A water filter is an essential household need now. Approximately 85% of the households have hard tap water, while it is safe to drink, the taste and its odor and appearance may affect one’s desire to drink.
Healthy water is not just the absence of contaminants but the presence of healthy minerals in it too.
Selecting a Water Purifier: Be Wise
Range of water purifiers and filters are so diverse and complex that you may find it very cumbersome to select the best one for your home. So indeed the first step to select a water purifier is identifying your need.
If only drinking water purifier is the concern, we can cross off whole house water purifiers. But if the water supply to the house is particularly dirty, it is a must. Sometimes a pre-filter should be fitted prior to the water purifier to remove dirt and sediments.
If the water is hard (TDS above 800) a RO (reverse osmosis) purifier is apt as it can remove dissolved salts. To ensure the safety of drinking water, a purifier that includes a filter of 0.5 microns (for example, carbon filter) with NSF certification is advised.
4 Steps To Purchase a Home Water Filter System
- Check if you want to target any contaminants in the water supply.
- Then check the claims and certification in a water purifier whether that contaminant is included or not.
- Another important factor is the cost, of both the purifier and replacements filters.
- Check the frequency of the replacement needed.
Carbon filters and UV purifiers are very low maintenance water purifiers. However, if these systems are incapable of removing a particular contaminant, other type of purifiers is advised regardless of the maintenance.
Below you can find 7 water purification technology in use today.
Carbon Water Filtration Technology
Carbon is a powerful absorbent and finds much use in technologies for removing impurities in water and sometimes air.
For many years carbon filters have been employed to filter out dirt in water.
The carbon surface is usually positively charged and as water passes over it negatively charged impurities are attracted to its surface. The filters are mostly rated by the size of the impurities they are capable of removing so the more carbon there is the better the filter.
Key Benefit: They can remove a wide range of impurities including benzene, herbicides, solvents and many other impurities found in ordinary tap water.
Key Drawback: Carbon filters cannot remove heavy metals from your water. When well compacted, the filter can remove particles as small as 0.5 microns in diameter.
When used to filter drinking water, it becomes very clear and without any odor. It is more convenient and possibly cheaper to have a carbon filter rather than buying bottled drinking water. You can even bottle your water and carry it to your office or during your day out. The filter can last up to six months if you simply follow the manufacturer’s guide on how to use it and how to replace the filters.
Although they cannot remove organic contaminants such as nickel, nitrates and fluorides they can remove cancer causing contaminants such as trihalomethanes.
Faucet Mount Filter: Economical and Quick
A simple water filtration system for normal water
Faucet filtration systems can be considered as accessories attached to your existing faucet or waterline. This way it is perfect for situations where water purifier cannot take any space.
Indeed, faucet filter need water flow pressure to work. These systems can be right away screwed on any modern plumbing without the use of any tools.
If you have a very old plumbing and faucets, manufacture provided attachments are most probably available with the packing. Upon installation most faucet filters can readily switch to filtered water.
Culligan’s FM-15A Advanced Faucet Filter Kit is a top example of this kind. It can remove bad odor and taste as well as cryptosporidium, giardia cysts, lead and chlorine. PUR has a slightly more expensive faucet water filter with an electronic indicator of its filter life, which shows when to replace the filter.
The cost of faucet filters is very cheap apparent to high performance reverse osmosis purifiers. Most of them are only one tenth of the least expensive RO purifier. The tradeoff is the frequency of replacement of filters required.
Most filters in faucet filtration systems have a life to purify approx. 200 gallons. This in terms of time period in a 5 member family would be a month and a week.
Counter Top Water Purifier: Safe Water in Every Cup
The counter top filter provides us with clean water and works out much cheaper than bottled water.
There are many contaminants present in tap water and their intake leads to epidemic diseases. Since bottled water is also not sterile, one has to use the best water purification system available.
Aqua Rain Water Purifier has large silver impregnated ceramic filter, which removes odor and pathogens while enhancing the taste of water. This stainless steel unit doesn’t require electricity and therefore can be used anywhere.
Water to be purified has to be poured in manually. Clean water 4 less has a high capacity carbon filter which disinfects water. The purifier has a diverter valve which fits conveniently to the faucet. The water from the faucet enters the purifier through the valve gets purified and flows out through its spout.
It is easy to install and cost effective. Waterman contains a central cartridge including a filter medium along with magnets and alkaline minerals. The filter flushes out bacteria, chlorine and heavy metals from water while re-mineralizing it.
The presence of Magnesium results in alkaline water rich in antioxidants similar to those found in fresh mountain springs. It is easy to carry and use since it does not require electricity or valves to connect it to a water source. Alkaline water is known to reduce constipation & IBS
Counter top water purifiers provide us with the best alternative to tap water and there is absolutely nothing we can compromise especially in terms of health and safety of our loved ones.
Pitcher Water Filters: Health From Every Cup
Mavea is certified to reduce agricultural chemicals, industrial pollutants, heavy metals along with the taste and odor of chlorine while retaining minerals like potassium, magnesium.
The filter micro screen yield water with reduced carbon particles and does not require pre-soaking for activating filter.
Its filter change indicator signals when the filter needs to be replaced depending upon the quality of tap water and the extent of its usage. PUR is the only pitcher which can remove 95% Mercury and almost 96% of pharmaceuticals traces from water.
Its slim space saving design makes it convenient to store in the fridge. It fits conveniently in the sink which makes it easier to fill water directly from the faucet rather than manual pouring and easy to carry.
Using water filtered from a filter past its replacement time is as good as drinking contaminated water. Our busy life makes it impossible to remember when the filter change is due; therefore almost all purifiers are equipped with filter life gauge to remind us to replace the filter.
Reverse Osmosis Filters
In normal osmosis, water moves from the region of low solute concentration (high water potential) to the region of high solute concentration (low water potential) through a semipermeable membrane.
This technique is used by nature for a range of biological activities including absorption of water from soil by plant roots.
The force that works in play during is called osmotic pressure. But if the osmotic pressure is overcome, water flows backwards leaving all solutes. This is basically the principal of reverse osmosis.
Reverse osmosis method is most commonly used in desalination of water. Seawater, which is very abundant can be purified and desalinated through this technique. The process is similar to membrane technology applications, where a sieve like membrane separates the contaminants from the water.
However, both mechanisms differ in key principles. The removal mechanism in membrane filtration is size exclusion, so it can theoretically achieve perfect exclusion of particles regardless of operational parameters such as influent pressure and concentration. But, reverse osmosis involves a diffusive mechanism, so that separation efficiency is dependent on solute concentration, pressure, and water flux rate.
APEC has a 5 stage water filtration system based on reverse osmosis for domestic use. These types of water purifiers are of high performance but as well as expensive.
Ozone Disinfection Water Purifiers
This is Ideal for Municipality water
Water purification process can be divided into filtration and disinfection.
Filtration deals with dissolved salts, hazardous chemicals and other inorganic materials that should be removed from the water.
Leading technologies implemented in modern water purifiers are carbon filters, reverse osmosis and ion-exchange. But impure water also contains harmful microorganisms. The disinfection part takes care of this.
Most common disinfectant is chlorine and usually public water supply is disinfected with chlorine. But most people find the taste and odor of chlorinated water offensive. Ozone disinfection is another popular disinfection technique used in domestic water purifiers.
Ozone is a very strong, broad spectrum disinfectant widely used in European nations. It is an effective method to inactivate harmful protozoa that form cysts. It also works well against almost all other pathogens.
The high side of ozone disinfection is the low number of side effects and by-products as well as absence of odor and taster compared to chlorination. The low side is ozone disinfection will not leave any residual disinfectant so water can be contaminated with pathogens after the stage.
But this is carefully taken care of in many water purifiers. O3 Pure is a manufacturer concentrated on this technique. O3 Pure’s ozone faucet filter can be attached to your kitchen faucet and get filtered purified water.
UV Disinfection Water Purifiers
The most popular disinfection technique used in domestic water purifiers is the ultraviolet disinfection.
Ultraviolet rays are harmful for any living organism therefore UV rays at sufficient wavelengths can kill a range of microorganisms.
It is only because earth’s atmosphere filters away UV radiation, life is sustained in earth. It destroys the nucleic acid part in the microorganisms leaving them unable to proceed vital cellular functions. UV disinfection alone is seldom used in water purifiers. It is usually coupled with an apt filtration system.
For example most high performance full house water purifiers comes in the specification RO-UV which means the purification system uses reverse osmosis to filter away the contaminants and ultraviolet treatment to disinfect the water.
The tradeoff of UV treatment is that it doesn’t leave any residual disinfectants. This means the technique removes pathogens at the time of treatment but can be contaminated again.
The advantage is UV treatment doesn’t changes the odor or taste of the water to offensive. Also the number of byproducts developed during treatment is zero. iSpring and Tap Master has water purifiers incorporated with UV disinfection setup. However UV water sanitizers that only disinfect water with are also available in the market.
I have written brief review of 7 home water filter systems in use today. There maybe few more I might have left-out. However, most of them use combination of these listed 7 technologies with few gimmicky words!
Sheetal Sharma, Msc. ‘Applied Nutrition’ is the medical editor & co-founder of HealthBuzzPortal. Being a Yoga enthusiasts she likes exploring alternative remedies.