Installing Over and Under the Counter Water Filters and Shower Filters


Purchasing canisters with filters for removing chemicals, volatile compounds, odors, bad taste, etc. from the tap water coming into your home can be a confusing proposition. Obviously cost, type of filtration, and ease of installation, are factors that should be considered before purchasing. Many manufacturers with various brands exist in today’s market, and each type of canister/filter may have special instructions for installation. How you install your new filtration device will depend on whether you want a over the counter, or under the counter filter system. Supplemental information may be helpful when doing it yourself.

The majority of over the counter filters are fairly simple, and installation may only take a few minutes of your time, and the use of a few common tools such a screw drivers, regular or channel lock pliers, and Teflon tape. Most sink faucets come with an aerator device screwed on the end of the faucet. To remove simply turn the aerator counter clockwise to remove. If it is screwed on too tight to remove by hand, use a pair of pliers mentioned above. If you want to keep the aerator for future use, you may want to wrap the aerator with a piece of old cloth and a few rounds of duct tape to prevent scratching the chrome. Once removed, the hose end connector that leads to the filter device simply screws back onto the faucet. Teflon tape can be purchased at most hardware stores, and is used to prevent water from leaking between the connections. Some filtration devices come with this tape included. Wrap the Teflon tape clockwise two or three times around the thread keeping it flat and tight if possible to prevent it from bunching up an causing a problem with threading the new connector onto the faucet. Now, thread the new connector onto the faucet turning it clockwise. With the Teflon tape, usually hand tight is sufficient, or you can use the tip mentioned above to prevent scratching the chrome connector if using pliers to tighten. Most of these connectors have a diverter that simply pulls out to force the water into the canister and through the filter. Pour a glass of water and taste the difference.

Under the counter filters are a little more difficult and may take 30 minutes to an hour to install with the use of some special tools. These devices may require a plumber or handyman to install, but if you want to attempt to do it yourself, here are a few how to instructions along with a few considerations for you. Although most of the filter devices sold come with instructions, many are vague and may or may not give enough information depending on the type of plumbing under your sink. First be sure to turn off the water supply coming into your house. Open the faucet at your sink and maybe your outside hydrant to remove water pressure. Under the sink you will usually find a shut off device for hot and cold water that connects to plastic or copper lines leading to your sink faucet. After shutting off the cold water supply line, remove the supply line connector in the same manner mentioned above for over the counter connectors. Most filter canisters come with connectors, tape, O-rings, hoses, etc., needed for the installation. They will come with a dispenser faucet which attaches to your sink and will be separate from your regular faucet. Even before buying an under the counter dispenser, be sure that your sink has a special “knock out” hole which can be seen from under the sink.

Some of these can be punched out with hammer and screw driver making the perfect size hole for attaching the dispenser nozzle. Other sinks will have a “knock out” location which will require a hole saw to cut through your sink lip. Once the hole is attained in the sink lip, install the nozzle which will have a shut off/on handle. There will typically be a seal which goes on the supply line and slips up to the base of the nozzle body. This allows the nozzle to seat down against your sink lip. Run the water supply line down through the knock out hole. There should be another plastic seal that slips over the supply line, then a plastic or brass washer which threads to the base of the nozzle. This will show under your sink, and is used for securing the nozzle/dispenser to your sink. The water supply line will typically have a connector at the end. Typically, the simplest connector for attaching your filter device will look like a three way valve. The three way connector connects directly to your water supply line. Again use the method for connecting mentioned above. Some connectors Read more are compression fitted, while others may require the use of Teflon tape. Install the three way connector to the supply line, and attach the hose going to your sink faucet. This will leave a connector site for the lines which will pass through your filter device and into the dispenser which you have already secured to your sink. Most filter devices have and inflow and an outflow. The first hose connects to the three- way connector then pushes into the filter canister.

Most of these are compression fitted and simply push into the inflow location. The hose coming from your sink nozzle/dispenser simply pushes into the outflow location, and is also compression fitted. If the dispenser fittings are screw on types, simply follow the instruction mentioned above for screw on types of connectors. It is handy to have someone turn your water back on for you while you check for leaks. Leave any faucets you have opened prior to installation open for a few minutes until all air has escaped and only water is passing through the lines, then shut them off. This will build up typical water pressure. If at any time you observe a leak under your sink or at the dispenser nozzle, have your helper shut off the outside water supply line and tighten any loose connections or incorrect threading.

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