Shower filters can remove the chlorine from your water and make your shower a more pleasant experience. Chlorine dries the skin and hair and doesn't necessarily leave behind a pleasant odor. You don't want to come out of the shower smelling like a swimming pool, so getting rid of the chlorine is your best bet to ensure this doesn't happen. Filters for the shower can run upwards of $50 and don't last long. You can save money by making your own shower filter with a little ingenuity.
Things You'll Need
- GE Opaq Whole House System water filter
- Adjustable crescent wrench
- Pipe thread tape
- 6-inch shower arm extension, 1/2 inch in diameter
- 12 hard charcoal sticks
- Coffee filter paper
- Large pot of boiling water
- Replacement filters for GE GXWH04F
Purchase a whole home water filter from a home improvement store. These are usually installed somewhere just after the water main enters your home, but in this case you will be using it for the purpose of the shower filter. This should cut your initial cost significantly. The whole home filter case will serve as the outside casing for your shower filter and will cost you less than $20 in most cases. The GE Opaq Whole House System, model GXWH04F, is one example that sells for less than $20.
Turn off your water supply. Remove your shower head using an adjustable crescent wrench. You can use your existing shower arm to connect to the filter at the point where the shower head used to be. If your shower head does not connect to a shower arm that protrudes a few inches from the wall, you will need to install a metal shower arm to the connection where your shower head intersects the water line feeding the tub or shower. A shower arm is a curved or slightly bent piece of 1/2-inch diameter pipe that will aim the shower head downward.
Tape the pipe threads with pipe thread tape and screw the new shower arm extension into the existing water supply. Hand tighten the pipe until it is securely in place.
Screw the other end of the extension into the "in" side of the whole home filter. Screw the original shower arm containing the shower head into the "out" side of the whole home filter. You should not need pipe thread compound for these as the filter should have gaskets to prevent leakage from occurring.
Boil about one dozen pieces of hard charcoal for a minimum of 10 minutes. This is not the charcoal you use to light your outdoor grill. You will probably have to do some online searching to find some, but you should be able to purchase some hard charcoal sticks and have them shipped directly to your home. You may be able to find some at your local home improvement store. Avoid soft charcoal because it will not last and will leech out into your water.
Wrap each piece of hard charcoal in coffee filter paper. Wrap it tightly enough that it won't come loose. Insert the wrapped charcoal into the filter case. Fill the filter with these pieces until the filter is packed tightly with charcoal and filter paper. Screw the filter back on to the shower and run water through the filter to ensure that is hasn't affected your water pressure flow. If you experience a reduction in water pressure, unscrew the filter and remove some of the charcoal to allow the water to flow a little more freely. Replace the charcoal every two to three months, as hot water breaks down the carbon in charcoal fairly quickly.
Reuse the charcoal by boiling it for 10 minutes and repeating the process. You can do this multiple times until the charcoal has broken down completely.
Purchase replacement filters for the whole home filter as an alternative. You can do this for less than $12 per filter in most cases, depending on the level of filtration you wish to have.