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The Difference Between Point of Entry vs. Point of Use


Like most technical industries, the world of water treatment is inundated with lingo, acronyms, and hard-to-pronounce terminology that is difficult for outsiders to grasp and understand, especially if you’re only just beginning to research how to supply your home with better quality water.

Two of the more common acronyms that you may have encountered during your preliminary research are POE (Point of Entry) and POU (Point of Use). While these are relatively simple concepts on paper, understanding the difference between POE and POU systems, how they are applied, and what kind of products are normally associated with each term is a good way to feel more confident in your choice to treat your home’s water.

POE vs POU Water Treatment: Location, Products, and Capacities?

Simply speaking, the biggest difference between a POE system and a POU system is location. A point of entry system (often called a “whole house system”) is located directly on the entry point for your home’s water supply. This means that all water passing through and into your home must first pass through the POE water treatment system.

An example of a POE system is a water softener. Water softeners are typically sized and installed to supply soft water to the entire home’s plumbing so all appliances and fixtures can take advantage of the benefits that soft water brings. Softeners are suitable for POE because of their high capacity (they can treat large numbers of gallons of water before needing to be regenerated) and their ability to not significantly restrict flow rates and water pressure. Other examples of POE systems can include iron filtration units, acid neutralizers, and taste/odor filtration solutions.

A POU system is located further down into your home’s plumbing line and is installed directly before a desired end-point, like a dispensing faucet or appliance. As in the name, a point of use system is on-demand equipment, meaning that water only passes through it when the appliance or dispensing faucet at the end-point is in use.

POU systems are rated to treat smaller quantities of water that would not be typically used for utilitarian purposes like cleaning or bathing. The most common example of a POU system is a reverse osmosis (RO) unit. Often installed below a sink, a RO system takes time to generate purified water through its complex routing of stage filters and membrane. The purified water that is generated is then stored in a holding tank which is drawn from for use. In most cases, a single RO unit will only be hooked up to a dispensing faucet and/or a fridge ice maker.

POE and POU: Working Together

The first thing you should do when considering treating your home’s water is to ask yourself what your goal is. Since there is no one-size-fits-all solution to treating every water issue, this is where a combination of POE and POU equipment comes into play.

Let’s look at an example. Say that you own a home supplied by well water with very high levels of iron and hardness. Your goals are to eliminate the rust stains and buildup that comes with hard, iron-heavy water and be able to have crystal clear, great tasting water right from your kitchen tap. The first thing you would do is call a local water treatment expert to have your water tested. The results of your test would determine what kind of equipment you would need to tackle the initial problems of the contaminants in your water. First, a POE iron filter would be installed. This unit would precipitate and filter out the iron particulates in the water being supplied to your home. Next, a POE water softener would be installed directly following the iron filter. The softener would reduce the leftover minerals that make up your hard water problems.

While the combination of an iron filter and a water softener will provide your entire home with a high quality of water to protect your fixtures, plumbing and appliances, they will only reduce those minerals that they are targeting. There still may be other things traveling in your water that you’re not comfortable drinking or cooking with. The final step would be to install a POU reverse osmosis system connected to your kitchen sink. The RO’s filtration process will provide a wide range of contaminant removal that is not caught by the previous products, like lead, arsenic, or nitrates. The result of this combination of equipment is a full treatment system that works together to reach your end goal of purified drinking water at your kitchen sink.

Achieve your Water Goals

If you haven’t considered water treatment before, take some time to sit down and come up with a few water goals of your own. Do you want to improve the smell of your water? Or make sure you’re drinking the best water possible? Whether you’re struggling with some serious problem water or if you want to turn your good water into great water, speaking with a water treatment professional can help you align those goals and turn them into a reality.

Your local Evolve Dealer has access to an arsenal of precision POE and POU water treatment products that work together to provide your home with a custom water treatment solution. Click here to find your local dealer and start down the path of achieving your water goals

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