The Drinking Water Filters Puzzle – How to Find the Best Drinking Water Filter For You

Faced with the vast array of home drinking water filters, it seems like an overwhelming task to decide which one filter is best for “me and my family”. Not only are there many different approaches to filtering, each with it’s pros and cons, but there are also so many different models within each category. If we take just the category of carbon filters, for example, there are some 2,500 models of filters manufactured by more than 500 companies.

My purpose in this article is to begin to solve the puzzle for you and suggest a way to proceed in finding the one filter that will best serve you and your family. By reading this article you will begin to clarify your philosophy of drinking water. You will understand the major approaches to filtering drinking water. Finally, you will have a clearer idea of what your particular needs are in filtered water.

What Is Your Philosophy of Drinking Water?

There are three basic philosophies that people have when they approach the question of drinking water, drinking water filters, and the level of purity they desire.

The first approach says, “Our tap water is basically safe. All I want in a filter is something that will improve the taste, odor, and color of my drinking water.” If this is your approach, you will likely need a pitcher filter, if there are one or two people in your household or a faucet filter for a larger household. Both of these solutions are relatively inexpensive.

A second class of people will say, “I want to know specifically what are the contaminants I need to be concerned about, or I already know I am concerned about this, this, and this contaminant.” If this is your approach to drinking water pollution, you will do research to identify the contaminants which exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) standard or you might run water tests of your own and identify other pollutants of concern. Then you will look for a filter that removes these specific contaminants.

A third group of people will say, “I want a filter that removes 99.9% of as many contaminants as possible. In this way I know that I am covered for anything that comes down the pipe!” If this is your approach, you are looking for a filter that will filter down to 0.5 microns and are certified to remove the widest range of all contaminants possible. For you, cost is secondary; safety and “peace of mind” are primary.

What Kind of Filter Do You Prefer?

A second way to narrow down your search of drinking water filters is to understand the major approaches to filtration as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each. There are four major approaches that I will highlight.

  • Distillers operate on the principle of turning water to steam and then condensing that steam to water once again. It leaves behind all the impurities, except VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). In this process of removing all impurities it gives you perhaps the purest water. However, it also removes healthy minerals and is a slow process. It’s also somewhat costly depending on the cost of your electricity.
  • Reverse Osmosis involves forcing water under pressure through a membrane whose pours are large enough for water to pass through but too small to allow other contaminants to pass through. It removes impurities almost as completely as distilling water, and removes the healthy minerals as well. Disadvantages include the slowness of the process and a typical use of 3 to 10 gallons of water for every gallon filtered.
  • Carbon Filters use activated carbon to filter out a wide range of contaminants. There are small and inexpensive carbon filters which simply remove bad tastes, odors and colors and not a lot more. On the other end of the spectrum, there are larger countertop or under counter sophisticated carbon block drinking water filters that give incredibly pure drinking water.
  • Ultraviolet Filters use ultraviolet light to destroy all microorganisms or waterborne disease from your drinking water. It is particularly valuable in killing chlorine resistant cysts. It’s limitation is that it doesn’t remove other contaminants and therefore is the kind of purifier that is combined with other kinds of drinking water filters.

I realize that this is a very brief and superficial treatment of these different approaches to purifying your drinking water and recommend you read more detailed explanations of the different kinds of drinking water filters along with the pros and the cons of each to determine which approach suites your needs best.

What Are Your Unique Needs?

The third way of narrowing down your choice of filters is to have a clear idea of your needs. This is why there is no one filter that fits all needs. There are no perfect filters. All filters have advantages and disadvantages. It’s only as you know what you need that you can then decide on which filter is best for you.

Here are some of the things that affect need and some of the questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Your current source of water, is it already treated water coming to your tap or is it well water?
  • What are the particular contaminants that are of concern to you? What contaminants are a problem in your geographic area?
  • What is the size of your family? Are there infants or elderly who will be drinking the water?
  • What is your personal philosophy of what constitutes drinkable water?
  • What are your personal preferences when it comes to the kind of filter you want and the brands of filters you prefer?

We started with the realization of how complex this puzzle of drinking water filters is. I’ve suggested ways of narrowing down your choice. If you know what level of water purity you are comfortable with, you can better decide on the kind of approach to filtering you would like. And finally, with a clear idea of your personal needs, you know what you are looking for.

Where do you go from here. You may need to go deeper into one of the above areas. Other than that, look for one of the best filters in the category you have identified. Take advantage of the Free Report I offer in the reference box.

Are Water Filters Really that Important?

A very good question, “are water filters important?” In today’s society, life is very fast passed, so much to do and so little time to do it. Between work, family and all the things in between, we sometimes overlook the simple things that can make a big difference in our lives. Most people are health conscious these days, we try to eat right and exercise and drink a lot of water, which is good. But most of the time, people end up buying very expensive bottled water and don’t realize how much they are really spending, a bottle here, a bottle there, it adds up quick! There have been reports that bottled water isn’t even all that good for you, having impurities and even toxins from being stored in plastic. There is an alternative to this highly expensive way of getting our drinking water and that is finding a good water filtering system.

When you take the time to look at what options exist for filtered water, you will see that it isn’t all that complicated to figure out and you will save a lot of money compared to what you spend on bottled water. Some people get scared when thinking of purchasing a water filter system. Maybe the price of the unit seems too high or the thought of having to install the unit and then do the maintenance turns people back to the easy way of just throwing their money away on bottled water. Let us examine this further and see if that way of thinking really makes sense or if purchasing a good water filter system is the way to go. We will ask the questions: How do I know what unit is the best for my situation? What are the costs of owning a filtration unit and how will it save me money? What are the benefits I will receive from using water filtration over tap or bottled water? Are there different types of water filtration? We will look at these questions and see that the difference is great and filtering your water is the way to go.

First, there are many different water filter manufacturers out there and it is important to find an established company that has a good reputation. Since there is such a great push to being healthy and drinking plenty of water, there are many companies getting into the market and copying what good manufacturers have already put out there. A little research will help you to know the difference. Once you have found a good water filter company, it’s just a matter of deciding what you want out of your filtering system. Do you want to filter all the water coming into your house with a whole house unit, or just filter at point of use, such as the kitchen sink using a counter top unit or faucet filter, maybe a shower filter or a combination of filters. Regardless of what you want to filter, a good water filter manufacturer will have what you need and be able to walk you through the process.

The cost of owning a water filter system can vary quiet a bit depending on the type of set up you want. Some people just want filtered water for drinking and cooking, in that case going with a counter top or under sink unit is a good way to go and there are many variations to choose from ranging from around fifty to a couple of hundred dollars. If you are just looking to filter your shower water, there are very good shower filters at very reasonable prices, most around thirty to fifty dollars. A lot of people are looking to filter all the water coming into their house; this is called point of entry. There are many types of units for this purpose and a lot depends on the home you are putting the unit in, such as what type of water comes into the house, well or city water. Also, how big the house is, number of bathrooms and so on. These units can range from as little as a couple of hundred dollars to a few thousand. The money you will save by purchasing a water filter system is great! You will have an endless supply of clean filtered water for only pennies a gallon, the water filter will pay for itself in no time when you add up all the wasted money on bottled water. A whole house unit can save you an untold amount of money by protecting your water pipes and all the appliances that use water by keeping sediment, lime and calcium build up and rust out of the system.

Other benefits of filtered water over tap are many. Of course your water will taste better and be healthier for you by taking out the chlorine, fluoride and other chemicals that are added to city water, but there are even more benefits to talk of. A good shower filter will make your skin and hair softer and smoother, good for people with sensitive skin or allergies. The human body is made up of over 70 percent water and showering in unfiltered water allows the body to absorb harsh chemicals like chlorine and THMs that are harmful and the steam from using hot water causes chlorine to be inhaled if no filter is used. Also, your clothes will be brighter and softer especially if used with a water softener.

There are different kinds of water filtration, the most popular are a system that uses filters or a reverse osmosis unit. A traditional water filter system has the most options of filtration as there are sediment, carbon, fluoride and media packed cartridges. It is important to use a filter that has GAC (Granulated Activated Carbon), KDF-85 and KDF-55. It is easier to develop a system that will best suit your needs. Reverse Osmosis usually will cost more and does have some limitations. It requires more maintenance and is limited to a certain amount of water it can produce per day and may end up wasting more water than it produces. Although, many people say that the water has a better taste and this is because reverse osmosis water filter system also removes dissolved mineral contents which can cause a bitter taste in some water.

A water filter system can greatly affect your life in many positive ways, most importantly by giving you better health, it will also save you lots of money from purchasing bottled water and keeping your pipes and appliances in good working order.

Renovating Your Kitchen? – Water Filters and Reverse Osmosis Systems

Water filtration systems have become a standard fixture in most kitchens today, especially as more and more scientists and health professionals report that most if not all of our drinking water supplies are contaminated with human-made pollutants, including not just municipal systems, but wells, lakes, rives, and glaciers. Unfortunately, bottled water has been shown to have its own host of problems, including serious health and environmental effects. However, while a good water filtration system is the best way to ensure healthy and safe drinking water, it’s not enough to install just any filter in your home. Though the purpose of any water filtration system is to improve the quality and taste of drinking water, there is a wide range of filters available, each with varying costs and effectiveness. The process of planning a kitchen renovation is a perfect time to consider the different water filter options. Some of the most popular filters are explained below to help you choose the best water filter for your home.

Reverse Osmosis
Reverse osmosis is one of the most effective filtration methods available today. Even though the process has been known for over 100 years, it wasn’t until the 1950s that the U.S. government developed it as a way for the Marines to desalinate water to make it drinkable. By way of brief explanation, “regular” osmosis occurs when molecules pass through a permeable membrane to equalize the concentration of molecules on both sides. As its name implies, reverse osmosis is when the opposite occurs. Instead of equalizing the concentration of substances on both sides of the membrane, water pressure pushes pure water on one side of a membrane, leaving a concentration of pollutants on the other.

Reverse osmosis typically also employs two carbon filters and/or other pre-filters, which work to remove a wide range of dangerous contaminants, including lead, mercury, and arsenic. Reverse osmosis is also effective at removing virtually all pharmaceutical drugs, coliform bacteria, E. coli, percolate, VOCs, viruses, fluoride, chlorine, chloramines, herbicides, pesticides, cryptosporidium, THMs, and MTBEs. In fact, while typical faucet or counter top filters are 1 stage filters, meaning they have only 1 basic carbon filter, reverse osmosis systems typically offer a 5 stage filtration system. Furthermore, while countertop filters have a 1-5 micron rating, which means contaminates smaller than 1 micron (such as asbestos, insecticides, may not be filter out), a reverse osmosis filter typically holds a micron rating of.0001. While reverse osmosis systems can cost more upfront, their filters only need to be replaced once a year, whereas counter top filters need replacing every couple of months.

Although reverse osmosis effectively removes an impressive array of unhealthy contaminants, it can also remove important minerals that contribute to taste and health of water, including magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Some researchers suggest these important minerals are also found in common foods and are therefore not needed in drinking water. Other health professionals, however, report that long-term intake of de-mineralized water can be unhealthy and can lead to mineral deficiency and/or an unhealthy level of acidity in the body. Additionally, reverse osmosis generally requires between two to three gallons of water to produce one gallon of purified water, which some experts consider wasteful.

Other Popular Water Filters
Other popular filters include water filter pitchers, which are very easy to use and have a low initial cost. Water pitcher filters typically can reduce lead, copper, chlorine, and chlorine by-products. However, while any filter is better than no filter, pitcher filters are probably the least effective filters for their cost, especially considering that filters will need to be replaced every few months. Some pitcher filters may also be slow and prone to clog. Because pitcher filters have such a short life, they may not be practical for a family of four or more who might consume a couple of gallons of water a day.

Filter faucets or filters installed directly on the faucets are also popular because, like pitcher filters, they are very easy to use. Filter faucets are usually easily placed onto the head of a faucet, and they conveniently allow a person to switch from filtered to unfiltered water. Most filter faucets effectively remove lead, pesticides, sediments, and chlorine. However, because they typically use a similar type of filter as a water pitcher, the filter needs replacing often and filtering can be slow.

Another popular type of filter are counter-top water filters, which hook directly to the faucet after the aerator is removed. Counter-top filters provide a level of filtration higher than a water pitcher or filter faucet because it uses a combination of carbon filters and other filters. Counter-top filters are also less likely to clog than a pitcher filter or a filter faucet. They also allow a large amount of water to be filtered without having to alter any plumbing.

Similar to counter-top water filter, under sink filters can filter large amounts of water. However, unlike counter top filters, they don’t take up valuable counter space and instead attach to pipes under the sink. They are also typically more effective than pitcher types of water filters because under sink filters offer a two-step filtering process. However, under sink filters require modification to the plumbing (sometimes by a professional) and drilling a hole through the sink or countertop for the dispenser, which may mean longer installation time than other filters. They also take up room under the sink.

Kitchen renovation can be an exciting and creative time. As you consider which type of water filtration system would work best in your kitchen keep in the mind the following tips. First, you may want to either have your water tested or you may want to refer to your local annual quality report to ensure your water filter is removing contaminants specific to your drinking water supply. Second, your water filter should be certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), and, third, to ensure the life and quality of your filter, your filter needs to be maintained according to manufacture recommendations.