While most water ionizer customers are satisfied with the level of filtration offered by their unit’s internal filtration system, some will have source water issues or other reasons for choosing some type of pre-filtration system.
In this article we’ll address the different installation options for the most common types of pre-filters. This will help you be better prepared for installation when your system arrives.
Basic Types of Pre-filter Connections
The easiest type of pre-filter to use is a “true” inline filter. These filters typically use a ¼” connection. They will have a ¼” opening at each end of the filter. Installation is done by simply cutting the line supplying water to your ionizer and inserting one of the cut ends of the hose into either end of the filter. Quick, simple, easy to change.
Descaler filters (for hard water areas), carbon filters and remineralizing filters (for use with reverse osmosis systems or mineral deficient water) are common types of filters found that use this type of connection/installation method.
Next you have “canister” filters. These are actual filter cartridges that require a canister housing. They are larger, bulkier and changing the filter cartridge is a little more involved. The benefit of this type of filter is the ability to build a multi-stage pre-filtration system. One of the most common multi-stage canister filtration systems is a triple canister system that addresses chlorine, fluoride & arsenic and heavy metals.
Most canisters will stand 10 to 12 inches tall with a diameter of around 5 inches. You’ll need to have space available to accommodate the filter – or multi-canister system. Connection sizes will vary, most commonly they will be ¼” or 3/8” connections, which are the standard sizes for water supply lines used by most water ionizers.
Installation Styles & Locations
There are two basic types of installation: above the sink, next to the water ionizer, or below the sink. Obviously “below the sink” is preferred to save counter top space and for looks. Depending on how water is fed to your ionizer, there may be some disadvantages to below the sink installation.
The easiest installation method is above the sink – the pre-filter sits on the counter near the water ionizer. The true inline filters are far less conspicuous – around seven inches long and just under two inches in diameter.
Installation of a single or multi-filter canister system above the sink is relatively easy. Like the “true inline” filters, you simply cut the line supplying water to the ionizer and place each end of the line into the appropriate in/out ports on the filter canisters. The downside is that you are left with filter canister(s) sitting on your counter next to your water ionizer.
Some water ionizer can be connected directly to the cold water line below the sink. All under-counter water ionizer use this type of connection and some counter top water ionizer owners also choose this method to free their faucets. In this case, the pre-filter(s) can be installed inline below the sink. Out of the way on a daily basis, you just need to have room for them under your sink.
Below the sink pre-filter installation for countertop water ionizer connected to the faucet is a little more complicated. The cold water line will divert to the filter canister system and then be fed back to the cold water line going to the tap.
While this installation method keeps your filtration system hidden from view on a daily basis, you may be replacing the filter cartridges more often. When connected directly to the water ionizer, the filter is only being used to filter water going to the ionizer. When connected to the line feeding water to the tap, any water flowing through the tap from the cold water line is using the filter. Washing dishes, rinsing the sink, etc. – any time you turn on the cold water at the tap you’re also tapping into the life of your pre-filtration system.
Additional Parts May Be Required
Some companies will ship pre-filters with adapters required to connect a pre-filtration system to the plumbing under the sink. Because there are different types of plumbing connections and the varying sizes of hoses used to supply water to different types of water ionizers, many companies do not provide these parts.
When your pre-filtration system arrives you may need to make a quick trip to the home-improvement store or plumbing supply to pick up adapters to connect your filter to the water supply line below the sink. Depending on the size of the hose your water ionizer uses and the size of the connection the pre-filter requires, you may also need to pick up a “union valve” or “reducer” which will allow you to connect a filter using a ¼” hose to a water ionizer using a 3/8” hose.
Even if you have to buy several connection parts, you should still be able to make it out of your local home-improvement or plumbing supply store for under $20.