fbpx 1.800.245.5469
Ask the experts: Water Filtration Systems FAQs with Steven Winsett
Book Now
Book Now
Plumbing 09/19/12

Ask the experts: Water Filtration Systems FAQs with Steven Winsett

Steven Winsett is one of Bill Howe Plumbing’s senior technicians. Steven has extensive experience in tankless water heater installations and repairs as well as the installation and repair of water softeners, whole house water filtration systems and reverse osmosis systems. In our latest “Ask the Experts” interview, we asked Steven questions that he receives most from customers interested in water filtration systems.

Q: How many years have you been in the plumbing industry?

A: I’ve been in the plumbing industry for 19 years. I’ve been with Bill Howe Plumbing for the last seven years.

Q: How long have you specialized in whole house water filtration systems?

A: I’ve been working with water filtration systems for the last 10 years. I work on whole house water filtration systems, water softeners, well treatment and reverse osmosis.

Q:  How do whole house water filtration systems work?

A:  There are two types of systems: A carbon filtration system and a water softener.

A carbon filtration system has a coconut charcoal in the system and as the water passes through the charcoal it filters out the chlorine, sediment, etc., delivering bottle quality water to every fixture in your house. As time passes and this charcoal collects waste in the water, it has to clean itself out. It goes through a self-cleaning process automatically every 7-10 days.  The average lifespan of a carbon filtration system is 10 to 15 years.

A water softener works on what’s called an ion exchange. A tank of a man-made resin and sodium ions is used to attract calcium and magnesium which creates hard water. As the water passes through, the result is soft water to every plumbing fixture of your home. After a period of about 7 to 12 days, these ions become depleted and the resin needs to be regenerated, which is done automatically. A salt/brine tank is used for the regeneration process. The salt water is flushed through the tank and filters through the resin, during which the sodium ions adhere to the salt. Then the machine washes away any excess ions. The life-span of a water softener is about 12 to 15 before the resin would need to be switched out. Most often at that point it would be the most cost effective to simply replace the system.

Q: So, does a water softener increase the amount of sodium in the water?

A: No. There is a misconception about the amount of sodium that is potable water. It’s actually a minimal amount. When the water softener goes through the regeneration process and cleans itself, it rinses out a lot of the excess sodium left behind. So, in actuality, VERY little sodium gets into your drinking water.

Q: How do you determine which type of filtration system a customer needs?

A:  Customers first need to decide what they want. Do you want “water bottle quality” water throughout your house? Or, do you want soft water, free of grittiness. San Diego is notorious for its hard water and is probably the more common system of the two. Both systems serve different functions: water softeners remove the calcium and magnesium that cause hard water and a carbon filtration system removes everything except for calcium and magnesium. Sometimes customers will have both installed.

Q: Are there any other water filtration options?

A:  Another option is a reverse osmosis system which is installed to filter the water of one fixture. These systems are not large consumption systems and typically installed to improve the home’s cooking and drinking water. They’re usually a 2 or 3 gallon reservoir tank and most times they fit right under the kitchen sink. They run around $1000* to install.

*Price subject to change, for exact price call 1-800-BILL-HOWE for an onsite estimate

Q: How is a whole house water filtration installed?

A: First, I have to find the main water supply and shut off valve so that I can hook up the system there. By hooking up the system where the water enters the house, it ensures the entire home’s water will be treated. Then, we want to find the nearest drain (that could be a clean out or a drain line that we can tap into) because each unit is a self-cleaning system and will need to drain excess water when it does this. Next, we find the nearest power source because they are all electrical and need to be plugged in.

Q: Should customers be concerned about their electric bill going up?

A: No, these systems are low voltage (24 volts) so there should be minimal, if any, increase to the electric bill.

Q: How much water does it waste when it goes through the self-cleaning process?

A: These units will waste about 15 to 20 gallons when it cleans itself. This happens once every 7 to 12 days, depending on water usage. This is equivalent to the water waste of a 10 to 15 minute shower.

Q: How long does the job take?

A: On average, installation of either unit takes 2 to 3 hours, depending on where the unit is going to sit at, how much copper needs to be used, how much drainage needs to be ran, etc. The really easy installations only take 2 hours, but I’ve been on really hard installations that have taken 5 or 6 hours.

Q: How much does a whole house filter cost?

A: Cost varies from house to house. On average, through Bill Howe Plumbing, a softener will be installed for $2,100 to $2,200 and a carbon filter will cost roughly $1,900 to $2000.

If you’d like to schedule a free estimate for a water filtration in your home or business, please call us at 1-800-BILL-HOWE (1-800-245-5469)!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Water Filtration is the important part of our Home, we should not drink water without filtration.

    Now a day the importance of reverse osmosis system has been increased. You have to remove large molecules from water. This system help us to remove them out.

    Thanks Jason Bolas for information article.


Related Posts


How to Clean a Garbage Disposal?

One appliance that often goes overlooked during the kitchen clean-up is the garbage disposal. It is often used, but equally ignored when it comes to cleaning and maintaining it. Cleaning your garbage disposal is...

1 month ago Share Icon
Read More

HVAC Service Price Guide

With the heat being rather unpredictable this year, finding out that your HVAC unit is on the fritz during a heatwave is less than ideal. With regular maintenance, the odds of your system breaking...

2 months ago Share Icon
Read More

Conventional Water Heater vs. Tankless

When it comes time to replace your water heater, you may be exploring the installation of a tankless water heater or conventional water heater. Before installing a new unit, you need to take into...

2 months ago Share Icon
Read More

What Joel C says about us

Very Satisfied. Michael is always on time, Michael has been doing all of the plumbing related to our remodel. He always does exactly what he commits to do within the estimated cost. He keeps me informed if any wrinkles pop up, and his plumbing skills are excellent as we have had no problems or issues arise after he has left. Very professional! Highly recommend.

August 2019


What Rick M says about us

We had other companies come out for estimates on what was considered a major job with jackhammers and replacing cast iron pipes under the house… having been stung before, we wanted another estimate just to make sure we were making an informed decision. The prior estimates went up to $21,000!
Bill Howe sent us an amazing veteran plumber, Dashawn and his co- worker Anthony. Dashawn did a thorough check of the problem, explained what he thought was needed … he did a final check and we were able to see for ourselves what was the problem. He recommended a complete cleaning to de-scale the pipes, and not the major work we dreaded. Thanks to his solid analysis and patience in making sure we saw what he saw, the issue was resolved completely, and saved us thousands of unnecessary work. None of the other estimates included the cleaning; only the major repairs. Thanks to Dashawn’s knowledge, professionalism and honesty, we’re Bill Howe customers.

August 2019


What Carolyn Housman says about us

This was our second excellent experience with Bill Howe. We had a blocked kitchen sink drain 8/5. I was able to get a same day appointment which is AMAZING. Person on phone was very courteous and set me up right away. Tony arrived at the house (called me 30 minutes out so I was able to be ready). He diagnosed the issue (blocked drain, not the garbage compactor) and was able to snake it and ran the water for 10 minutes to be sure the drains were clear. He cleaned up everything and you would not have known he was even there. Thank-you Tony and Bill Howe, you always know how.

August 2019


What Ed Gohlich says about us

Cory was our technician on this job. We had a time sensitive repair issue and Bill Howe understood and assisted with getting the job done quickly.
Cory was on time to start the job and finished it quickly. Upon his leaving our home he’s was courteous, very knowledgeable, explaining what the problem was and how he fixed it. Very good communication and this is the way it’s has always been when we use Bill Howe plumbing.
Great company to work with.
Thanks Cory.

August 2019

Heating & Cooling

What Eric says about us

I had a shower that would not drain. The employee arrived on time and fixed the problem quickly and effectively at a very fair price. I was very happy with everything. Thank you and I highly recommend your plumbing service.

January 2019


What Bridgett says about us

I am extremely happy with the service we received from Bill Howe Plumbing. We were given an incorrect diagnosis of our main sewer line from another vendor, but Bill Howe’s servicemen came out for a second opinion, correctly diagnosed our problem and resolved our back up issues. We will continue to use Bill Howe for all our future plumbing needs!

Thank you Bill Howe Plumbing.

July 2019