If you live here in San Jose, CA, you may have noticed that our local water quality leaves a bit to be desired. Some residents occasionally report odd smells and tastes affecting their tap water, and hard water is a widespread issue here. As a result, your home’s fixtures may get discolored or stained and experience excess wear and tear and premature failure. For others, the unpleasant tastes and smells are enough to lead them to avoid using their tap water at all for cooking and drinking, instead depending on bottled water for those tasks. The good news, though, is that there are ways to improve the quality of your home’s water. All you need is the right kind of water filtration system, and your home can have safe, clean, refreshing water at all times. Here’s an overview of the kinds of issues your tap water in San Jose may suffer from and the types of water filtration technologies that can solve them.

Where Does San Jose’s Water Supply Come From?

Although you may not know it, your home’s water supply may come from a handful of different sources, depending on where it’s located within San Jose. For example, if your home is in the Evergreen area, your water likely comes from a nearby reservoir. The common sources include the San Luis, Anderson, and Calero reservoirs. The water from those reservoirs undergoes filtration and sanitization before arriving at your home. However, there are still a variety of substances that will remain in the water, affecting its taste and smell.

If you live in the North San Jose or Alviso area, your home’s water likely comes from the Hetch Hetchy Watershed and Reservoir. It’s also the main water source for the city of San Francisco, so it’s operated by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). Much of the water in the reservoir comes from snowmelt in the Sierra Nevada mountains. When the reservoir requires additional water, it is occasionally supplemented by watersheds located in Alameda and Santa Clara. Like the water in Evergreen, it also undergoes filtration and sanitization before reaching local homes.

If you live in Edenvale or Coyote Valley, your home’s water likely comes from our local aquifer, which means it’s pumped from underground. For that reason, tap water in those areas tends to be much harder and contain more dissolved solids than the water in other parts of San Jose. Your home’s water quality may also fluctuate more during times of drought than the water in other parts of the city.

Common Contaminants in San Jose’s Water

With so many different water sources in the area, it’s impossible to say what specific contaminants may be in your home’s water. However, there are a few common contaminants that all of the local water sources share. One is chloramine. This is because the local water treatment facilities use it to sanitize the water before it reaches your home. Unfortunately, chloramine can affect the taste and smell of your water and can irritate your skin, eyes, and respiratory tract when its concentration gets too high.

There are also a variety of other contaminants you may find in your San Jose home’s water, including:

  • Haloacetic Acids (HAA5 and HAA9)
  • Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)
  • Hexavalent Chromium
  • Radium
  • Nitrates
  • Perfluorooctanoic acids (PFOAs)

Of course, the local water authorities do monitor the water supply for the above substances and work to ensure they stay within the legal limits set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Unfortunately, experts agree that the EPA’s guidelines are woefully out of date. And when you consider that exposure to some of the substances on the list above can have long-term health consequences, the need for additional water filtration becomes clear.

Your Water Filtration Options

There are multiple types of water filters that you can install in your home to remove some or all of the harmful substances mentioned above. Which you choose will depend on your level of concern and the reason that you want your home’s water filtered. For example, if you’re concerned most about the smell and taste of your home’s water, you won’t need an advanced filtration system. However, if you want to eliminate all of the harmful substances, you will likely want an advanced, multi-stage water filter.

It’s also worth pointing out that one of the biggest water issues in San Jose, which is hard water, isn’t something you can solve with a filter at all. For that, you’d need a water-softening system that removes calcium, magnesium, and other minerals from your water before it reaches your fixtures. That said, the following are your major water filtration system options and what they can remove from your home’s water.

Sediment Filters

A sediment filter is the most basic type of water filtration you can install in your home. They remove substances like dirt, dust, sand, and other particulate matter from your water. However, since our local water supply already undergoes basic filtration before arriving at your home, it’s unlikely that a sediment filter will solve your water issues on its own.

Activated Carbon Filters

Activated carbon filters work well if your primary concern is the taste and smell of your water. They work by absorbing some of the most common water contaminants as water passes through them. Activated carbon filters are great at removing things like chlorine and chloramines, pesticides, TTHMs, and other volatile organic compounds. Since those are the biggest culprits that affect your water’s taste and odor, an activated carbon filter can have a huge impact on your home’s perceived water quality.

Two or Three-Stage Water Filters

Another common water filtration system combines multiple types of filters to remove a wide range of contaminants. For example, they may include a sediment filter as a first stage, an activated carbon filter as a second stage, and optionally, an additional carbon filter stage to remove whatever chemicals remain. Two- and three-stage water filtration systems are among the most common whole-home water filter types on the market today.

Reverse Osmosis Water Filters

Finally, reverse osmosis water filters represent the gold standard in water filtration technology. They push water at high pressure through semi-permeable membranes designed to permit nothing but water molecules to pass through. As a result, reverse osmosis filters can give your home the cleanest, freshest water possible. They are relatively expensive, however. For that reason, some homeowners install reverse osmosis filtration systems underneath their kitchen sink as opposed to a whole-house system. That can provide clean water for cooling and drinking, while a less expensive system handles the treatment of the rest of the home’s water.

Your Local Water Filtration Experts

If you’re interested in improving the quality of the water in your San Jose home, Plumbtree Plumbing & Rooter can help. We offer complete home water quality solutions as well as comprehensive plumbing services for your home. Our team of expert plumbers can help you maintain your home’s water and gas infrastructure, and we offer 24/7 emergency services so you never have to wait for help. We also offer water heater services. And as a Better Business Bureau-accredited business with an A+ rating, you can always trust us to deliver the service and support you deserve.

So, if you want to know more about water filtration systems for your San Jose home, call Plumbtree Plumbing & Rooter today!

Josh Gibson

Hi, I’m Josh. I’ve been around plumbing my whole life. When I was 5-6 years old my family built a home where I did a lot of the sanding of copper pipe and definitely some playing in the mud. Plumbing is a major part of my family as I am a fourth-generation plumber. The skills I bring to the job are a good technical knowledge of plumbing and code requirements. I am often complimented on my hands-on problem-solving skills.
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