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How much does a water filtration system cost? Different systems compared

Clean water is not a luxury but a necessity.

Although the US has one of the safest drinking water systems in the world, pollutants such as heavy metals, pesticides, hormones and pharmaceuticals occasionally find their way into our drinking water supply.

According to the Centers for Disease control, there are an estimated 4-32 million cases of waterborne diseases in the US each year. The most frightening thing about this information is the fact that you might be completely unaware of these contaminants in your drinking water.

Hence, it is crucial that you use a water filtration system to safeguard your family against these potentially life-threatening contaminants. But how much does a water filtration system cost?

How much does a water filtration system cost?

The average cost of setting up a water filtration system in your home is roughly around $1650, but it’s not quite as simple. There are a lot of different systems available, and the cost will vary depending on what you pick.

As this is an average price, your actual cost may vary depending on a variety of factors. While some people can get a system installed in as less as $750, some may have to shell out up to $2500.

Type of  water filtration system

Average cost

Pros

Cons

Whole house

$1000+

Capable of high volume

Expensive

Reverse osmosis

$400

Very pure water

Lots of water wasted

Under sink reverse osmosis

$200

Best value

Requires installation

Distiller

$150

Very pure water

Requires a lot of energy and time

What are different types of water filtration systems and their costs?

The choice of a water filtration system depends on some factors including the contaminants you wish to remove.

Simple contaminants such as calcium or magnesium salts or sulfur can be eliminated quite easily.

On the other hand, if your tap water contains contaminants such as lead, pesticides or hormones, a more elaborate system is required.

The best way to decide which system you need is doing a water quality test. Several water analysis test kits are available in the market that allows you to find out the levels of specific contaminants in your water supply.

Most of these kits cost less than $50 and given the information they provide; it is a small price to pay.

Once you have analyzed your water supply, it is time to decide the filtration system that is best for your needs. But before we jump to it, let’s familiarize us with the types of water purifiers that are available on the market.

1. Distillation Units

Distillation is a process of evaporating the dirty, contaminated water and condensing the vapor in the separate place. As you can imagine, distillation is great if your water supply has a lot of dissolved solids in it.

As the process is carried out near the boiling point of water, most dissolved impurities can’t evaporate with the water.

Hence, after the vapor is condensed, you get mainly contamination-free and pure water. Distillation can remove bacteria and other pathogens, heavy metals and other dissolved solids.

The downside of this process is that this process also removes beneficial minerals from the water as well. Also, distilled water can taste quite flat due to the removal of oxygen during the process.

There are several types of distillers available for homeowners. Small, countertop versions are, well, small. They can distil and purify only a few gallons of water an hour, and you must refill the system at regular intervals.

Although there are some bigger models as well, they too require some form of manual input to operate.

As far as the cost goes, you can get a counter-top distillation unit for around $150.

However, as the capacity of the unit increases so does the cost. The cost of a large distiller can reach upwards of $1500.

Pros

  • Removes most dissolved impurities including bacteria and other pathogens
  • Is available as a counter-top as well as floor unit
  • Can cost significantly less compared to some other filtration units

Cons

  • Distilled water can taste a bit flat
  • Removes even the beneficial minerals from the water
  • Is not very energy efficient process and needs some form of electric supply to work
  • Requires some manual input to operate

Most Popular Brands on the Market

  • Pure Water®
  • Durastill®

Mophorn Water Distillers Countertop 1.1 Gal/4L Stainless Steel Purifier Filter Machine 750W, with Handle Food-Grade Outlet Glass Container, Perfect for Home Use, 110V, Silver
  • 【FOOD-GRADE QUALITY】- 100% good-grade material. 304...
  • 【USER-FRIENDLY OPERATION】- Effectively removes...
  • 【POWERFUL PERFORMANCE】- 750W powerful machine with...

2. Reverse Osmosis Systems

Reverse osmosis or RO for short is a very popular water purification technology. The RO systems can be quite sophisticated with multiple stages of water purification. Many systems even employ a UV decontamination step to destroy any surviving bacteria or other pathogens.

At its core, an RO system works on the principle of reverse osmosis, which you probably must have guessed!

In a, RO water purification system, water is passed through a series of ‘semi-permeable’ membranes.

These membranes have holes that allow only water to pass through along with some dissolved small ions such as sodium and calcium.

Large atoms such as heavy metals, hormones, pesticides and pharmaceutical compounds are left behind.

One of the biggest advantages of RO purification is the taste. As the RO water retains dissolved oxygen and minerals, it has a better taste compared to distilled water.

You can buy RO units in different sizes and capacities. While there are some counter-top systems on the market as well, most popular RO systems are usually faucet based systems.

The cost of these systems varies depending on the sophistication of the unit and the output. While some low-end units can be around $150-$200, some high-end units with multiple stages of purification or a UV treatment feature can easily cost upwards of $1000.

One thing to keep in mind while purchasing reverse osmosis systems is that most of the systems require professional installation unless you are buying a counter-top version.

The semipermeable membrane filters also need to be replaced at regular intervals to ensure proper functioning. Hence, you should think of these recurring costs as well. Although these expenses are not that high, they will be there nonetheless.

Pros

  • Removes most pathogens, dissolved impurities such as pesticides, heavy metals, and even volatile impurities
  • Available as both counter-top units as well as faucet based units
  • Require little or no manual intervention to work
  • Preserves the taste of water and keeps mineral content high
  • Relatively energy efficient operation compared to distillation

Cons

  • Require professional installation and regular maintenance
  • Can cost more if you opt for multi-stage units with UV treatment
  • Recurring costs can add up in the form of labor and replacement filters

Below is an example of an under-sink reverse osmosis system that requires installation:

APEC Water Systems ROES-PH75 Essence Series Top Tier Alkaline Mineral pH+ 75 GPD 6-Stage Certified Ultra Safe Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System
  • Supreme quality - designed, engineered and assembled in USA...
  • This 75 GPD 6-stage system ROES-PH75 is guaranteed to remove...
  • US made cartridge uses food-grade calcium from trusted...

Here is an example of a countertop reverse osmosis system, which will cost a bit more since they are self-contained systems:

AlcaPure Reverse Osmosis Countertop Water Filter by RKIN with Patented High Capacity 4 Stage Technology: Purified Alkaline Water with Superior Taste. No Installation or Assembly Required. Silver White
  • PUREST TASTING REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER: Zero Installation...
  • MODERN AND STYLISH COUNTERTOP WATER FILTRATION SYSTEM:...
  • SPACE-SAVING DESIGN: The supply water tank is conveniently...

Finally, here is a whole house reverse osmosis system that will be the most expensive:

Home Master Whole House Three Stage Water Filtration System with Fine Sediment, Iron and Carbon, Blue
  • Great for well water; for city water, consider model...
  • Massive filter housings with 1-inch ports for the strongest...
  • Multi gradient density replaceable sediment filter produces...

Most Popular Brands on the Market

  • GrowoniX®
  • OmniFilter®
  • Aquasana®

3. Whole house water filtration systems

Whole house water filters are more complex in functionality and scope as well. These systems are huge and can filter water on a continuous basis.

As a matter of fact, most of these systems are hooked right to the incoming water supply to your house.

These systems usually employ some different methods to get the water cleaned. Some of the methods used in these systems include the following.

As I said, the systems a quite big and as a result, you will need a professional installation. Although they are not that difficult to maintain, you will need professional help to keep them up and to run in top shape.

The biggest advantage of these systems, as you can imagine, is the convenience. Once the system is in place, you get pure, filtered water right from your faucets.

As the systems operate ‘in-line,’ there is no need to store the filtered water. Whenever you need purified drinking water, just turn on your faucet. It is as simple as that.

These units often come with additional features and some can even operate without electricity. As you can imagine, these units are the most expensive home water purification system. The average cost of this kind of water filtration system can range between $400 to upwards of $10,000.

Pros

  • Can purify several gallons of water in no time
  • As they are in-line systems, they can operate continuously
  • No need to store filtered water
  • Some systems don’t even require electricity to work
  • Depending on the setup, can be as efficient as an RO system to purify water

Cons

  • Significantly more expensive compared to the earlier two
  • Need professional installation and maintenance
  • You need to have regular maintenance and check-ups to keep it running smooth

Most Popular Brands on the Market

  • Pelican®
  • Aquasana®
  • iSpring®

iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System w/ 20-Inch Big Blue Sediment and Carbon Block Filters
  • Protect Your Family and Household Appliance from Sediment,...
  • DIY Installation and Maintenance: Refer to our manual and...
  • Top-Notch Quality: The first stage high capacity...

Factors Affecting the Average Cost of Water Filtration System

Some factors affect the cost of a water filtration system. Let’s take a look at them one by one.

The type of impurities in your water supply

The cost of a filtration system will vary greatly depending on the type of contaminants present in your water supply.

For instance, if your water supply is already quite clean, but you just need to get rid of the funky smell or taste, a small tap based system might be enough for you.

However, if your water supply contains some other impurities such as pesticides or heavy metals, you may require sophisticated filtration units such as Ro or distillation. These units cost a lot more than the simple tap filter.

Size of the System

As you can very well imagine, the more water you need to get filtered, the bigger unit you will need. And it goes without saying that larger units cost more.

Whether it is distillation unit, an RO unit or a whole house filtration system unit, big units cost more than small ones.

Running Costs

Maintainance and running costs can quickly add up.

For instance, if you go for an RO based system, you will need professional installation and maintenance which costs money.

Also, these systems require their membrane filters replaced after a certain amount of usage. Again, replacement filters cost money, and all this adds up to the expense of the unit itself.

Should you buy a single tap water filter unit?

Now, this is a bit more complicated question than you may think.

If your water supply is relatively clean and you only require filtered water for drinking and cooking then, yes, a single tap filtration system is a good option.

These systems are usually attached to a pipe that supplies water to a faucet. So, as the water passes through the system, it is filtered before it is dispensed through the faucet. Don’t get fooled by the small size of these units.

These can be quite complex and sophisticated as well. They can do a great job of removing a considerable amount of impurities from your tap water.

However, you will need some plumbing knowledge to install these systems. If you can, hiring a professional plumber is the best way to go.

As far as the cost of these systems goes, it varies greatly depending on the brand and the technology utilized in the unit.

Usually, these units cost somewhere between $50 to $100. However, as they do have a lifespan, they need to be replaced after some time.

Conclusion

As you can see, the question of how much does a water filtration system cost and the average cost of a water filtration system is not quite straightforward! It really depends on your specific filtration needs. If you are only concerned about your drinking water, you could even just use a simple pitcher filter and that would be it!

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