When it comes to water filtration, you have two main choices -- an inline point of use filter or a whole house filter. Point of use filters only clean the water at a single tap. For most homes, a whole house filter is the better option.
1. Hard Minerals
The presence of hard minerals in the water, like lime, calcium, and magnesium, is likely one of the most common reasons to opt for a whole house water filtration system. These minerals precipitate out of the water, particularly hot water, and leave a nasty residue on dishes, fixtures, and inside appliances like the hot water heater. Further, hard minerals can cause itchy skin and brittle hair when you bathe in it. A whole house filtration system removes the excess minerals as the water enters the home, so mineralization buildup and irritation can't be a problem.
Many of the causes of discolored water are harmless. For example, orange-brown water may just indicate high iron levels, which doesn't necessarily make the water unsafe to drink. Of course, discolored water is unpalatable, so you likely want to treat it so it is clear before taking a drink. An inline filter on the sink tap isn't sufficient, though. Discolored water can also stain bathtubs and sinks, so you want a whole house filter that takes care of the discoloration at its source.
3. Bad Flavor
Causes for bad tasting water can vary. Some off flavors are from the presence of otherwise harmless minerals in the water, while others may be the result of bacterial growth in the water. An inline filter on your main drinking water taps can solve the problem, but you may want to consider a whole house filter if you suspect bacteria is the source of the off-putting flavor. This way you can be sure that no bacterial contaminants are entering the house through any of the water lines.
4. Contaminant Concerns
Contaminants can come from many sources, and both municipal and well water sources can suffer contamination. Pesticide runoff into the water, sewage incursion, and a range of other issues can lead to contaminated water. You can check the safety of municipal water through the annual reports put out by the water company, while those on private wells should have their water tested every one or two years. If there are contaminants, then a whole house filter that keeps them out of the house is a must for your health and safety.
Contact a water treatment service to learn more about the treatment options that are available for you.