If you’re tired of bad-tasting water and are ready to install an under-the-counter filter or a whole house water filtration system, this article should catch your interest. We asked Peter Van Cleave of Water for Life to share some valuable tips to help you be a savvy consumer when you’re choosing a company to install your filtration system.
Pete started as a water treatment specialist back in 1989. Today his company is a 28-year-old independent, family-owned drinking water business. We asked Pete what he meant by independent. “A water filtration franchise can only offer you one brand of filtration system,” Pete explained. “On the other hand, because we’re independent, we represent over 40 different manufacturer’s lines to choose from. Greater choice and no franchise fees mean the customer wins.”
What are some things a homeowner should know before choosing an Atlanta water filtration contractor?
Are they a plumber or a certified water treatment specialist?
Many people are surprised to learn that there’s a certification required to become a water treatment specialist. “This training is conducted by the Water Quality Association,” Peter said. “This course of study requires passing a 300-question test. There are six levels of certification that are available to achieve. It includes learning about water chemistry as well as the technology behind the many kinds of water filtration options. They are also trained on the plumbing codes as well as how to properly make the connections. Finally, they get trained on various types of water treatment equipment. They receive a certification to install the various products as well.”
This means that your water treatment specialist will provide you with the best options based on what’s important to you.
“On the other hand, many plumbers will install a water filter unit for you,” Peter continued, “but if you ask them to recommend one, they’ll go to their plumbing supply house and see what’s in stock right now… And that’s what you get to choose from. If you ask them to install the filter that you supply, they may not know how to operate it properly and might even install it backward. I know this because we have had to re-install many water filtration units that were installed incorrectly.” Peter tells us that installing a whole house filter system backward is easy to do. Why should this matter to you? It will not operate properly and may plug up your water lines.
So, make sure that the installer is a certified water treatment specialist.
Has the product they sell been certified by the NSF or the Water Quality Association?
Let’s explain what this means. Both NSF International and the Water Quality Association are third party testing labs that check water filtration units for performance. Peter said, “The water filter systems that receive the NSF stamp and the Water Quality Association Gold Seal have been rigorously tested to work in your home for a minimum of 10 years.”
Not all water filters have received these third-party seals of approval. That’s why Peter suggested only using water treatment systems that are from time-tested companies in the industry.
Beware of this advertising pitfall
“Sometimes only one component of the entire system may have an NSF seal. Yet the manufacturer will advertise the entire unit as NSF approved—some Reverse Osmosis Membranes may carry the NSF Seal, [but] the storage tanks may not,” Peter warned. We asked Peter what you can do to protect yourself. He answered, “You must physically look for and read the NSF seal on the product itself and not just in the literature for one of the interior components.”
Why some water filtration systems do not have the NSF seal
There are three reasons for this:
- It’s costly.
- It takes a long time to go through testing.
- Some new companies can’t wait that long.
This is another reason why Peter suggests using time-tested systems that have gone through the submittal process. It means your system will take care of your family for a long time to come.
We asked if Peter ever suggests water filter units that do not have the seal “In rare cases we do,” Peter said. “There is some water technology that is too new to be tested for 10 years. For example, there’s only one ultraviolet light water filter that has the NSF seal. It’s really expensive, and very few people can afford it. So, what we did is go to reputable companies that have excellent reviews by our peers and the consumer users. We may suggest these as an option if their heart is set on ultraviolet light filters.”
Does the company have third-party endorsements?
Peter said, “Just as we suggest third-party endorsed filtration equipment, we also suggest looking for installation companies with third party endorsements too. An example of this would be places like Angie’s List or Home Advisor.” Peter’s company, for example, is a Home Advisor Pro Elite company and has been rated best in the category to work with.
Does the installation company have valid insurance policies?
Peter said installers that come in your home should be covered with a minimum of $1,000,000 of general liability insurance.
Are they a full-time professional?
Do you want a professional water technician or a weekend multi-level marketing salesperson giving you advice on how to clean your water? There are many multi-level marketing associations that sell water filters. Peter said that you should be concerned if someone is a commissioned salesperson, especially if they only sell one brand. These water filters may be good enough for getting chlorine out of your water, but not much more than that. Plus, a commission is stacked onto these filters, making them more expensive than a similar, non-MLM brand filter.
The lesson? Make sure you’re working with a certified water treatment specialist that will test your water so that they can customize a solution based on your home’s water issues.
In Part 2 of this series on residential water filtration systems in Atlanta, we will address the question of whether or not you should buy your filtration system on the internet to save money. There are a lot of good deals out there, and honestly, it might be tempting at first. In Part 2, Peter of Water for Life will share about:
- The hidden costs of buying an online water filtration unit
- Why you want a backwash system on your whole house filter
- How to find the best water filter for your money
- Why testing your water before installing your system isn’t enough
To read Part 2 of this article, click here!
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