Plan Your Home Water Quality Project

Plan Your Home Water Quality Project Carefully

Your home’s water supply comes from a private well or a municipal water system. Regardless of its source, the water likely contains impurities that impact the water’s taste, odor or health. However, treating, removing or filtering the water in your home used for drinking, showering, washing dishes and clothes, brushing teeth, and flushing toilets remains an option. For example, Point-of-Use (POU) water treatment devices or Point-of-Entry (POE) water treatment devices offer home water quality solutions.

Point-of-Use Devices

Point-of-Use devices treat water at the point of consumption. The technology provides the final barrier that restricts contaminants of concern before the water enters your home for consumption. Some commonly used Point-of-Use devices include:

Activated Carbon

Activated carbon is a widely used filtration substance that targets volatile organic compounds, such as benzene, trichloroethylene, and various pesticides and petroleum related compounds. Finally, maintenance is as simple as swapping out a cartridge once or twice a year.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis (RO) systems force water, under pressure, into a module that contains a semipermeable membrane and other filtration steps. Additionally, a typical RO system has a pre-filter designed to capture larger particles, chlorine, and other substances; a semipermeable membrane that captures more contaminants; an activated carbon filter that removes residual taste, odor and some organic contaminants; and has a storage tank to hold the treated water for use.

Ultraviolet (UV) Technologies

Disinfecting of water with ultraviolet (UV) light has long been popular for commercial use and is becoming more common in homes. For example, UV systems expose water to light at just the right wavelength for killing microbes. It’s a way to kill bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoans and cysts that may be present in the water. The effectiveness of the system depends on the strength and intensity of the light, the amount of time the light shines through the water. The light source must be kept clean and the UV lamp replaced periodically. However, UV light treatment can’t remove gases, heavy metals and particulates. For this reason, UV systems may also include filtration such as activated carbon.

Point-of-Entry Devices

Point-of-Entry devices treat your water supply via a whole-house treatment system. POE devices reduce contaminants in water used in your entire house. Some commonly used Point-of-Entry devices include:

Ion Exchange

Ion exchange operations remain highly dependent on the water analysis. The primary driving force is selectivity. Selectivity determines the ionic strength of the charge on the specific ion and the resin type. However, no resin is so highly selective that it is exclusive for a specific contaminant. Since most ion exchange processes are reversible, the ion exchangers can be regenerated (put back into their original form) and used over and over.

Activated Carbon

Activated carbon offers a widely used filtration substance that targets various volatile organic compounds, such as benzene, trichloroethylene, and various pesticides and petroleum related compounds. Additionally, maintenance remains as simple as swapping out a cartridge once or twice a year.


Although water softeners remove some heavy metals along with hardness, water filtration systems remain the best way for removing organic and inorganic materials (such as microbiological contaminants) and particulates (such as sand, rust and silt). For example, water filters remove these impurities with a fine physical barrier or using chemicals that help clean water and make it suitable for drinking.

Cation Exchange Water Softening

Ion exchange water softeners are among the most common ways of softening water. The typical ion exchange system consists of a pressure tank filled with sulfonated, polystyrene beads that are capable of removing hardness ions from water and replacing them with softer ions, such as sodium.

Electrochemical Water Treatment Systems

Electrochemical water treatment systems utilize electricity to induce the removal of dissolved contaminants in the water. Positively charged contaminants such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, lead and uranium, are called cations. Negatively charged contaminants such as chlorides, nitrates, nitrites, sulfates and fluorides, are called anions. The introduction of a negatively charged electrode, or cathode, into the water will cause positively charged cations to move towards it. Electrochemical water treatment systems take advantage of this property by combining the electrode with ion exchange membranes.

If you identified an issue or suspect a contaminant remains present in your water, or lab testing confirmed a contaminant and need more help for a solution, then contact a water quality contractor.