How Do Water Filters Work?

In today’s time of developing technology, newer and more intricate things are being put into all kinds of systems to make life both easier and healthier. Our home’s plumbing systems are just one example of this, with new tankless water heaters being made for better heating abilities and new cleaning technology being used to better purify the water supply. Even something as simple as water filters are slowly becoming more advanced. 

However, since the need for further water filtration can be something of a point of contention in many cities across the United States, many homeowners want to know: how do water filters work? 

We’ve answered that question as well as a few others commonly asked questions in this article. And, if you’re considering investing in a new water filter for your home after reading, we’ve included some of the different types that you can get. Once you’ve made a choice, contact our team at Diamondback Plumbing for help installing it.

What are Water Filters?

When it comes to the answer to “what does a water filter do?”, the answer can seem quite obvious; it filters out dirt and debris from the water. While that is true, water filters are surprisingly more complex than that. And the best way to learn how they work is by seeing what they are.

Much like the smaller filters you can get for specialized water jugs, plumbing water filters are quite similar. Though the technology has been shrunk down and simplified, all water filters work in a very similar way. Much like the larger ones put into your home’s water supply, water filters are a combination of a fine screen mesh and some form of clean, sand-like material.

Larger water filters (not to be confused with water softeners) that are designed to be attached to your home’s main water supply are similar yet different, as mentioned. 

Though they generally have many of the same parts, plumbing water filters often use some form of a semi-permeable membrane or an even finer screen to clean the water. Additionally, a single water filter attached to your water supply line can have more than one of these screens.

Ultimately, beyond the basics, the ideal water filter will depend on the size of your home and the number of people in your family.

How Do Water Filters Work When Attached to the Water Supply?

As mentioned earlier, water filters attached to the plumbing supply in your home often have one or more screens built into them. Smaller homes that use less water – or have a cleaner local source of water – are more likely to have few of these screens. That’s not to say, though, that a home can’t have more than one or a higher-quality water filter installed.

The main use for a water filter is to do one last filtration of the water that’s brought to the water heater or distributed to the home’s faucets. 

Many counties have their water filtration plants to clean out and treat the wastewater that’s sent to them. The water is heavily treated with chemicals – that are safe for you – to get rid of any potential bacteria and contaminants. The water supply you get is safe to use as a result.

However, the water still contains some debris due to its transportation, despite being clean. The water you get out of your faucets is still drinkable and safe to use without any extra materials needed. The main answer to “how do water filters work?”, though, is centered around this essentially clean water supply. The water simply passes through the membrane or mesh, leaving behind any debris.

The more meshes the water passes through, the fewer pieces of dirt and debris remain in the water itself.

What Does a Water Filter Remove From Your Water?

Another common question that many homeowners ask when looking into getting a water filter for their home is what exactly the filter removes. Does it only remove the particles of dirt and bugs that manage to find their way in or does it clean out more?

Of course, one of the more specific questions homeowners often ask is, “does a water filter remove bacteria?”. The answer is a resounding yes. While this does rely on the type of water filter itself and how fine its mesh screen is, most water filters do clean your water quite efficiently. More often than not, this is thanks to the way they function. 

Even whole-house water filters run water through a screen, separating any lingering organic material from the water.

Do Water Filters Change the Taste and Smell of Water?

Depending on the type of water filter you have installed in your house, the answer can be a tentative yes. Since many homeowners ask “do water filters remove chlorine?”, it’s no wonder that people want to know whether the taste and smell of water change with water filters installed. 

With whole-house and charcoal water filters, though, the water is often odorless and tasteless.

That’s primarily because whole-house water filters contain some form of carbon or activated charcoal as a filter in it. Said activated charcoal and carbon are highly efficient at removing quite a lot of toxins and chemicals from the incoming water supply. Chlorine, as well as fluoride, and a large range of rather nasty chemicals, are easily neutralized when it passes through the filter. The result is clean, safe drinking water!


Having access to clean water is an important part of our daily lives. While the cities we live in often treat and clean the water before supplying it to our homes, chemicals, and bacteria can still find their way into the supply lines. Most of the time, these additions aren’t enough to make us sick, but using unfiltered water can still negatively impact our health. 

Fortunately, many homes already have water filters installed. These filters clean out bacteria and a wide range of chemicals, ensuring you and your family stay healthy for as long as possible. If you need any help replacing your home’s water filter or installing a new one, you can always call our team at Diamondback Plumbing!

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