Are Water Treatment Systems Worth the Investment?

Many homeowners turn to water treatment systems to improve their water's quality and taste. Should you get your water treated, too?

man washing hands
If you don't know what's in your water, you won't know everything a water treatment system can offer you. Schedule your free water test from your local Culligan water expert today.
Let's start with the basics - what is a water treatment system?
Water treatment is any process that improves the quality of water to make it appropriate for a specific end-use. In a home, the end use may be drinking, bathing or filling up a swimming pool. Or, it could have many other uses, including being safely returned to the environment.
These systems are worth the investment for safety reasons alone. Though they offer many other benefits as well.
Read on to learn exactly why it's worth investing in a water treatment system.

Water Treatment Systems Make Water Safer

Clean water is a fundamental baseline to human health. But even in the United States it's not as readily available as you might think.
Here are the facts:
  • The nation's drinking water infrastructure received a D-rating on its most recent report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
  • Drinking water is delivered via underground pipes, many which were laid in the early to mid-20th century with a lifespan of 75 to 100 years.
  • More than 44,000,000 Americans are served by water systems that recently had health-based Safe Drinking Act violations.
  • Twenty-three percent of private wells tested by the United States Geological Survey showed contaminants with health concerns, including arsenic, uranium, nitrates and E. coli.
It's clear that while the Environmental Protection Agency sets national regulations and standards for public drinking water, this system is not foolproof.
Many Americans put their health in their own hands by installing water filtration systems as extra protection.

Well Water vs. City-Treated Water

An important distinction between well and city-treated water is that private wells are not regulated. So the federal rules that govern public water systems do not apply to individual water systems.
Different public water systems test their water with varying frequency, depending on the number of people served, the type of water source and other timely environmental factors. The Safe Drinking Water Act mandates that certain contaminants, but not all contaminants, are tested for regularly.
Whether your water comes from a private well or municipal reservoir, Culligan recommends you test it:
  • At least once per year
  • After moving to a new house
  • If you have taste, odor, staining or spotting issues
As well owners are solely responsible for their water's quality, they should be particularly vigilant about potential contaminants.

What are Contaminants?

The term "water contamination" can imply a wide range of meaning. So let's get specific.
A contaminant is anything found in water - from minerals to microorganisms - that may be harmful to human health. Contaminants can be physical, chemical, biological or radiological in substance. Whether or not they are harmful depends on the level at which each contaminant is present.
A water test checks your water's pH levels, as well as the total amount of coliform bacteria, nitrates and dissolved solids.
Signs of Contamination
Municipally-regulated or not, most water in the U.S. contains some level of contamination from industrial and environmental pollution.
These are are some signs of contaminated water you can look out for:
  • Spotting, scaling and soap scum: Clean water does not leave dishes or other surfaces looking spotty after washing.
  • Stains in sinks and tubs: Reddish-orange, brown, black or blue-green colored stains could indicate contamination.
  • Funny tastes or odors: This could indicate a variety of issues from bacteria in your pipes to chemicals seeping into your water supply.
  • Skin and hair issues: An itchy scalp or dry, dull skin and hair could be signs of hard water.
  • Cloudy or discolored appearance: Physical contaminants like sediment or floating solids are easy to spy with the naked eye. And these could be symptomatic of a larger issue.
It's important to note that not all potential water issues are observable. Some water contaminants, like arsenic, cause problems you can't see, taste or smell, making regular testing all the more important.

Common Contamination Culprits

After testing their water, many people install water treatment systems to get rid of specific contaminants.
Here are some of the most common impurities found in water and why they can be problematic:
  • Ammonia (toxic for aquatic life)
  • Arsenic (serious problems including cancer and harm to the cardiovascular and nervous systems)
  • Barium(issues in the nervous and circulatory systems)
  • Cadmium (kidney, liver, bone and blood damage)
  • Copper (anemia, liver poisoning and kidney failure)
  • E. Coli (intestinal infection)
  • Enteric Viruses (rotavirus, norovirus, hepatitis A and E and more)
  • Fluoride (bone disorders)
  • Iron(rust stains in bathrooms, kitchens, appliances and laundry)
  • Lead(damage to the brain and nervous system)
  • Legionella (legionnaire's disease)
  • Sulfur(a rotten egg-like smell)
  • Sediment (floating sand-like particles)
While all of these contaminants have the potential to be problematic, the presence of one or more of them in your water does not indicate an automatic health risk. Some water contaminants are only harmful if consumed at certain levels, and these levels vary by contaminant.
When contaminant levels are not high enough to cause immediate sickness, repeated exposure to small amounts of a contaminant often has the potential to cause serious adverse health effects down the line.*

Beyond Safety, Why Get a Water Treatment System?

If you had to guess, what is another top reason many people install water purification systems in their home? Below are some of the most common reasons.

Better Tasting Water

One of the leading reasons people choose to purify their water is that they don't like the way it tastes. Water treatment systems reduce contaminants like lead, chlorine and sulfur that cause drinking water to taste and smell unpleasant.

Softer Water

Because no one likes hard water.
Water softeners make water less "hard" by using sodium to attract and remove any built-up minerals, such magnesium and calcium, that wreak havoc on homes and people. For people who live in brine-restricted areas, salt-free conditioners are another option to achieve similar results.
Soft water benefits in the home:
  • Better water pressure
  • Cleaner, brighter and softer clothes
  • Easier and more inexpensive household cleaning
  • No rusty-looking stains on toilets, tubs and sinks or lime buildup on plumbing fixtures
  • Spotless glassware, dishes and utensils
Soft water benefits for people:
  • Softer skin (moisture retention)
  • Healthier hair (a balanced pH level)
  • Kidney stone prevention (urinary calcium and magnesium reduction)


Did you know that water treatment systems are good for the environment?
Water is a finite resource that should never be wasted; a key benefit to purifying water is that it can be stored for future use.
Additionally, having access to clean, tasty water at home reduces plastic bottle use and prevents those bottles from ending up in landfills.

Long-Term Savings

Water treatment systems are good for your pocket, too!
Treated water can save you money in these areas:
  • Increased appliance longevity
  • Reduced plumbing maintenance
  • Lower gas and electric bills
  • Less soap needed to clean your body, dishes, clothes and home

Still Not Sure?

When everything is said and done, all the internet research in the world won't tell you specifically how a water treatment system could improve your life if you don't know what's actually in your water.

Find Out What's in Your Water

Proper testing is a necessary step to know whether you are ingesting, cleaning or living with contaminated water.
A free Culligan water test will arm you with all the information you need to make the decision that's right for you and your home.

Next Steps

After completing a water test, your local Culligan water expert can help you determine next steps for treatment.
Depending on what you observe in your water, as well as your testing results, you can explore the different treatment systems available to address your concerns.
Culligan's water treatment systems are certified to reduce specific contaminants, so you can rest easy knowing the safety, softness and taste of your water is completely up to you.
To learn more about the quality of your drinking water or your current water treatment system, connect with your local Culligan water expert. Culligan offers free water consultations in person, by phone and online.
Schedule your free water test today!
*Contaminants may not be in your water.