scale buildup? The likely answer is hard water. Hard water is often the culprit for irreparable damage and poor performance in appliances, water heaters, pipes and more … which, unfortunately, leads to increased repair and replacement costs. So, if you’ve recently moved, or noticed your appliances aren’t performing as well as they used to—that money going towards maintenance costs is likely due to hard water-related plumbing problems.

Is Hard Water Your Issue?

Save money in the long run with a water softener purchase today.

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The True Cost of Hard Water Plumbing Problems on Your Home

85% of Americans live in hard water areas, some more concentrated than others. This means (without the right softening systems) many homes are taking on irreparable damage and additional costs from water-using appliance maintenance, replacements and more, all because of hard water plumbing problems.

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Is hard water bad for your house?

The answer: Yes. The minerals in hard water, such as calcium and magnesium, cause buildup in pipes, weaker water pressure and shorter lifespans of water-using appliances. This consequence can trigger frequent appliance replacements and increased maintenance costs.

How do hard water plumbing problems cost you?

  • Clogged pipes and drains result in decreased water pressure, meaning more plumbing maintenance fees, costly replacements and higher utility bills.
  • Inefficient dishwashers and laundry machines mean more cycles and therefore more energy usage.
  • Water heater requires 29% more energy to heat hard water, causing energy bills to rise.
  • Appliance lifespans can decrease 30-50% because of more wear and tear.

What do you do if you have hard water in your house?

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The answer: Install a water softener on your main water line to reduce the effects of hard water on your home and lower your spending on maintenance and energy bills.

Compare options and features, like household size and hardness removal level, and choose the right water softener for your family. Learn more about our options and get a water softener to help keep your plumbing and water-using appliances in good condition for much longer.

Do water softeners save you money?

The answer: Yes. The Water Quality Research Foundation found that hard water can lead to costly damages on the heating element in water heaters and other water-using appliances. These damages can be avoided or reduced with the addition of a water softener, leading to notable cost savings in two major ways:

  • Less appliance usage and energy usage
  • Less maintenance needed for your water heater, appliances, plumbing and pipes

Learn more about what hard water is and how water softeners work to help you make an informed decision about the hard water in your home.

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How to Maintain Your EcoPure, Whirlpool or Kenmore Water Softener

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Water softeners are built to last a decade or more. There are several ways you can optimize the performance of your softener, but knowing how to use water softener cleanser in your EcoPure, Whirlpool or Kenmore system will go a long way in extending its life


How to Use Water Softener Cleanser

  1. Wait until salt levels are low
  2. Open the lid of the water softener
  3. Remove the brine well cover
  4. Pour entire 16 oz. of Softener Cleaner into the brine well
  5. Replace the brine well cover and close the water softener
  6. Press and hold the recharge button for 3 seconds (to manually regenerate the system)
  7. Wait 2 hours before using your water

The manufacturer recommends using a bottle of water softener cleaner every 4 months to keep your system running efficiently. 85 percent of Americans live in hard water areas which means their home is using water that may have high levels of magnesium, calcium, and sometimes iron.

As your water softener works to remove these minerals from your water, they can create a buildup inside of your system, even after the system regenerates. Water softener cleanser, an acid-based cleaning solution, helps keep your water softener operating at full efficiency by removing these residual minerals from the valve and resin bed where the buildup can occur. Cleanser can be used in all brands and models of water softeners but is especially important for homes with high levels of manganese and/or iron in their water.

Want to learn more about water softener regeneration? Here’s a video explaining the process:

Do You Clean Your Water Softener Enough?

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Extend Your Water Softener Warranty

The manufacturer’s full parts and labor warranty on the Whirlpool Water Softeners can be extended with regular purchases of Whirlpool Water Softener Cleanser. The Whirlpool WHES30 and WHES40 water softeners come with a 1-year full parts and labor warranty that can be extended to 5 years. The Whirlpool WHESFC water softener comes with a 2-year full parts and labor warranty that can be extended to 10 years. To participate in the warranty extension program, you must register your system on Whirlpool’s website and hold onto your system and cleanser receipts. By registering, you’ll receive email reminders to use Whirlpool Water Softener Cleanser every 4 months.

The EcoPure EP31 and EP42 water softeners come with a 1-year parts warranty that can be extended to 5 years with regular purchases of EcoPure Water Softener Cleaner. To receive the warranty extension, you must register your system on EcoPure’s website and hold onto your system and cleaner receipts. After registration, you will receive email reminders to use EcoPure Water Softener Cleaner every 4 months.

Additional Water Softener Cleaner Instructions

Whether you have an EcoPure or Whirlpool system, knowing how to use a water softener cleanser is a great first step in optimizing its performance. There are several other maintenance tasks that should become a part of your softener checklist throughout the lifetime of your system.

Interested in learning more about how you clean your water softener? Watch this video:

Why does my softener need salt and what’s the right type?

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Contrary to popular belief, salt does not directly soften your water by itself.

The softening process occurs when hard water enters the system and passes over the resin beads, which attract the hardness minerals in exchange for sodium ions, making soft water. Once the resin beads are completely coated in the hardness minerals, it’s time for the regeneration process, and this is where salt comes in. Salt combines with water to form a brine that then washes the resin bed and rids the beads of the hardness minerals. The high concentration of sodium replaces the calcium and magnesium stuck to the resin bead and prepares the beads to continue softening the water.

That’s why salt always needs to be present in your system. When you first get your softener, check salt levels at least once a month until you establish a refilling schedule.

There are three types of salt with the highest composition of sodium chloride (NaCl) to pick from for use in your brine tank: rock, solar and evaporated salt.

Rock salt is the least expensive option and contains higher levels of insoluble minerals, which means over time the inside of the brine tank may become muddy in appearance. Solar salt, meanwhile, is a much cleaner option than using rock salt and comes in pellet or crystal form. Evaporated salt is 99.9 percent sodium chloride, making it the purest and most effective option. Using evaporated salt will also lead to less overall maintenance for maintaining your water softening system.

In addition to sodium chloride, potassium chloride (KCl) is a good option for negating the effects of hard water in water softening systems. Using potassium chloride, though more expensive, would benefit members of households who face sodium-related health concerns.

Are you using enough salt? Be sure by watching this video.

Breaking the Salt Bridge

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Another maintenance step you can take to make sure your water softener is running smoothly is breaking the salt bridge that can form inside your tank.

Salt bridges are caused by high humidity or the wrong kind of salt poured into the system. That’s why you should install your water softener in a dry part of your home.

When a salt bridge forms, your water will not touch the salt in the system. This stops the creation of brine, which recharges the resin bed in your system and ultimately softens the water.

We recommend taking a broom handle and pushing it into the salt. Try to puncture several holes in the salt so the bridge breaks up into pieces. This will allow the salt to make contact with the water once again.

Pouring cleanser into your water softener is a great first step in ensuring the longevity of your system. Reference your owner’s manual if any issues arise between routine maintenance checks and always make sure you have a bottle of cleanser ready if you suspect it’s time for a cleaning.

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How Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration Works

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Want to know how reverse osmosis water filtration works? Consider the following lesson that’s often taught in middle school science classrooms.

Pretend you’re looking in a cup. Inside, there is a thin piece of waterproof clothing for dividing the cup into two separate, yet equal sections. Call this the semipermeable membrane. Now, imagine filling one half of the cup with salt water and the other half with fresh water.

The water level on the saltwater side will rise as fresh water moves through the membrane toward the salt water, which is highly concentrated. This movement is an attempt by the water to have both sides of the cup contain the same ratio of salt. The water in the cup is finding its equilibrium. This natural process is called osmosis.

Pressure is added to the saltwater side to reverse this natural process and create more fresh water. This is referred to as reverse osmosis. In household applications, common water contaminants act as the salt in this example. That is how reverse osmosis water filtration works in brief.


What Is Reverse Osmosis Filtration?

Reverse osmosis happens when pressure is used on a highly concentrated solution—contaminated water—forcing the solution through a membrane to a lower-concentrated solution—uncontaminated water.

This leaves you with two solutions of water: one that is filled with contaminants that will wash away down the drain, the other is clean water that’s ready for consumption.

The key to effective reverse osmosis filtration is the semipermeable membrane, which removes inorganic solids such as salts from water, in addition to lead and other harmful chemicals.


Curious about reverse osmosis systems?

See EcoPureHome’s selection of powerful reverse osmosis systems and discover a perfect solution for your home’s unique water needs.


6 Steps to the Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration Process

  1. The water from your city’s municipal center, or your private well, enters your home
  2. Water enters the reverse osmosis (RO) system’s activated carbon pre-filter to reduce chlorine taste and odor and particulates that may damage the membrane
  3. Pre-filtered water moves to the RO membrane where total dissolved solids and other contaminants are drained away
  4. The filtered water moves to the storage tank
  5. Once the dedicated faucet is activated, water from the storage tank flows through a final activated carbon post-filter where any remaining undesirable tastes and odors are reduced
  6. RO filtered water flows from the dedicated faucet

How Is Reverse Osmosis Different From Traditional Filtration?

How reverse osmosis filtration differs from traditional filtration techniques is the presence and power of the membrane. Unlike traditional filters, the membrane of an RO system allows for a more thorough level of filtration where it reduces both visible and invisible contaminants from your water.

The micron rating scale tells us how much more effective RO filtration systems are compared to traditional forms of water filtration.

What Is a Micron Rating?

The micron rating tells us the average size of the openings in a filter. The higher the micron rating, the larger the substance that can pass through the filter.

A micron is defined as one-millionth of a meter and is a popular unit of measurement in tech and science fields. Microns are so tiny that the naked eye cannot see an object unless it’s at least 40 microns (a human hair, for example, is typically 70-80 microns). RO systems reduce contaminants as small as .001 microns. Carbon filters reduce contaminants as small as .5 microns.

What Do RO Filters Remove?

RO filters reduce a number of contaminants that can and cannot be seen with the naked eye. The following is what’s reduced when passed through the reverse osmosis filtration process:

  • Chlorine
  • Sediment (Dirt, Sand, Silt, etc.)
  • Microbial Cysts
  • Lead
  • Chemicals
  • Dissolved Solids
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)*
  • PFAS (“Forever Chemicals”) which include Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)*

*Applicable to the Brita Total 360 Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filtration System


Experience the difference a reverse osmosis system can make.

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What Are the Benefits of Reverse Osmosis Filtration?

1. Flexibility

RO systems provide safer drinking water  no matter where your water comes from. Nearly everyone receives water in one of two ways: from a private well or municipal center. Reverse osmosis filtration systems are created to extract dissolved solids that may be present in your water supply. It also reduces excess chemicals that are used to treat water at municipal centers.

2. Convenience

Installing a reverse osmosis filtration system can be a do-it-yourself project. The systems are slim enough to fit right under your sink. They also take up little space on the counter with a space-saving faucet design.

RO systems are also convenient because they require minimal maintenance. They have long-lasting filters, which are simple to replace, and there’s no need to shut off your water supply when swapping them out.

3. Improves Diet

One of the exclusive benefits tied to reverse osmosis filtration systems is that it allows individuals on sodium-restricted diets to enjoy tap water. Not only does it produce water that’s safer to drink, but it’s also safer to use while in the kitchen preparing food, cleaning vegetables and boiling water.

Overall, installing a RO system in your home will provide you with having the quality of bottled water, without the expensive price tag or waste of plastic bottles.

The Reverse Osmosis Installation Process


How to Change a Reverse Osmosis Filter

Performing a reverse osmosis filter change is quick, mess-free and does not require you to turn off the water supply. Here’s how you change a reverse osmosis filter:

  1. To remove filter, twist filter counterclockwise a quarter turn
  2. Once the filter is loose, pull it out and discard
  3. Twist new filter clockwise into the correct slot (marked on the system)
  4. Replace the faucet battery (included with filter purchase) to reset the indicator light for  the next filter change (included on select models)
  5. Run the faucet to “purge” the new filters
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Filters and membranes are easily replaceable. Filters last up to six months and membranes are meant to be used for two to three years. However, the longevity of both the filters and membrane depend on the quality of the water coming from your home’s source and the volume of water used.

A reverse osmosis filtration system can reduce the amount of contaminants in your water supply while providing your family with cleaner drinking water for years to come—allowing you to avoid bottled water, its expensive price tag and associated plastic waste.

Not Sure if Reverse Osmosis is Right For You? Try EcoPureHome’s Interactive Shopping Guide.

EcoPureHome’s guided shopping experience can help you find the right solution for your home’s unique water needs.

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Which Cities Have the Hardest Water in America?

Water Hardness Map of the USA

Do you have hard water in your area? Explore the map to find out!

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Top Cities With Hard Water

Many regions of the United States experience problems with hard tap water, but some cities are more prone to the issue than others. If you live in one of the cities below, there’s a good chance the water in your home requires a softening solution.

Indianapolis, Indiana

The Indianapolis area faces issues with water hardness, so residents rely on in-home softening solutions to remove high levels of calcium and magnesium. Municipal water sources in the region include both surface and groundwater, both of which may contain water hardening minerals. In Indianapolis, water hardness levels range from 12–20 grains per gallon, which is very high compared to the majority of the nation.

Whether sourced from creeks, streams, rivers, reservoirs or aquifers, challenges with water hardness arise from the fact that much of Indiana lies on limestone bedrock. The pipes underneath Indianapolis absorb microscopic minerals from this limestone, which make their way to the water supply that enters homes. If you are an Indianapolis resident who has noticed your skin is itchy or your dishes are spotty, it may be time to purchase a water softener.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is known for its casinos and entertainment, but it’s the area’s hard water that affects homeowners on a daily basis. With an average water hardness of 16 grains per gallon, the calcium and magnesium that exist in Vegas water stay in Vegas water — without a capable water softener.

So what’s the reason for water hardness in Las Vegas? The area sources 90% of its water from Lake Mead, a body of water located just 24 miles southeast of the Las Vegas Strip. The mineral-rich Colorado River feeds Lake Mead, picking up calcium and magnesium along its path. What starts as soft snowmelt becomes hard water by the time it reaches the lake, and local municipal water filtration does not remove these minerals.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Hard water is a challenge that many Minnesotans deal with on a daily basis. Fortunately, not all Minnesotans face issues with hard water. The Mississippi River, a water source for a large number of Twin Cities residents, provides softer water than those who rely on groundwater. While much of the water that makes its way down the mighty Mississippi flows above the rocky surface, water from the ground absorbs minerals from the area’s natural limestone bedrock.

If you do happen to reside in an area with high water hardness levels, it’s important to take action to prevent discolored dishes and clogged skin pores. A salt-based water softener is the most effective solution for this issue, and you are likely to notice an immediate difference in your water following an installation. The Minneapolis area may be home to hard water, but residents don’t have to resort to a long-distance move to fix the problem.

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix-area residents are all too familiar with the effects of hard water. In kitchens across the region, you’re likely to find appliances coated with a chalky residue, hinting at the presence of hard water. This is because the majority of Phoenix-area water originates from mineral-rich reservoirs. The Colorado, Verde, and Salt Rivers feed these bodies of water and are the true culprit of the area’s high calcium and magnesium concentration in tap water.

If your home’s water seems to have a problem with hardness, installing a softener can extend the life of your appliances, keep your skin looking healthy and prevent the discoloration of dishware. With an average water hardness of 12–17 grains per gallon in the city of Phoenix, it’s no wonder many residents turn to softening equipment in their homes.

San Antonio and Austin, Texas

In the Lone Star State, residents of San Antonio and Austin regularly contend with hard water issues. In fact, the region is home to some of the hardest water in the nation, with levels measuring 15-20 grains per gallon. In order to understand this problem, it’s important to look at the type of rock that lies below much of Central Texas — limestone. As water in the area comes in contact with limestone, it absorbs a variety of minerals, including calcium and magnesium that lead to water hardness.

If you live in Central Texas and you’ve noticed your water is leaving stains on your appliances or leaving your skin feeling itchy, it may be time to install a water softener. This equipment provides many benefits, but one of the most obvious is that it can make cleaning easier. Hard water leaves behind a residue that is much more difficult to remove than it is to prevent from forming in the first place. Take action against hard water now, and you’ll be thankful later.

Tampa, Florida

Although Florida is home to a large number of natural lakes, the fresh water in the state is susceptible to water hardness. The Tampa area, in particular, presents water softening challenges that are less common in areas like the Panhandle or Jacksonville. The vast majority of this metropolitan area’s tap water originates from groundwater, and as it passes through mineral-rich soil and stone, calcium and magnesium dissolve into the water supply. Although high levels of rainfall help to dilute the water, hardness still often fluctuates up to 17 grains per gallon.

Living in Florida is all about adapting to the elements. Just as air conditioning has made building interiors more bearable, water softeners lead to water that is more practical for life at home. A water softener removes the problematic elements in hard water, protecting your dishes, appliances, pipes and even your health from the negative effects of hard water.

Los Angeles, California

Southern Californians live in one of the world’s mildest climates, but unfortunately, not all of the tap water is quite as pleasant to use and consume. Hard water from municipal water sources is common throughout the Los Angeles area, and while it does not pose a health risk, hard water is a significant nuisance for anyone who’s spent time scrubbing away its stubborn residue. For many in the area, the Colorado River is the main culprit of hard water, as public water sources do not filter out its high calcium and magnesium contents.

The good news for Los Angeles residents is that water softeners present a simple solution to water hardness problems. Not only do salt-based softeners effectively remove problematic mineral concentrations from tap water, but they also use very little energy to do so. In the long run, that’s great for both your wallet and the environment.

Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City is home to a pesky problem — hard tap water. Residents are up against higher-than-average concentrations of calcium and magnesium minerals from local tap water, and it can lead to costly issues at home in the long run. Dishwashers, washing machines and sinks are all susceptible to staining from hard tap water in the Chicago area. Those who get their water from groundwater sources have a higher risk of hard water because the rock below the surface throughout most of Northern Illinois has a high concentration of minerals. Calcium and magnesium make their way into subterranean pipes carrying tap water, and these are the main causes of water hardness.

If you suspect an issue with water hardness in your home, it’s time to take action. While you’re not putting your health at risk by consuming hard water, you could be doing damage to your wallet. Appliances that use hard water have a reduced lifespan, and they are not usually cheap to replace. A water softener is an investment for the future, and it’s one that many Chicago residents feel they cannot live without.

Sacramento, California

Sacramento residents get their water from two main sources: groundwater and local rivers (most notably, the American River). Those whose water supply originates from groundwater have a higher chance of experiencing hard water issues in their homes, and if you’re among this group, you may want to consider purchasing a water softener to tackle the issue once and for all.

If you have noticed your skin feels itchy after a shower, or there is chalky residue below your faucets, you could be facing a hard water problem in your home. On the bright side, a simple water softener installation is all it takes to resolve the issue. Once your softener is in place, you’re sure to notice a difference in the quality of your water.


Take Steps Toward Softer Water

The hard water minerals in these areas of America can do some serious damage to your home and skin. If you live in or near one of these cities, you should consider installing a water softener.

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The Doomed Life Cycle of Single-Use Plastic Water Bottles

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The obsession with single-use plastic water bottles has hit catastrophic proportions. While organizations and scientists are straining to calculate how consumer habits are affecting the health of the planet, some blatantly negative returns are in plain sight as plastic water bottle waste spirals out of control.

The Ocean Conservancy highlighted the severity of the problem in 2016, when the organization set out to clean coastlines across the world during its annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), as part of the planet’s largest volunteer effort to help clean the oceans. The data that came from the litter collection in 2016 raised alarm around the globe.

The 2016 ICC report calculated a cleanup of roughly 1.58 million plastic beverage bottles along 14,997 miles of coastline. If you stacked all these plastic bottles, you would have a structure 372 times higher than the tallest building in the world: the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (828 meters).

The numbers since that report was released have gotten worse, culminating in 2019 when ICC volunteers collected more than 1.88 million plastic bottles.

Pollution due to humanity’s reliance on single-use plastic bottles is occurring on a mass scale, poisoning oceans and harming wildlife around the world. Examine the product life cycle of a single-use plastic bottle of water purchased at a convenience store. Is it doomed from the start? Follow the facts and you decide.


The wasteful production of plastic bottled water

So, what’s the big deal with plastic bottle addiction? The product life cycle of bottled water starts with oil, which is needed to produce plastic and to distribute it around the world. In fact, 17 million barrels of oil per year are needed to produce bottled water for Americans alone.

What about the water itself? The production of a single-liter bottle takes 2 liters of water. Add another liter to fill the bottle and you’re at a 3:1 liter ratio on water used to fill just one bottle.

Is what’s in bottled water the same as tap water?

Some bottled water brands market an elaborate, fictional narrative about where their water comes from. They may say their water starts in a cloud, gets filtered through volcanic rock that’s been untouched by mankind and then is bottled in its purest state. However, a large portion of bottled water consumed in the United States is nothing more than filtered tap water.

The EPA sheds more light about bottled water, stating: “All our drinking water comes from similar sources, either from sources we can see, such as rivers and lakes, or from sources we can’t see, such as underground aquifers.” In fact, according to a 2018 report from the advocacy group Food & Water Watch, 64% of bottled water comes from municipal tap water — the same source that delivers water to most sinks at home.

A lot of bottled water is provided via common filtration methods. Reverse osmosis, distillation and ozonation are a few of the techniques used, and they are not exclusive to bottling companies, as people can filter their own water at home, too.

Bottled water companies have come under fire for purchasing land, or the rights to land and water, to extract water from the environment. Now known as BlueTriton Brands, Nestlé Waters North America found itself in hot water in 2015 after taking 36 million gallons from a national forest in California while the state was battling a historic drought. BlueTriton and government officials in California have been sparring for years over the state’s water resources.

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The Single-Use Plastic Bottle Fiasco

When walking into a convenience store during a road trip, you understand purchasing the bottle or case of water in the cooler is not the best economic decision for your bank account. However, some people buy a bottle or case for convenience anyway. And that convenience costs about 3,000% more than using municipal tap water at home.

Now, imagine spreading that idea across the developed world. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), roughly 1 million single-use plastic bottles are purchased worldwide every minute.

After consumption, a lot of that plastic won’t go to a recycling center, and even less will actually be recycled, contributing significant plastic water bottle waste into the wild.

Why are plastic bottles not being recycled?

This stage of the life cycle of bottled water often goes unnoticed. Only about 9% of all plastic waste produced has been recycled, according to UNEP. Many types of plastic aren’t being recycled, and are instead placed in landfills, or burned or stockpiled.

There are several reasons for this. Much of the plastic waste created in the United States is exported to foreign markets for recycling. The waste that isn’t exported oftentimes can’t be processed efficiently due to the country’s lack of processing plants in comparison to the number of recyclable items produced. These plants are privately owned and expensive to run. Operating a recycling process plant is simply not good business, therefore there aren’t enough of them to handle capacity.


The Lingering Death of Single-Use Plastic Water Bottles

Plastic water bottle waste that’s meant to be recycled often ends up in a purgatory of sorts. Recyclable plastic items aren’t broken down at a sufficient rate, so they sit and collect in warehouses and landfills. According to The Balance, it takes 6 months for an orange peel to degrade and 5 years for a milk carton. How long does it take a plastic bottle to degrade? 450 years.

The World Count calculates that anywhere from 60-80% of marine trash is plastic. How much plastic is that? According to UNEP, 11 million metric tons of plastics end up in the ocean each year — the equivalent of a garbage truck per minute.

Effects of plastic pollution on marine life

Birds are attracted to bright and reflective objects because they believe it’s food. Pieces of plastic trigger the attention of birds which leads to startling facts and trends, like 99% of seabirds will have ingested plastic waste by 2050.

Scientists have found what’s called nurdles — small pellets of plastic used to manufacture plastic products  — in many seabirds. Nurdles appear during the decomposition process of plastic and they spread in the water and are carried across the globe by currents. Some wash up on shore and can be found on numerous beaches.

Whether nurdles are on land or in the sea, animals are consuming this type of plastic. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 700 species of marine animals have eaten plastic.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a concentrated area in the Pacific Ocean where great sums of garbage, including plastic, has collected. The patch consists of multiple gyres, which is a system of ocean currents. These currents have brought together trash in the ocean to create a patch twice the size of Texas. However, this isn’t a floating island of trash, the Discovery Channel’s “The Swim” explains it as more of a smog of microplastic particles.

Single-use plastic packaging is largely responsible for the creation of this giant field of ocean pollution. In fact, by 2050 scientists estimate there could be as much plastic as fish in the ocean.

Contributing single-use plastic bottle waste doesn’t have to be in your plans. Eco-friendly options, such as reverse osmosis (RO) systems, can be installed in your home, providing great-tasting drinking water that’s the same quality as many bottled water brands. Long term, making the switch will save money and help decrease the size of humanity’s global plastic footprint.

Ready to break free from using single-use plastic bottles?

Do the environment, yourself and your wallet a favor by installing a water filtration system in your home. Use EcoPureHome’s interactive shopping guide to find a recommendation for your water needs.

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Water Filtration System Maintenance Tips and Tricks

Buying and installing a home water filtration unit is a great first step in providing clean and healthy water for you and your family. If you want to maintain the freshness coming from your faucet, some home water filtration system maintenance is required.

The following is a guide for maintaining the functionality of your whole home or under sink filtration system.


Basic Home Water Filtration System Maintenance Tasks

The simplest way you can guarantee filtered water is coming from your faucet is by replacing the filter. Over the duration of a filter’s life, captured sediment accumulates quickly. Whole home cartridge filters can go up to three or six months before needing to be changed, while under sink systems can use the same filter for up to six months.

The time until you need to change the filter is dependent on the quality of your water, as well as how much water you’re using.When you leave an old filter in the system for longer than that, you run the risk of having sediment flow past the filter because it can’t hold any more debris.

Ensure your water safety by always changing your water filter on a regular schedule.

How to Change an Under Sink Filter

EcoPure and Whirlpool under sink filtration units make it easy to replace the filters. The encased filter technology allows for a convenient water filtration system maintenance process. Here’s how it works:

  1. Twist the old filter counterclockwise a quarter turn
  2. This will release the filter allowing you to pull it out
  3. Twist the new filter clockwise into the slot
  4. Replace the system’s battery so the light doesn’t go out prematurely
  5. If you have a reverse osmosis system, “purge” the water from your tank by allowing it to run for a couple of hours
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If you have a reverse osmosis filtration system, follow the same steps when replacing the membrane every 2 years. If you have questions or concerns about a specific system you purchased, you can find our owner’s manuals page and download the operation manual for your system.

Prefer to learn by watching videos?

Watch this video to learn how to replace your under sink water filters

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How to Change a Whole Home System’s Filter

Whole home filtration systems are great for homes that have an influx of sediment in their water and it’s causing damage internally to the home’s pipes and slowing down water-using appliances. Like the under sink units, the easiest water filtration system maintenance you can perform is replacing the filter regularly. Our BRWEFS whole home filtration system has a closed sump with a lid that uses 2 latches to close. Here’s how you can change this whole home system’s filter:

changing a whole house water filter

1

Grasp the bottom of the sump and pivot it upward slowly

changing a whole house water filter

2

Pull sump down to remove from head

changing a whole house water filter

3

Over a sink or waterproof surface, unsnap the lid clamp by pulling the latches in opposite directions — do not remove the clamp halves

changing a whole house water filter

4

Detach the lid and remove the used filter cartridge from the sump

changing a whole house water filter

5

Throw away the old filter

Bonus

6. Check that sump is dry and free of debris

7. Remove protective caps on new filter and insert new cartridge into the sump

8. Align filter cartridge within sump ensuring the two triangular points on the filter match up with the notches in the sump

9. Attach lid, snap the latches back together, insert filter ports back into the system and pivot back to service position

Open Sump Whole Home Filter Change

Filter changes for an open sump whole home water filtration system is a little different, but just as easy. Open sump systems can use large and standard capacity replacement filters. The filter change process is the same for each.

  1. Turn off water supply.
  2. Release pressure in the filter by pressing the vent valve on top of the filter head or by opening a cold water faucet downstream of the filter.
  3. Turn the sump to the left to remove from the head. Be careful, as the sump is full of water. Do not lose the large o-ring seal
  4. Ensure the inside of the sump is clean. If not, wash with warm soapy water; rinse.
  5. Remove the wrapper from the new filter cartridge and insert the filter cartridge into the sump. Some cartridges fit either way, while others fit only one way. Follow instructions on the wrapper.
  6. Lightly lubricate the o-ring seal, in the sump, with silicone grease. Be sure it is fully seated in the groove.
  7. Hold the sump up to the filter head, aligning the center hole in the cartridge with the protrusion on the bottom of the head. (If the sump will not tighten up to the head, you may have the cartridge in upside down or not centered in the sump. Take the cartridge out and check for correct orientation.)
  8. Being careful not to cross-thread, turn the sump to the right onto the filter head and tighten securely. Do not overtighten.
  9. Partially open a house faucet downstream of the filter housing. Then, slowly open the water supply shutoff valve and allow the filter housing to fill with water. While it is filling, press the filter vent valve to release air in the filter.
  10. Close the faucet. Then, check for leaks between the sump and the head.

Whether you’re working with an open or closed sump, new whole home filters need to be purged to release the loose material in the new filter. You can do this by running a faucet in your home for at least 5 minutes. If you have more troubleshooting questions, you can go to our owner’s manuals page to find the right fix for your system’s maintenance issue.


Whole Home Water Filtration System Maintenance

Whirlpool and Brita Central Water Filtration systems require little to no maintenance. The internal filter is programmed to cleanse itself every 14 days. It flushes, cleans and drains the filter so you don’t have to install a new one.

The only real water filtration system maintenance you have to perform is when the weather dips or it’s not being used for more than a month.

Whole Home Filtration System Maintenance Before Vacation

If your home will be unoccupied for more than a month, there are several things you can do.

First, you can turn off your home’s water so the filtration unit doesn’t receive any more water. You should also turn off the Clean Rinse function so the same water isn’t filtered every 14 days. If you choose to turn off the Clean Rinse function, we recommend running two filtration cycles manually when you return home and use the water.

Another option you have is unplugging your unit and draining the excess water from the system. This step should always be taken if there is potential for the water inside the unit to freeze.

How to Prevent Your Water Filtration System From Freezing

If your Central Water Filtration system is located in a summer cabin or lake home, you run the risk of the water freezing in the system if it isn’t properly drained. There is an excessive weight hazard on this unit due to its size, so you should always have two or more people helping you drain your system. Not only will this help protect you, this will protect the system from slipping out of your hands and shattering on the ground.

How to Drain Water from the Unit

  1. Close shut-off valve on the house’s main water pipe
  2. Open a faucet to allow pressure to ventilate in the unit
  3. Shift the stem in the bypass valve to the bypass position. If using a 3-valve bypass system, close the inlet and outlet valve, then open the bypass valve.
  4. Unplug the power supply and remove the cover and drain hose
  5. Remove holding clips at the inlet and outlet
  6. Separate system from bypass valve
  7. Lay a piece of wood at least two inches thick near the floor drain
  8. Move system closer to the drain and slowly tip it over until the rim is on the piece of wood with the inlet and outlet over the drain
  9. Do NOT let the weight of the system rest on the inlet and outlet
  10. Tip the bottom of the system up a few inches to drain the water

When the system is done draining, leave it laying on the piece of wood so it’s in a horizontal position and the inlet and outlet are off the ground.

When you return home and want to start using your central water filtration system again, lift the system upright and put it back in its old position. Reconnect the system to the bypass valve by following the How to Drain Instructions above in reverse order. Check to make sure all the leadwire connectors are secure and the wiring is away from the valve gear. Plug the system back into the power source. The system will automatically complete a Clean Rinse cycle and return to normal operation.

As someone who cares about their water, it’s important to keep a checklist with these water filtration system maintenance steps. Proper maintenance will allow your filtration unit to last for many years to come. If you need more maintenance tips and tricks, find your unit’s installation guide by going to our owner’s manuals page.

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