Lead Removing Whole House Water Filter Recommendations
July 19, 2016 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Purchased a house knowing the supply line from the water main was lead. Options are purchasing a cooler for potable water, buying a whole house filter and replacing the hot water tank, or replacing the supply line and HWT. Assuming that the third option is beyond our means at the moment and the first option is a stopgap, please recommend a whole house water filtration system available in Canada that is durable, practical, and won't need to be replaced in three years because 'they don't make those kinds of filters anymore' or similar nonsense.
posted by Alvy Ampersand to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: This recent question has some useful information, but I'm interested in specific recs for product available in Canada (Manitoba).
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:33 AM on July 19, 2016

Is a fourth option of having a filter for drinking water only (rather than whole house) out of the question?

We have a lead service pipe and did tests to find that there was very little, well under guidelines content coming into the house, but as a precaution and peace of mind still have a under-sink R/O filtration system that we use for drinking water.
posted by Karaage at 11:47 AM on July 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

You've probably already thought of this, and it's tangential to your question, but you have you looked into the free water testing for lead offered by your municipality?

This would also let you know that any filtration system you're putting in place is effective.

In any case, they also mention filtration and recommend:

For information on home water treatment devices, call the NSF International free hotline at 1-877-867-3435 or visit:

NSF International

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:49 AM on July 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: The municipality does provide discounted testing so we will be definitely doing that after we take possession. If the levels are comfortably below guidelines (We have a small creature that still occasionally drinks the bathwater), then we'd probably go with even a lead-mitigating tap or pitcher filter for potable and call it a day. But the official municipal communication/information on the situation here has been less than helpful, which is why we're prepping for a worst case scenario.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:17 PM on July 19, 2016

Getting lead-free water means flushing the water that's been sitting in the pipe for >2 hours down the drain. You could go to a tankless water heater and flush your pipes before using the water.
posted by flimflam at 12:26 PM on July 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Lots of people have lead supply lines that supply perfectly safe water because many years ago a layer of calcium (or other minerals) built up inside those lead pipes. It's likely your water isn't even in contact with lead, but with a layer of minerals.
Why Flint had a problem is they changed the ph and other characteristics of the water, melted off the protective laver, and water got in contact with lead again.

Do test your water but it will probably come back fine. Your neighbors probably have the same setup.

If you do need to take action, I would filter only the drinking water, the cold, and leave the hot alone. You aren't drinking the hot, and remember not to use it in cooking.
posted by littlewater at 1:55 PM on July 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Update: Testing results have come in, lead levels are quite above the Canadian MAC of 0.01 mg/L(1 ppb, if my conversions are correct), and comparable to some results in Flint, actually. I'm thinking we'll go the line-replacement route and be done with it.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:47 AM on September 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

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