Water Filter Buying Guide 2019
Water remains to be an integral part of man’s survival, such that man can go for days without food but only as far as 1 day without water. When the source of our drinking water was clear as crystal sans the inevitable onslaught of technology, the concern for clean water was nary an issue.
Today, we contend with a myriad of hazardous toxins and chemicals that have gradually seeped into our waterways over time. The increasing rate of water-borne diseases has disquieted many, prompting an urgent need for ready-to-drink purified bottled water.
But clearly bottled water would come out costlier when bought on a daily basis. The long-term solution to having clean and risk-free drinking water at home is by investing in a durable and efficient water filter system that will answer your need. As such, not all homes will have the same contaminants in their tap water so it is first wise to determine what exactly your water filter will be fighting against.
Water filters have different specialized functions that target specific chemicals, toxins, and other water pollutants.
Global environmental concern has also spurted the campaign to invest in water filter systems as opposed to buying bottled water because of the adverse effect that discarded plastic bottles make on ecology.
Environmentalists fight to eradicate the use of plastics while water filter manufacturers run the race to win in the design and functionality of the best water filter systems that technology can produce.
Finding out what’s in your water
In many states across the country, tap water is considered generally potable for drinking but recent studies and medical cases have all proven and shown that young children’s health can be compromised by the involuntary ingestion of excessive amounts of lead. Pregnant women and elderly people typically have lowered immune systems as well. Some people are also randomly vulnerable to certain types of chemicals.
Thus, determining the pollutants found in your water remains to be of utmost importance.
It is your right to ask for a quarterly or yearly quality check report from your water utility company. This report details the findings of the water check and enumerates all the bacteria, chemicals, toxins, and pollutants found in your tap water supply.
The Natural Resources Defence Council recommends that you have your water supply tested for lead contamination especially when you have young children. You may also tap the services of your local water and chemical laboratories.
It is vital to know what exactly is in your water before you decide on which type of water filter to purchase. Your decision should be geared towards the eradication of the pollutants that are in your water supply. Otherwise, your water filter investment will be ineffective and worthless.
Identifying and matching your need
Water contaminants may include organic and non-organic substances. Under the organic substances, the category is detergents, chloroform, food processing waste, insecticides, herbicides, petroleum, tree debris, chlorinated solvents, and many other chemical compounds found in hygiene and cosmetic products.
Non-organic substances include sculpture dioxide and acid caused by industrial waste, ammonia from food processing, chemical waste, fertilizers, nitrates and phosphates, and silt. Still, macroscopic pollution or large, floating pieces in the likes of garbage, insoluble plastics, and food waste can also be variable sources of water pollution.
Soon after the findings of your water test become available, you will be able to concentrate more on finding the right water filter for your home system based on the different pollutants found in your water supply.
5 Different Types of Water Filter Systems
Home water systems have two basic categories: the point of entry system which process the water before it actually flows throughout the house; and the point of use system which treats or filters the water just before it flows out of the tap – most commonly used in counter-top filters, faucet filters, and filter pitchers and under the sink filters.
Either category involves different types of water purification systems that are targeted to remove specific water pollutants. Here are the methods used and their corresponding contaminant eradication functions.
Activated carbon filter
water Filter pitchers, faucet mounts, under-sink units, and point of entry systems use the activated carbon filter. The carbon absorbs the impurities of water as it passes through the system pipes. Carbon filters remove lead, PCBs, chlorine by-products (chloramines and trihalomethanes), parasites, radon, pesticides and herbicides, the gasoline additive MTBE, the dry-cleaning solvent trichloroethylene, some volatile organic compounds, some levels of bacteria (such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia) and a small number of pharmaceuticals.
Carbon filter systems also get rid of bad tastes and odors, including chlorine. Standard 53-certified filters also can substantially reduce many hazardous contaminants, including heavy metals such as copper, lead and mercury; disinfection byproducts; parasites such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium; pesticides; radon; and volatile organic chemicals such as methyl-tert-butyl ether (MTBE), dichlorobenzene and trichloroethylene (TCE).
Cation exchange softener
Cation exchange softeners are used for whole house or point of entry systems. It works by softening hard water by trading minerals of a strong positive charge with one less of a charge. Cation exchange softeners remove calcium and magnesium, which form mineral deposits in plumbing and fixtures, as well as barium and some other ions that can cause health hazards.
Distillers have the simplest process of water treatment using the typical boiling and condensing method. A disadvantage of using distillers is that it consumes much electricity, generate excessive heat and demand regular cleaning. Distillers remove heavy metals (including lead), cadmium, chromium, copper, mercury, arsenic, barium, total dissolved solids, microbes, fluoride, selenium, sodium, lead, and mercury.
Reverse-osmosis systems are very fine filtration systems often combined with carbon filters. This system pushes water through a semi-permeable film. The disadvantage is that it wastes up to 9 gallons of water for 1 gallon filtered. Reverse osmosis gets rid of parasites Cryptosporidium and Guardia, perchlorate, sulfates, fluoride, industrial chemicals, heavy metals (including lead, mercury, cadmium, copper), chlorine by-products, chlorides and pharmaceuticals, and pollutants such as arsenic, barium, nitrate, and selenium. It is normally used for under-the-sink units combined with a carbon filter or UV disinfection unit.
Ultraviolet light disinfection kills bacteria and other microorganisms. Countertop units can be found for under $100, but most whole-house units cost $700 and up for NSF-certified models. Ultraviolet disinfection units are used for under-the-sink units, often in combination with a carbon filter and sediment screen. It gets rid of bacteria and parasites; class A systems protect against harmful bacteria and viruses, including Cryptosporidium and Guardia, while class B systems are designed to make non-disease-causing bacteria inactive.
7 Different Types of Water Filters
- Countertop water filter Countertop water filters are most often used in homes or established where only temporary filtration is needed such as in vacation homes. They are also used in places where a faucet hole is unavailable for under the sink installations such as in small apartments. Countertop filters are perhaps the easiest to install, and gives you fresh great tasting water on demand.
- Faucet water filter Faucet water filters work similarly with pitcher filters where the water is treated just before the water gushes out of the opening. The filter is directly mounted on the faucet, providing an inexpensive option to home water treatment.
- Portable water filter Portable water filters are naturally used by adventurers, campers, trailers, and hikers. Where it is difficult to get potable drinking water, portable water filters make it convenient for the outdoor lover. It allows you to get water from any tap or natural water source, to filter it using your portable filter, and to drink it with confidence.
- Refrigerator water filter Refrigerator water filters are already provided by some new refrigerator models usually combined with ice maker filters. Refrigerator water filters use advanced technology using carbon block resin, ceramic or ion exchange filtration to protect drinking water and ice cubes for harmful toxins.
- Shower water filter Shower water filters are used for bathroom purposes, normally for healthy and chlorine free skin and hair. Chlorine has been proven to dry out the natural oil in your skin, and to damage your hair. Inhaling chlorine gas emitted from showers without filters can be hazardous to your health especially for people with asthma.
- Under-sink water filter Under sink water filters is used when sufficient space is available in the kitchen and bathroom sinks for installation. Also called under counter water filters, they are recommended for long-term and permanent use. It helps keep your kitchen or bathroom tidy and clutter-free because no pipes or machines are visible.
- Whole house water filter Whole house water filters are the most recommended types of water filters because they are also the most effective and the most convenient. For every healthy home, a whole house water filter system ensures chlorine free water coming out from every faucet, tap or shower; it also ensures great tasting and smelling water.
Shopping Tips and Advice
- Now that you have a better idea of what type of system and type of water filter will be ideal to your specific need, here are some important points to consider before actually purchasing a water filter for your home:
- Make sure you know the cost of cartridge replacements. Some water filter models are reasonably inexpensive, however; the cost of replacing the cartridge will prove to be more expensive in the long run.
- Decide on a budget and search for water filter brands that match the specifications. Look further into their functions and the pollutants they specifically remove to see if they can address your problem.
- Choose a water filter unit that is certified by the NSF (National Sanitation Foundation). Check out consumer guides and go through ratings and reviews. If the brand and unit are not recognized by the NSF, then change your options. The NSF is the only testing organization that issues certifications when products pass their standards.
- Investigate the manufacturer, and be wary of exaggerated claims.
- Choose a filter that removes the most number of contaminants. This way you are ensured of purified water, especially when you are not particularly sure of the contaminants present in your water.
- Purchase a filter with the longest warranty period, and with the most durable housing. In cases of under counter units, the stainless steel models are the most recommended because they can withstand pressure without leaking.
Taking Care of Your Water Filter System
Eventually, you will have to decide on which water filter is right for your home! Now that you have finally made that investment, the next best thing is to learn how to maintain your water filter so that it will be worth every penny you spent.
Remember these guidelines to make sure you preserve and keep your water filters shining and new:
- Replace filter cartridges according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. If the filter needs to be replaced every 6 months, then do so. Diligence will be a valuable trait in remembering when and how often the cartridges are to be changed. This maintenance tip is for the utmost performance of your water filter.
- Allow your new water filter a run-through period to be able to determine its efficiency. Sometimes it takes a while to clear carbon fines from the filter. If a problem persists, be sure to replace the unit right away.
- Have professional installers work on your water filter installation if you only have little or no knowledge at all about it. Do not take the risk of attempting to install or fix the water filter yourself because the damage you just might cause may be worth more than the actual cost.
Although a single glass of water may not harm you upon drinking, remember it is the cumulative effect of consistent and gradual intake of hazardous toxins and chemicals that will eventually have adverse effects on your health. They target your kidney, bladder, reproductive organs and heart- leading to more serious and complicated problems.
So for the long-term protection of yours and your loved one’s health, invest in a solid and effective water filter system!
However before shelling out hundreds of dollars, be extra sure that you have done all the research, be aware of the pollutants that your tap water contains, and know what to look for exactly in the water filter system that will combat these pollutants directly.
Water filters are great investments to preserve the health of the entire family. With the rise of toxic pollution and global warming, one of the best gifts you could give to yourself and your family is the pleasure of having clear, pure, and great tasting water every single day of your lives.