Filtering your water at home is an easy way to acquire great-tasting purified water, without the waste or price of buying bottled. But that purification process is best? Do water filtration pitchers work as well as undersink or whole-house models? How can you know what the system is filtering out … and what exactly should you’re filtering out, anyhow?
The following five steps can help you pick the water filtration system that best satisfies your requirements. Learn how to learn what contaminants are in your water, the way the most common types of filtration systems work, including their pros and cons, and how to track down a water filter that is accredited, so you know it does just what it claims to do.
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1. Learn what’s on your water. Before you pick a filtration system, you need to know what it is you are seeking to remove. You may find a copy of your area’s yearly water quality report from your water utility. It is also possible to go a step further and examine yourself, either using an at-home test kit (available at most home improvement stores) or getting in touch with your water utility to discover a local laboratory. At the very least, you wish to know if your water contains lead, but any additional information it is possible to gather would be useful.
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2. Determine which sort of filter you need. Activated carbon filters, the type found in several water pitcher filters and undersink models, can remove heavy metals (like copper, mercury and lead), chlorine, pesticides, parasites (like giardia) and some VOCs. Other contaminants must be removed using another sort of purification system — perchlorates (the substances used in dry cleaning) may be taken away only by reverse osmosis, and arsenic has to be eliminated through distillation. NSF International, an independent, accredited firm that will help establish standards for water safety and tests and certifies systems, has a thorough chart that defines the sort of filter you’ll need to remove the contaminants in your water.
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How the most common methods work:
Carbon filter: Activated carbon is located in pour-through water purification systems and in a number of undersink filtration systems. Carbon filters work by trapping contaminants in the pores of this positively charged, highly sterile filter.
Reverse osmosis: A reverse osmosis system reverses the natural flow of water, passing the water through a semipermeable membrane. Take note that this method does waste water.
Distillation: Distillers heat water into the boiling point, then gather the vapor as it condenses, leaving contaminants behind. Some contaminants that could convert into gas form will still remain in the water following distillation — you can blend a distiller using a carbon filter to get greater results.
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3. Pick the filter’s place. It is possible to choose either a whole-house (also called point-of-entry) filter, which filters the water before it enters your home, or even a point-of-use filter, which filters the water before you use it. Point-of-use filters include faucet and undersink systems, pour-through water pitchers and water bottles.
Whole-house models are most frequently used to remove mineral deposits and disagreeable odors or tastes; you would still need to supplement a water filter with another type to remove different contaminants. If excess chlorine in your water bothers your skin, you may also want to take into account a filter that attaches to a showerhead.
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Undersink or water pitcher: What to pick? Undersink models have a tendency to work more effectively than water pens and bottles, thanks to the added pressure forcing water through the filtration system — and you have the option of choosing a reverse-osmosis filter. Undersink models have the added benefit of filtering as you use, so there is no need to remember to refill the pitcher, but they’re even more expensive to set up.
So what is the bottom line? If you are seeking a fast, inexpensive solution (or you are a tenant) and a carbon filter is all you require, a water pitcher is the thing to do. If you are looking for a more permanent solution, or need more filtration compared to an activated carbon filter offers, get an undersink version.
4. Find a filtration system that is NSF certified. The one most important thing to search for when you are shopping for a water filtration system, while it’s for your entire house or it is a simple pitcher, is that it’s certified by NSF International — when you find the NSF seal, that means the product or system was examined to ensure it really removes the contaminants it claims to remove. If you require help locating a water filtration system that is certified for the contaminants in your water, try using the search feature on the NSF website.
5. Inspect your current system. If you have a water filtration pitcher or other purification system that was bought many years back, it could be time to get an update. Regulations have changed in recent decades, which means you may have bought a system that created inflated claims — appear the version number on the manufacturer’s website to check for the latest information. Older Brita pitchers, for instance, maintained they filtered direct, but they don’t meed NSF standards for lead. The ZeroWater filter pitcher is presently the sole pour-through pitcher available on the marketplace that’s NSF certified to remove lead from tap water.
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Care: Change those filters! Once you have set up a water filtration system or bought a new water filter pitcher, then you need to frequently change the filters and keep everything clean and running smoothly. If your system does not include an automated timer or sensor to allow you to know when you are due to get a new filter, be sure you notice the date on your calendar. Shifting water filters promptly in line with the manufacturer’s recommendation would be the best way to ensure that your water has been thoroughly cleaned.
Tell us : Do you filter your own water? Have you examined your water? Please share your experiences in the Remarks.