The History of the Refrigerator Water Filters

The earliest recorded method of water filtration dates back to 2000 B.C. where hieroglyphics depict methods of boiling water, placing hot metal instruments in water and filtering water through charcoal and sand. These early methods are thought to have been instituted to make water taste better, thus, cleaning it. Water filtration was further developed with the advent of the microscope, which made it possible to see foreign particles and contaminants in water that would have otherwise been considered to be pure and clean. Most notably, the microscope was responsible to identify cholera bacteria in drinking water during a disease outbreak in 19th century London. The outbreak was rampart in all areas except those areas where drinking water was filtered through sand. Chlorine was also discovered to be an effective, chemical disinfectant capable to rid the infectious water of cholera. It was further discovered that the chemical, chlorine, when used in combination with sand filtering, was effective in combating cholera as well the water borne diseases, typhoid and dysentery.

In an effort to achieve drinking water purity, chlorine disinfection and sand filtering became prominent methods of municipal water treatment throughout Europe, and then, the US. These primitive methods of disinfecting and filtering water to achieve purity have been studied and evaluated with the use of technology. Chlorine, despite its history of ridding water of contaminants, is a poison. It has since been found to exhibit side effects that aggravate and induce respiratory complications, such as asthma. The poisonous chemical vaporizes at a faster rate than water, making it dangerously harmful when inhaled, especially during showering. Fluoride has since been added as an additional chemical disinfecting agent, but also has side effects of dental damage and other health complications in young children. Lead and other chemical contaminants and by-products further compromise drinking water during the piping and delivery of treated water.

Business and industry have been instrumental in the disposal of waste materials into our fresh water supply sources. This inhabitation has directly contaminated the water supply and also upset the balance of water flow and creation established by nature. The US Clean Water Act, legislated in 1972, was intended to restore the physical, chemical and biological balance of water that had been disturbed by contamination. The Act specified that all natural water supplies would, at least, be safe for fishing and swimming by 1985. This specification led to the development of some form of water filtration and disinfection in every US city as well as advanced technological innovations in the filtering of water used in industry. Even so, the severity of past and continued damage has left more than 1/3 of all water supplies still polluted with contaminants.

In an effort to reduce the contaminants in drinking water and also to comply with national efforts to make drinking water safe, water-filtering systems have been developed to filter water within individual homes. Systems exist to filter incoming water for the entire house and also systems are designed to filter water, inline, at various points of water distribution within the house, such as at faucets and refrigerators or in water pitchers. The US based company, Omnipure Filter Company, credits its self with developing the first small, disposable, inline water filter in the world. The Omnipure CL Series of water filters, developed in 1970, were carbon-based, inline filtering systems designed for water coolers and ice machines. This benchmark water filtering system used granular activated carbon (GAC) to create cost effective methods of filtering water inline. Advances in the functionality, using the same basic design, have since led to the development of whole-house filters, faucet filters, countertop filters, pitcher filters, refrigerator filters and portable filters for camping.

In 1996, KX Industries developed and supplied the first refrigerator water filter for ice cube and cold water dispensing. KXI is credited with developing the initial end of tap filter for the Proctor and Gamble/PUR and the Clorox/Brita water filters. The new technology has been adopted and revised to suit a number of refrigerator models, creating a $200 million refrigerator water filter market.

Today, http://www.FiltersFast.com, the leading online retailer of refrigerator water filters, carries filters for every major brand of refrigerators tht filter out anything from Chlorine to Lead and pesticides. They recommend that your filter be changed at least every 6 months to keep your water at it’s best quality.

Whole House Reverse Osmosis Water Filters

Our water supply comes from the ground and rivers, lakes, and streams. Unfortunately, many harmful contaminants are found in these water sources. Dangerous living contaminants that cause diseases (viruses and bacteria) such as Cholera, Giardia and cryptosporidium thrive in our water sources.

Erosion of the ground also introduces many harmful deposits into our water supply, of both natural and man-made chemicals. Commonly used chemicals such as fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, road salt run off into our water supplies. Industrial processes further introduce other harmful chemicals. Simply said, our water supply is often tainted by chemicals and contaminants.

Chemicals In Our Water Supply

Of course, municipalities treat all water supplies to remove and reduce all of the harmful contaminants. However, the introduction of some disinfecting or filtering chemicals create new toxic chemicals. For example, Chlorine is used as a disinfectant in the treatment process by municipalities. However, Chlorinated water produces by products such as trihalomethanes (THMs), which can cause cancer, birth defects and other health problems. There are other potentially dangerous by products that form during water treatment process.

Well owners and municipalities must treat their water sources properly. Our household water is safe to use, but if we want the purest water we should filter it even further. That’s where residential filters come into play. Residential water filters remove hundreds of contaminants, to provide pure and safe drinking water.

What Is Reverse Osmosis Water Filtering?

There are several technologies applied in water filters including activated carbon, Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (KDF), Ultraviolet filtration, and Reverse Osmosis (RO) Each of these technologies are effective in removing certain contaminants, but not all. Therefore, the purifying technologies are usually combined.

Reverse osmosis water filters are considered to be the most effective on the market. Compared to other technologies, these systems remove the most contaminants from water. For example, they effectively filter out contaminants such as Arsenic, bacteria & viruses, unpleasant smells & tastes, Chlorine, heavy metals, nitrates, sediment, and iron. Other technologies remove some of these contaminants, but not nearly as many as reverse osmosis water filters.

When it comes to the removal of Hydrogen Sulfide (causes bad odors) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which can cause cancer, reverse osmosis water treatment also works well. Other technologies work just as well, and some even better for removing these specific chemicals. But a reverse osmosis water filter can remove the tiniest harmful particles that are less than.0001 microns. To put that in perspective, common bacteria and viruses are between 0.1 to 1 micron in size.

Residential reverse osmosis water filters use two types of filtering media known as Thin Film Composite (TFC) and Cellulose Triacetate (CTA). Additionally, when combined with other technologies such as activated carbon water filters they offer the most complete purification. This combination of technologies in RO systems creates an effective product.

Whole House Reverse Osmosis Water Filters

When it comes to maintenance, reverse osmosis water filters require replacement of filters, specifically the membrane, just like any other technologies. Typically, the filtering membranes last for several years (1-4), while the pre-filters such as carbon activated filters and sediment filters need to be replaced more frequently.

When it comes to pricing, RO filters vary greatly. Whole house RO systems are very expensive and can cost several thousands dollars. These are sophisticated systems which may be excessive for the average home owner. They are also quite large in size as they feature multiple tanks and extensive plumbing parts. Whole house reverse osmosis water filters can provide several thousand gallons of purified water a day. That’s a bit too much for an average household, and something to be used for commercial applications. Generally these whole house systems are recommended for large households that use their own well water.

A viable alternative to whole house reverse osmosis water filters is to use an under the sink RO filter. They are small, compact, and provide sufficient output of filtered water for many households. The filter is easily installed under the sink and closed behind the cabinet doors. Some good brands to consider are GE, Crystal Quest, Aquasana, and EcoWater.

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.