- Q&A – Whole Home Filters
Is there any maintenance? Almost no maintenance is required. These whole home filtration systems are “set and forget.” The only maintenance is replacing the filtration media every 7-10 years (depending on your local water conditions and usage).
Do they backwash / backflush? Absolutely. Backwashing is an MSDS requirement, and is necessary for the health and longevity of carbon media, effectively preventing bacterial growth and keeping the media from packing and channeling. Packing and channeling reduces surface area, which means reduced effectiveness of contaminant removal. All the whole home filters we offer self-clean automatically. The self-clean cycle can be customized to your preferences with the user-friendly electronic interface. The backwashing process is extremely efficient and the resulting backwash water is usable and filtered. The vast majority of our customers use the backwash water for the garden, swimming pool, prepper storage, livestock, horses, and crops.
Non-backwashing and upflow-type devices result in packing and channeling (think of an ant farm) of the carbon media – the water will carve channels into the carbon, resulting in less surface area and low effectiveness (source: Role of membranes and activated carbon in the removal of endocrine disruptors and pharmaceuticals. 2005). Not backwashing also presents the problem of bacterial growth, which can be prevented by the introduction of KDF, but KDF requires backwashing. So it’s a catch-22.
What is the difference between EWS and CWL whole house filters? They are very similar. Both series use the same, highest quality materials, engineering and American workmanship. The only difference is the EWS Series uses proprietary ICN conditioning to physically condition hardness minerals without salts, magnets, or chemicals. This conditioning process assists with problems associated with water hardness, preventing scale build up in pipes and water heaters, and making it easier to wipe up spots. The CWL Series is a bit less expensive and offers filtration only, which is ideal for people with little or no water hardness issues.
Where can they be installed? The whole home filters are installed at the main water line so they capture and filter all the water going into your home. Usually this is located inside a garage or attic.
Can they be installed outside? Yes, but you need to keep the appliance protected from the elements in order to protect the integrity of the electronic interface. Direct sunlight or extreme temperatures can cause a problem.
Will small whole house tanks filter the water effectively? At bare minimum, a typical home requires at least 10 gallons per minute (gpm) of available water. Small tanks with small valves have flow rates of only 7-8 gallons per minute. The other issue is that there is not enough filtration media and contact time with the water to filter it properly. This is especially true for chloramine, which requires 3 times longer contact time than chlorine. This means chloramine requires larger tanks and more filtration media in order to be removed effectively and for a long period of time. You may get a taste and odor improvement, but it may not be removing 99%+ of chlorine and contaminants like pharmaceuticals, pesticides, VOCs, THMs, and more. They also require filter replacements more frequently (every 2-3 years), which adds up to the same cost as purchasing a correctly sized unit in the first place.
What about multi-media filters? When more than one filtration medium is used in one tank, there is not enough of any one filtration medium to remove contaminants as claimed. An effective 5-media multimedia tank would need to be over 20 feet tall. This is fact, based upon material safety data sheets (MSDS) that provide exact information on how filtration media needs to be used in order to work correctly.
What contaminants do these systems remove? The highest quality of granular activated carbon is used in all the whole home filtration appliances we offer. The carbon is sourced from North and South America (not China, like the vast majority of water filters), and is 100% pure, biodegradable, and compostable. The drinking water filters and reverse osmosis systems use the highest quality, highest iodine rated, full bed depth, vibration packed filters – all made in the USA. The carbon is known for removing chlorine, chloramine, gases, dyes, fuels, man-made pollutants, pharmaceutical residues, and volatile organic contaminants. Other independent tests shows even greater capability (click here for an example), including total removal of various pesticides, BPA, hormones, THMs, benzenes, and hydrofluorosilicic acid (a form of fluoride used by 9/10 water treatment plants). Click here for a handy chart on removal capabilities.
Do your systems remove chloramine? Environmental Water Systems began manufacturing chloramine-specific whole home filtration several years ago, and it was the first of its kind and still the only whole home filtration appliance that effectively removes chloramine for a long period of time (five to ten years). It is the only whole home chloramine filter trusted by people suffering from severe allergic reactions to this toxic compound, and is extremely popular in high chloramine areas like San Francisco, Los Angeles County, Texas, and Florida. Chloramine requires 3 times longer contact time with a specialized carbon filtration medium, which means large tanks and a larger quantity of specialized carbon. We offer four different chloramine filtration systems to suit different home/family sizes, chloramine levels, and water hardness issues. If you need help selecting the right one, please contact us.
- Q&A – Drinking Water Filters
Is there any maintenance and how often do I change the filters? The only maintenance is replacing the filtration media once per year (depending on your local water conditions and usage). The only time you may need a more frequent replacement is if your area has very heavy sediment. In this case, all the filters DO NOT need to be replaced more frequently. You can purchase the pre-sediment filter by itself if flow starts to become restricted. The other filters can remain on the normal yearly schedule unless you deem otherwise.
Where can they be installed? The drinking water filters and reverse osmosis filters are usually installed under the sink, but can be installed anywhere and be mounted anywhere. A handyman or plumber can easily install these systems. All drinking water filters and reverse osmosis systems come with all tubing, genuine John Guest quick-connect fittings, mounting bracket, dispensing faucet (included, but optional if you choose to use your own lead-free compliant faucet or pipe the filtration system into a main faucet or ice maker line, for example). The counter top water filter installs in less than a minute by attaching to the main kitchen faucet.
What contaminants do these systems remove? The drinking water filters and reverse osmosis systems use the highest quality, highest iodine rated, full bed depth, vibration packed filters – all made in the USA. The carbon is known for removing chlorine, chloramine, gases, dyes, fuels, man-made pollutants, pharmaceutical residues, and volatile organic contaminants. Other independent tests shows even greater capability, including total removal of various pesticides, BPA, hormones, THMs, benzenes, and hydrofluorosilicic acid (a form of fluoride used by 9/10 water treatment plants). Click here for a handy chart on removal capabilities.
Do your systems remove chloramine? Yes, the ESSENTIAL drinking water filters and ESSENTIAL reverse osmosis filters are the first of their kind and still the only sink filtration systems that effectively remove chloramine for the filter life. They are extremely popular in high chloramine areas like San Francisco, Los Angeles County, Texas, and Florida. Chloramine requires specialized carbon and longer contact time than chlorine, which is why the drinking water filters we offer use only full-size (10 inches), full bed-depth, vibration-packed filters – not tiny filters or carbon impregnated paper.
What are microns and what does something like “5 micron” mean? A micron is a unit of measurement that is very small, and equals one-thousandth of a millimeter (we told you it was tiny!). This is also a standard measurement of the size of the particles a filter can effectively remove. A smaller number means a smaller particle. For instance, 5 micron can remove smaller particles than 20 micron. At 1 micron, a filter can remove lead and cysts, such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia. For perspective, a single hair from your head is roughly 50-100 microns in diameter. A filter with a low micron level (example: 1-5 microns) will be more expensive than a filter with a higher micron level (example: 20 microns). 20 micron is ideal for whole home pre-sediment filtration since it does not adversely effect flow rate or pressure, and as long as the carbon is extremely high quality, it will be capable of absorbing and adsorbing thousands of contaminants over a long life. For drinking water, look for 1 and 5 micron filters.
What is the difference between the ESSENTIAL DWS and ESSENTIAL RO filter systems? Both systems use the same advanced filtration to effectively remove and reduce thousands of contaminants. Both use an advanced 5 micron pre-sediment filter, advanced carbon pre-filter, and 1 micron post-filter carbon block. Both systems have a capacity of 1,500 gallons (compare that to the usual 200-600 gallons on other filter systems). The ESSENTIAL DWS is an on-demand filtration system that does not manufacture or store water, so its daily capacity is unlimited. The ESSENTIAL RO is a reverse osmosis system, so it needs to manufacture and store water, so its daily capacity is limited. The ESSENTIAL RO is very efficient but still wastes water like all reverse osmosis systems. Its production ratio is 3:1. An RO system is ideal for areas with high heavy metals or arsenic, and for those with a personal preference for “flat” tasting water. The DWS is ideal for those wanting clean, healthy water without a storage tank and who prefer the “sweeter” taste of mineral or spring water.
What is the difference between the ESSENTIAL Reverse Osmosis three-stage, four-stage, and five-stage? These three systems are designed for varying degrees of contamination and difficulty. Usually, difficult well water is the only proper use for the four-stage and five-stage reverse osmoisis systems. All three remove and reduce thousands of contaminants, including chlorine, chloramine, pharmaceuticals, and heavy metals. They also remove naturally occurring minerals, which is generally considered a disadvantage.
- Q&A – Well Water Filters
How do I know what I need to treat my well water? To know which filtration appliance(s) you need, you have to know what is in your water. It is just like getting the results of a blood test before being given a medical treatment. Click here for information on how to get a complete and independent well water test from an EPA-certified lab. We recommend you DO NOT get your water tested by a water filtration manufacturer or water dealer. The results are often biased or incorrect. We also recommend that you test your water at least once per year to keep up-to-date with changes in your well water.
Do you make systems to treat iron/manganese/bacteria/arsenic/other issues? Yes, we offer an entire line of water treatment for different well water issues. Once you get your test results back, contact customer service. We will go over the report with you and make a recommendation.
Municipal (city) tap water is treated to keep certain contaminants within EPA regulations. Disinfectants like chlorine and/or chloramine are added to kill bacteria and prevent waterborne disease. Only 91 contaminants out of over 80,000 contaminants are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act (source: The President’s Cancer Panel 2010 annual report). Once the EPA decides to add a contaminant to the regulation list, it takes another 3 years to be put into effect by public water systems, and even then, there are exemptions for smaller facilities who do not have the resources to impose these new standards.
The sad fact is, our tap quality is not fine.
Chlorine and chloramine (a combination of chlorine and ammonia) are classified carcinogens and known irritants to soft tissues and mucous membranes, exacerbating asthma and allergy symptoms, eczema, red itchy eyes, and gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn’s and colitis. Chlorine will dissipate from a glass of tap water in about 30 minutes if left out, but chloramine will not. When we use unfiltered tap water to drink, cook, bathe, or shower, it contains chlorine and/or chloramine, their byproducts, VOCs, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, fuels, dyes, and more.
Filtration is the best solution (other than supporting better regulations for safe water). However, not all filtration is created equal. High quality filtration will remove offensive odors and tastes from tap water, but most importantly, it will thoroughly remove and reduce thousands of contaminants. Water on the Web exclusively retails Environmental Water Systems and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) filtration because it is the most reliable, highest quality filtration we have found on the market. All the products we offer are made in the USA and fully compliant with FDA, NSF, ANSI, and California State standards.
Do your filtration systems provide purified water?
Purified water is a misnomer. What most people mean by purified water is that it is free of toxic contaminants – and in that case, yes, the systems we offer provide that. Some people take that a step further and think it means it is free of everything – even the natural minerals. Reverse osmosis and distillation strip everything from the water, which can be good for certain situations (such as high heavy metal content or arsenic, which can be the case with well water). However, minerals must be added back to the water in order for it to be healthy to consume (source: World Health Organization, 2004). The vast majority of the filtration appliances we offer remove and reduce thousands of contaminants, while leaving the natural healthy minerals (calcium, potassium, and magnesium) intact.
What is hard water and do your systems treat it?
Hardness measures the amount of natural minerals in the water. It is not a health concern, and it is not a contaminant. However, high levels of water hardness can be a nuisance and contribute to build-up in pipes, water heaters, and on surfaces. Hard water requires special treatment and some extra care. We provide the EWS Series Whole Home Filtration & Conditioning, which conditions hardness minerals safely and effectively without salts, chemicals, or magnets. The EWS Series has won numerous awards and recognition, and has been our most popular series since 1999 (the systems themselves have been manufactured in the USA since 1987). Conditioning keeps the natural minerals in the water, but prevents scale build-up in pipes and water heaters, and makes it easier to wipe up spotting. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as spot-free water, even with salt softeners (there will be salt in the water, which will leave a residue).
What makes these filtration systems different from every other filtration system?
Quality. No other water filtration is made in the USA and meets or exceeds all applicable FDA, NSF, ANSI, and California State standards. Many filtration systems will boast a “made in the USA” tag but in reality, it was only assembled in the USA. Each appliance is engineered and made by hand in California. California has some of the strictest standards when it comes to water and filtration, and every filtration appliance we offer adheres to these standards. The carbon media used in these filtration systems is the only one of its kind – it is 100% pure, biodegradable, compostable, and sourced from North America and South America (not China, like the vast majority of other filtration). It is more expensive, but it is worth it because it is the most effective and longest lasting carbon available, which is why Environmental Water Systems filtration is used in hospitals, health care centers, military structures, high-end hotels, and hundreds of thousands of private homes worldwide. It is a cult favorite among professional athletes and A-list celebrities, and has received wonderful industry recognition (builders, architects, plumbers, high-end kitchen and bath showrooms) as the highest quality filtration available.
Furthermore, the filtration appliances we offer have long filter life and almost ZERO maintenance. The whole home systems have a filter lifespan of 7-10 years before requiring any maintenance at all. The sink filters only need a replacement once per year. Compare that to other whole home filters that require a replacement every 2-3 years, or sink filters that need a new filter every 3-6 months. That adds up to a lot of replacements, handyman or plumber bills, materials, time, and money.
Who can install the filtration systems?
The whole home filtration systems, drinking water systems, reverse osmosis systems, and other filtration appliances we offer can all be installed by a qualified handyman or licensed plumber. Handy homeowners may also choose to install their own filtration system. The under counter drinking water filter systems we offer are very easy to install and only take a few minutes. The whole home systems install easily like a water heater. Full instructions come with each and every appliance, but if you need assistance, manufacturer technical support is available to help.
Are the systems environmentally friendly?
Yes. Each filtration system is designed to minimize environmental impact. The filtration media inside each whole home appliance is 100% biodegradable and compostable, pure high-grade carbon. All sink filter system filters and housings are fully recyclable or biodegradable. Salt softeners are the only systems we offer that are not completely environmentally friendly, as their brine discharge can cause environmental upset in wetlands and are banned in several states around the country (particularly areas in California and Texas).
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