Filtering your home drinking water can provide a great number of benefits as it ensures that you and your family are protected from potential contaminants. Despite the fact that it has been treated by your local water treatment plant, most drinking water still contains a range of heavy metals, chemicals and even prescription medications.
These contaminants can potentially lead to a range of health issues, which is why it’s always a good idea to filter your water before drinking it. There are many different types of home water filters that can be effective at removing these contaminants. However, it’s important that you actually know what sort of contaminants are in your drinking water, as this will be important in determining which type of filtration system is best.
What’s In Your Water?
The first step to choosing a water filtration system is to learn a bit more about the quality of your drinking water. For those whose home is connected to the residential water supply, you can usually obtain a free copy of your water quality report from your local water authority or utility company. On the other hand, if you use a well or other private water source, you’ll either want to buy a home water testing kit or hire someone to test your water.
Types of Home Water Filters
Certain types of filtration systems will effectively filter out the majority of chemicals, heavy metals and other contaminants, while others may only work to filter out certain materials. This is why it is necessary to know what’s in your water so you can know what you’re up against.
If your water is mostly free from contaminants, you can probably get away with just using a point-of-use filter such as a pitcher or one that attaches to your faucet. However, these typically aren’t nearly as effective as an undersink model. These typically use more advanced filtration methods to ensure the water is fully clean before leaving the tap.
Alternatively, you can also consider a whole-house filtration system. Although these are more expensive, they filter the water as it enters the home, thus ensuring that fresh, clean water flows from every single faucet.
Common Methods of Filtering Water
Carbon Filters. The simplest type of filter, these use activated carbon that is effective at removing most odors and bad taste from the water. In addition, they remove the majority of chlorine, pesticides and other chemicals. However, they typically aren’t that effective at removing mercury, iron and other metals.
Reverse Osmosis. This type of system uses pressure to force the water through a membrane, which works to trap in the majority of particles and can even transform saltwater into something that’s perfectly drinkable. Generally, these are used in conjunction with other types of filters as part of a multi-stage system. One example is the iSpring RCC7, which is a five-stage filtration system that uses reverse osmosis along with two carbon filters and a polypropylene sediment filter.
Sounds fancy? Not sure how it works? Let’s find out!
They are also used for large scale reverse osmosis desalination plants, like this one in Barcelona:
Ion Exchange. This type of filtration system can effectively remove metals and other harmful elements and replace them with ones that are perfectly safe. These systems use a special resin, which traps potentially harmful ions and exchanges them with safe ones. One example is copper, which is trapped and replaced by sodium ions.
When choosing a water filtration system, it is usually best to go with one that offers at least two or three different stages of filters. The reason being that even the best filters aren’t always effective at removing every type of contaminant. However, by going with a three-, four- or five-stage filtration system, you can be assured that the majority of the contaminants are removed and your drinking water is safe.