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.

Are You Ready to Buy a Water Filter for Your Home? How To Make The Right Choice – Part Three

This is the third and final part of our series on the different types of water filtering ideas for your home. We looked in the first two articles at lower cost options. Here we will investigate some of the more expensive types of filters. When you get to this level of filtration you are looking at whole house water filtration. We are going to help you by breaking down this discussion into 3 basic filter types.

  • Filter Housings
  • Media Tanks
  • Reverse Osmosis Systems

1) Filter Housings – Filter housings are placed inline to your home’s main water feed. Typically a plumber or home builder will place a ‘loop’ in the garage or well-house where you can place one or several filter housings in a series to capture contaminants before water enters your home. The benefit to having these housings installed is that you can place any filter you need in them. There are many considerations when selecting a filter such as water flow and contaminant type. Filter housings are available for your home in 4 basic sizes. 2 1/2″ diameter in 10″ and 20″ lengths and 4 1/2″ in diameter in 10″ and 20″ lengths. The larger 4 1/2″ housings are typically known as ‘big blue’. The larger the housing diameter the higher the flow rate. If you have a larger home with two or more bathrooms, you will need larger filters to keep up with your water usage.

Any media filter can be installed in these cartridges. Usage for filter housings are as broad as your water problems. Sediment filters are probably the most popular capturing sand, silt and dirt. Second to sediment filters are GAC or Granular Activated Carbon. GAC filters remove chlorine from city water and smelly organics from well water homes. In general if your water smells or tastes funny a GAC filter will fix a large portion of the problems. After these two filters there are a strong dozen or so other varieties of miscellaneous media filters for your housings. The uses are only limited to the different types of water problems you may encounter.

2) Media Tanks – Media tanks operate on the same basis as the housings above, but on a much larger scale. These are the filters you will typically associate with water softeners. The tank, average build of 9″ diameter 48″ tall, filters water on a continuous basis until either a set time or a set water flow is achieved. Instead of having a filter to change the media tank will back flush to renew itself. This is of great benefit to people who do not wish to maintain the filter housings. The most common type of media tank you may have seen is the water softener. Water softener tanks are filled with resin beads which attract themselves to calcium particles in your pipes and do not let them pass into your home.

This removes the scale build up in your shower heads and appliances. Calcium buildup in your water is also responsible for extreme over usage of soap. The more calcium in your water, “hardness”, the more laundry soap, dish soap, shampoo, etc. it takes to do the job. Probably the second most popular media is the carbon tank. This takes the place of the GAC housing. It performs the same task with none of the filter changing hassle. The cost is much higher than the housing filter, but the performance is worth the extra expense. After water softeners and carbon tanks the uses for media tanks are much like the housing filters. There are as many uses for these tanks as there are water problems. If you have the space, this is a very effective way of conquering even the worst water problems in your home.

3) Reverse Osmosis – Do you enjoy drinking purified, bottled water? Have you ever made coffee or tea with purified water? I am an avid coffee drinker and I can honestly tell you that drinking coffee made with purified water is an experience only found in the best coffee shops. You may think I’ve gotten off subject, but actually having purified, reverse osmosis water at every tap in your home is truly an experience. Showering with RO water, cooking with RO water, doing laundry with pure water all make a huge difference in your everyday life. A full house reverse osmosis system is very expensive there are not too many reasons why this type of water filter would be necessary. $6,000 or more is the price tag for this purified experience. The times I have seen these filters in a home have been for medical reasons or extremely bad water conditions in well water.

Whatever water filter you decide to purchase you will be happy. Filtered water is the best beverage for your body, your skin, your organs, I could go on. Make the change today. Purchase a pitcher filter as we discussed in part one. Or maybe an under sink system is more your cup of tea. Lastly as we discussed you could maximize your water experience with a whole house RO system. I have not yet met a person who regretted drinking filtered water. Your body and quite possibly your wallet with thank you.