Water Filters

July 21, 2009

Household water filtration overview

Removal of contaminants from our water by filtering can be done in a variety of ways in our own homes but tends only to be used on cold water. It enables us to drink more water safely without having to turn to bottled water products and offers a cost effective and healthy alternative to the shop bought bottle. There are lots of top brand product out there such as Brita, Culligan and Pur – brands with good reputations for quality.

Jug, pitcher or carafe filters are great for small amounts of water and are extremely cost effective. The only drawbacks other than that they provide just small amounts of filtered water, are that they tend to be quite slow and the filters need replacement regularly because they get clogged with the contaminants that they are removing. Unless used regularly, they can also become home to bacteria growing within the filter element. Another cheap alternative to plumbed in systems is the tap (faucet) filter purifier, but again these can be very slow and won’t fit all applications.

Under sink filter units and reverse osmosis systems are great in that they are kept out of the way, but both can take valuable cupboard space. Both need special modifications to the plumbing system and while the reverse osmosis systems produce some of the purest water available, they are also very slow and create huge amounts of waste water – roughly 4 or 5 gallons for every gallon of purified and filtered water that they produce.

Whole house systems use long life cartridges and will require installation by a qualified plumber but offer a cost effective solution on a large scale. These systems can filter out a lot of contaminant and even chlorine, but struggle with some of the nastier bugs and chemicals.

Types of effective filtration

Carbon – charcoal medium carbon is a well used and cost effective solution to our water filtration needs. The filters absorb contaminants and impurities as water flows through the cartridge. The micron rating of these filters is important as anything at 1 micron or below will remove some of the worst contaminants such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Most of the carbon cartridge systems have a simple timer system to keep track on the age and viability of the filter. The do need changing quite often.

Ceramic filters utilize Diatomaceous earth which is a chalky rock made from years of compacted sediment which crumbles easily. It’s use in water filtration is widespread, not only in drinking water treatment but for filtering swimming pools, fish tanks and even wine and beer. The only drawback really is that they have a very slow flow rate.

Mixed media water filtration can provide great tasting water and is an extremely popular filter system removing not only toxins and contaminants such as chlorine from your water, but also treating hard water.

Water distillation is a highly effective method of producing exceptionally pure water. However, this water is stripped of all mineral content and is therefore considered inappropriate and harmful to our bodies in and significant amount or period of time. Reverse osmosis is similar to distillation in that it strips the filtered water of valuable minerals which can then cause an imbalance within our bodies.

UV and Infra Red systems are quite different to each other although sounding quite similar. UV sterilizes water by subjecting it to an ultra violet light which kills the bacteria, while Infra Red utilizes natural silicate minerals such as Tourmaline which can soften the water and negatively charge it which some claim enhances the body’s hydration.

Magnetic filtration basically rearranges the water’s ions, ionizing the minerals and creating softer, smaller molecules which again can help with the hydration of the body but the effects are normally short-lived. A water ionizer creates alkaline water which is great for our bodies.

Water softeners are used in hard water areas to rid our water of calcium and magnesium ions which causes blocked pipework and appliances and which stops our detergents from forming suds. These ions are replaced with sodium (salt) which reverses the hard water problem. This is why our dishwashers as extreme users of water, rely so heavily on salt.

Filters are popular not only in the home but by many companies who want to give their employees the best quality water to aid better health. It can be a confusing process to research and select the best and most effective filtration system for your needs but having done so, you will have a valuable asset for you and your family, and even you and your employees.

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