Do I Install a Water Filter Before or After the Softener?

Installing a whole house water filtration system provides your home with sparkling clean water.
A whole house water filter provides clean water to all the faucets.A whole house water filter provides clean water to all the faucets.
A filtration system should be selected according to the composition and possible contaminants of your local water supply. While the water filter is normally installed before the water softener and water heater, the manufacturer of your particular filtration system may recommend other locations. For example, if your water supply is from a well, you may want the water softened before it's filtered.

Step 1

Contact the local building permits office. While homeowners can do their own plumbing work, a permit and inspections may be required.

Step 2

Locate the main water line going into the house. Determine if the line contains a 3/4-inch or 1-inch pipe.

Step 3

Research and select a whole house water filtration system that removes the salts, chemicals and sediments of most concern to you. For example, you may be very worried about the chlorine and fluoride in city water. If you have well water, then bacteria, sediments and nitrites may be your main concerns.

Step 4

Turn the water off at the main shut-off valve or at the meter. Open several cold water faucets to drain the water system.

Step 5

Install the water filter according to the manufacturer's directions. While instructions may vary, in general the filter is mounted in a convenient location near the water softener where you can easily change the filter.

Step 6

Turn the water on slowly while a helper watches for leaks. Once you're sure that there are no leaks, turn on the closest cold water faucet for 15 minutes. This will activate the filter.

Things You Will Need

  • Wrench
  • Pipe wrench
  • Whole house filtration system

Tips

  • Contact your local water treatment plant or city hall to obtain the Annual Water Quality Report. The report contains information regarding the contaminants detected and chemicals added to your water supply.
  • If the fittings aren't included in the water filter system, consult a local plumbing supply or hardware store.

Warnings

  • Wear gloves and safety glasses to protect your hands and eyes when working with plumbing tools.
  • Never allow unpermitted work on your home. If you sell your house and the unpermitted work is discovered, you risk fines as well as being forced to remove the installation.

About the Author

With degrees in fine and commercial art and Spanish, Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist, book designer and published author. De Jauregui also worked in the Napa Valley as a high-end catering assistant. She enthusiastically pursues creative and community interests, including gardening, home improvement, pet rescue and social issues.