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Choosing Home Water Treatment

If you wonder if home water treatment is right for you and your family, this information may help you evaluate your needs and options.

Why You May Want Home Water Treatment

Knowing what you want from water treatment will help you choose the best option. You might be concerned about:

  • A specific contaminant (such as lead, arsenic, or nitrate) in the water.
  • Aesthetics (how the water tastes, smells, looks, or feels).

Whatever your concern or whether your water comes from a private well or a public water system, you can learn more about it at How is My Drinking Water Quality?

Contaminants

No water supply is ever completely free of all contaminants and your water will likely show some contaminants in small amounts. Preventing or removing them all may not be economically or technologically feasible. Nor is it necessary to protect your health.

For example, some contaminants, such as arsenic and manganese, occur naturally in the environment and do not pose a risk to human health at low levels.

Aesthetics

Other naturally occurring contaminants, such as iron, do not cause human health effects, and may only affect the aesthetic nature (taste, odor, or color) of the water.

Selecting a Water Treatment Option

There are numerous options available, but you may choose to do additional research to find what’s best for you. Some key questions to consider:

What contaminant do you want to remove or reduce?

Select a unit certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), Underwriter’s Laboratory, or Water Quality Association (WQA) to remove the contaminant(s) of concern. Make sure the unit you are considering is certified to remove that contaminant.

Consider contacting a water treatment professional. See “Water Treatment Professionals” on this page for additional information on selecting a treatment or plumbing professional.

The links below contain information to start your research:

There is no single unit that can remove all contaminants from drinking water. Depending on your water quality, or if you want to remove more than one contaminant, you may need to combine treatment units.

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Do you want to treat all the water in your home or just drinking water?

There are two main types of home water treatment units:

  • Point-of-use (POU): These treat water at one faucet or one location and are good for treating only the water you use for drinking and cooking. Examples include pour-through pitchers or units that sit on the counter, attach to a faucet, are part of a refrigerator water or ice dispenser, or are under the sink.
  • Point-of-entry (POE): These are installed on the waterline, treating all water as it enters the home. For an older home (built before 1988), a POE might not be the best option. Some of these units can produce water that is slightly corrosive which, depending on the types of materials used for your interior plumbing or fixtures, can pull contaminants from them into your drinking water.

What is your budget?

While some companies may advertise that their units or prices are the best, there may be more effective and cheaper options available.

Prices on home water treatment units can vary widely (anywhere from less than twenty dollars to thousands of dollars), so get estimates from a few different companies.

Considerations for your budget include:

  • Whether you want to treat just your drinking water at one tap or all water in your home.
  • Cost of different technologies.
  • Maintenance costs.
  • Whether you will install the treatment yourself or hire a professional.

Should you do it yourself or hire a water treatment professional?

You can purchase and install a home unit on your own, or you can work with a professional.

Find Water Treatment ProvidersExit the TCEQ

Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners' Consumer InformationExit the TCEQ. Make sure they are a licensed plumber or water conditioning contractor.

Recommended Questions to Ask a Water Treatment ProfessionalExit the TCEQ

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Be aware of deceptive practices

Some companies may make claims about the quality of your water that are false, deceptive, or misleading to sell expensive and unnecessary home water treatment units. Avoid a purchase until you have done your own research on the actual quality of your water and on the company offering their services, such as checking their rating with the Better Business BureauExit the TCEQ.

Consumer complaints

If you feel you have been given false or misleading information or subjected to unfair sales tactics, you may file a consumer complaint.

Office of the Attorney General Office (OAG) - Consumer ProtectionExit the TCEQ

File a Consumer ComplaintExit the TCEQ

Testing and Maintaining Your Water Treatment Unit

After installing your unit, test your water to make sure the treatment is working. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and maintenance which may include changing filters, disinfecting, backwashing, or cleaning out mineral build-up or scale. Otherwise, your unit may lose its effectiveness over time, and in some cases, make water quality worse and make you sick.

Regulations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the Safe Drinking Water Act, established the National Primary Drinking Water RegulationsExit the TCEQ setting maximum contaminant levels, treatment techniques, and action-level requirements. In Texas, all public water systems are required to adhere to these standards to protect public health.

Texas also has state regulations on secondary constituent levels (SCLs). All public water systems in Texas are required to monitor for these contaminants. TCEQ evaluates their levels. Public water systems that exceed the SCL must issue a public notice to customers served by that system as soon as practical, but no later than 12 months from the day the system learns of the exceedance.

TCEQ requires that all laboratories used for drinking water analysis be accredited under the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program and inspected by TCEQ’s Laboratory Accreditation Section or the EPA. These laboratories must meet and maintain strict accreditation criteria through annual renewal and biennial on-site assessments.

Additional Resources

Contact Us

For questions or comments:

For complaints about your drinking water quality or other environmental issues:

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