I checked with a couple of residents and right now the accepted solution for removing contaminants from the water is boiling, as filters are only being offered for cold water.

It seems to me that they could benefit from a filter placed on the line that feeds the hot water tank as opposed to just a filter on each faucet/similar.

My question is: Do such filters exist? If not, or even if they do, how would one go about making such a filter economically? From a preliminary search it seems 'whole house filters' are quite prohibitively expensive, for example OP mentions here that his cost a thousand dollars. We're doing a drive to help, it'd be nice if we could make the filters ourselves, or give instructions how to, or raise money for reasonably priced filters and then partner with plumbers for installation, etc.

Update: From the wikipedia page on contaminants found in the water

  • Lead
  • Coliform bacteria
  • Trihalomethane (THMs, a chlorine byproduct of disinfecting water)

There may be others.

  • 2
    Lead cannot be removed by just boiling, Unless distilled the lead will be there. Boiling will kill the bacteria. I would spend a couple hundred on a high quality filter and a Small UV unit to kill any bacteria prior to the filter so things won't be growing inside it. I don't know of a whole house DIY filter that can take all the stuff out that I have read that is in your water and only a really good one will eliminate the high levels reported.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 23:06
  • @EdBeal thanks for this info, do you have any recommendations in the couple hundred price range?
    – MDMoore313
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 23:16
  • 1
    A reverse osmosis filter is one of the best for lead and other dissolved metals. Sears sells a "under sink" unit for ~170. Just so you know RO filters do waste a large amount of water but also last. The water is forced through a membrane when the membrane gets filled it flushes to clean the system. I mentioned Sears as I put one in at my last house and it did work well. The home stores also have them now so I would look around. I chose RO filter because that is what we used to filter waste water from semiconductor mfg the filtered water met drinking water standards
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 23:30
  • @EdBeal and you can use the 'under sink unit' on the main, correct?
    – MDMoore313
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 23:38
  • 1
    Related question that contains a wealth of information about filtration systems and their capabilities.
    – Mazura
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 0:19

4 Answers 4


There are many systems on the market that could make the tap water safe to drink, but there is no one size fits all solution. These systems also range into the tens of thousands of dollars. You would need to get your water tested by an independent lab to determine what the quality is, and then you would need to have a system designed that will fit your needs. In your situation, you would need a system that has multiple stages in it.

Here is a list of components that would most likely be needed. If you are working with a professional, you may find that some of these are optional. There are also other types of filters on the market which are not listed that could work instead.

This list is respective to the flow of water that is coming from the city.

Whole house sediment pre-filter - This will remove the largest particles out of the water such as sand, rust deposits, etc.

Whole house sediment filter - This filter captures smaller particles than the pre-filter. They go down to at least 5 micron.

Whole house carbon filter - These filters can remove some harmful chemicals that are in the water, but do little, if anything for lead.

Whole house UV filter - This filter will kill off most bacteria and viruses. It has to be installed after the other filters because small particles can block the UV rays, and bacteria and viruses could survive it.

Water softener - This will remove some of the minerals that cause hard water stains.

Reverse osmosis system - This would be the final stage of filtration. These systems can be located under a sink, and filters out virtually everything except pure water. These systems do not produce very much water, and use a pressure storage tank because it takes a while to produce enough water.

The other systems before the reverse osmosis system condition the water in the building well enough to be used for most purposes except for drinking. Under normal circumstances, the water will be safe to bathe in, and do laundry with.

Please note that the addition of these filtration systems could reduce your water pressure significantly. You may need to install a pressure boosting pump and storage tank as well, if there are pressure issues.

However, these steps should all be done by the municipality. It should not be the burden of the homeowner to render the tap water safe to use.


Some of the problems are quickly fixable at the plant. Others affect only certain homes with lead service piping. I would ask more questions and have your water tested before throwing money at the problem. Because if you don't need it, putting unnecessary filtering on your water will help -1 Flinter, i.e not you, and not some other poor fellow who actually does need it.

Also, don't drink hot water. Ever. Anywhere. Hot water is for washing, not ingesting. Hot brings out unwanted chemicals in most piping, plus, it sits around.

  • Thanks, I'll keep that in mind, in addition though the current situation as we understand it is that because of the corrosiveness of the Flint rover water, there was irreparable damage done to the water infrastructure, which uses a lot of lead piping, so no one in the city at the moment has safe drinking water coming to their home.
    – MDMoore313
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 13:34

Would a sediment filter or carbon/sediment filter be sufficient? There are whole house filters for less than $20. I use 2 on my house. The first one is a bit nicer with a clear cover so I can see the filter and a shutoff valve. The second is the one I have listed below. I use a sediment filter in the first one and a carbon/sediment in the second. Install it as close to the water main as possible. Helps keep your water heater, dish washer, clothes washer, toilet valves, and show heads clean also.

$13.48 - 3/4 in. Inlet Whole House Water Filtration System http://www.homedepot.com/p/3-4-in-Inlet-Whole-House-Water-Filtration-System-GXWH04F/100471282

$6.46 - 2 Pack of Carbon/Sediment Filters http://www.homedepot.com/p/Carbon-Replace-Filter-2-Pack-FXWTC/100034332

  • This is certainly worth looking into, I'll show this to my team and see what they think.
    – MDMoore313
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 13:29

The smaller RO units only do 50-100 gallons a day, it would reduce your water flow two much. They make larger units but the cost gets closer to the 1 k price ispring with uv. This is an under sink with a booster pump and the flush water is 30% less than most. 1000 gal per day RO just found this it may do it not a bad price for a whole house unit.

  • Link-only answer are not very long lasting because links tend to go away over time, and without following the links, it's not clear what you're talking about. Reverse Osmosis filters?
    – Johnny
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 2:36
  • I am not sure what you are saying @johnny both links work and a reverse osmosis filter is a type Google it or follow the links.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 14:05
  • Yes, they work today, but will they work tomorrow, or a year from now? External links aren't bad if you can summarize the information in the links so if they stop working your answer still has value. Your answer doesn't even mention 'reverse osmosis' so if the links don't work, I can't even use Google to see what you are referring to.
    – Johnny
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 15:04
  • The help page has a little more explanation about providing context for external links: Provide context for links Links to external resources are encouraged, but please add context around the link so your fellow users will have some idea what it is and why it’s there. Always quote the most relevant part of an important link, in case the target site is unreachable or goes permanently offline. Your answer provides a good (maybe the best) solution to his problem so it would be good to have it stand on its own if the links stop working.
    – Johnny
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 16:02
  • 1
    I just realized I was in an answer. I thought I was following up on an earlier comment. Sometimes on my phone it is tough to tell. I will add more info. Thanks
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 19:34

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