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Usually, well water requires thorough treatment before it’s ready for home use. One important component is a whole house well water filtration system that gives you access to clean water throughout your entire home, at every tap, faucet, shower, and any other type of outlet.
Most importantly, this protects your home appliances and plumbing system from damage caused by sediments, iron, and a few other water contaminants. The result: Lower maintenance needs and fewer repairs.
In addition, your overall exposure to harmful chemicals, organics, and heavy metals among other things can be reduced, not only from the water you drink and cook with, but also from the water you use for showering, bathing, and laundry. Ideally, you’ll consume nothing but healthy, odor-free, and great-tasting water.
So, here is our collection of the 7 best whole house water filters for well water. Enjoy!
- 1 Best Whole House Water Filters for Well Water – Top Picks
- 2 Best Whole House Water Filter For Well Water Reviews
- 2.1 1. Best for Iron, Manganese, Sulfur: SpringWell WS Whole House Well Water Filter System
- 2.2 2. Best for Chemicals & Organics: SpringWell CF Whole House Water Filter System
- 2.3 3. Best for Sediments: Fleck 5600 Ag ChemSorb Sediment Filter for Well Water by QWT
- 2.4 4. Best for Low Budgets and Iron: SoftPro Iron Master AIO Water Filtration System
- 2.5 5. Best Cartridge-Based: HMF3SdgFeC Whole House Water Filtration System by Home Master
- 2.6 6. Best for Chemicals and Microbes: Aquasana Rhino EQ Well Whole House Water System
- 2.7 7. Best for Low Budgets: Express Water 3-Stage Whole House Water Filter
- 2.8 8. Best NSF-Certified: iSpring WGB32B-KS and WGB32BM 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System
- 3 Whole House Well Filtration System Comparison Chart
- 4 Buyer’s Guide – How to Buy a Well Water Filtration System (+ How We Tested)
- 5 What Is a Whole House Water Filter for Well Water
- 6 Why Do I Need a Well Water Filter System?
- 7 How Does a Whole House Water Filtration System for Well Water Work and What Does it Remove?
- 8 Where and How to Install a Whole Home Well Water Filter
- 9 Maintenance: Changing a Whole House Water Filter
- 10 Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Well Water Filtration Systems
- 11 Popular Brands Listing Well Water Filter Systems
- 12 What Does a Whole House Well Water Filtration System Cost?
- 13 Most Common Contaminants Found in Well Water
- 14 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- 15 Conclusion
Best Whole House Water Filters for Well Water – Top Picks
Best Whole House Water Filter For Well Water Reviews
The order of the following well water filtration system reviews is deliberate. Our favorite products are at the top.
1. Best for Iron, Manganese, Sulfur: SpringWell WS Whole House Well Water Filter System
Coupon Code (5% Off): Masterz5
In our opinion, the best whole house water filter for well water in 2023 is the SpringWell WS. Designed to remove iron, hydrogen sulfide, and manganese, it’s the perfect choice if you’re having trouble with red or brown stains, metallic water taste, or rotten egg smell.
Tip: In case there also are chemicals like pesticides or organic contaminants in your water – or a combination of the two – think about adding SpringWell’s CF system from below. The combo is the best if you want great tasting and clean water.
- Price: $$$
- Filtration capacity: 18 to 25 years
- Water flow rate depends on which filter size you choose
- WS1: 12 gallons of water per minute (1-4 bathrooms)
- WS4: 20 gallons per minute (large households with 4+ bathrooms)
- Water pH must be between 6.5 and 10 to achieve maximum filtration effectiveness
- Best for: The SpringWell WS Whole House Well Water Filter System is best for the removal of manganese, iron and sulfur from well water.
- Air injection pre-oxidation plus greensand media filter up to 7 ppm ferrous and ferric iron, up to 8 ppm of hydrogen sulfide, and up to 1 ppm manganese.
- Eliminates reddish or brownish water staining caused by iron and manganese, removes metallic off-taste, and neutralizes rotten egg smell.
- Greensand also removes some arsenic and radium from water.
- The filtration process is safe for your septic system.
- Filter programming and monitoring can be done using the digital head valve or a mobile device.
- Easy installation for do-it-yourselfers. Detailed instructions including photos for each step are provided.
- System is fully automated which is comfortable: Air pocket resets daily and tank backwashes every couple of days, depending on the quality of your water.
- According to the manufacturer, the greensand lasts between 18 and 25 years with zero maintenance required from your side.
- A money back guarantee allows you to try the whole house filter for 6 months. If you’re unhappy with your purchase you can return the system for a full refund.
- A lifetime warranty has you covered in case anything goes wrong with your SpringWell whole house well water filtration system.
- Plastic fittings easily cross-thread which is why we would have preferred metal.
2. Best for Chemicals & Organics: SpringWell CF Whole House Water Filter System
Coupon Code (5% Off): Masterz5
We usually recommend the SpringWell CF Whole House Water Filter System for people on city water. However, if you use shock chlorination on your well to kill microorganisms and you want to get rid of the excess chlorine, the SpringWell CF is perfect for the job. What’s more, it’ll remove disinfection byproducts, pesticides, herbicides, VOCs, and overall bad taste and odor among other things. The end result is filtered water that likely beats drinking water standards.
- Price: $$
- Filter capacity: 1,000,000 gallons
- Flow rate depends on which filter size you choose
- CF1: 9 gallons per minute (1-3 bathrooms)
- CF4: 12 gpm flow rate (4-6 bathrooms)
- CF+: 17 gpm flow rate (7+ bathrooms)
- Best for: The SpringWell CF is ideal for treating well water that contains chemicals and organic compounds.
- 5-micron sediment pre-filter removes dirt, sand, rust, etc. so that the actual filter system doesn’t clog.
- Catalytic activated carbon reduces chlorine, chloramine, volatile organic compounds, pesticides, herbicides, and more. Carbon also greatly improves how your water tastes and smells.
- Additionally, KDF (copper-zinc alloy) removes any remaining chlorine and some heavy metals. The filter media also stops bacteria and other germs from fouling the system.
- SpringWell guarantees chlorine and chloramine removal below the minimum detection level for 1 million gallons or 6 years, whichever comes first.
- We consider the whole house system to be easy to install as long as you follow the provided instructions. If you do the installation yourself you don’t have to pay a plumber.
- Only the sediment pre-filter requires annual or biannual replacement. A set of two filters comes in at roughly $40 which is affordable. A built-in bypass makes servicing the system a lot easier.
- For peace of mind, the filter system comes with a money-back guarantee. If you’re unhappy with your purchase you can return it within the first 6 months and receive a 100% refund.
- All SpringWell whole house water filtration systems are warranted for lifetime.
- As with the SpringWell whole house WS, we would have preferred metal instead of plastic fittings.
3. Best for Sediments: Fleck 5600 Ag ChemSorb Sediment Filter for Well Water by QWT
Quality Water Treatment (QWT) has put together the best well water filtration system that specializes in the removal of sediment, which is often abundant in well water. The system uses the Fleck 5600 control valve together with a no-name tank filled with ChemSorb which makes it a surprisingly cheap yet effective water clarifier.
- Price: $
- Filtration capacity: 4 to 6 years of clean drinking water
- Service flow rate depends on which system size you choose
- System with 1 cu. ft.: Around 7 gpm (ideal for 1-3 bathrooms)
- System with 1.5 cu. ft.: 10 gpm (ideal for 4-5 bathrooms)
- Best for: The Fleck 5600 Ag ChemSorb is best for sediment filtration.
- This filter setup is much more affordable than most other similar sediment filters on the market.
- ChemSorb, a granular and naturally-occurring zeolite, removes suspended solids down to 5 microns in size (nominal) enhancing water high quality. The filtration process affects sediments as well as inorganic metals.
- The system is relatively easy to install and should not pose a problem if you’re handy with tools.
- ChemSorb has low backwash requirements which saves water.
- You can forget about the filter for the next 4 to 6 years. It is fully automated.
- QWT offers a 100 percent no-risk satisfaction guarantee. Thus, you can return the product within the first 60 days of the ship date and get your money back.
- The product warranty covers the tank for 10 years, the Fleck control valve for 5 years, and the distributor for 1 year.
- There’s no warranty on the ChemSorb.
4. Best for Low Budgets and Iron: SoftPro Iron Master AIO Water Filtration System
The SoftPro Iron Master AIO Water Filtration System makes a solid alternative to SpringWell’s WS Filter System. It’s incredibly effective at removing iron, sulfur, and manganese even at extremely high concentrations. Make sure to check it out!
- Price: $$
- Filtration capacity: Katalox usually lasts between 5 and 10 years
- Flow rate depends on which filter size you choose
- 1.0 cubic feet filter: 5 gpm (1 bathroom)
- 1.5 cubic feet filter: 7 gpm (1-3 bathrooms)
- 2.0 cubic feet filter: 10 gpm (up to 4 bathrooms)
- Best for: The SoftPro Iron Master AIO is a system best for those on a low budget and removes iron, sulfur and manganese from well water.
- The setup was created by Quality Water Treatment and features the SoftPro Elite control valve, an Iron Master tank, and Katalox filter media. Together the components can reduce up to 30 parts per million of iron from well water, up to 7 ppm manganese, and up to 5 ppm hydrogen sulfide. Air Induction Technology (AIO), or air injection, utilizes air as a natural oxidizer to boost iron removal.
- The filter can easily be installed by DIYers to save money.
- A quick-connect hose kit is offered as a free bonus upgrade at the time of writing this review. Quick-connect hoses make system installation much easier.
- Katalox usually lasts between 5 and 10 years, depending on your water quality and usage.
- Thanks to a 100% money back guarantee can you try the SoftPro Iron Master for 60 days without risk.
- A limited lifetime warranty covers control valve (except wear parts) and tank. The circuit board has a 7-year warranty.
- There’s no warranty on the Katalox.
5. Best Cartridge-Based: HMF3SdgFeC Whole House Water Filtration System by Home Master
The HMF3SdgFeC by Home Master belongs to the group of cartridge-based whole house water filters. For well water filtration, we consider it one of the best of its kind. Why? Versatility: It removes sediment, bacteria, and cyst down to a size of 1 micron; it reduces iron; and it filters unpleasant smell and taste, VOCs, and chemicals among a few other water contaminants.
- Price: $
- Type: 3-stage whole house water filter system
- Filtration capacity is different for each filter stage
- Water flow rate: 15 gpm (up to 4+ bathrooms)
- Optimal water pH is > 7
- Best for: The HMF3SdgFeC is ideal for those looking for a cartridge based filtration system.
- Filter stage 1 traps large particles like sediment, cyst, and bacteria. The cartridge is a so-called multi-gradient density filter. It consists of multiple filtration layers each with a different micron rating: 25, 10, 5, and 1 (nominal).
- Filter stage 2 removes up to 3 ppm ferrous iron AND ferric iron which solves any staining problem. Manganese and hydrogen sulfide can be reduced, as well. Ideally, however, your water contains no sulfur and 1 part per million manganese at most. Otherwise, filter life may be shortened.
- Filter stage 3 uses granular activated carbon to remove chlorine, pesticides, VOCs, and other chemicals and (in)organic water contaminants. Granular carbon is also great for water freshness.
- If you have the right tools and know how to use them you shouldn’t have any difficulties installing the Home Master HMF3SdgFeC whole house filtration system.
- The different filtration stages need replacement no more than once and twice a year at regular use.
- This whole house water filter comes with a 2-year limited warranty.
- Replacement filters aren’t cheap and start to add up over time.
- There’s no built-in bypass.
6. Best for Chemicals and Microbes: Aquasana Rhino EQ Well Whole House Water System
There are different versions of the Aquasana Rhino. For well water filtration we recommend the Rhino EQ-Well-UV. It eliminates different contaminants commonly found in private wells: Sediment, organics, waterborne pathogens including bacteria and viruses, water-soluble heavy metals, hydrogen sulfide gas, and chemicals.
- Price: $$
- Filter capacity: 500,000 gallon well water
- Water flow rate: 7 gpm (perfect amount of water for 1-3 bathrooms)
- Best for: The Aquasana Rhino EQ is best for removing organic compounds, chemicals, metals and microorganisms.
- Before the actual filtration, a 20-inch polypropylene sediment pre-filter catches sediment, silt, and rust so they don’t cause clogging.
- Catalytic activated carbon filters chemicals like pesticides and herbicides, VOCs, and hydrogen sulfide gas to some extent.
- KDF-85 filter media further reduces sulfur and heavy metal content. KDF media is also known for controlling microorganisms.
- A .35-micron post-filter reduces any remaining organic particles and sediment.
- Finally, a UV filter destroys 99.99% bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens found in well water.
- Although there are multiple filter elements, system maintenance isn’t that time consuming. Aquasana recommends replacing the pre-filter every two months. The post filter lasts six months and the UV light bulb around one year. The Rhino tank has a filter life of 5 years. Replacement costs are manageable.
- A limited lifetime warranty covers defects in materials or workmanship in manufacturing.
- The reason we you shouldn’t install the Aquasana Rhino EQ-Well-UV yourself isn’t because it’s too difficult; DIY installation will void the product warranty.
- The system and especially the plastic fittings are prone to leaking.
- Does not backwash so filtration capacity might actually be lower than what Aquasana advertises.
7. Best for Low Budgets: Express Water 3-Stage Whole House Water Filter
As the name suggests, the Express Water 3-Stage Whole House Water Filter uses three stages of filtration to remove over 80 different contaminants that could be lurking in your water.
The system is highly popular among Amazon customers, and we can see why: It’s an all-rounder and as Express Water puts it, “Simple to set up, Simple to use”. Plus, the price is hard to beat. Just don’t expect the most thorough filtration…
- Price: $
- Type: 3-stage water filter system, 20″ x 4.5″ cartridges
- Filtration capacity: 6 months or 100,000 gallons of water for each filter stage
- High flow rate: Up to 15 gpm (up to 4+ bathrooms)
- Best for: The Express Water 3-Stage Whole House Water Filter is a 3 stage filter system best for those on a low budget who seek basic filtration.
- The first stage catches large particles down to 5 microns in size: Rust, sand, silt, dirt. Basically, it protects the other filters from coarse sediments.
- Filter stage 2 is an activated carbon block filter. It removes chlorine, volatile organic compounds like industrial solvents, and tastes and odors.
- Stage 3 reduces dangerous heavy metals, iron, lead, and chromium to name a few, using a combination of catalytic carbon and KDF-85. It further eliminates bacteria, viruses, algae, and other microorganisms.
- You can mount the system using the mounting bracket or simply let it stand on its stainless steel frame.
- Water pressure gauges allow you to monitor each of the three filtration stages separately. If you notice a drop in water pressure, you are probably in for a filter replacement. Pressure release buttons make the exchange process much smoother.
- 1-year limited warranty.
- Some reviewers had issues with leaking even when using plenty of Teflon tape for sealing.
- Not all buyers were happy with how the system performed. Some said it lacked effectiveness or that filters failed after a short time which is a problem since replacement filters are not exactly cheap.
8. Best NSF-Certified: iSpring WGB32B-KS and WGB32BM 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System
Our last review features the iSpring WGB32B-KS, a whole house water filtration system for heavy metal reduction, and the iSpring WGB32BM, an iron and manganese reducing filter. Since they are cartridge-style, both systems have a low price tag but are more expensive to maintain.
- Price: $
- Type: Three-stage filtration system, 20″ x 4.5″ cartridges (Big Blue)
- Capacity varies for the different filtration stages
- Polypropylene sediment filter (first stage): 100,000 gallons
- Coconut shell carbon block filter: 100,000 gallons
- GAC + KDF filter: 150,000 gallons of water
- Manganese + iron filter: 50,000 gallons at 3 parts per million iron
- Rating: Up to 15 gpm flow rate (up to 4+ bathrooms)
- Best for: The iSpring WGB32B-KS and WGB32BM systems are best for those looking for an NSF-certified filter.
- NSF/ANSI certified WGB32B-KS and WGB32BM use the same 5-micron polypropylene sediment and 5-micron coconut shell carbon block filters to remove chlorine taste and odor (up to 99%), chemicals, cloudiness, colors, dirt, and various larger-sized particles from water.
- The KDF and granular activated coconut shell carbon filter that comes with the WGB32B-KS also protects your family and home appliances from contaminants including lead, mercury, and other heavy metals, sulfur, pesticides, and herbicides.
- The WGB32BM features an iron and manganese removal filter. It reduces up to 3 ppm iron and up o 1 ppm manganese as well as a plethora of metals found in well water sources.
- Leaking seems to be an issue, for example from the NPT inlet.
- Some people have to constantly change their filters every few weeks to maintain water pressure. At approximately $150 per set, costs are bound explode at such filter replacement frequency.
Whole House Well Filtration System Comparison Chart
How do the best water filtration systems for well water perform when directly compared to each other?
|Products||$$$||Filtration Capacity||Flow Rate||Best For||Details|
|SpringWell Whole House Well Water Filter (Top Pick)||$$$||18-25 Years||12-20 gpm||Best Overall for Iron, Manganese, Sulfur||Single-Stage System|
|SpringWell CF||$$||1,000,000 Gallons||9-17 gpm||Best for Chemicals, Organics||Makes Water Safe to Drink, Sediment Pre-Filter|
|Fleck 5600 ChemSorb||$||4-6 Years||7-10 gpm||Best for Sediment Filtration|
|SoftPro Iron Master AIO||$$||5 to 10-Year Life||5-10 gpm||Best for Iron, Manganese, Sulfur and Low Budgets|
|Home Master Whole House||$||Varies||15 gpm||Best Cartridge-Style Water Purification System||3-Stage Filtration System, Activated Coconut Shell Carbon Filter, Removes Heavy Metals, Chlorine|
|Aquasana Rhino EQ-Well-UV Purifier||$$||500,000 Gallon Well Water||7 gpm||Best for Chemicals, Organics, Metals, Microorganisms||Uses Pre and Post-Filters: Sediment Pre-Filter, UV Filter|
|Express Water||$||100,000 Gallons||15 gpm||Best for Basic Filtration and Low Budgets||3-Stage Filtration System, Activated Carbon Filter + Iron Filter|
|iSpring WGB32B-KS & WGB32BM Whole House Filtration Systems||$||50,000-150,000 Gallons||15 gpm||Best for NSF-Certified Filtration||3-Stage Filtration System, Activated Carbon Filter + Iron Filter, NSF/ANSI Certified|
Buyer’s Guide – How to Buy a Well Water Filtration System (+ How We Tested)
A whole house well filtration system has many benefits, IF you choose one that’s up to standards. But what does that even mean? Here’s our buyer’s guide with everything you need to know about how to buy the best water filtration system for well water.
Whole House Filter Types
Most whole house filters use activated carbon to remove water disinfectants and their byproducts, (in-)organic chemicals such as pesticides, a few heavy metals, and, at least as important, unpleasant taste and odor. Usually, the carbon is in granular form. Carbon blocks are rarer.
Often, those whole house filters also apply pre-filtration to get rid of sediments that would otherwise clog the system. More sophisticated models might even feature additional filter media, for example KDF (kinetic degradation fluxion), a copper-zinc mixture, to improve overall filtration effectiveness and prevent microorganisms from accumulating.
Whole house filtration systems specifically designed for the treatment of well water, however, are different. They often focus on filtering the different forms of iron as well as manganese and hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell), which are common contaminants in well water. Filtration methods used include aeration, chlorine injection, and ozonation for pre-oxidation often followed by mechanical filtration.
We also find well filter systems that will only remove suspended solids – think sediments and inorganic metals – to enhance water quality. One example for a 5-micron sediment filter is the Fleck 5600 listed above. Its primary filtration media is ChemSorb.
Then we have well water filters that also apply sterilization which is key if you’re dealing with waterborne pathogens. Most prominent are UV filters that inactivate up to 99.99% bacteria like E Coli, viruses, and other microorganisms.
Another way to group whole house filter systems is whether they’re cartridge-based units or whether they use one or more large media tanks. The latter is more expensive upfront but doesn’t require much of your attention once set up. Well water filters that work with cartridges need regular maintenance. Above that, the cost for continuously buying replacement filters can really add up over time.
Well Water Quality & Treatment
Which of the above whole house filter types is best suited for your well depends on its water quality.
Thus, before buying a water filter make sure to have your well water thoroughly tested so that you can answer the following questions:
- Which harmful contaminants are present in your private well and at what levels?
- What’s your water’s pH range?
- What is the hardness level and TDS (total dissolved solids) concentration
Only by testing for these water parameters can you buy a filter system that’s capable of removing any undesirable contaminants.
How to test? Theoretically speaking, you could do this yourself using one of the many water test kits available at your local hardware store, but results may lack accuracy and you can only test for a narrow range of pollutants. What we recommend instead is hiring a professional lab, Tap Score for example. This will give you a more complete picture of the situation.
Sediment filters remove suspended solids from water. A low micron rating means even the smallest particles will get caught.
1 micron = 1/1000 of a millimeter
However, a lower micron rating may also reduce output water pressure. And if you go too small all you get may be a fine trickle or water flow will stop entirely. In other words, try to find a good balance between filtration effectiveness and usability.
By the way, common micron ratings are 50, 25, 10, 5, and 1. Submicron ratings are rare with whole house water filter systems. From our list, only the Aquasana EQ-Well-UV has a submicron rating.
Flow Rate & Water Usage
It is estimated that the average domestic water use per capita and day is between 50 and 100 gallons of water. This can be broken down into:
- Showering: Back in the day, high-flow shower heads used up to 7 gallons of water per minute. Today, low-flow models use no more than 1.5 gallons per minute.
- Faucets: The current federal standard for kitchen faucets is 2.2 gpm. Bathroom faucets use no more than 0.5 gpm with a high-efficient aerator.
- Toilets: Old toilets used up to 7 gallons per flush, while newer models use as little as 1.3 gallons.
- Washing dishes: The most efficient dishwashers use no more than 4 gallons per load. In the past, they used to consume 15 gallons.
- Washing machine: Did you know that front loaders save a lot of water compared to top loaders? 15 gallons per load versus 40.
If you do the math, you’ll find that your peak water usage might be higher than you had expected – when your kids are taking a shower, your spouse is washing vegetables in the kitchen sink, the dishwasher is running, and you’re putting a new load into the washer.
Why is this important? Because your potential new whole house well water filter must be capable of meeting your water demand at times of peak consumption. Otherwise, you might see a water pressure drop or unfiltered water bleeding through.
A good baseline is at least 8 to 10 gallons per minute for the average-size household (family of 4). Larger homes may need 15 gallons per minute and more.
Media beds last for at least several years; filter cartridges not so long which means higher maintenance needs.
Whole house filter systems aren’t exactly small, so double-check that you have enough room near the main water supply line to accommodate a unit.
If you’re not a do-it-yourself type of guy, don’t forget to take into account the cost for professional installation and maintenance before buying a home water filter.
Especially long-term expenses can be much higher than the initial cost of purchase with cartridge-based filter systems.
What Is a Whole House Water Filter for Well Water
If you’re on well water a whole house filtration system is a must. It connects to the main water line to treat all water at the point of entry and before it gets distributed via the various lines in your home.
Why is using a whole house water filtration system important? Because it protects your health and it extends the life of your entire plumbing system and home appliances. Additionally, water taste and smell will be much better, and your clothes won’t stain and keep their color.
Once installed, a whole house water filter is easy to maintain. In fact, many systems don’t require any servicing for years. With cartridge-style filters need replacement every 6 to 12 months.
Why Do I Need a Well Water Filter System?
Do you even need a whole house water filter when you’re on your own private well?
A well water source can expose you to a variety of harmful contaminants like arsenic. While municipal water systems use water treatment and monitoring to protect consumers, private wells do not receive the same services. It’s in the well owners’ own responsibility to filter their water.
Contamination sources affecting private wells can be naturally occurring and man-made. For example:
- Heavy metals can leach into your well water directly from your home’s plumbing or from industrial and commercial sources including mining operations, petroleum refineries, and municipal waste disposal. There also are natural deposits that can contaminate private wells through groundwater movement and surface water seepage. Harmful metals commonly found in well water include arsenic, chromium, and lead. High exposure can result in toxicity, organ damage, and cancer.
- Microorganisms originate from human sewage and animal waste. They enter wells when being picked up by water run-off from rainfall or snow-melt. Other pollution sources are leaking underground waste storage tanks and septic fields. People that drink polluted water can experience gastrointestinal illnesses and infections.
- Organic chemicals as found in many household products and widely used in agriculture and industry contaminate private wells through surface water run-off, waste disposal, and spills. People that are exposed may suffer from kidney and liver damage, and impairment of the nervous and reproductive system.
Apart from protecting yourself from being harmed, filtering your well water also protects your plumbing and appliances from damage.
How Does a Whole House Water Filtration System for Well Water Work and What Does it Remove?
Installed at the main water supply line, a well water purification system filters all water at the point of entry. But how do they work?
Many systems use surface pre-filters to remove larger particles and thus prevent clogging of the other filter elements.
This is followed by the main filtration process. Depending on the type of system, this might be a large media tank that combines air injection oxidization – other methods for pre-oxidation are chlorine injection and ozonation – with greensand filtration to reduce iron, manganese, and sulfur content. Simply put, well water flows into the filter system. Then, the water passes through the media bed and re-enters your plumbing system all nice and clean.
Another common type of well water filter focuses on removing nothing but high amounts of suspended solids. These filters are also called sediment filters.
Filtration using granular activated carbon media makes sense if you found chemicals like pesticides in your well water. Carbon also helps with the removal of excess chlorine in case you rely on shock chlorination for disinfection. And it greatly improves water aesthetics in most cases.
KDF media is often added to support contaminant removal and control microbial growth. Bone char and activated alumina can be used to remove naturally occurring fluoride.
UV filtration is the best way to sterilize water killing up to 99.99% viruses and bacteria AND algae.
Where and How to Install a Whole Home Well Water Filter
In well water systems, you should install your whole house water filter after the pressure tank and before any water softening system or water condition equipment. This allows the filter system to backwash and at the same time it protects the water softener or conditioner from damage caused by contamination.
Should you try installing a whole house water filter yourself? If you are handy with tools and maybe even have some prior plumbing experience we think you should definitely give it a try. Not having to call a professional handyman will save you hundreds of dollars. And if you use flex tubing and shark bite fittings you won’t even have to do any soldering.
To give you a basic idea of what the installation process looks like, here are some general instructions. Please remember that the individual steps may differ for your specific setup:
- Some filter media require priming before use. In case this applies to your filter system, follow the manufacturer instructions. The priming can take up to 48 hours.
- Next, close the valve at the main water line. All remaining water needs to be drained. You can do so by opening the nearest outlets.
- Cut into the water line. Remove a short section where you install and service your well filter system comfortably.
- Some manufacturers recommend installing a shut-off valve on both sides of the filter. A bypass can make a useful addition, too.
- Making sure the whole house filter stands on level ground and faces the right direction is key. Then, connect the filter inlet to the incoming water supply and the filter outlet to the outgoing water supply. Plumber’s tape should be applied to all threaded ends for proper sealing – unless instructed otherwise.
- Slowly open the main valve with the filter system still in bypass position. Check for leaks.
- Open the bypass valve and let water enter the system. Check for leaks and flush out any air and installation debris.
- The whole house well water filter might require proper flushing before use.
Maintenance: Changing a Whole House Water Filter
Whole house water filtration systems are maintenance-free for the most part. Only filter cartridges need replacement up to a couple of times per year. What’s important is that you replace each filter stage in a timely manner to ensure peak performance (check the product manual for more info).
When it’s time for a filter replacement, you can follow the process as outlined here:
- Shut off the water supply to the filter. All remaining water needs to be drained. You can do so by opening the nearest outlets.
- A filter housing is best to be opened with a filter wrench or strap.
- Remove the old filter cartridge from the housing.
- The inside of filter housings may require cleaning or sanitizing.
- Check the condition of O-rings. Lubricate or replace if need be.
- Insert a new filter cartridge into the filter housing and screw it back on.
- Slowly open the water supply. Check for leaks.
- The new filters might require proper flushing before use
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Well Water Filtration Systems
In summary, what are the advantages and disadvantages of using well water filtration systems?
- A whole house well water filter can protect you from almost any harmful contaminant that might be present in your well as long as you choose the right system for the task.
- Your water will not only be healthier, clean water also tastes and smells much better.
- Properly treated well water does not cause harm on your plumbing and home appliances, meaning lower maintenance needs and fewer repairs.
- Your clothes will maintain their color for a longer time.
- Whole house water filter systems for well water can be installed by do-it-yourselfers.
- Maintaining most filter systems is super easy thanks to long-lasting filter elements.
- You’ll have filtered water everywhere in your home.
- Well water filter systems aren’t cheap. To this you may have to add expenses for installation and maintenance. Especially cartridge-based filter systems can be expensive to operate long-term.
- Choosing the right system isn’t always easy. You need to have your well water thoroughly tested.
Popular Brands Listing Well Water Filter Systems
In our opinion, SpringWell is the leading brand when it comes to well water filter systems. Most popular is the SpringWell WS Whole House Well Water Filter System designed to remove iron, hydrogen sulfide and manganese. It’s based on air injection for pre-oxidation followed by greensand.
You can combine it with the SpringWell CF Whole House Water Filter System featuring catalytic carbon to get rid of chemicals like pesticides that might be present in your water supply, too.
In case of hard well water, SpringWell also offers one salt-based and one salt-free water softener.
More specialized filter systems such as a tannin removal system and a calcite pH neutralizer are also available.
Aquasana is another popular well water filter brand. For whole house treatment, the Aquasana Rhino is your best bet. There are different versions for both city and well water. The latter comes with a built-in UV stage filter which inactivates all kinds of microbes.
Home Master systems are cartridge-based. This means they don’t feature a large tank filled with filter media but rather use replaceable filter cartridges that last between 6 months and more than 1 year.
What we like about Home Master is that they also allow you to configure your own system based on your water quality and filtration needs.
What Does a Whole House Well Water Filtration System Cost?
How much a whole house filter for well water costs depends on several factors.
Most important is your well water quality and therefore the kind of treatment required to make the water suitable for usage.
If all you need is a basic sediment water filter and that’s it, you probably don’t need to spend more than a few hundred dollars for a simple cartridge-based sediment filter setup.
If on the other hand you need to get rid of iron, sulfur, scale and several chemicals, you’ll have to invest much more for a combination of filtration methods/filter media. In this case, the costs are likely to go into the thousands.
To this you need to add expenses for installation. And it takes longer to connect a whole house well water filter to your main water line than it takes to hook up a POU filter under your kitchen sink. If you can do everything yourself, you’ll probably still need to spend around $100 for installation supplies. If you’re planning on hiring a professional installer, calculate with at least $300-500 in extra fees.
Most Common Contaminants Found in Well Water
What are the most common contaminants found in well water?
First of all, private wells can be contaminated artificially due to human activities, and they can be contaminated naturally for example when iron seeps into your well from an underground deposit.
The group of microorganisms found in well water includes parasites, viruses and bacteria. They usually originate from animal waste or human sewage. How do they end up in a private well? Heavy rainfall or snow-melt can wash coliform bacteria etc. into our water systems. Leaks in septic systems and similar underground tanks also play a role.
Health impacts: Gastrointestinal illnesses & infections
These can leach into water supplies from industrial plants like petroleum refineries and cement plants (run-off) as well as natural deposits. Another contamination source is the well system itself with outdated well pumps or corroding pipes/solder.
Health impacts: When you consume high levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead or similar heavy metals you can suffer from acute toxicity. Chronic toxicity can also occur over a long time. Both can damage your kidneys, liver and other organs.
Organic chemicals are widely used in industry (dyes, solvents, paints), agriculture (pesticides, pharmaceuticals) and many household products (disinfectants, cleaning agents). From there, they enter our surface and groundwater sources through intended waste disposal or accidental run-offs/spills. Eventually, they end up in your home’s water supply.
Health impacts: Depending on the chemical in question, potential health impacts include organ damage and impairment of the nervous/reproductive system.
Manure and human sewage are two of the largest nitrate/nitrite sources. Fertilizers also do their part. Both salts can seep into a private well easily and are a common culprit.
Health impacts: When ingested, nitrate converts into nitrite. Nitrite is particularly dangerous for babies. Why? It’s known to cause what’s called Blue Baby Syndrome, a condition where the blood’s ability to transport oxygen is impaired. Thus, symptoms include blue skin color and shortness of breath. When fed water containing high levels of nitrite, infants younger than 6 months can become critically ill.
Radionuclides are radioactive and therefore harmful to all living beings upon contact. In our public and private water supplies, uranium and other elements can be naturally occurring or a manmade factor – think mining, nuclear power plants, etc.
Health impacts: Kidney damage & cancer risk
Fluoride is typically found in public water supplies due to fluoridation. However, it can also be present in private well water when fed from an aquifer.
Health impacts: High consumption over an extended period of time can result in skeletal and dental fluorosis, tooth discoloration and pitting of teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What kind of filter is best for well water?
This is different for each well and depends on the condition of your water. This is why we recommend to have your water tested. Based on the analysis, you can choose a filtration system best suited for your water quality.
Should you filter well water?
In the majority of cases, yes. Raw well water rarely meets drinking water standards, so you need a water filter. Contaminants most commonly found in well water include microorganisms, heavy metals, nitrate/nitrite, radionuclides, fluoride and all sorts of chemicals.
Can you get parasites from well water?
You can if they’re present in your well water. You can hire a laboratory to conduct testing. If parasites are found you should consider shock-chlorinating your well supply (bi-)annually.
Is well water safer than city water?
It depends on the quality of the city water and the quality of the well water. However, keep in mind that tap water already had treatment applied to it and must meet drinking water standards.
How much is a filtration system for well water?
The cheapest home filtration systems cost less than $100 USD. They are basic sediment filters that remove suspended solids. A multi-stage well water filter system that has to remove iron, manganese, sulfur, chemicals, and microorganisms can cost $3,000 USD and more.
A whole house water filter for well water can make a great addition to your home. You just need to install one that’s suited for your well. Our first choice for the removal of iron, manganese, and sulfur is the SpringWell Water WS. For chemicals and organic contaminants like herbicides, pesticides, and VOCs we recommend the SpringWell Water CF. A great heavy duty sediment filter is the Fleck 5600. The HMF3SDGFEC is a great whole home water filter system using cartridges.
If you have any questions about our whole house well water filtration system reviews please leave a comment below!
- The Best Whole House Water Filter of 2023? 7 Reviews + Guide
- Best Whole House Water Filter-Softener Combo Systems
- 8 Best Iron Filter for Well Water Reviews 2023 + Buyer Guide
- What’s the Best Sediment Filter for Well Water?
- Best 20-Inch Whole House Water Filter Cartridges
- About Whole House Water Filter Pressure Drop
-  https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/contamination-us-private-wells
-  https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/wells/waterquality/hydrosulfide.html
-  https://www.plumbingsupply.com/water-use-statistics.html
-  https://www.epa.gov/node/83209/view
-  https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/private/wells/diseases.html
Jason is the founder of Water Masterz and head of content creation. After six years in the industry, he has tremendous knowledge and first-hand experience on all things related to water treatment.
His credo: Not a single American should have to drink unhealthy water at home.