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Finding the Best Water Filters for Your Home

Whole-home water filters keep the supply of your water safe to drink. They can keep numerous harmful contaminants out of your drinking water and make your water taste better. Replacing your water filter is an important task and below is some information on what whole home water filters do, how to replace your whole home water filter, and the qualities of a good water filter.

What Does a Whole Home Water Filter Do?

For centuries, clean water has been an important factor in where people call home. If an area does not have clean water, settlers would move on. Should a clean water supply dry up or become contaminated, even families who had been on the same land for generations previously would have been forced to move. Nowadays, we have access to water through local facilities and have more advanced technologies to find sufficient water supplies, leaving dowsing rods a thing of the past.

Not only do we have access to a wider range of water, but we also can filter our water. In-home water filters that attach to a faucet have become prominent in many homes in the past few decades, but a whole home water filters can provide delicious water without the need for replacing a filter every month.

Replacing a Whole Home Water Filter

With a little know-how and simple tools, you likely already have in your home tool kit, changing your water filter can be a simple task that should be done regularly as maintenance for a home. The most important part of the replacement is making sure you have the right tools and filter and making sure your water is shut off.

The right tools include a bucket, Teflon plumber’s tape, food-grade silicone grease, a replacement O-Ring, a filter wrench, lint-free towels, and the new filtration system. A more detailed and printer-friendly version of the below instructions can be found here, though the following is a great place to start!

The first step in replacing your home water filter is to make sure the water is turned off and has been depressurized. Make sure that all appliances that run water are not running, then find your main water supply. After it is off, you will depressurize the water system by running the water in the closest faucet until it stops. It might be helpful to fill a bucket with clean water, so you are easily able to clean as you need.

Next, you will need a bucket. While you have already depressurized past the closest faucet, there will still be some water in the filter and the water lines from the filter to the faucet. For example, if you used a first-floor faucet and your filtration system is in your basement, you still have the pipes running to the faucet that have water in them.

Before removing your filter, make sure the water running into it is turned off. Using a filter wrench, carefully remove the old filter, placing the bucket so any water inside will run into the bucket. This should be a counterclockwise motion to remove the old filter. It is important to move slowly. Once the water starts filling your bucket, you need to make sure the water slows before continuing. You will also want to move slowly to ensure your filter wrench does not break. If the filter housing appears to be stuck, you might gently tap the wrench with a rubber mallet. This will gently loosen the housing.

This is where the towels will come in. Once the housing is off, you will want to clean the area. Vinegar is a great solvent for mineral build-ups. After everything is clean, congratulations, you are nearly through.

This is a perfect time to check your filter housing for deterioration and to see if the water in the line smells alright. While the system filters contaminants from your water, it is important to investigate any foul smells in your water line and any flecks that may mean your pipes are beginning to deteriorate.

After you check the filter housing and pipes, make sure to thoroughly clean your filter housing and the threading. You may have build-up in the threads or plumber’s tape from the last time it was replaced.

Before replacing the housing with the new filter inside, make sure to check the O-Ring in the canister to make sure it is not stretched, flattened, or shows other signs of wear. If it does, you must replace it to prevent leakage or damage to your housing. This is where the silicone grease comes in. Rub it lightly on the ring using your fingers (after wiping away old grease if you are reusing an old ring). If you do not see an O-ring, make sure to look where the housing connects to make sure it is not caught on the housing.

Once you have taken care of the maintenance, you will wrap the plumber’s tape around the threads of the housing several times. While this step is optional, it provides an additional leak guard. Once wrapped, make sure your housing is going in perfectly straight to prevent damage to the threads, and slowly turn the housing clockwise to tighten it in place.

From here, you will slowly turn your water back on and inspect for leaks. If you see water spraying or even beginning to trickle, turn the water back off and inspect the housing. It will need to be put in properly to prevent leaks and damage. Once you have successfully turned the water on, go to the closest faucet and turn it on. Make sure the water runs clear and there is no strange smell. If you see a few black specks, it is likely from a charcoal filter and is normal but should stop after a few moments.

Testing Your Water

The EPA suggests testing your water every year to ensure you are not imbibing harmful contaminants. This will provide information on how strong a filter you will need to produce safe water for your home. The information will also tell you what contaminants you need to filter out of your water.  The National Testing Lab is a leading provider for this testing.  More information about this testing can be found via the EPA’s website, Having the water checked first is essential in finding the best water filtration system for a home.

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