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Whole house water filters are an incredibly effective way to provide clean water to your entire home, but they are not flawless. One recurring problem that they can have is mold.
Mold is a nasty problem to have, but luckily for you, it isn’t a complicated one to deal with. If you have mold issues in your water filter, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll teach you what causes mold to grow in a whole house filter system, how to get rid of it, how to prevent it from showing up again, and why you need to remove mold in the first place.
For cartridge-based whole house water filters:
For tank-based systems:
Mold is a fungus that grows naturally in dark places with a lot of moisture, like your pipes. For mold to grow in your home, it only needs a warm, dark environment and a food source, like the mineral build-up on your pipes or the paper in your sediment filter cartridge.
Not cleaning your whole house water filter regularly will cause mold to grow more often and more quickly.
If your water comes from a well and the well cap is damaged, you could also be exposed to mold.
Getting rid of mold boils down to using some cleaning solution like bleach, vinegar, or another chemical to clean the affected areas – think water filter, pipes, and water heater.
Let’s take a look at how to clean each:
Before cleaning any kind of filter, make sure you are wearing gloves and never touch mold with your bare hands.
If your whole house water filter is cartridge-based, you just have to remove the housing and clean it using a cleaning solution. You have three options:
If the filter cartridge is infected as well, there’s nothing you can do except replace it.
These types are much more difficult to clean as you can’t easily remove the filter media to clean inside the tank.
Consider disposing of the entire filter media once it’s out. Also, make sure to clean all other whole house water filter parts thoroughly.
Water pipes can be difficult to clean, and since they are always wet and dark, you most likely won’t be able to prevent mold from growing permanently. However, you can keep it under control and clean them…
To clean your pipes, pour your cleaning solution down your main water supply and then flush your cold water lines. You can use chemicals, but we recommend something less aggressive like vinegar.
To flush your cold water lines:
If there’s mold in your water pipes, there’s probably mold in your water heater. When it comes to mold in your heater, you have two options:
Drain all the water out of your tank-based water heater. You can do this by turning on all hot water faucets in your home and running the water for 15 minutes (30 minutes for an 80-gallon tank). Once it’s empty, allow it to refill.
This should be used only for minor mold issues.
This is a much more complex process, so you might want to save it for more serious mold problems. Here’s how to do it:
Note that this is a summarized version of the process.
The only sure way to prevent mold in your whole house water filter is to install another type of filter media that specifically kills mold, such as a UV filter system.
However, you can also prevent mold from building in your filter by regularly cleaning all the different parts and replacing filter cartridges.
Other than contacting a professional to test your water, you can do it yourself in one of two ways:
This method uses a specialized test for mold in water. The Tap Score Mold and Fungus Water Test kit tests your water for black mold and other aspergillus formations.
Tap Score ships you everything you need to test the water, including a guide on how to collect the sample. Once the sample is collected, you send it to their lab, and within 8 days you get a full lab report back.
There are several different types of mold and different ways to classify them. The following list focuses on their differences based on their health effects:
For starters, algae are plant-like bacteria, while mold and mildew are fungi. Algae grow in places with sunlight and warm temperatures, while mold and mildew prefer moist environments and darkness.
Mold and mildew are very similar, growing under similar circumstances, but they have differences in color and texture. Mildew has lighter colors and looks like flat and powdery dots. Mold, however, has darker shades and looks fuzzy and slimy.
Furthermore, while algae can grow with sunlight and water, mold must consume organic material to survive and grow.
Their differences also extend to the way they affect your health. Algae is mostly harmless, though certain types (such as blue-green algae) can produce harmful toxins.
Mold, however, is always an issue and should be dealt with as soon as possible.
Drinking a few sips of moldy water probably won’t do much to you, if anything at all. Our stomach acid can handle most of the mold spores we consume without much issue.
However, constant exposure to moldy water, and high quantities of mold in your water, could lead to health problems.
In the short-term, continued exposure to mold in drinking water can cause the following symptoms:
People with a compromised immune system or mold allergies should be particularly wary of mold in water.
If your mold exposure continues, it could cause some serious health problems. Long-term exposure to mold in drinking water can lead to toxic mold syndrome, Legionnaires disease, development of mold allergies, organ damage, and the development of asthma.
It’s important that you test your water if you’ve found traces of mold or suspect it might have mold, to know what you are dealing with in terms of contamination.
If you have any questions about mold in whole house water filters please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
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