The SpringWell whole house water system is a high-capacity, low-maintenance option for whole home water filtration, suitable for chlorinated or chloraminated tap water supplies. For this SpringWell CF review, installed the unit in our own home and conducted several before-and-after contaminant removal tests to measure its ability to remove contaminants from our city water supply in Arvada, Colorado.
Table of Contents
🧾 Overview of the SpringWell CF Whole House Water Filtration System
The SpringWell CF is one of the most popular whole-house filters available today. It uses a blend of KDF and catalytic carbon filter media to remove a range of common contaminants, including chlorine, chloramine, PFAS, and lead, from a whole-house water supply.
The idea is that the system gets installed upstream of your hot water heater, which means all the water that flows through your home – hot and cold – is free from the trace contaminants and impurities that the media addresses.
At the time of our review, we had a choice of three sizes and flow rates for the SpringWell CF system:
- The 9 GPM SpringWell CF1 Whole House Water Filter (the most popular choice, which we’ll be focusing on in this review) – for 1-3 bathrooms
- The 12 GPM SpringWell CF4 Whole House Filter System – for 4-6 bathrooms
- The 20 GPM SpingWell CF+ Whole House Water Filtration System – for commercial use
|SpringWell CF Configurations
|CF1: 1-3 Bathrooms
|CF4: 4-6 Bathrooms
|CF+: 7+ Bathrooms
We reviewed the SpringWell CF1 filter, which was best-suited to our 2-bathroom home and the most popular system amongst customers generally. When we got the system to review, it cost around $930 – expensive, but pretty middle-ground for a tank-based whole-home system with a media lifespan of up to 10 years. Our anticipated annual spend on replacing the sediment pre-filter was within $40.
|9 – 20 GPM
Our readers get 5% off at springwellwater.com 👉 Click here to get your coupon.
In our testing, the SpringWell CF greatly reduced or removed the trace contaminants that were present in our water, including disinfection byproducts, lead, copper, and other heavy metals. However, the system struggled to remove fluoride (it doesn’t contain filtration media to address this contaminant), and we didn’t get to test the system to its full potential because our feed water lacked many of the contaminants that it’s designed to remove. We plan to conduct further tests on other water supplies to test the system’s ability to reduce chlorine, chloramine, PFAS, and more.
👍 What We Like
- Protects an entire home water supply
- Removes tens of common contaminants
- Long media lifespan of 1,000,000 gallons/ 10 years
- Low long-term maintenance cost
- Good water flow with three system sizes to choose from
- Backed by an unbeatable lifetime warranty and money-back guarantee
👎 What We Don’t Like
- Doesn’t remove all problem contaminants
- Difficult install
- No official performance certification
💡 First Impressions
Out of the box, the SpringWell CF filter system is a hefty tank-based unit – the tank is 52 inches tall and 9 inches wide, so we needed a free space with enough height for the install. The media comes pre-loaded in the tank, so it’s pretty heavy. You may need an extra person to help you carry it to your install location.
Design-wise, this SpringWell unit is our preferred option for whole-house filtration. We’d personally rather spend a bit more upfront for the long-term cost savings of a tank-based system with a media that lasts years, as opposed to a cartridge-based system that needs annual filter changes. The system has a simple setup and operates with water pressure, meaning that it filters water as it flows through your plumbing. We didn’t have to program a control panel because the unit doesn’t add chemicals to the water or perform backwash cycles.
In the box that was shipped to us, we received:
- The main water filtration tank
- The first 5-micron sediment pre-filter
- Pre-filter housing, mounting bracket, and o-ring
- Spanner wrench (for changing the pre-filter)
- Bypass valve
- Hose bib assembly
- 1-inch MNPT fittings
Not everything we needed to install the SpringWell CF was included (more on this later). Aside from this, we were pleased with the sturdy, practical, functional feel of the CF system’s design, and our sizable upfront investment was sweetened by SpringWell’s 6-month money-back guarantee, lifetime warranty (for specific parts), and free shipping.
🧪 Our Performance Test
We wanted to see how the SpringWell CF would perform when filtering our municipal water supply, and how its contaminant removal abilities compared to SpringWell’s performance claims. We tested our water supply pre- and post-filtration with a third-party laboratory testing kit that we’ve used reliably in the past: SimpleLab Tap Score. We were mailed a sample kit, which we used to take our water samples before shipping them to the lab.
To make sure our results were as reliable as possible, we followed the strict sample-taking protocol outlined by Tap Score. We took two samples from the exact same faucet for each test, with the first sample being the first use of the tap in the morning after water had been sitting in the plumbing overnight, and the second being a fully flushed sample, meaning that we first let the water run for 5 minutes to clear out any stagnant water from the pipes. The reason for taking two tests was to account for additional contaminants that could be leaching into our water from our plumbing.
Just under a week later, our results were back. The table below highlights the data we received, including which contaminants were found in trace levels in our unfiltered tap water, and to what extent these contaminants were reduced by the SpringWell CF system.
Contaminants With Health Effects
Our unfiltered water contained trace levels of 15 contaminants with possible health effects: chloroform, total THMs, bromodichloromethane (three disinfection byproducts), lead, nickel, copper, fluoride, cobalt, sulfate, zinc, molybdenum, strontium, manganese, barium, and sodium. Lead, nickel, and the three disinfection byproducts were the most concerning, having all been detected in concentrations higher than the HGL.
Some of the known health effects caused by these contaminants are:
- Developmental effects
- Immune function issues
- Carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects
- Kidney and liver problems
- Reproductive effects
- Impact on the blood system
- Gastrointestinal effects
- Nervous system problems
- Skeletal health issues
- Impact on thyroid health
- Cardiovascular health effects
Our filtered water test results showed that the SpringWell CF was able to completely eliminate six of these contaminants with health effects, including all three disinfection byproducts. It also reduced our water’s lead concentration by 96%, leaving a small detectable amount in the sample. (Tip: SpringWell has a lead-specific system that’s a better choice if you have lead in your water supply, offering 100% lead removal).
As for some of the other heavy metals we were concerned about, the CF removed nickel and cobalt completely, and reduced copper by 76%, zinc by 72%, and barium by 41%.
The SpringWell CF didn’t do a great job of fluoride removal – only 17% was removed. But it’s not intended for fluoride removal because it doesn’t contain any filtration media that targets this mineral, so we were pleasantly surprised that any fluoride was removed at all.
See our testing data for yourself:
Our pre-filtration tests also detected several plumbing-related contaminants, which were categorized because of their potential to leach from our pipes or cause damage to the plumbing in our home. Lead and copper were the two key contaminants detected (0.0007 PPM and 0.0532 PPM respectively), which were most likely to have leached from our plumbing. Several other plumbing-related heavy metals were also detected: manganese (0.0013 PPM), sulfate (27.2 PPM), and zinc (0.255 PPM).
Post-filtration, the SpringWell CF had reduced lead by 96% (as mentioned above), copper by 76%, and zinc by 72%. Manganese had also been reduced to 0.002 PPM, but the system had no effect on our sulfate levels – these were actually slightly higher in the post-filtration test. Sulfate is safe in trace amounts in water, so we weren’t concerned.
Aside from contaminant removal, we wanted to test other aspects of the SpringWell CF’s performance, including how it impacted our home’s flow rate, the difference it made it made to our water quality, and its performance longevity. Here’s what we found.
We’ve already discussed what the SpringWell CF could remove from our water, but we also wanted to evaluate how the system affected our water quality in terms of taste and smell.
After installing the CF unit, we noticed that our water smelled and tasted fresher and cleaner. This is likely a result of filtration by the catalytic carbon media, since carbon is one of the most effective filtration media for eliminating unwanted tastes and odors.
We were generally pleased with how our water quality improved on the whole throughout our home post-filtration. However, because our feed water didn’t contain detectable levels of chlorine, we didn’t get to test the CF system’s ability to improve our water taste and smell by reducing this chemical (it uses a catalytic carbon media that effectively removes 99.6% of chlorine, plus chloramine). We plan to re-test the system with a highly chlorinated water supply and will update this section when we do.
As we mentioned, we went for the SpringWell CF1, with a 9 GPM flow rate. To put this into perspective, most homes have an average flow rate of 6-12 GPM. You need a water pressure range of 25-80 psi for the system.
Post-installation, the CF1 had no impact on our flow rate or water pressure. This was exactly what we were looking for in a point-of-entry system – it was essential for us that we maintained our existing home’s flow rate to ensure that our appliances and fixtures had the same fast access to water whenever we switched them on.
As for performance longevity, we worked this out by analyzing the lifespan of the filtration media in the SpringWell CF’s tank. The media lasts up to 1,000,000 gallons, or up to 10 years, which is higher than the average for a tank-based system for city water (6-7 years). The sediment filter needs replacing every 9 months on average.
The media lifespan is determined by your water quality and usage – the poorer the water quality and the more water you run through the filter every day, the faster the media will be depleted. We’ve yet to test the SpringWell for long enough to comment on how long our own filter media lasted compared to the predicted lifespan.
We were generally pleased with the consistency of performance offered by the CF system, especially since it doesn’t need to be backwashed and lasts up to 10 years before a media replacement is needed. The unit’s tanks are built with a proprietary internal design flow, which ensures that the filter media has maximum contact time with the water, allowing for consistently thorough contaminant removal.
📑 Filter Testing & Certifications
The SpringWell CF uses three key filtration stages:
- A 5-micron pre-filter, a small filter that’s separate from the main tank. This filter siphons out sand and other sediment particles that could damage the main filtration media.
- A KDF bed, housed in the main filter tank. This media is used to remove chlorine, lead, and other heavy metals. It also inhibits bacteria growth – essential in a media-based system.
- A coconut catalytic carbon bed, also housed in the main tank. Catalytic carbon filtration media is a step up from regular activated carbon and is capable of removing both chlorine and chloramine, plus pesticides, TTHMs, and other organic contaminants. Most whole house water filters can only treat chlorine or chloramine, but SpringWell does both, significantly improving water quality.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find testing to support the manufacturer’s performance claims, and the SpringWell CF isn’t currently certified for its contaminant removal abilities. Obtaining an official certification is a long and costly process, especially for high-capacity systems like the CF, but we’d love to see at least proof of third-party testing as an extra vote of confidence.
🔧Installation & Maintenance Considerations
We chose to get the SpringWell CF1 installed by a professional, and the process took around 2 hours from start to finish. If DIY isn’t your strong point, we recommend hiring a professional plumber. It’ll cost you around $200 on top of your upfront purchase, but it was a price we were happy to pay for the reassurance of a job well done. Our advice is to check the user manual to see if you’re up for the task before you spend your money.
Something worth knowing is that not all parts for installation were included with our system. We needed to buy the necessary parts separately, including:
- 1-inch (3-inch long) PVC nipples
- 1-inch PVC shut-off valve
- 1-inch (24-inch kong) corrugated water connectors
- Plumbers tape
Following the installation instructions in the manual, we also learned that we needed to prime the filter media for at least 48 hours before use. Make sure to keep this in mind if you do hire a plumber for the install.
As for maintenance, the filtration media itself lasts up to 10 years, so we didn’t have to remember to replace this regularly. However, we did have to replace the sediment pre-filter (in the blue housing) every 6-9 months, which was no hassle.
🤔 Is the SpringWell CF Whole House Water System Right for You?
Whether or not the SpringWell CF Whole House Filter System is right for you depends on your personal circumstances, including your budget, feed water quality, and desired outcome.
We think the SpringWell CF system is ideal for city water users who want to invest in one of the most capable, reliable whole house water filter systems by a big-name brand. The SpringWell CF is a fantastic value for money when we consider the consistency and quality of the results it delivers. SpringWell’s tech support is great, and you’re well protected with the manufacturer’s six-month money-back guarantee and lifetime warranty.
With that said, the CF water filter system might not be right for you if you have a small budget, your only intention is to filter your drinking water, or your water contains contaminants that the CF system isn’t designed to remove, like fluoride.
Plus, if you have well water, you need the SpringWell Whole House Well Water Filter, which is an entirely separate product.
Our readers get 5% off at springwellwater.com 👉 Click here to get your coupon.