Last Updated: April 12, 2020
Getting the best whole house water filter cartridge is necessary if you want to get the most out of your whole house filter.
Water filter cartridges are by far the most important aspect of any water filter. This is because it’s the cartridge that cleans your water. The whole filter device is simply a way to house the cartridge.
Therefore, it is especially important that you choose the best filter cartridge for your whole house system. You will also need to make sure that you replace and service it in a manner that is timely and according to the manufacturers’ instructions.
The filter change frequency and rate will depend on the model, make and type of filter cartridge. But again, all brands will provide you with information and instructions about when and how to do this.
In this article, I’ll explain all the different types of water filter cartridges. This will include the different levels of filtration and then how to decide which one is best for you.
Water Filter Cartridge Replacement Guide
Before deciding which water filter cartridge you need to buy for your whole house filter, check if it’s compatible.
A quick hack into the best way to buy a new water filter cartridge is to look at the one that comes with your existing filter system. Most whole house water filter systems will usually already include a filter.
If you’re already happy with the quality of water that your existing whole house filter is producing then simply repeat. Take a note or picture of the model number and type that into Amazon.
The following sections will help you understand what all the different filter cartridge terminology means.
Sediment Water Filter Cartridges
Sometimes, these sediments are so small that you can’t see them with your naked eye. However, these sediments can cause harm to your body and even clog up over time in your pipes.
It is not enough to have a filter that only removes sediments (i.e. bit and pieces of dirt).
This is why a sediment filter is normally only part of a multi-level filtration process, usually in the pre-filter stage. This helps to protect the other more power filters.
Activated carbon water filter cartridges
Activated carbon is a popular form of water filtration. This is because it is a natural way of using naturally occurring elements of charcoal to filter water. Using carbon in this way is effective because it has a high surface area and ability to adsorb harmful pollutants.
This is unlike sediment filters as carbon filters are actually able to deal with chemicals, bacteria and germs not juts bits of physical dirt.
Most water filters are based on activated carbon filters because they are both affordable and effective. For instance, they can remove harmful compounds like herbicides, chlorine, and different types of microorganisms.
Every type of filter has its own pros and cons and the activated carbon is no different. The biggest advantage is that it has a very large surface area which means a better performance. GAC filters tend to have better flow rates and this is why they are typically used in shower filters.
You will usually find these types of filter cartridges in most multi-stage water filter systems. They don’t just filter harmful contaminants and chemicals but enhance the taste of water too.
You must replace them as soon as they become saturated with impurities, otherwise they won’t be as effective. And if you continue to use them beyond the end of their useful life then they become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria getting into your water.
Look out for carbon filters that are combined with other methods for the most effective forms of water filtration. For instance, there are some types of carbon filters that are impregnated with silver, in order to give themselves bacteriostatic properties.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filter
The reverse osmosis membrane is what make RO filters work.
The membrane is made from either cellulose triacetate (CTA) or a composite thin film (TFC). However, The cellulose triacetate (CTA) form of membrane is the most common type of reverse osmosis system used today.
Water is pushed through this membrane so that it can filter out a number of things from the water. RO filter cartridges are typically able to remove harmful contaminants like asbestos, mercury, cysts, dissolved salts and many more.
Reverse osmosis membranes and replacement filter cartridges have a longer lifespan than most cartridges. In fact there are some models on the market today that can last up to 3 years. This is especially the case if they are protected by pre-filters.
The Best Whole House Water Filter Cartridge?
The best option for a whole house water filter cartridge is one that is multi-stage.
Capacities that greatly exceed the capabilities of most single-stage filter systems.
Also note that there are many multi-stage water filter systems that only work from 1 filter cartridge. So more stages do not necessarily mean more cartridges but it may cost a little more than a single-stage.
Water Filter Cartridge Maintenance
The good news about water filter cartridges is that they don’t need a lot of maintenance. Simply make sure you have a way to know when they need to be replaced.
- If you don’t use the filter cartridge immediately then make sure you check the “expiration date”. Ideally, you should check this before you buy and ask for one with a longer expiry date if you plan to keep it for long before using.
- There are some filters that you can re-use by washing them, for example pleated filters or ceramic filters. However, you can not reuse them indefinitely. And you should not reuse them if they break or crack in anyway.
Which Is The Best Whole House Water Filter Cartridge?
The best whole house water filter cartridge is the one the manufacturer says you should use.
Popular reverse osmosis units for the whole home can sometimes use changeable generic cartridge filter brands.
So long as it will work with your model of whole house filter, then you shouldn’t have any problems.
However, always check the expiry date and keep an eye on the replacement filter indicators for the best results.