I have city water and here is St Louis it's pretty good (from what I hear). I do have some white calcium on faucets, etc.

Now I'm in a process of renovating bathrooms and installing new piping and valves/etc. Contractor recommended to isntall whole house filter to prevent potential damage to thermostatic valves and faucets/cartridges.

What kind of water filter do I need for this? Will something like this GE® Household Pre-Filtration System work for whole house water?

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What kind of maintenance will it take? How often to replace and how do I know what I need?

2 Answers 2


No, a sediment filter will not remove calcium -- the only thing that will is a water softener. These use a media that only needs to be replaced every 10 years, and a brine tank with salt, which you have to refill periodically depending on water usage and hardness levels: anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months. There's really no other regular maintenance that normally needs to be done on a softener.

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Softeners substitute hardness (calcium carbonate) as well as some heavy metals, lead, manganese and low levels of iron with sodium ions (salt). The drawback to this is that increases the sodium levels in the water, which can be a concern for people on low-sodium diets. The amount of sodium added is entirely dependent on the amount of hardness removed.

For this reason, people often run a bypass to the kitchen cold water tap so it gets hard water, as well as outside taps used for watering the lawn and garden.

Before you purchase, you should test your water for hardness. The easiest and cheapest way is to buy a hardness test strip kit: you dip it in the water, match the colors and it tells you the hardness level. This will help you sizing the softener to buy. It's also good to periodically check so you can ensure the softener is set correctly. You're on city water, but depending on where they get the water from the hardness could change seasonally.

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  • You really haven't answered ANY of the OP's 4 questions...
    – HerrBag
    Jul 11, 2013 at 11:24
  • @HerrBag I think I addressed all 4 in my first paragraph, but I expanded it slightly anyway. "What is needed?" a softener. "Will this sed filter work?" No. Then I addressed the maintenance questions for the softener.
    – gregmac
    Jul 11, 2013 at 13:43
  • "The drawback to this is that increases the sodium levels in the water" -- to this, I would add: if you are on a septic system, this will also lead to accumulation of sodium in the soil; and, softening with salt can interfere with the rinsing action of soap, leaving a slippery texture that may or may not be desired by the users of the water (this is an entirely subjective observation, each individual will have their own opinion as to whether it's good or bad). Sep 9, 2019 at 22:03

Here a link to this GE model GXWH35F which has a link to the operation/maintenance manual.

It is a whole house filter. Impossible to accurately estimate its usable period, as it depends on usage (# gallons per week) and water hardness.

The following items are listed for removal: sediment, sand, rust, soil and silt.

The more expensive FXHTC filter will also remove chlorine. However, I didn't find any reference to calcium removal, for either filter media

For whole house calcium and magnesium removal, water softeners are probably best. Reverse Osmosis (RO) also works in this regard, but is probably overkill for a city water install.

You can go to the city offices and get a recent water quality report. Every municipality has to have water tested. Talk to the plumbing inspector about need for treatment vs filtering.

  • Sediment filters like you linked to will not remove calcium. RO is typically point of use (usually there is a tap mounted beside the kitchen sink). Whole-house RO would require installing tanks or a lot of membrane units to meet flow demands. Additionally, RO water aggressively breaks down copper pipes and fittings so you have to replace any of that. Obviously this can be extremely expensive and is why no one does whole-house RO :) Really the only way to remove calcium is a softener.
    – gregmac
    Jul 11, 2013 at 3:35
  • @gregmac The filter I linked to was the mfgr site for the unit the OP asked about, so she could answer her questions about maintenance. I didn't recommend RO for the whole house, just mentioned it as a method of calcium removal. I also stated her example unit WOULD NOT remove the calcium .
    – HerrBag
    Jul 11, 2013 at 11:24

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