APEC All Purpose & Multi-Stage Big Blue Whole House Water Filters Review

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APEC offers a variety of whole house water filters. Some are for basic filtration needs, namely to remove stuff like sediments and chlorine, and improve the overall taste and smell of water. These systems are what we will cover in this review.

Others were designed e.g. to remove fluoride or hydrogen sulfide, neutralize pH, or reduce hardness. These specialized filters are not part of this guide. This also applies to APEC’s heavy duty whole house purifiers, such as the Green Carbon 10 and the Green Carbon 15.

That being said, the standard APEC whole house filter comes in 4 different variations:

  1. The All Purpose CB1-SED20-BB sediment filter
  2. The All Purpose CB1-CAB20-BB carbon filter
  3. The Multi-Stage CB2-SED-CAB20-BB sediment & carbon combo
  4. And the Multi-Stage CB3-SED-IRON-CAB20-BB sediment, iron & carbon combo

Which one is ideal for you depends on your filtration needs.



Filter Stages:2
NSF Certifications:
Annual Cost:$$$
Warranty:1 Year

Our Rating

APEC Big Blue Water Filters – Key Features

1. All Purpose CB1-SED20-BB Sediment Filter

As the name suggests, the All Purpose sediment filter traps sand, silt, dirt, rust and other larger particles down to a size of 30 microns.

Advantages are that the polyester filter is chemical and bacteria resistant for a long cartridge life. And not only that, it can also be washed and reused. A great way to get a couple of thousand gallons more out of it.

Although APEC has not specified a maximum flow rate, we know that it can treat lots of water without causing a significant pressure drop (less than 1 psi @ 10 gpm). This is because the filter requires very little contact time. Users have confirmed this not noticing a difference in flow/pressure with or without the filter installed.

2. All Purpose CB1-CAB20-BB Carbon Filter

The Big Blue granular activated carbon filter is best for chlorinated tap water supplies. Apart from the disinfectant, the carbon will also help to get rid of tastes, odors, discoloring and a bunch of VOCs.

Filtration capacity: 70,000 (100,000) or 1 year, whichever comes first.

This filter, too, is for fast flow applications.

3. Multi-Stage CB2-SED-CAB20-BB Sediment & Carbon Combo

Not much new to say here. This 2-in-1 system effectively removes sediment and adsorbs chlorine.

What we like is that the unit comes pre-assembled and ready to mount.

On a side note, this is the most popular of the 4 variations at the time of writing this guide.

4. Multi-Stage CB3-SED-IRON-CAB20-BB Sediment, Iron & Carbon Combo

In addition to sediment and chlorine you also want to treat iron? Then this setup is right for you. It helps with orange, red and brown iron staining and also metallic taste.

The iron filter goes into action at stage 2 of the system utilizing manganese dioxide to convert soluble ferrous (clear-water iron) into insoluble ferric (red-water iron). The ferric iron is then adsorbed by the activated carbon in stage 3.

According to APEC, the FI-IRON20-BB iron cartridge can treat up to 80,000 gallons of water at iron concentrations of 1 part per million.

For the highest filtration effectiveness, it is important that the following operations conditions apply:

  • Water pH >7.0
  • Silica <100 ppm
  • Manganese <1 ppm
  • Iron <3 ppm
  • No iron bacteria
  • No hydrogen sulfide

Again, what we like is that the system comes pre-assembled and ready to mount.

APEC Big Blue Pros

The main benefit that APEC whole house filter systems provide is that you get clean – not necessarily drinkable – water throughout your entire home.

This can prevent clogging and somewhat prolong the life of your household appliances and fixtures.

Also, the carbon filter allows you to enjoy chlorine-free showers for smoother hair and skin.

We also like the sturdy plastic construction in combination with the heavy duty metal bracket that both indicate longevity.


The APEC CB2-SED-CAB20-BB – learn more on amazon.com

System Installation

Installation is pretty straightforward. Still, remember that you will need to cut into the main water line which not everyone feels comfortable doing.

Before you start with the actual setup, close the main water valve and open the nearest outlets to drain any remaining water.

To connect the inlet/outlet port to the main line we recommend you use flex tubing and shark bite fittings.

In addition, consider installing a bypass so that when you maintain or troubleshooting your system you don’t have to shut off the water to your entire house.

Do we still think that a skilled do-it-yourselfer will be able to do the installation all by himself? Absolutely!

Parts List

  • System module
  • Filter housing(s) + filter(s)
  • Housing wrench


To our knowledge, manuals are not available online.

APEC Big Blue Cons

Nothing so far, except that APEC mentions NSF certifications on their website, however, doesn’t provide further details.

APEC Big Blue Review: Our Verdict + Best for

With the 20” Big Blues, APEC offers a solid whole house filter system line at a fair price. Replacement filters are not the cheapest, but also not the most expensive we’ve seen either.

There is not much that you can do wrong here, really, as long as you don’t expect miracles in terms of water purity. A solid 4 stars.

APEC Big Blue systems are best for standard and cartridge-based whole house water filtration on a budget.

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This completes our review of APEC’s Big Blue water filters. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

About the Author Gene Fitzgerald

Gene Fitzgerald has been with BOS since the very beginning. She is head of content creation and has fully immersed herself into the home water treatment industry only to become an expert herself. Outside of BOS, Gene loves reading books on philosophy & social issues, making music, and hiking.
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