Greater Madison Water Treatment Options For A New Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen Remodeling and Water Treatment Options

Good quality water and your health are closely linked. Whether your home's water comes from the municipal system or a private well, if you've been suffering with subpar water that has unpleasant odors, colors, or smells, remodeling your home is a great time to address the problem for good. There are many different options for water treatment systems that can improve your water quality– and it's not just good for you, either. Better quality water is also better for your appliances, plumbing, and fixtures, and can improve their durability over time. 

If you are considering adding a water treatment system as part of your home or kitchen remodel, here's how to get started. Keep in mind that it's always a good idea to consult with your professional design-build remodel team when considering a water treatment – their expertise and experience can ensure you get the right system for your home.

Get tested

Getting your water professionally tested is the first step to choosing a water treatment system. We recommend people who draw water from a private well get their water tested every 3-5 years. However, for the truly conscientious homeowner, it’s not a bad idea to get your municipal water tested either. These tests can identify contaminants that cause “cosmetic” issues like odors or discoloration which do not present health risks but can be unpleasant for homeowners. Knowing what's in your water is vital to choosing a water treatment system, as not all systems treat for all contaminants.

Where to install a water treatment system

iron curtain water filtration system

Iron Curtain Water Filtration System

The Iron Curtain is not commonly necessary around Madison, Wisconsin but is needed in many other parts of the region. This system, with tanks that look similar to water softener tanks, removes iron from water for better flavor, reduced odor, and longevity of your faucets and other plumbing elements.

You have two options for where in the system you want to treat your water: at the point-of-entry (where the water comes into the home) or the point-of-use (the faucet).

Point-of-entry systems are the best option for when minerals and contaminants like iron, manganese, bacteria, radon, or high levels of arsenic are in the water. This is also the best way to protect your pipes and appliances if you have hard water (water with high mineral content), which can cause build-up and damage over time.

Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System

Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System

This is an example of a point-of-entry multi-faucet RO system with a water storage tank. It allows the Reverse Osmosis system to process several gallons of drinking water ahead of time, for faster filling speeds. A RO system without a storage tank will operate very slowly.

Point-of-use systems can be applied to any faucet, although the kitchen faucet is most common. These systems are for people who are primarily concerned with improving the taste or appearance of their water rather than treating serious contamination. These systems filter the water for cooking and drinking, but not for bathing or washing clothes.

As a general rule, point-of-entry systems are more expensive than point-of-use systems.

Water treatment options

Ion exchange systems are also called water softeners and are one of the most common point-of-entry systems. Ion exchange systems treat hard water, removing calcium and magnesium – some designs can remove radium, barium, or other contaminants as well.

Activated carbon systems can be used for both point-of-entry and point-of-use treatments. With an activated carbon system, water passes through a carbon filter which removes both organic contaminants and metals like lead or copper. As with ion exchange, some kinds of activated carbon system can treat for additional contaminants like chlorination and pesticides. With these treatments, the carbon filter must be regularly changed to keep it working properly.

Beverage Faucet

RO Compatible Beverage Faucet

You can find many RO faucets rather than using the one that comes with your system. Expect to pay several hundred dollars, and be aware that not every faucet style has a matching RO tap.

Activated alumina systems pass the home’s well water through an activated filter, usually a fiberglass canister. These systems can be used with both point-of-use and point-of-entry water treatments and are particularly effective when a large amount of water has to be treated. With activated alumina, metals and minerals like arsenic, beryllium, and uranium stick to the alumina and are discarded with the used filter.

Reverse osmosis systems can be installed at point-of-use only, and work well for those wanting to treat their water for drinking and cooking. Reverse osmosis systems remove nitrates, sodium, and other dissolved compounds that cause foul colors, tastes, or smells. The most common types of RO systems installed by our clients protect multiple faucets rather than just a single location.

PRO TIP: You can buy Reverse Osmosis faucets that are more stylistic and not as ugly as the standard faucets that come with the system. However it is important to select the proper type of beverage faucet - one that is specifically RO-rated - because the RO water will actually degrade standard fixtures. The RO water is so "clean" that it will try to pull minerals and metals back into it, which is why a standard faucet cannot be used with a RO system.

These are just a few of the options available to you for water treatment in your home. Degnan Design Build Remodel has experience with treating the local water and can provide further expertise to help treat any issues with the water in your home. Download this water testing pamphlet for more information.

This article was updated by Abe Degnan on 2/4/2019.

About Degnan Design Build Remodel
Since 1981 Degnan Design Build Remodel has provided home improvement and construction services to customers throughout Greater Madison, Wisconsin. Our goal is to WOW you with a "Designed For Your Life" solution using a process that will transform your home into a beautiful living space, delivered on time, and on budget. We are known for our communication, respectfulness, and a commitment to our customers and our community. Contact us to speak with one of our designers about your home improvement project.