It’s no secret that both homeowners and renters want safe, clean drinking water from their tap. And water filtration is one way to guarantee that. But how do you know when it’s time to invest in a system? A lot will depend on your unique circumstances. Even houses in the same neighborhood might have different water quality, especially in the cases where wells are used or where the pipes leading into a home vary (lead vs. copper, etc.) from one house to the next.
Distinguishing Between Water Filtration and Water Conditioning
Water filtration is basically about enhancing the water quality and removing harmful contaminants such as bacteria, metals, or disinfectant byproducts. Typically, water filtration doesn’t address water hardness (caused by the presence of excess calcium or magnesium in the water). Hard water can cause a number of problems including drying out your skin and hair, clogging your pipes, leaving unsightly spotting on your dishes, and limescale buildup in your sinks and drains. It also can also shorten the life of your appliances and make them use more energy. That’s where a water conditioning or softening system can come in. For water filtration and water conditioning, you can certainly apply both at the whole-home level to address the water in your kitchen, bath, and appliances. Typically, homeowners might choose an under-sink filtration system (such as a reverse osmosis system) for drinking water and a whole-home system for conditioning, but it really depends on your circumstances.
How to Tell If You Need a Water Filtration System
At any given moment, your water quality can be affected by the following:
- Weather patterns and floods
- Nearby pollutants
- Home plumbing and age of the home (especially piping)
- Local geography
- Water source (different municipalities in a particular area might draw water from different water sources)
With so many factors involved, it’s important to realize that your water quality can vary at any given moment. And new issues can appear even if you’ve owned your home for years and never noticed anything wrong. That said, here are some general indicators that can help you determine your needs.
Indicator No. 1: Water Test Results
Probably the easiest way to figure out if you need a water filtration system is to conduct a water test with an expert who is familiar with both the neighborhood water and can perform an accurate test. At Houston Water Solutions, we provide a free water quality test so you can know what’s in your water and whether you need a filtration or softening solution, or both!
Indicator No. 2: The Taste of Your Water
Most people know if their water is “off.” In other words, if your water has a metallic or chalky taste, or perhaps something even worse, like a swimming pool or even a dirty pond! Flavors such as these can be indicators that there might be underlying problems of bacteria, excess chlorine, or even significant hard water problems.
Indicator No. 3: Known Water Problems
For example, in some areas of the country (including Houston), the presence of lead is a huge problem in drinking water. During floods, E. coli bacteria can also get into your home systems due to overflowing sewers. And then, you might also be exposed to PFAS, especially if you live near manufacturing plants that expel this family of “forever chemicals” into the air and water. One thing you can do is also take a look at the Environmental Working Group’s water quality database to see what pollutants have been found in your ZIP code.
Indicator No. 4: Odor
Sometimes water will have an odor, which is a huge indicator of the need for a water filtration system. A few common types of odors include:
- A rotten-eggs smell caused by the presence of hydrogen sulfide
- A dirty or fishy smell caused by algae or fungi
- The smell of chlorine or bleach
If any of these apply, make sure to get a water quality analysis quickly.
Indicator No. 5: Discoloration
Although certainly rarer – most times, you won’t be able to see contaminants in your water – it does happen where you might see visible discoloration in the water from your tap. Pure water actually carries a slight blue tint but anything off of that – such as a yellow, brown, or green color of your water – is a big indicator that you probably need to get your water tested and a water filtration system installed.
At Houston Water Solutions, we provide lots of options for you to improve your water quality, including under-sink systems and whole-home conditioning systems. Get started today with your free water quality analysis. We’ll send a technician to your home and test your water for hard water deposits and other contaminants. And then we’ll recommend the right solution for you. It’s that easy. You’ll get peace of mind and better-quality water