After a Home Depot "water survey" turned into a high pressure sales call from Rainsoft, my wife will only drink bottled water until I get a filter for hour house. (I didn't fall for their tricks...) Our water does not taste good, but otherwise is safe to consume. After this, I have done some research and discovered that Whole House Water Filtration is plagued with mis-information and parlor tricks to get people to buy.
This project aims to "clear the murky water" of whole house water filtration as well as design a system that anyone can make and understand.
I welcome any experts on water filtration to join me in giving the public what they deserve: water as clean as they want it. Please send me a note if any information published is incorrect, or requires improvement.
This is a nice link; it allows you to search for your water system and you can find out what violations have been logged. This may help you make a decision to add some targeted filtration. My system had multiple violations of fecal coliform (last violation was 9 years ago) which may explain why we seem to have very high chlorine levels. I need to pay more attention to filtering chlorine.
What do we do with the plethora of information? There is obviously way too much to digest without being an expert, and the purpose of this is to get a simpler view of what exists in my water that needs attention. Another approach is to look at what people are verifying using available tests. The only way you will know if you need to filter something is to identify that substance in your water, both before and after filtration.
The following list comes from a search for "water quality test" on amazon. These are the available tests that can be done with test strips:
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
Step 3: Breakdown
So now that we have list of what we can test for, we can "not worry" about the other stuff. Most of the stuff we can't test for is filtered to some level with whatever filtration we choose. Now we need to put the previous list into some kind of priority order. I'm going to do this for myself, but I'll list with each item why I chose it in that position.
This is probably the most concerning "contaminant". I say that because this is actually added in order to control biological contamination. This is the actual chlorine that is available to treat the water. This differs from total chlorine, which is the quantity of free chlorine along with the chlorine that has already bonded with stuff and is less able to treat other contaminants.
Chlorine is probably the number one item listed by health nuts to filter from your water, both for taste and for health reasons. It is easily absorbed through the skin as well as internally. There is quite a bit of anecdotal evidence (maybe some scientific, but I haven't actively researched yet) that various health conditions stem from absorption of chlorine.
This is also something you want to filter at the point of use, because taking the chlorine out of your water before it sits in your hot water heater you risk growing bad biological stuff in your water heater.
To be continued later (maybe years later... that's kind of how these things go for me...)
I was recently roped into taking a "water survey" at Home Depot for the chance to "win" a $20 gift certificate to Home Depot. I soon received a phone call to schedule a "water test" at my house in exchange for $20 Home Depot gift card. I should have known; it was a bait and switch high-pressure sales pitch for a Rainsoft whole house filtration system. Looking online, I am not alone.