Clean water is something that people tend to take for granted. If you are lucky enough to live in a location where the local water is clean and filtered, then you may not even think of it at all. However, in some areas, tap water can contain magnesium, minerals, hormones, and even high levels of pesticides and contaminants like lead. Your water can be full of pathogens and you may have no idea, because many of these dangerous elements do not affect the taste or color. If you live in a place like this, where the water is hard, full of minerals and contaminants, or just tastes strange out of the tap, you may need a water purification or filtration system.
The average cost to have a water treatment & purification system is $1,632, although some homeowners might pay anywhere between $770 and $2,495, depending on a variety of factors.
Types of Water Purification Systems
Choosing a water purification system that addresses the specific problems present in your tap water is important. For example, the water may be fine chemically but taste funny due to harmless minerals like sulfur. In this case, a simple drinking water filtration system is all you need. On the other hand, if there are harmful contaminants like lead, chlorine, nitrate, or other microorganisms in the water, testing and filtering all the water entering your home becomes necessary. Water analysis test kits, such as the PurTest Home Water Analysis Kit, are available from most home improvement stores and cost around $30, which is a small price to pay to learn about contaminants present and determine what kind of filtration is necessary. The three most common types of water filtration systems all offer homeowners different ways to filter their water at various rates and price points.
Distillers work by heating the water up until turns into steam. When the steam cools in a different area of the filter, it condenses back into water. This is one of the best ways to get very pure water free of contaminants such as heavy metals, fluoride, and bacteria. However, distilled water can taste flat because the oxygen has been removed from it. Distillers also cannot remove all the chemicals from the water, and they remove helpful minerals.
Most water distillation units are countertop models that work slowly, only cleaning a couple gallons of water every hour. Homeowners must personally fill the filter every time they need more water and use the home's electricity to run them. Larger, floor-sized models are also available to allow for a greater amount of water storage, but they often require the same type of hands-on operation. Priced between $150 and $1,500 or more, depending on capacity, popular water distillers from brands like Durastill and Pure Water are good options for people who simply want clean-tasting drinking and cooking water.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, whole house water purification systems offer homeowners a solution that provides pure water to every tap in the home. Much more complex in assembly as well as scope, these systems use a cartridge that is hooked to incoming water pipes to filter the water. Often paired with a water softener, whole house systems require professional service and installation to operate efficiently and prevent problems like leaks.
Once it is in place, using a whole house water filtration system is as easy as turning on a faucet in your home; these systems work quickly and efficiently to filter large quantities of water, sometimes not even requiring electricity. Whole house water filtration systems come with a variety of features and multiple price points ranging from as little as $400 up to $10,000 or more for a more complex, complete system. Popular brands such as Pelican, Aquasana, and Cuzn all provide homeowners with different levels of filtration to tackle problems like chlorine, bacteria, fluoride, and more.
Reverse osmosis is one of the most common methods of water filtering and is available in both individual countertop units as well as faucet-based systems. Reverse osmosis filtration systems may be simple or complex, with the most extensive options sending water through a five-step purification process ending with an ultraviolet light. All reverse osmosis systems, however, operate by sending water through at least two different liquids separated by a permeable film that only allows the water to pass through on a molecular level. When the water finishes passing through a reverse osmosis system, it leaves all impurities behind but keeps important elements such as oxygen and minerals.
Most people choose faucet-based reverse osmosis systems, which cost between $150-$250 on the low end and above $1,000 on the high end. Reverse osmosis systems require professional installation and maintenance as well as regular filter changes in order to operate effectively, adding to the cost of such a system over time. Popular brands include Aquasana, GrowoniX, and OmniFilter.
The cost of a water purification system is dictated largely by its size and complexity. There are small and simple water purifiers that affect just one tap in the house, and there are whole-system water purification systems that clean all the water coming into your home. With whole-home water purification systems, there may also be a water softener component that treats hard water and removes minerals along with an under-the-sink purification component that filters the tap water.
With most water treatment systems, you tend to get what you pay for. The more complex the system, the more completely it purifies your water. The more water it cleans, the more expensive it will be. But the health benefits of having purified water in your home may far outweigh those costs.
Single tap water filters are a popular option for homeowners who want to filter drinking and cooking water but who are not concerned with the water used for bathing and washing clothing and dishes. This type of under-the-sink filter is hooked up to water pipes as they go into the faucet, purifying water before it reaches the tap. These systems can be as simple or complex as needed, sometimes requiring little more than basic plumbing skills to install. On the other hand, many reverse osmosis filtration systems are under-the-sink options that require professional maintenance and installation.
Like other water filtration systems, single tap water filters vary dramatically in price. However, it is easy to find affordable and simple two-stage filters from popular brands like Aquasana, Culligan, and Aqua Pure for $100 or less at local home improvement stores or plumbing centers.