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Water Filters: How To Choose The Right One

If you are on a private water system you may want to treat your water in order to remove deleterious minerals, improve taste, and prolong the life of your plumbing system components and fixtures.

You should obtain a water sample from your wellhead. If your casing is in a pump house, there will
almost certainly be a bibb on the wellhead or on the pump tank. Turn on the bibb or faucet and let it run for a minute or two to clear out any debris, then fill the water sample bottle. If your casing is in the open you can still locate your pump tank, which may be in the garage, under the house, or in an outbuilding, and there should be a spigot or bibb faucet there that you can use for your sample. Lacking any of those options, take a water sample at the sink faucet nearest your pump.

Take your sample in to be tested. You can take it in to the local health department that, in some cases, will test it for free. You can also take it to a laboratory. There, you will have to specify what you want to have your sample tested for. If chemicals like herbicides or pesticides are a concern, list that on your sample request. You can pick up a simple water test kit at your local hardware store or plumbing supply house that tests for hardness, ph, and iron.

You may also want to test for hydrogen sulfide if you smell something like rotten eggs whenever you turn on a faucet. You will have to hire a water treatment specialist or a plumber to test for hydrogen sulfides.

If your water is hard, meaning it has high levels of calcium carbonate and magnesium, you can treat that with a water softener. You can remove chlorine and lead with a standard whole house water filter. These simple, cost effective components contain a cartridge element that you replace periodically.

You can install simple cartridge filter elements to filter the water for specific appliances. A refrigerator filter is an excellent example. These are easy to install as long as you observe a couple of simple precautions.

Locate the water line coming into the back of the refrigerator. Turn off the water supply. You may need to trace that small water line into the basement or crawlspace. It may make its way over to the kitchen sink where you may find a shutoff valve inside the sink cabinet. Cut the water line where you want to install the filter. Slide the compression nuts and ferrules respectively over each end of the water line. Connect the water lines to their respective ports on the filter housing. Tighten the nuts very carefully. If you over tighten them you can destroy the ferrules and the joints will leak. Tighten the nuts finger tight, then turn the water on. If the joint leaks, tighten the nuts a little at a time until the leak stops. If it doesn’t stop after a couple of attempts, loosen the nut, straighten the tubing in the connection, and try again. Note that it will take time for the water to make its way through the filter and up to the refrigerator so be patient. Some refrigerator filters simply require that you push the water line into the plastic connector. Make sure that the end of the water line is free of burrs before you install it in the connector.

Install a whole house filter in a supply line from your well or pump by shutting off the water supply, draining the water pressure, cutting the supply line and installing a shut off valve on one end. Install One type of water softenerthe appropriate adapter fittings in the ends of the filter housing and connect them to your water line. Different water line materials will require different adapter fittings to match. If using copper, sweat an adapter on one end of a short piece of copper pipe and a union on the other. Do one assembly for each side of the filter housing. Once the hot copper pipe and fittings cool, apply pipe joint compound to the external threads of the adapters and screw them into the housing. Now, just line up the unions, apply joint compound to the external threads of the union nut, and tighten the unions.

Turn on the water supply and test for leaks.

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