Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Common questions on water filters, whole house filters, and Environmental Water Systems water filtration.

General

How do I determine my plumbing line size?

Not a problem. We have created an easy-to-follow PDF for determining your plumbing line size.

Who installs your filtration systems?

Our drinking water systems can be installed with or without the help of a licensed plumber or handyman. Our whole home filtration appliances can be installed with the help of a licensed plumber. Installation of all our systems and appliances is documented step-by-step in our installation guides, and is an easy process. If you have any questions or need any help along the way, please contact us – our technical support staff is available to help you.

Whole Home Filtration

Installation of our EWS whole home (point of entry) filtration appliances is easy – similar to installing a water heater. A typical installation can take a professional plumber one and three hours to complete, depending on your individual setup. Complete instructions come with every appliance and are also available online.

Sink Filters

Installation of our drinking water filtration (sink filters) is as easy as installing a kitchen faucet. You or your professional plumber can install these units in an hour or less.

Service Guides

These service guides come with each and every unit and give simple instructions for the proper set-up, installation and start-up of every system. For your convenience, product service guides have been added below.

 

Service Guide Drinking Water Filtration Systems
Service Guide Reverse Osmosis Systems
Service Guide Tanks: all CWL/EWS/Iron Removal
Service Guide Softeners/pH Decreasing/Ion-Exchange

How long has EWS been around?

We have been manufacturing top-quality water filtration appliances in the United States for worldwide distribution since 1987. All our filtration systems have always been made in our factory in California.

Tap water is supposed to be just fine, so why do I need filtration?

Municipal tap water is treated to keep certain contaminants within EPA regulations and chlorine and/or chloramine are added to kill bacteria and prevent waterborne disease. However, only 91 contaminants out of the estimated 80,000 are actually regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act (source: The President’s Cancer Panel annual report). Furthermore, chlorine and chloramine (a combination of chlorine and ammonia) are classified carcinogens and known irritants to soft tissues and mucous membranes, exacerbating asthma and allergy symptoms, eczema, red itchy eyes, and gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn’s and colitis. Chlorine will dissipate from a glass of tap water in about 30 minutes if left out, but chloramine will not dissipate. When we use unfiltered tap water to drink, cook, bathe, or shower, it contains (at minimum) chlorine and/or chloramine, as well as their byproducts and VOCs. Other concerns include fuels, pesticides, pharmaceutical residues, and more that are not regulated and that municipal treatment plants are not designed to remove.

It is recommended by The President’s Cancer Panel, the New York State Department of Health, and medical doctors that families use water filtration to provide protection from these contaminants. The trouble is, not all filtration is created equal, and in the last 5-10 years we have seen many cheaply made filters being rushed into the marketplace by those wishing to capitalize on what they view as a “trend.” However, water filtration is not a trend to be turned into a gimmick – it is a serious responsibility, and is vital to the health and well-being of the people who trust in it. High quality filtration will not only remove the offensive odors and tastes from tap water, but will also thoroughly remove and reduce thousands of contaminants. All we do is serious water filtration for hospitals, health care centers, military, professional athletes, and thousands of families worldwide.

What does “Total Dissolved Solids” (TDS) mean?

This is a measurement of charged ions, including minerals, dissolved in water, expressed as mg/L (milligrams per liter) or as parts per million (ppm). TDS is not a measure of pollution or contamination, since most of the dissolved solids are made up of naturally found calcium and magnesium minerals. TDS is only used as an indication of aesthetics (i.e. spotting, taste, etc.). In general, higher TDS waters (also known as “mineral water”) are popular and taste great. According to the best-selling book Blue Zones, a common point in all long-lived cultures is the high mineral content of their water (around 200 mg/l). There is no doubt that mineral water is healthy for us. We obtain the minerals we need from food and water, and what our bodies do not use is expelled. Some people are led to believe that minerals in tap water can cause kidney stones – this is false. Mineral water (high TDS) has actually been shown to reduce the risk of kidney stones¹, cause favorable changes in pH, as well as inhibit calcium oxalate stone formation.²

A conductivity meter will give a rough estimate of total dissolved solids, but will not illustrate the quality of the water. Quality water means it is free of chlorine, chloramine, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and pharmaceutical residues – all of which cannot be tested for with a conductivity or TDS meter.

 

¹Effect of mineral water containing calcium and magnesium on calcium oxalate urolithiasis risk factors.

²Influence of a mineral water rich in calcium, magnesium and bicarbonate on urine composition and the risk of calcium oxalate crystallization.

Whole Home Filtration

With EWS conditioning, how easy will it be to wipe up spots?

Even though conditioning and softening both inhibit scale formation, water will spot when left on a surface to dry. EWS leaves the naturally occurring and beneficial minerals in while preventing the hard scale build-up and difficult spotting that would occur with untreated water. Water spots are like dust particles in the air — they cannot be totally eliminated. EWS makes life a bit easier by making spots a breeze to wipe off.

A common misconception when someone purchases a traditional salt softener or EWS filtration and conditioning appliance, is that there will be zero spotting. We are always completely honest about this: there is no such thing as spot-free water, just like there is no such thing as a dust-free home with the use of a central air conditioning unit.

Basic and regular maintenance of all your appliances, fixtures, and surfaces always applies. Most appliances come with instructions for care in hard water areas. For example, those of us on hard water know that a quick wipe down of a glass shower door after showering is a painless way of preventing scum build-up (this “scum” is a mix of soap residues, body slough-off, and water).

Our EWS conditioning process makes it easy to wipe up spots and prevents scale build-up in pipes and on water heaters.

Is there any required maintenance?

Almost no maintenance is required. Since our filtration systems were designed with ease-of-use and longevity in mind, the only maintenance you will have is replacing the filtration media every 10 years (depending on your local water conditions and usage). Our “set-and-forget” whole home filtration appliances have advanced, user-friendly digital valve heads, and are self-cleaning to ensure the health and longevity of the filtration media. Each of our appliances is made in the USA, and known throughout the kitchen and bath industry as the highest quality filtration appliance available.

Do your whole home filters backwash or backflush?

Absolutely. Backwashing is necessary for the health and longevity of carbon media, effectively preventing bacterial growth and keeping the media from packing and channeling. Packing and channeling is something that must be avoided, because you do not want your carbon’s surface area to be reduced. A reduced surface area means reduced effectiveness of contaminant removal. Our simple and effective method of backwashing results in completely effective carbon media for the life of the carbon.

Non-backwashing and upflow-type devices result in packing and channeling (think of an ant farm) of the carbon media – the water will carve channels into the carbon, resulting in less surface area of filtration over time. Not backwashing also presents the problem of bacterial growth. As a result, many non-backwashing devices require some form of antibacterial additive, such as silver nitrate, to try and prevent bacterial growth inside the tank.

Our appliances self-clean automatically. At the time of installation or at any point in the future, you can choose the time your appliance will automatically clean (this is easy to do using your appliance’s digital panel, and step-by-step instructions are included with every appliance). Our backwashing process is extremely efficient and the resulting backwash water is usable and filtered. The vast majority of our appliance owners put the backwash water to good use – watering the garden, draining into the swimming pool, putting it in storage, and even watering livestock and crops.

What is the difference between the CWL and EWS Series?

The CWL and EWS Series of product both incorporate the highest quality in tanks, valves, carbon filtration media, engineering and workmanship. The only difference between the systems is that the EWS Series incorporates our proprietary ICN conditioner(s) to physically condition hardness minerals without salts or chemicals. This conditioning process assists with problems associated with water hardness, preventing scale build up in pipes and water heaters, and making it easier to wipe up spots.

Throughout the country, water conditions are incredibly diverse. There are municipal or well water applications that do not require any treatment regarding water hardness. Therefore, we designed the CWL Series to offer filtration only, for those areas with little or no water hardness issues. We do not oversell or provide product that is unnecessary for your application.

Click here to view the EWS Series of Whole Home Filtration & Conditioning.

Click here to view the CWL Series of Whole Home Filtration.

Can I take my whole home system with me if I move?

Absolutely – the vast majority of our appliance owners do just that! Simply disconnect your appliance from the bypass and take it with you (you may want to strap it to a pallet or to the inside of the truck to keep it upright). Any licensed plumber can reinstall your appliance for you. We always recommend you call us and tell someone in customer service that you have moved and your new address so we can update your product registration (this doesn’t effect your warranty at all, it’s just so we may serve you better).

How much do your whole home filtration systems cost?

This will vary depending on the filtration appliance you select and the showroom, contractor, or authorized online retailer from which you purchase your system. We do not have multiple layers of distribution (our filtration appliances go straight from the factory to the retailer), so costs always remain reasonable. EWS filtration appliances and drinking water systems are available in over 700 kitchen and bath showrooms in the United States. Call customer service or your regional manufacturer representative for a knowledgeable showroom associate or trade professional near you.

Regarding cost savings, this is another wonderful feature of our entire product line. Our EWS owners often call or write to us with various nice things to say, but one common thread we see is the practical money saving attributes they have noticed. Since EWS owners have delicious filtered water coming out of every tap, they are no longer buying cases of bottled water (savings: ~$100/month), monthly bottle delivery (savings: ~$50/month), frequent filter replacements (savings: ~$250/year), or salt bags (savings: ~$120/year). Another benefit is that EWS conditioned water will extend the life of pipes and water heaters, preventing expensive repairs and replacements. We have many excellent examples of those on very hard water (20+ grains) who normally saw only 5 years out of their water heaters, and after installing an EWS Series appliance, their heaters are going strong well after 5 years. One of our more memorable stories was an EWS owner who reported a 12 year lifespan on his traditional water heater, when his pre-EWS water heaters only lasted him 3-5 years.

What is the difference between the stainless EWS Series and the white cover EWS Spectrum?

This is a great question!

These are the key similarities:

The EWS Series and EWS Pro Series (Spectrum) are both made in the USA and both contain the same, highest grade and highest iodine rating granular activated carbon possible. They both condition without salts or chemicals to assist with hard water problems. Both meet or exceed all applicable FDA, NSF, ANSI, and California State compliances.

Here are the key differences:

The EWS Series is comprised of 7 appliances, all designed for specific line sizes and flow rates, ranging from 3/4″ to 2″ lines and 15-100 gallons per minute (gpm) flow rate. The EWS Series all have real stainless steel covers, except for the EWS 1035 (white plastic cover) and EWS 1665 (comes without a cover due to its large size).

The EWS Spectrum was originally designed for trade professionals and contractors so that they did not have to purchase different appliance sizes for different homes. The Spectrum uses our proprietary advanced valve that has an integrated bypass with three adapters, so it can be installed on any service line from 3/4″ to 1 ½” and up to 35 gallons per minute (gpm). It comes standard with a thick, durable white plastic cover (BPA-free and phthalate-free).

Think of it this way:

A high-end jetted tub brand found in the showroom also has a manufacturer’s builder series. They are virtually the same tubs and maybe something aesthetic is different (like the Pro Series having the white plastic cover but the same performance as the stainless EWS Series). The difference in distribution, inventory, and volume creates a more cost-effective offering.

How to know which Series to use:

Use the stainless EWS Series when there is a true need for a specific system – for instance, a large family on a 1 1/2″ plumbing line should chose an EWS 1354-11/2″ (up to 50 gpm) instead of an EWS Spectrum (up to 35 gpm). However, if a a family of 4 or less is on a 1 1/2″ line, the Spectrum would be a good option. The other way to choose is if you simply have an aesthetic preference for one appliance over another. Some EWS owners prefer the stainless steel, and go with that option instead of the white cover.

It may come down to what series your local retailer carries. Inquire about product availability in your area or visit one of our authorized online retailers.

What is the difference between the stainless CWL Series and the white cover CWL Spectrum?

These are the key similarities:

The CWL Series and CWL Pro Series (Spectrum) are both made in the USA and both contain the same, highest grade and highest iodine rating granular activated carbon possible. Both meet or exceed all applicable FDA, NSF, ANSI, and California State compliances.

Here are the key differences:

The CWL Series is comprised of 7 appliances, all designed for specific line sizes and flow rates, ranging from 3/4″ to 2″ lines and 15-100 gallons per minute (gpm) flow rate. The CWL Series all have real stainless steel covers, except for the CWL 1035 (white plastic cover) and CWL 1665 (comes without a cover due to its large size).

The CWL Spectrum was originally designed for trade professionals and contractors so that they did not have to purchase different appliance sizes for different homes. The Spectrum uses our proprietary advanced valve that has an integrated bypass with three adaptors, so it can be installed on any service line from 3/4″ to 1 ½” and up to 35 gallons per minute (gpm). It comes standard with a thick, durable white plastic cover (BPA-free and phthalate-free).

Think of it this way:

A high-end jetted tub brand found in the showroom also has a manufacturer’s builder series. They are virtually the same tubs and maybe something aesthetic is different (like the Pro Series having the white plastic cover but the same performance as the stainless CWL Series). The difference in distribution, inventory, and volume creates a more cost-effective offering.

How to know which Series to use:

Use the stainless CWL Series when there is a true need for a specific system – for instance, a large family on a 1 1/2″ plumbing line should chose a CWL 1354-11/2″ (up to 50 gpm) instead of a CWL Spectrum (up to 35 gpm). However, if a a family of 4 or less is on a 1 1/2″ line, the Spectrum would be a good option. The other way to choose is if you simply have an aesthetic preference for one appliance over another. Some EWS/CWL owners prefer the stainless steel, and go with that option instead of the white cover.

It may come down to what series your local retailer carries. Inquire about product availability in your area or visit one of our authorized online retailers.

Can your whole home filtration systems be installed outside?

Yes, but it is strongly recommend you keep the appliance protected from the elements in order to protect the integrity of the digital valve head. Excessive direct sunlight or extreme temperatures can negatively effect your appliance.

Will small tanks or canisters effectively filter for the whole home?

At bare minimum, a typical home requires at least 10 gallons per minute (gpm) of available water. Small tanks with small valves have flow rates of only 7-8 gallons per minute. The other issue is that there is not enough filtration media and contact time with the water to filter it properly (this is especially true as it pertains to chloramine, as chloramine requires 3x the contact time – meaning larger tanks and more filtration media – to be effectively removed). You may get a taste and odor improvement, but it may not be truly removing 99%+ of chlorine and contaminants such as pharmaceutical residues, VOCs, THMs, and more.

What about multimedia filtration systems – do several types of filtration in one tank work better?

There is a specific reason why we do not use multiple media setups for our filtration appliances. As a manufacturer, we are capable of sourcing and developing various water filtration technologies, but we absolutely refuse to produce multimedia filtration because truly effective filtration requires proper contact time through filtration media. When more than one filtration media is incorporated in one tank, there is not enough of any one media to effectively remove contaminants as claimed. An effective 5-media multimedia tank would need to be over 20 feet tall. This is not our opinion, but fact based upon the material safety data sheets (MSDS) that provide exact information on how filtration media is effectively used in order to work correctly.

How does the EWS Series compare to water softeners?

EWS Conditioning should not be confused with water softening. Softening is the exchange of naturally found minerals for salt (sodium or potassium chloride). Salt softeners are not filtration devices. Softening has many disadvantages, and is not safe for the environment or people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart and kidney issues. EWS appliances filter the water and use an environmentally-friendly approach to hardness issues.

What contaminants will your water filters remove?

The highest quality of granular activated carbon (GAC) is used in all our CWL and EWS whole home filtration due to its high removal capacities. Our carbon filtration is the highest quality and highest iodine rating available. Our carbon is sourced from North and South America, and is 100% pure, biodegradable, and compostable. We use no silver impregnation (which is silver nitrate – a toxin and pesticide), no metal resins or metal-based media, and no fillers. Our sink filtration and reverse osmosis systems use the highest quality, highest iodine rated, full bed depth, vibration packed filters – all made in the USA.

GAC removes chlorine, chloramine, gases, dyes, fuels, man-made pollutants, pharmaceutical residues, and volatile organic contaminants. Filtration of these contaminants  compliments most municipal water for taste, odor, clarity and quality for oral intake, absorption and inhalation.

Sink Filtration

What contaminants will your sink filters remove?

Our sink filtration and reverse osmosis systems use the highest quality, highest iodine rated, full bed depth, vibration packed filters – all made in the USA.

Our ESSENTIAL drinking water systems use pre-sediment filtration, granular activated carbon (highest grade and iodine rating available in any sink filtration system), and post-filter carbon block. Our three-stage reverse osmosis systems uses our carbon pre-filter, advanced RO membrane (50 gallons per day), and a carbon block post-filter. Our four-stage reverse osmosis system has an additional pre-sediment filter.

ESSENTIAL Drinking Water System

Our 5 micron pre-sediment filter removes rust, silt, sediment, and other particulates. The water then moves through our advanced granular activated carbon (GAC) that removes chlorine, chloramine, pharmaceutical residues, and volatile organic contaminants (VOCs). Filtration of these contaminants compliments most municipal water for taste, odor, clarity and quality for oral intake, absorption and inhalation. The final stage is our post-filter carbon block, which is another barrier against chlorine and contaminants, as well as removing cysts. Our optional ultraviolet upgrade, available on all our drinking water systems, has been tested to reduce bacteria and viruses (E.coli by 99.99992% and micrococcus luteus by 99.93%).

ESSENTIAL Reverse Osmosis System

The pre-carbon filter protects the RO membrane from chlorine, chloramine, and VOCs, effectively removing these contaminants. The water then flows into the RO membrane, where it removes total dissolved solids – which may include heavy metals and inorganics, nitrates, arsenic, naturally found calcium and magnesium, and fluoride. The water then moves into the storage tank to be stored. Once you open up the dispenser to get yourself a glass of water, the water leaves the storage tank and flows through our advanced carbon block, allowing for a final filtration and freshness. We are the only manufacturer that uses carbon pre-filtration to optimize the effectiveness and lifespan of our advanced RO membrane, and carbon block post-filtration as an added precaution and to assist with pervasive chloramine issues. Our optional ultraviolet upgrade, available on all our drinking water and reverse osmosis systems, has been tested to reduce bacteria and viruses (E.coli by 99.99992% and micrococcus luteus by 99.93%).

Well Water

Why do I need to test my well water?

To properly provide you the correct product for your application, one must know what problems we may be attempting to solve. A complete and independent well water test will provide us specific information to help you select the right product for you and your home. 

Do you have systems made for well water?

Yes, we do. Since we manufacture a complete line of filtration appliances, we have specialty systems to handle various well water problems, such as pH issues or iron. Some wells may have a whole host of problems, and others may have no issues whatsoever, in which case we will not recommend any treatment. The only way to tell is by getting your well water tested, which is an important maintenance step to do on your own every year or so. Be sure to use a qualified, independent lab for unbiased and objective results.

Where, how and what do I test my well water for?

This is simple. We recommend an independent and EPA Certified lab that provides you an easy-to-use test kit. This lab sends out the cooler to you, you take the sample according to the instructions and place everything back in the cooler. Included in the price is the overnight express back to the lab for proper preservation and testing. This test designed with EWS, Inc., provides a very complete picture of your well water in order to specify correct product.

Where do I begin to learn about my well water?

For most of us you open your tap and you expect water and basic quality. Treated water that is monitored, tested and consistently delivered. However, for those on their own well, this may not always be the case. Well water is generally unmonitored, not treated and may have issues with delivery. Our Guide for the Private Well Owner (PDF) is a comprehensive look at your well, it’s mechanics, and it’s water quality.

Hard Water

Is Hard Water Harmful?

Hard (mineral) water is beneficial to humans, plants, and animals. It can be harmful to plumbing and appliances because excessive hardness minerals can cause scale build-up, eventually blocking pipes and affecting the performance of appliances like dishwashers and water heaters. The EWS Series is designed to offer all of us the best of both worlds — keeping the healthy natural minerals in our water while preventing them from causing problems with our homes.

What is Water Hardness?

Nature intended for us to have high-quality, fresh water. Water from oceans, rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands evaporates and falls to the ground as rain or snow, and is filtered through the Earth’s surface and bedrock, picking up natural calcium and magnesium minerals along the way. Depending on the location, the water will have varying levels of minerals, referred to as “hardness.”