Inline water filters are devices attached directly to the water line, rather than the faucets or fixtures in the home.
They are most commonly used on refrigerators (that provide both ice and water through the door), ice makers, water fountains, water coolers and more. They are also installed under the sinks in kitchens.
Inline water filters ensure that the water and ice cubes have reduced amounts of contaminants such as chlorine, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and trihalomethanes (THMs). Collectively, these contaminants have been linked to respiratory illnesses, cancer, kidney and liver problems.
How to Choose the Right Inline Water Filter
An line filter’s flow rate will tell you how many gallons of filtered water you’ll get per minute. So the higher the flow rate, the better. So if your family members drink a lot of water, they could be standing at the refrigerator door waiting a long time for the water to come out of the dispenser.
Water pressure and temperature will also impact the flow are. If you live in an area of low water pressure, speak with the manufacturer to find out who well the filter can perform with that situation.
It is not uncommon to find inline filters with a with a flow rate of around 0.5 gallons per minute (GPM) under normal water pressure. Of course, the higher this figure the better.
Other Things To Consider
It is important to know how much water your family uses and how many gallons of water can a particular inline water filter cartridge “treat”. Obviously, the more gallons a filter can “treat”, the lesser you’ll have to spend on filter replacement costs.
You can look at previous water bills to get an idea of how many gallons of water your family uses.
A rule of thumb is that a small family of three to four people will need at least five or six water gallons, while larger families will need more.
To this end, seek out manufacturers that offer in line filters with the longer life span cartridges to help save money.
- Know what to filter out
Depending on the location of the home, the contaminants in the water will vary. It is suggested that you get your tap water tested first and then you choose a filtration system that will best get rid of those impurities.
In line water filters vary in contaminant removal capabilities. If the water filter is certified, you’ll be able to know what contaminants it can remove from tap water.
Check out our water supply contaminants page to find out what water filtration units and their certifications are required to remove the most common contaminants.
Also important is the micron rating of the filter. This tells you whether or not a filter can remove smaller contaminants.
Filters that can only remove larger contaminants such as particulates will have a larger micron rating than filters that can remove smaller contaminants, such as micro-organisms.
A micron rating of 0.5 – 1 is considered decent.
Whole House Filters – An Alternative?
Rather than using an in line water filter, a household may elect to use a whole house water filter. A whole house system may cost more upfront, but its filter last longer and “treat” much larger amounts of water than in line devices.
Unlike an in line unit that only provides filtered water to one tap, a whole house device can provide filtered water to every faucet throughout the home. Even refrigerators that dispense water can be hooked up to a whole house filter.
Some whole house filters just remove chlorine and particulates – others remove those contaminants as well as VOCs and THMs.
Which ever filtering unit you use, you can be assured that you tap water will be cleaner and healthier than before.