Sometimes a standard water filter is just not good enough. Homeowners may consider upgrading their home water filter system for one or more of the following reasons.

1. The water tastes unpleasant.

If the water doesn’t taste great, then there may be contaminants such as sulfur-containing compounds or a disinfectant like chlorine. Though they’re not harmful, they may change the taste of water.

A few potential solutions include installing activated carbon filters or reverse osmosis systems. Both options help reduce unpleasant tastes and odors.

2. The water may contain lead.

If an annual water test of your water source reveals a level of lead that is at or above 15 ppb (parts per billion), then consider installing a filter that is certified to reduce lead.

3. There may be arsenic in the water.

If your water is treated with chlorine, then there is a higher likelihood that it contains pentavalent arsenic. Filters labeled with the NSF standard 53 or 58 are equipped to remove this type of arsenic from water.

4. The water source has high levels of nitrates.

Nitrates can enter the water supply if the soil has been contaminated with manure, fertilizer or sewage. Nitrates make it difficult for red blood cells to carry oxygen, posing a significant risk to the health of infants and some adults. Choose a reverse osmosis (NSF 5) filter or distillation (NSF 62) technology to remove nitrates.

5. A weakened immune system is very sensitive to contaminated water.

Individuals with a weakened immune system are especially sensitive to the germ Cryptosporidium. According to the CDC the following filters and (messages on a package label) can remove Crypto:

  • Reverse osmosis (with or without NSF testing)
  • Absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller (with or without NSF testing)
  • Tested and certified by NSF Standard 53 or NSF Standard 58 for cyst removal
  • Tested and certified by NSF Standard 53 or NSF Standard 58 for cyst reduction

6. You need clean water for nasal rinsing.

Individuals using a neti pot, sinus rinse bottle or another irrigation device should make sure to clean their water to lower their risk of infection with Naegleria fowleri, a potentially fatal ameba. A filter with the label NSF 53 or NSF 58 is designed to remove this type of germ. Filter labels that state “absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller” can also be a good choice.