Consumers Mislead By Water Filters

I am writing this article, not to promote any brand or particular water filter,
but to hopefully give the average consumer enough valid information so they can
make an educated buying choice when shopping for a water filter.

It is estimated that 80 percent of home owners in the United States have used or
are currently using a water filter. Many, I am sure, have purchased a filter
that is virtually ineffective and probably costing them an arm and leg in
replacement filter costs.

I have been involved in the water filtration industry for a number of years.
I have yet to find a water filter that produces PURE WATER! I am seeing more
false advertising as of late than I have ever seen before. Just last night for
instance, while watching television I noticed two different advertisements for
the latest and greatest water filters. They both claimed to produce pure water!
Neither one even mentioned being certified by the National Sanitation Foundation.
No water filter removes all of any contaminant, what a water filter actually does
is reduce contaminants.

There are hundreds of water filter manufacturers in the U.S. today, producing
thousands of different water filtration products. Only a handful produce a
water filter that is highly effective as far as contaminant reduction and cost

There is no point in purchasing an ineffective water filter. The old concept,
you get what you pay for, still holds true. Cheap water filters do very little
as far as contaminant reduction and soak the consumer when it comes to replacement
filters. Most high quality water filters effectively reduce a vast number of
contaminants to a high degree. The filter labeling should indicate which contaminants
the filter will reduce.

The labeling should also indicate the capacity rating, A high quality filter will
save you money in the long run. Filter life expectancy and capacity rating
determine how many actual gallons the filter is capable of producing. For example,
a filter that will produce 500 gallons or more as compared to one that produces
only 100 gallons is far more cost efficient.

Recently, while shopping at a local discount store, I took a look at the water
filters they had to offer. They had a number of cheap filters that would do little,
if anything as far as contaminant reduction. Most of these inferior filters are
only capable of reducing chlorine, lead, and particulate matter. Some may go so
far as reducing bacterial cysts depending upon the micron rating and possibly a
few other contaminants. None of the cheap filters are very effective on an over
all basis.

Most of these filters cost less than $50.00. One particular filter that comes to
mind had a $45.00 price tag. Replacement filters for this filter cost $8.50 each.
The capacity rating for this filter is 100 gallons. That amounts to 8.5 cents per
gallon. This particular filter only reduces lead and chlorine according to the

Here, my husband and I use approximately 3 to 4 gallons of water per day for drinking,
coffee, iced tea, cooking, and watering our 2 dogs. Considering the amount of filtered
water we use, I would have to change the filter every 25 days. That is 14 replacement
filters a year! At $8.50 each, the annual cost would amount to $119.00. The initial
cost of the water filter plus the 1 year of replacement filters would result in an total
cost of approximately $165.00 for the first year. In just 2 years I would spend more money
than I would purchasing a much better quality system that would effectively reduce a vast
number of contaminants and provide much better, and healthier drinking water.

The drinking water filtration system we use is rated at 1200 gallons. It is hidden
out of the way under the sink and has an independent faucet mounted on the sink, not
hanging off my faucet. It is one of the highest quality systems on the market, reduces
a very wide range of contaminants and is NSF Certified. I have had this filter for a
number of years. If I remember correctly, the initial cost of the system was $320.00.
Once a year I change the filter at a cost of $59.95. That amounts to only 5 cents per
gallon of quality drinking water.

Obviously, dollar for dollar, the real value is in the quality system.

So, how do we determine a water filter’s capability? When reading the label, check
to see if the filter is NSF Certified. Never buy a filter that is not NSF Certified.
Manufacturers of quality filters have their filters certified by NSF and are proud
to advertise their certification on the labeling.

Only if a water filtration device is NSF Certified can a consumer be certain that
the product meets strict standards for performance. Tested to NSF Standards does
not mean NSF Certified. Any water filter that claims to be tested to NSF Standards
has not actually been tested and certified by NSF. Here again, this is a prime
example of these companies misleading the consumer.

NSF tests and certifies water filters to do what the manufacturer claims. Not only
that, they also monitor the manufacturing process by doing spot checks. NSF will
come to the factory unannounced and monitor the manufacturing process.

Consumers can go to the NSF website and view the actual certification which will
show exactly what contaminants the filter will reduce, indicate the percentage of
reduction and will also indicate the filter life expectancy. The NSF website is, just click on consumer and search water treatment devices.

Water purification and water filtration are two different things altogether. Water
purification is the introduction of chlorine or other chemical agent that kills
bacteria in water.

Infared lighting can also be considered to be water purification as its sole purpose
is to destroy bacteria. Water filtration is exactly that, a water filter of some type.

Another thing to look for when shopping for a water filter is which technology is
best for you.

Avoid loose carbon filters as they allow air to be present within the carbon and are
nothing but a bacteria factory.

Most mixed media filters can be effective on a few specific contaminants, but do not
reduce a wide range of contaminants.

Distillation is a process in which the water is heated to the point of steaming.
The steam passes from the container it is heated to another container as the
steam cools.Distillation is highly effective on removing minerals and salts, but is
somewhat limited on removal of chemical contaminants as many chemicals evaporate right
along with the water.

I have found, many people are confused as to the capabilities of reverse osmosis.
Reverse osmosis is a process where the water passes through a membrane which will not
allow certain contaminants to pass. Reverse osmosis can do an effective job on barium,
radium, cadmium, copper, fluoride, perchlorate, minerals, salts and a few other
contaminants but is not effective on a wide range. Many reverse osmosis units include
additional types of filtration technologies. Some of these are very effective
depending on the other additional types of filters used. This type of water filtration
system is usually identified as 3, 4, or 5 stage system.

What I recommend to the average consumer is the solid carbon block filter or the solid
carbon block coupled with reverse osmosis. A high quality solid carbon block that filters
to less than 1 micron is very effective on a wide range of contaminants and does not allow
oxygen to be present within the carbon filter therefore bacteria cannot be allowed to pass
through or be produced within the filter carbon. The solid carbon block alone will not
reduce healthy minerals.

For maximum contaminant reduction, consider a drinking water filtration system using
reverse osmosis technology coupled with a solid carbon block but keep in mind it does
remove the healthy minerals.

In conclusion, always compare the NSF Certification when shopping for a water filter and
avoid the dishonest tactics of unscrupulous advertisers.

Armed with this information you are now a savvy water filtration shopper!

I hope this article helps in your pursuit of a drinking water filtration system. If you
would like more information on drinking water or water filters please see my site at