People often call me and ask for the very best home purification system, thinking that there is one whole house water filter system they can buy that will remove all contaminants. There isn’t. This discussion focuses on those of you who have a public water source with some form of chlorination, but the same idea holds true for those with private well water.
If you want to spend $8,000 to $12,000 then you could buy all of the components of a whole house reverse osmosis system (RO), but I rarely recommend that…only when your water provides you with no alternative. Even reverse osmosis systems do not remove all contaminants. Some contaminants have to be removed before the water enters your reverse osmosis system and with a whole house RO you’ll have to raise the pH of the water after the system so that it does not dissolve your pipes and fixtures.
The current state of water purification system technology is to remove chemicals such as chlorine or chloramine, their carcinogenic byproducts, pesticides, and to reduce some metals from water entering your entire home. Other treatments can also be done at the whole house, such as softening the water. And individual contaminants like fluoride can be reduced and perhaps removed but removal of fluoride is tricky and depends on local water chemistry. Then, depending on your water source, you may also need a kitchen water purifier or filter.
A whole house water filter may not remove 100% of the chlorine. Removal depends to a great extent on flow rates. In the case of chloramine it is my experience that a whole house water filter rarely removes 100%. Therefore a kitchen water filter which offers additional filtration is advisable. This can give you great tasting drinking water free of these chemicals.
When your water contains a high level of minerals, measured as total dissolved solids (or tds), nitrates, radioactive metals, a few other metals, or treated sewage from cities upstream of you then I recommend reverse osmosis for your drinking water…even if you have a whole house water filter because they remove different contaminants.
For most people this combination of a whole house water filter and a kitchen water filter or kitchen reverse osmosis system will provide you with state of the art protection from the full array of contaminants in public water.
I am almost tempted to suggest the combination of whole house water filter and reverse osmosis as the best available option anywhere…in response to those who ask that question, but it remains my preference to drink water that has been filtered through my Kitchen Defender water filter over reverse osmosis when the local water quality allows me that choice. To learn more about that decision, read my article about Minerals in Water.