#3 Choosing a flow rate and capacity
Measured in Gallons Per Minute (GPM), flow rate is a measure of how much water a filtration system can process at a single time.
You’ll need a system with a flow rate that exceeds the flow of your well or the average flow rate demands of your home (whichever is higher).
Choosing the right capacity filter for your home’s size will have a big effect on flow rate. Filter systems designed for 1-3 bathrooms will run out quickly and may not provide an adequate number of gallons per minute if pushed to perform beyond capacity.
Average well water flow rates
The original water pressure from your well plays a role in how your system will perform. If your well flow rate is far below your home’s needs, a water filter system won’t do anything to resolve this issue.
Proper well drilling and functioning well pumps are essential to ensure adequate pressure enters the system in the first place.
Most wells have flow rates between 3 and 6 GPM, which is around the lower estimated average needs for a household. That’s why it’s important to find a filter setup that won’t seriously restrict water flow.
Average home appliance flow rates
As a very general rule, the average American adult uses around 100 gallons of water per day. When they draw water, they tend to do so at an average flow rate of 5 GPM.
In other words, if you add up the total time a person spends interacting with water appliances and fixtures, it usually equals around 20 minutes per day.
Here are some average flow rates for standard home appliances:
|Appliance ||Average flow rate |
|Faucet ||1 – 3 GPM |
|Shower ||2 – 4 GPM |
|Dishwasher ||2 – 4 GPM |
|Laundry machine ||3 – 5 GPM |
Regardless of the filtration system, most homes on city water and well water can’t support the simultaneous flow demand of all of their appliances.
Instead, work out how many appliances you regularly use at the same time, and use that number as your maximum GPM requirement.
You’ll likely find that your max flow rate is between 5-10 GPM, depending on home size and the number of adults living there.
Homes running on flow rates under 2.5 GPM are usually designated as “low flow.”
If you’re in a household with more than 3 bathrooms, 2 adults, or a larger family, you may find that the Aquasana Rhino can’t meet your flow rate demands.
Here, SpringWell leads the industry for high flow tanks that can keep up with high water consumption habits.
How to maximize the flow rate from your well
- In general, the more filter stages that a system contains, the more that flow rate will be affected. So try to only install the filter stages relevant to your well supply.
- Small changes to your household routine, such as only taking one shower at a time, or not running the laundry machine and dishwasher simultaneously, can help to lower your flow rate demands.
- Clean filter cartridges have a lesser effect on flow rates than those clogged with dirt and debris.
- Doubling up two smaller systems in a dual-flow setup may result in a faster flow rate than using a single larger system.
- Electrical pumps that add pressure to your system can provide a small boost in GPM.
Average filtration system capacity needs
Most filtration systems that use tanks to house filter media and process water come in two or three different sizes. This helps accommodate different water consumption levels without overspending on excess capacity.
The capacity of cartridge-based filter systems varies widely depending upon the type of filter media and the size of the cartridge.
In general, capacity is roughly estimated at 100,000 gallons per year. So:
- The 1,000,000 gallon tank in the SpringWell Well Water Filter should provide 10+ years of maintenance-free filtering.
- The 600,000 gallon tank in the Aquasana Rhino should provide 5+ years of maintenance-free filtering.
- The 80,000 gallon capacity cartridges in the APEC 3 Stage System should provide 6+ months of filtering.
The more polluted your water, the shorter the tank or cartridge lifespan will be.
Things to bear in mind with well water filter capacity
The higher the capacity of your filtration system, the longer it should run without the need for any maintenance or replacement parts.
Filter tanks with capacities in the hundreds-of-thousands of gallons can run for many years without being touched. Cartridge-based systems, on the other hand, need replacement parts and cleaning every 6-12 months.
For homes on a well, we recommend filter tanks. Check out the next section on how to weigh up the costs of cheaper cartridge systems vs long-lasting tanks.