Whole house water filters

stee6043

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2008
2,648
West Michigan
I’ve always meant to add some type of filter, I have a newly renovated home, it’s time. Long Island had a lot of companies that made degreasing chemicals. Apparently they used to train firefighters at our airports with foam too. I acknowledge I’m slightly paranoid but I don’t fully trust the people selling me my water. No one has approached me selling filters. I simply asked because I think I get good info from this site.
I ran one of these buggers long before I knew anything about groundwater. I did it mostly for odor at the time. But I figure it's "better than nothing" for the whole house.


If I were to do it again I'd install two. Sediment filter in the first, GAC in the second. Cheap....
 

Rob711

Feeling the Heat
Oct 19, 2017
326
Long Island, ny
I just ordered something similar to the above. I’m thinking I’ll get one of those under sink reverse osmosis deals, but plumb it from the currently unfinished basement to fridge and maybe a tap next to sink. I just replaced my hot water heater and some other unexpected house necessities needed taking care of. Evidently it’s more important to finish closets vs cleaning drinking water.
 

Rob711

Feeling the Heat
Oct 19, 2017
326
Long Island, ny
Thanks, my psi from the street is 80, I also installed a pressure reduction valve after the hose and sprinklers. They come pre set to 50 psi, I adjusted it to 60. Here’s the whole house filter.
Amazon productI put a 5 micron pleated filter in it.
I’m going to call the manufacturer of ro filter to confirm that 80 psi will be safe for there system. I’ve read higher psi helps the ro filter waste less water. Otherwise I can instal it after pressure reducer.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,143
Northern NH
RO's usually like higher pressure but they usually have maximum pressure rating on the components. Ideally match the feed pressure to the RO to its maximum rating and then pressure reduce the non RO uses to the rest of the house.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,143
Northern NH
BTW, I have triple filter system installed but not piped for my house. Its own my long "projects" list. Its triple filter using standards 20" filters. Something like this LiquaGen B00MTTHYBI Blue TRIPLE BIG 20'' WATER SYSTEM-1" Sediment/Carbon/GAC Filters, 4.5&quot x 20&quot

The goal is to put a sediment filter at the front to get the big stuff than a GAC (granulated activated carbon) filter in the middle and then a final GAC filter on the end. By going with standard filters bodies there are multiple suppliers to buy replacements from . In theory the sediment filter gets changed as needed more often and then the middle GAC gets changed less frequently by moving the final filter to its position while the end GAC filter gets swapped for a new filter. Note that on homes with radon in the water the GAC filter can get slightly radioactive so best to dispose of it rather than keeping them around the house. Commercial outfits are supposed to dispose of it as special waste. Definitely a bad idea to burn it in the stove.

Big filters have lower pressure drops than smaller filters and GAC works better with low flow. They cost more for the housings and filters but the filters last longer.
 

stee6043

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2008
2,648
West Michigan
Installed this View attachment 254562
And ordered this
Amazon productMight all be bs but it will let me sleep better.
Did you consider using the "premium" Culigan filter instead of the pleated filter pictured? The premium will help get "some" of the bad stuff out. That pleated filter really does nothing but grab sediment.

For another $30 twice per year I think you'd sleep better with the premium/GAC version of the filter :) Or even better, you have room to add a second housing. Leave the existing housing with the pleated filter and add the second housing with the premium filter downstream. Presto...but another $100, unfortunately.
 

Woody5506

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2017
768
Rochester NY
Surprised nobody has mentioned the simple higher end gravity filters like Berkey, Alexapure or Propur. I have the 2.5 gallon "Big Berkey" and love it. Got it on a black Friday deal last year with some other stuff for about $325.
 

stee6043

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2008
2,648
West Michigan
Surprised nobody has mentioned the simple higher end gravity filters like Berkey, Alexapure or Propur. I have the 2.5 gallon "Big Berkey" and love it. Got it on a black Friday deal last year with some other stuff for about $325.
You could throw Brita into that list as well. Big Berkey feels very "scammy" to me. They are not NSF certified and their website even explains why - "it's too costly" . Yikes. I think you dramatically overpaid for a "pour through" water filter, my two cents only.

For half the money you could have picked up an RO undersink unit that would be far more effective than a countertop type setup. Or for even less you could have nabbed a Brita which ultimately has the same filter as that Berkey.

Berkey's and Britas are probably great for taking weird tastes or odors out of water. But you won't find either on the lists of real systems meant to remove the real bad stuff.
 
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Woody5506

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2017
768
Rochester NY
Brita is only popular because they are cheap. They don't filter heavy metals, pathogenic bacteria/viruses, and do a poor job at pretty much everything else. Their filters are good for something like 40 gallons vs a Berkey black filter good for 6,000 + gallons, plus fluoride filtering capability. Not trying to have a pissing match here just saying I really don't know how you could compare Brita to Berkey or the others I listed. I've never seen Brita be regarded as any type of decent filter when compared to higher end brands. If NSF certification is important to you then get the Propur which is certified. Either way, there's endless independent studies around the web comparing all this stuff, constant back and forth over RO vs quality gravity filters and so on, and the Berkey outperforms everyone in the gravity filter category. If RO is your thing then thats cool too, I'm just simply throwing it out there that there's other highly effective options.


 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,143
Northern NH
Nothing for or against the Berkey but both of the cited links are pretty sketchy. The Water Filter Labs "test" seems to exclude a fairly important bit of data which is if any of the listed contaminants were actually in the feedwater?. If I feed a filter distilled water with zero contaminants and the test is if there is any present at the outlet then the filter was 100% effective. The other link sure looks like they may be beholden to Berkey.

Inherently GAC is pretty well known. A gravity filter is as good as bad as the depth of the filter media. Unlike a pressurized filter, the velocity is low and the pressure doesnt tend to "rat hole" the product. With that in mind as long as Berkey uses quality media it should work

On occasion I deal with boiler feedwater for superheated steam fed to steam turbines. Power plants go with what works and skip the hype. The water has to be super pure as any impurities foul up the clearances of the blades. Generally the systems use sediment filters up ahead of deep bed ion exchange resins. Newer systems use reverse osmosis as they cost less to install and maintain. I dont see activated carbon in any of the systems. I have looked at electrodeionization (EDI) systems in the past which seem to be the best technology for raw water but its not a good fit for an operation that recycles its condensate as the EDI membranes will not hold up to heat. Some of the RO tehnologies have the same issue. Usually there is ion exchange system on the return condensate as it designed for heat.

I did have a chance in my career to work on a system designed by Eastman Kodak in the 1880s to treat water to remove dissolved color from the water to make photo graphic paper whihc had to be ultra white, it used deep gravity beds of crushed coal ( a precursor to activated carbon). The plant is still running after 140 years although the current owner does a poor job maintaining it. GAC and crushed coal both have only limited capacity to absorb contaminants so generally conductivity testing is used to confirm that the systems are operating correctly.
 

stee6043

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2008
2,648
West Michigan
Brita is only popular because they are cheap. They don't filter heavy metals, pathogenic bacteria/viruses, and do a poor job at pretty much everything else. Their filters are good for something like 40 gallons vs a Berkey black filter good for 6,000 + gallons, plus fluoride filtering capability. Not trying to have a pissing match here just saying I really don't know how you could compare Brita to Berkey or the others I listed. I've never seen Brita be regarded as any type of decent filter when compared to higher end brands. If NSF certification is important to you then get the Propur which is certified. Either way, there's endless independent studies around the web comparing all this stuff, constant back and forth over RO vs quality gravity filters and so on, and the Berkey outperforms everyone in the gravity filter category. If RO is your thing then thats cool too, I'm just simply throwing it out there that there's other highly effective options.


Agree on the pissing match. I enjoy these discussions, I'm not trying to make any of this personal. I'm just trying to help have an informed discussion.

On RO there should really be no "back and forth" debate. It's not really regarded in the same class as gravity?? For a non-plumbed filter solution obviously gravity is the way to go.

In the interest of furtherance of our informed discussion - a link below to the NSF info on home pour-through filters. Brita maintains certs for odor, chlorine, etc. in addition to cadmium, mercury and copper (heavy metals) on their $19.99 3-pack of pitcher filters. Yes, they are definitely limited in their capacity - 120 gallons for $19.99 vs. 6,000 gallons for $120 on the Berkey. $0.16 per gallon vs $0.02 per gallon. It's a two year Berkey break even for the amount of point-of-use drinking water my family of 5 goes through (20 gallons per week).

I'd be shocked if you found the filter media in the Berkey was substantially different than Brita and all the rest. GAC is GAC. You can find a Brita MSDS by googling it. Not so for the Berkey..."it's proprietary". If the Berkey GAC has been modified with silver or copper it could indeed also have anti-viral/bacterial capability but at what cost - you're using heavy metals to filter for the virus? "High end" water filtration uses UV (or commercially, chlorine) to kill bacteria/viruses.


I don't have a hard-on for NSF but I find their website to be very valuable for water treatment baseline. Shoot, the system I have in my home is not NSF certified....for anything. But I see quarterly test results for inlet water, midpoint water and output water that show GAC gets "darn near everything" out of water if there is enough contact time.

My opinion only - the Berkey is to water filtration as the Peloton is to stationary cycling - a brilliant, profitable marketing strategy. Folks perceive the Peloton as a higher value, higher quality unit because it costs more....but it's performing nearly the same function as a $200 stationary bike you can get at Sears combined with a $25 Kindle...
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,035
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Pleated paper filters and pour through solutions are not what I expect to see as a real solution for a real raw water problem.
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
3,749
SW Virginia
As I mentioned earlier in this thread we have particulate filter followed by GAC and RO. The particulate filter is a composite, 25 micron unit that I feel I have to clean or replace too frequently. I've bought one of the 150 micron pre-filters shown below in hopes that installing it before the 25 micron filter will extend its life. The pre-filter design is interesting in that sediment that accumulates can be readily flushed out.
1578151716513.png
 

Woody5506

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2017
768
Rochester NY
My opinion only - the Berkey is to water filtration as the Peloton is to stationary cycling - a brilliant, profitable marketing strategy. Folks perceive the Peloton as a higher value, higher quality unit because it costs more....but it's performing nearly the same function as a $200 stationary bike you can get at Sears combined with a $25 Kindle...

I think Berkey is a bit more marketed toward the "preparedness" crowd much more so than Brita, especially since you can filter pond water with it if you had to. Truthfully I agree Brita would probably suit my needs fine being that as far as I know, we don't have actual tap water issues that we know of aside from the norms. But with fluoride filtering capability (we do use those separate filters) virus/heavy metal filtering and longevity of filters it ended up being a selling point. Again I still stand by it being a solid purchase for our house, and the analogy to Peloton is a bit off since most of these similarly constructed stainless gravity filters are all fairly within similar price range, the Berkey is not drastically higher than the others I listed, and yes they are all much more expensive than Brita but again they end up doing more. Despite the lack of NSF cert there's still EPA accredited labs who have done extensive tests on Berkey filters which for me, combined with all the countless other tests around the web, is fair enough. I can't say that I feel scammed by them one bit.
 
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Woody5506

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2017
768
Rochester NY
The Water Filter Labs "test" seems to exclude a fairly important bit of data which is if any of the listed contaminants were actually in the feedwater?. If I feed a filter distilled water with zero contaminants and the test is if there is any present at the outlet then the filter was 100% effective.
Unless you're suggesting they fed the Berkey distilled water only but the other brands contaminated water, I don't see how this would be the case if they are all reading at different percentages.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,143
Northern NH
Unless you're suggesting they fed the Berkey distilled water only but the other brands contaminated water, I don't see how this would be the case if they are all reading at different percentages.
Show us a genuine third party truly independent test from a recognized body and we have something to talk about. What I pointed out are that the links provided did not appear to be unbiased rigorous testing. Until then its just marketing hype.
 

Woody5506

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2017
768
Rochester NY
Show us a genuine third party truly independent test from a recognized body and we have something to talk about. What I pointed out are that the links provided did not appear to be unbiased rigorous testing. Until then its just marketing hype.
The best I can do right off the cuff is show results from EPA accredited labs, but being that they are published on a Berkey site, I have a feeling it won't satisfy you. The documents are there though. I'm not a salesmen I'm simply just trying to back up a product I bought that I believe in, which is an alternative to a simple RO system.

 

Rob711

Feeling the Heat
Oct 19, 2017
326
Long Island, ny
A5739829-4546-4F03-964F-DE723AEAABAD.jpeg
Well it’s done. I may or may not trim the 1/4” lines to clean it up. I should’ve waited until I had everything, i could have raised up where I came off main to make it cleaner. It’s feeding only the fridge. Taste exactly like the tap water! I’m not sure there was any issues with the water to begin with. Oh well!
 
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stee6043

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2008
2,648
West Michigan
If you guys enjoy exploring the interweb...for entertainment purposes:

Check out the google maps view of the listed address for the "accredited lab" listed by Berkey. Also note that this lab appears to certify many of the similar filter makers noted in this thread. If you google the "EPA ID" listed on the cert you'll see similar certs for several of the noted mfg's in this thread - Propur, Doulton, etc.

Note that those EPA ID's appear to be fake. If you check both the EPA and state of NJ sites for a list of accredited drinking water labs in NJ, Envirotek nor QFT are listed.

A cursory review suggests this place is a one man show run by Jaime Young, an undergrad in chemistry from UofPanama. He used to work for Zero Industries (Zero Water, a filter manufacturer similar to Berkey but priced like Brita). His address looks to change every few years. He does maintain a linkedin profile, however.

You can also google "NELAC" which is referenced on the top left of all of the Envirotek certs. Envirotek uses the words "in accordance with" because they are not actually accredited by NELAC...nor anybody else.

There's nothing illegal about what they are doing as far as I can tell. You don't have to maintain certifications to sell filters. It's like UL in electronics...quite optional and up to the buyer to insist on certain things.
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
3,749
SW Virginia
I'm not a salesmen I'm simply just trying to back up a product I bought that I believe in, which is an alternative to a simple RO system.
The water treatment provided by a GAC system like the Berkey is not the same as that of RO. GAC works on the basis of adsorption while RO relies on osmosis (transfer though a semi-permeable membrane). While GAC is good at removing contaminants like chlorine or organic compounds its not good at removing metals or dissolved solids like salts and other minerals like calcium and magnesium (i.e., hardness).
 
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semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
3,749
SW Virginia
It’s feeding only the fridge.
And the fridge probably has a GAC filter in it also.
If you notice that your ice cubes look clearer that's a sign that you've removed something from the water.
 

Rob711

Feeling the Heat
Oct 19, 2017
326
Long Island, ny
My fridge did have a small filter, it came with a bypass plug which is now installed. That one filter cost more to replace than all the filters on this system, minus the reverse osmosis membrane.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,143
Northern NH
My fridge did have a small filter, it came with a bypass plug which is now installed. That one filter cost more to replace than all the filters on this system, minus the reverse osmosis membrane.
Welcome to the world of marketing. Sell the appliance at tight margin and then make it up selling highly marked up things like filters. I have rigged up standardized GAC filters on fridges for folks in the past. Not that tough but to the average homeowner they call in service man to swap the custom filter.

I realize I am the odd man out compared to the rest of the world. I have had my house for 30 years and with exception of a yearly burner tech when I burned oil the number of service folks who have entered my home is zero. I did pay to have my septic tank pumped 15 year ago. It didnt need it but out of caution I had it done.