How do I choose the right water filter?
First, we must talk about Water: What is the importance of water?
Water is an essential nutrient and it has a key role in our body, It’s a substance composed of the chemical elements hydrogen and oxygen (H2O) and existing in gaseous, liquid, and solid states. It’s a tasteless and odorless liquid at room temperature, it can dissolve many other substances.
In small quantities, water appears colorless, but water has an intrinsic blue color caused by slight absorption of light at red wavelengths.
Every system in the body, from cells and tissues, to vital organs, requires water to function.
- Water carries nutrients to all cells in our body and oxygen to our brain
- Allows the body to absorb and assimilate minerals, vitamins, amino acids, glucose, and other substances
- It flushes out toxins and waste
- Helps to regulate body temperature
- Acts as a lubricant for joints and muscles
Sometimes water can have unhealthy compounds such as Industrial chemicals like PFCs, pharmaceutical residues, heavy metals, and pesticides. Thankfully, you don’t need much to remove harmful contaminants, just a relatively small investment called a good machine that filters water.
What kind of filter do I need?
Choosing a water filter for drinking and cooking at your home can be hard, there are so many models of the best water filters out there and each one has different levels of filtration and, of course, expense.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the options available, but with our guide, we hope the choice is much more straightforward. You can make the job a bit easier if you do a little planning and research. Fortunately, we are here to help you through this hard task of choosing one between all the ones available.
First, narrow down exactly what you want the filter to do, it will depend on your specific needs.
To choose yours, answer these two simple questions:
- Do you merely want to filter your drinking water, or
- Do you want to remove all sorts of contaminants including the potentially “good” ones from all the water you use in your house, like your shower water, cooking water, and water for washing clothes?
Which water filter removes the most contaminants?
Before jumping into how to removing chlorine and all the other harmful substances, we should talk about the contaminants itself.
There are millions of people unwittingly consuming these dangerous compounds every day. I should warn you that not all water companies comply with the EPA requirements, and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) also doesn’t test for, or regulate, every possible contaminant that ends up in our water supply.
What can enhance the chances of your water having harmful contaminants:
- Your home’s proximity to industrial sites such as manufacturing plants, sewage treatment plants, mining operations, gas and oil production facilities, factory farms, or nuclear facilities
- Whether you get your water from the city or a well
- The type and age of the pipes and plumbing fixtures in your home
- Storm runoff, leaky septic systems, people flushing unused medications or recreational drugs down the toilet — this and more can contaminate your water.
If you live in the US, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) did research using results from over 20 million tests in over 47,000 American municipalities, the EWG reported that:
“Water utilities nationwide detected more than 300 pollutants between 2004 and 2009. More than half of these chemicals are unregulated, legal in any amount. Despite this widespread contamination, the federal government invests few resources into protecting rivers, reservoirs, and groundwater from pollution in the first place.”
What are the most common contaminants?
As we said before, your water may have some unhealthy substances, we call them contaminants, here we are going to tell you about:
The most common ones and how to get rid of them with the acquisition of a water filtration system.
- Lead – from your home’s pipes and plumbing fixtures
- Arsenic – naturally occurring from arsenic-rich rocks and soil, volcanic activity, and forest fires; and human activity from manufacturing, mining, improper disposal of paints, etc.
- Farming chemicals – fertilizers/nitrates, pesticides, herbicides, etc
- Pharmaceuticals – antibiotics, antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, painkillers, hormones
- Perchlorates – these are widespread, dangerous, and, until recently, not regulated by the EPA
- PFAS (perfluoroalkyl) – chemical compounds used to make non-stick cookware, paper and packing products, firefighting foam, carpets, leather, and water-repellent textiles
- Pathogens – viruses, bacteria, and parasites in a water supply that hasn’t been properly treated
- Cleaners – Ammonia, chlorine, and by-products of the local water chlorination process
- Fluoride – added ‘for our dental health’.
- Radioactive materials – from oil and gas production and/or naturally occurring
Now that you know what you may be exposed to, I’m going to clear the path for you and tell you how to remove those substances. There are essentially 4 options when it comes to finding out what you’re dealing with it, I’m going to describe them from the easier to the hardest and expensive methods.
The easier way to find out what’s in your water is a home water test kit, by using it you can determine if your water contains harmful levels of those substances above.
- You might start by reading the most recent annual report from your local water company. These reports are typically included with your water bill once per year, or you can find the report on their website.
- Buy a DIY Home Water Tests. In terms of cost and coverage, you’ll likely find this solution to make the most sense.
- Hire a professional
- Get professional lab testing, using DIY kits.
Types of Water Filters: What Do I Need?
With those questions in your head, we can then point you in the direction of some more information on the type of water filter that fits your needs, so you can improve your household drinking water quality.
Some work with a carbon filtration system, others use a technology called reverse osmosis, and still, others might distill the water to remove every impurity.
Not every filter will remove every single chemical from the water, and you need to decide if you can live with some chemicals in your water or if you want everything removed.
A filter that removes everything is also removing important minerals; so consider that as well.
There are mostly 5 types of Water Filters, we are going to talk a bit about them today. So, what is the best home water purification system? The best purification system is the one that suits your needs, read about the most used ones:
- Faucet Water filter
Faucet water filtration systems offer an inexpensive way of drinking healthy water. They are easy to install, you need no special skills, and they are very effective at removing contaminants from water.
- Refrigerator Water Filters
Refrigerator water filters remove the contaminants and other particulates from the water that goes through your refrigerator’s water and ice dispenser.
- Shower Filter
The chlorine your supplier uses to disinfect water remains in the water that comes out of your shower you absorb it by air and through your skin. Eliminating chlorine from your water should make your skin and hair feel softer, also some new researches are associating shower filtered water with a better immune system.
- Whole House Water Filter
You can choose to filter all the water coming into your house to prevent chlorine and other contaminants from winding up in their air when you are showering or washing dishes. Whole-house filters remove certain contaminants from water as it comes into the house, but they won’t take out as many contaminants as a drinking water filter, so it’s important to also have a quality drinking water filter.
- Under sink filter
An under-sink filter makes sense when counter space is in short supply, and like the plumbed-in, countertop filter, an under-sink filter does not require refilling. However, like the countertop model, the under-sink filter may not work in an emergency.
- Replacement Water Filters
Even the best water filter will need to replace the filter cartridge regularly. There is a wide range of replacement water filter cartridges to fit all types of standard systems. You can choose between a carbon filter, a sediment filter, or a filter to remove fluoride from your water. They cost about $100 and filter 3,000 gallons (ca. 11 m³) of water.
- Under Sink Water Filters
You’ve read about a filter that can filter an entire home or even a filter that works well in a pitcher. The under sink water filter is something you want to pay close attention to. An under the sink water filter is a tool designed to connect underneath your sink working for kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, or any other sink you’ll be drinking water from.
- Countertop Water Filter
Countertop filters don’t take up space under your sink, neither require a plumber to install. The advantage of a filter hooked up to your waterline is that you don’t have to refill a filter container constantly. Maintaining countertop filters is also easy and usually requires no special tools.
- Portable Water Filter
The portable water filter is designed to give you clean, bacteria-free drinkable water out in the middle of nowhere. These are used in emergencies, used to purify water from natural sources, such as streams and rivers, and keep you hydrated. You can use it to go camping, to go fishing and you can take it to places where you don’t are certain to have potable water.
- Reverse osmosis
While very effective at removing contaminants, reverse osmosis (RO) filters are expensive and waste lots of water – 3 or more gallons for each gallon you get. It produces water in a lower
Flow rate. And because they rely on electricity, they won’t filter water when the power goes out. Additionally, they remove beneficial minerals that some speculate can cause health issues when reverse osmosis water is consumed long-term.
Do water filters work? Choosing a Water Filter
What are the methods used to purify water?
Water filters work by removing the contaminants by some different methods. Those methods create barriers that make the impurities stay behind, that includes
- Ion Exchange
- Reverse Osmosis
- Water Filter Systems
- Inline Water Filters
- Drop-In Filters
The barriers can be:
- Physical processes such as filtration, sedimentation, and distillation; Physical filtration provides a physical barrier that removes larger particles from your water.
- Biological processes such as slow sand filters or biologically active carbon;
- Chemical processes such as flocculation and chlorination
- Electromagnetic radiation such as ultraviolet light. Removing smaller impurities that physical filters can’t catch.
How does water filter work?
Home filters are our last line of protection from viruses, bacteria, chemicals, and metals like lead.
Tap water often meets minimal water quality standards from EPA, several experts agree these standards are too low. Most filters use both physical and chemical filtration to remove particles and microscopic contaminants from our water.
Once you have decided on the type of filter you want, come up with a budget. You can’t put a price on health so don’t skimp on this.
Once you know your price range, look at a few of the systems available in this range. Bring home all the information you can on each one so you can compare them later and make an educated choice.
Before you buy, however, check any consumer reports seeing what other consumers think of the product. Also, if it has a filter, find out about the life of the filter, the cost of the filters and how easy it is to change the filter.
With today’s concerns over contaminated water, having water filter is something every household should consider, even if your water comes from well or tap. Finding the best filter for you might take a bit of research and leg work, but it is well worth it, as having clean water to drink is critical to your good health.