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Sub-Micron Whole House Water Filter Systems: Essential Information for Homeowners

Sub-Micron Whole House Water Filter Systems: Essential Information for Homeowners

We depend on clean, fresh water for uses around the home. With clean water, we drink, bathe, and cook for ourselves and our families. No matter where your water comes from, hidden contaminants can affect not only your plumbing fixtures, but your health. How can you ensure your home has clean, pure water? A sub-micron whole house water filter system is the solution.


Contaminants in Drinking Water


In the United States, many people receive their water from a municipal source. This water is treated with powerful disinfection chemicals and filtration before it is piped to homes. In rural areas, or where municipal water sources are not available, homeowners get water from private wells. This water may or may not be treated once it is pumped from the well. In most cases, water from municipal sources or wells is relatively safe, yet there may be hidden dangers lurking in the water.


Contaminants in water supplies come from many sources, including:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Protozoan cysts (Giardia and Cryptosporidium)
  • Pesticides
  • Petroleum residues
  • Heavy metals
  • Dissolved minerals
  • Chlorine and chlorine byproducts like chloramines or trihalomethanes (THMs)
  • Fluoride

How do these contaminants wind up in water supplies? Agricultural and storm water runoff are common causes; damage to well casings, pollution spills, and natural disasters are also sources of groundwater or municipal water supplies. 

water contaminants

When water supplies are contaminated, serious illnesses can occur. In cases of severe contamination, people can require hospitalization or even die from drinking the contaminated water or being exposed to it through skin contact.


Microns and Sub-microns


A sub-micron whole house water filter system is designed to filter out contaminants from water supplies. Whether you get your water from a well or a municipal source, these water filters do an incredible job of purifying your water. 

bacteria in water

What is a micron? A micron – short for “micrometer” -- is a unit of measurement that represents one millionth of a meter, or one thousandth of a millimeter. An object measuring one micron is invisible to the naked eye. In fact, any object less than 40 microns in size is very difficult to see without a magnifier or microscope. To put micron sizes into perspective, consider:

  • A human red blood cell averages about 5 microns in size.
  • A human hair has a thickness of 100 microns. 
  • Dust particles average about 10 microns in size.
  • A single grain of pollen measures about 25 microns.
  • Bacterial cells range from 1-3 microns in size. 

The word “submicron” refers to an object that measures less than one micron. Water filters equipped with a sub-micron filter element have the ability to trap tiny particles, including many common bacterial pathogens as well as some viruses. 


The Inner Workings of a Sub-Micron Water Filter


A sub-micron whole house water filter system depends on filtration to remove harmful contaminants from drinking water supplies. These filters typically serve as one part of a more comprehensive water treatment system.

In a sub-micron water filter, a pleated filter element does the hard work of trapping contaminant particles. These filters are sized and rated by certain established standards, including NSF and ANSI. A 0.5-micron filter traps:

  • Dissolved mineral particles
  • Bacteria
  • Protozoan cysts
  • Some viruses

In a sub-micron whole house water filter system, the filter element is contained in a housing. The top of the housing contains ports that water lines are attached to; these lines feed water from the supply source plumbing to the filter and direct the filtered water to the faucets or fixtures in the home. The lower portion of the housing is unscrewed to reveal the filter element inside. When the filter needs to be changed, the housing makes this procedure as quick and convenient as possible. 

Advanced sub-micron filters do more than stop contaminants from reaching your drinking water. They also improve taste, odor, and clarity. In some of the best filters of this type, activated carbon derived from coconut shells reduces the unpleasant odors sometimes found in well water as well as removing chlorine, fluoride, and pesticide/petroleum residues. The end result is clean, pure water for use in and around the home. 

Typically, a sub-micron whole house water filter will have a prefilter element installed before the sub-micron filter and another water treatment device such as a water softener. This prefilter traps larger particles like sand, silt, and sediments, helping the more advanced filter element to last longer.  Prefilters may be washed when their elements become clogged or can be replaced as needed. Sub-micron filters are also replaced when their filter elements become clogged with particulate matter or contaminants. 


“Big Blue” Filter Sizing


When exploring sub-micron whole house water filter systems, you may have come across a term called “Big Blue”. Originally developed by a company to denote a particular size of large-diameter water filter, the name has become an industry standard for many water filter manufacturers. For water filters, Big Blue means any filter housing with an outside diameter of 4.5 inches. Sub-micron filters that fit Big Blue housings are available in 10-inch and 20-inch lengths. Other filter elements are designed to fit these housings as well. 

Protect yourself and your loved ones with a sub-micron whole house water filter system. These systems can be used to purify water from nearly any source, including municipal water supplies and wells. By trapping contaminants with one of these efficient and affordable filtration systems, you can help avoid potentially dangerous health effects and prolong the life of your plumbing fixtures and water-using appliances. 

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