This Pelican water system review details our experience shopping, comparing, and installing the Pelican water system. You may want clean water, soft water, and/or you may want to make sure your water pipes don’t look like the picture to the right. If so, the Pelican water system is fantastic.
We’ve been in our new house for over a year. And one of the first things we decided to install was a water softening system.
We had very specific goals for our new water system as listed below:
- To filter the water from contaminants, chlorine and fluoride,
- Avoid gunk in the plumbing pipes,
- To drink pure water (or as close as we can get),
- And to make it as easy as possible to keep the shower glass clean and clear.
Here is a table of contents for this Pelican Water System Review:
- Beginning Your Water System Search
- 3 Key Items To Know About Water Systems
- 3 Brands We Compared
- Whole House Water Filtration Systems Cost?
- Review of Our Pelican 1800 Whole House Water Combo System
- Tips If We Were Going To Do It Again
- Commonly Asked Water System Questions
Beginning Your Water System Search
When we started out on this journey, we knew we didn’t want a salt-based water softener. We had one installed at our previous home and we didn’t want another because:
- It was annoying to remember when we needed to replace the salt. We were constantly forgetting to refill the salt, thus defeating the purpose of a water softener.
- We didn’t like the way the salt felt on our skin. It always felt like there was stuff left over on our skin after the shower.
At the beginning of your search, you’ll need to decide what type of water system you want, i.e. a salt based water system or not. We provide further information on the difference between these systems below.
At the beginning of a search, we did a ton of research on our own to see what is out there. We also asked our neighborhood plumber which brand he recommended. In the end, we narrowed are choices down to three water systems:
- Pelican which also goes by Pentair.
After spending weeks researching the above choices, we ultimately decided on the Pelican/Pentair Whole House Water Filter/Softener Combo System with UV Filter, and an under-the-sink Reverse Osmosis (RO) system.
3 Key Items To Know About Water Systems
Below we’ll explain what we found in our research. We’ve tried to translated it into layman’s terms so that it’s easier to understand. It’s also how we understand the concept of the water system.
What Do Water Filters, Softeners & Reverse Osmosis Systems Do?
Learning the language about water systems is a bit like learning a whole new foreign language, especially since everything we do is either in the health care or finance field.
In our opinion, the best way to think of and understand water systems is below:
- Water filter – “Cleans” the water by removing contaminants. This can be done via a physical sieve (carbon filter or reverse osmosis) or via a chemical reaction (ion exchange or distillation). Keep in mind, no filter can filter all contaminants so having 2 different kinds is helpful. For more info, you can go this CDC website (https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/home-water-treatment/water-filters/step3.html).
- Reverse osmosis – a type of physical water filtration that uses a very fine mesh sieve that essentially only allows the water molecules to pass through.
- UV filter – ultraviolet filter – disinfects your water of bacteria and viruses using UV light.
- Water softener – minimizes the effects of calcium, magnesium and other metals on your water pipes. Can use salt, or be salt-free.
Salt vs Salt-Free Water Softeners
Salt water softeners replace the calcium and magnesium in water with sodium. You’ll sometimes taste the saltiness of the water. You’ll also need to add sodium every so often to replenish the system.
Salt-free water softeners, or conditioners, do not use salt, but instead it changes how the calcium and magnesium in the water react to the pipe surfaces. These do not require you to buy salt to add to the system.
Whole House vs Under the Sink Reverse Osmosis
In short, whole house reverse osmosis is very costly to install, to run, and likely not necessary, unless your water is very contaminated water. A whole house reverse osmosis system would filter all the water coming into your house.
The Three Brands We Compared
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We ultimately decided to look for a whole house filter/salt-free conditioner/UV filter with an under-the-sink reverse osmosis system to achieve our goals.
NuGen didn’t have their prices listed on the website, and it didn’t look like they had the UV filter. Also, we couldn’t tell if it was possible to hook everything up together based on the website like the other two companies. In short, after hours of research, we still couldn’t figure out exact pricing and if it would fit our needs. Our thoughts, if it’s this complicated to get answers now on the website, what’s going to happen if we need help from the company?
Aquasana and Pelican water systems both had everything we were looking for. Both water systems were very similar and have very similar price points.
We ultimately went with Pelican/Pentair because their reverse osmosis system was more compact. This was key for us because we tend to store a lot under our kitchen sink.
Also at the time, Pelican was having a sale. If you’re interested in purchasing the Pelican system, please consider using our affiliate link here:
We do a lot of DIY projects. However, for this installation we didn’t even want to attempt it. We hired the plumber who lives in our neighborhood to do this.
Also, for the faucet for the under-the-sink reverse osmosis system, we needed to hire a stone mason to come drill a hole out of the granite counter for the dedicated filter. This is one of the biggest reason we don’t suggest doing this yourself. You can easily damage your granite or other counter types. If you do, you are responsible in fixing it. If the stone mason messes up, they have to fix it.
The filter faucet that came with the reverse osmosis unit didn’t match our kitchen faucet well, and after attempting multiple other filter faucets from Home Depot we still couldn’t find a good color match. So we just went with the one that came with the Pelican reverse osmosis kit.
Whole House Water Filtration Systems Cost?
Ultimately, finance was a big driver in our decisions. So for a ball park estimate for everyone, the cost came in under $5,000. This is definitely pricey compared to purchasing and installing a water softener from your local hardware store, but the value of protecting our pipes, and drinking pure water was of utmost importance to us.
The Pelican water system we got for that price included:
- The whole house water filter,
- A whole house water softener,
- The whole house UV filter,
- The under-the-sink reverse osmosis unit,
- Cutting a hole out of the granite for the reverse osmosis filter faucet
- And installation of everything by a master plumber.
Review of Our Pelican 1800 Whole House Water Combo System
Immediately, we were able to taste the difference of our drinking water. We dissolve vitamin C into our drinking water, and the taste was so much stronger with the “new” filtered/reverse osmosis water, than with our Brita filtered water. My husband says it’s like drinking natural spring water from his hikes in the Sierra Nevada.
There is a massive reduction in the residue left on the glass shower door.
There’s definitely two of us in the household with eczema/psoariasis skin issues. It took our skin a few days to adjust to the “new” water. However, once our skin adjusted, there was no longer that tight feeling on our skin after the shower or the sensation of soap residue left over even after rinsing.
My mom, who’s been visiting for a 6 weeks, has extremely sensitive skin. She always has to wear gloves when she washes dishes. At our house, she doesn’t need to wear gloves for hand washing dishes. I was shocked by her admission – SHOCKED!
Tips If We Were To Do It Again
Not that we would need to do this again for our current house, but here are some tips or things we would do differently if we were to install another whole house water combo system:
- Don’t over spend. Understand what you actually need in a water filter/softener combo system. What are your goals for the system? There’s a ton of information on water filters, water softeners, reverse osmosis, etc. Plus there’s sales people trying to push you to buy more. We knew exactly what we needed so we didn’t over spend.
- Find a plumber whom you trust. Ours was wonderful! If you’re in the Austin, TX area, we would highly recommend My Pfamily Plumber.
- Be prepared that your plumber may not drill a hole in the kitchen granite countertops, and you’ll need to find someone else.
- You’ll need to pre-soak your carbon filter. The Pelican/Pentair one required soaking it 48 hours in advance. They sent us a YouTube video on how to do it, but our plumber (which is one reason he’s so wonderful), came over to do it for us.
- Install the system before you move into the house to avoid any plumbing pipe build-up, or shower glass build-up. Or at least as soon as you can!
Commonly Asked Water System Questions
Is Pelican water system good?
It is fantastic. Our water taste like it comes straight from a natural spring and feels great in the shower. It also make it easier to keep the shower glass door clean.
How much do whole house water filtration systems cost?
They range in price but you can get a great system plus installation for less than $5k.
How long do Pelican filters last?
Pelican has a filter replacement program. They will send you the replacement filters when you need to replace them. Every 6-18 months depending on which filter. We joined this program, so that we didn’t have to worry about remembering when to replace each of the different filters. And we don’t need to store them.
Does Pelican water system remove chlorine?
Yes, it does, and lots more.
Are whole house water filtration systems worth it?
Yes, however, you probably do not need reverse osmosis for the whole house.
Does a water filtration system add value to home?
It could. Like everything else your house, value is in the eye of the beholder.
Do I need reverse osmosis if I have a whole house filter?
You may not find it necessary. We decided to get one because we really wanted to eliminate as much fluoride as possible. If you decide not to get a reverse osmosis system and want to at a later date you can easily.