Published On: February 8, 2023
Many homeowners want to improve the quality of their tap water at home but aren't willing or do not see the need to hire a plumber for professional installation. Some install their own DIY water filtration system; others even decide to build their own.
While the building and installation process seems simple and cost-effective, filtering systems are complex. If they are not installed correctly, the water filters may not work as intended and could even pose a health risk.
A recently built three of the most common water treatment devices you'll find on DIY channels to test the safety of the water and different filter systems. Here's what they found:
The solar water system uses plastic bottles (previously used for bottled water), PVC pipes, and glue. Solar power and a UV system are used to produce filtered water. However, the temperature simply wasn't sufficient to produce enough water using this filtration method.
This method uses a 3D printer and filament to create a filter port attached to a water bottle. The system was able to filter water quickly, but the end result was dark grey water due to the use of charcoal.
The water tested was found to exceed nitrate and nitrite levels, although it was free from chlorine and organic contaminants, with a total water hardness of 400. The water would be deemed unsafe by the EPA.
The biofilter method is used to cleanse contaminated water by filtering it through layers of cloth, an activated carbon filter, gravel, sand, and cloth. While the method removed all obvious aesthetic contaminants and pollutants and had a poor pleasant water taste, the water was not safe to drink.
Clearly, a standard DIY water treatment system (as seen on YouTube) will not produce safe drinking water for your home. If you really want to be safe from volatile organic compounds, harmful bacteria, and water contaminants, you will very likely need to install a whole-house filtration system.
While there are several DIY kits on the market, all systems must be installed in line with your existing plumbing systems, which can be complex. You'll need to have a thorough understanding of your plumbing system and have the ability to correctly and safely cut, place, and connect piping.
Here are just a few reasons why you may need to call your plumber if you want to install a water filter in your home:
Installing a water system requires cutting into your plumbing. Making a mistake can lead to injuries, water leaks, and water damage - and you'll be without water until a professional technician can complete the repairs.
A whole house water system is usually installed near the shut-off valve where your entire water supply passes through; any damage can lead to catastrophic water losses and damage. If you improperly connect the water filter, it may not work, and you could end up contaminating your water in the process, which comes with added health risks.
A professional has the knowledge to choose the right system for their application and needs. A water softening system, for example, won't reduce odors. You need to choose a system and method that targets the right contaminant.
Cheap water purification systems are usually cheaper for a reason. A professional plumber can provide advice about the flow rate and materials you require based on your unique needs.
A professional system will last much longer, even if your water consumption is high. Many of the out-of-the-box systems provide for 3 gallons of continuous flower, compared to a professional system that can cater to 6-9 gallons of continuous water flow.
If you are using an out-of-the-box system, running a shower with a 3-gallon flow rate while someone does laundry will result in hardness breaking through, for example.
You should also consider the heavy metals and contaminants you would like to target. If you want to filter lead, arsenic, or nitrates, for example, you will need a whole-house water filtration system that targets that specific issue. Not all water conditioners are certified for all issues. Many of the equipment required to tackle those issues are only available to professional plumbers.
An experienced plumber will be able to provide advice and ensure that you receive healthier water that is free from disease-causing bacteria and other common contaminants from your water filter. They may also be able to assist you with professional water testing.
If you want purer water, don't try to save money in the short term. Cutting costs with a DIY water filtration system or out-of-the-box product can be costly in the long run. Instead, call a professional that provides the right system and ensure that your water quality improves. Clean drinking water is essential for all of us. Your initial investment may be more, but the results will be worth it.