Water filtration systems have garnered much praise and influence as health concerns regarding water arose in recent years. Knowing what sort of filtration to use with your water source can be daunting, especially for first-time buyers. Figuring out what makes for an efficient water filter system is one of the first steps in tackling water quality issues.
Finding an appropriate water filter for your home can be a complex process and it’s understandable seeing how many different types of filters are out there. This is only exacerbated by the fact that they all claim to be highly efficient at providing high standards of quality drinking water.
Why does tap water need further filtering?
Embarking on the quest for filtering efficiency of tap water places the actual water source under scrutiny. Tap water can get contaminated with harmful toxins that pose serious health risks. Water can also contain added components that treat the water for the benefit of the consumers.
Among the toxins that find their way into a water source are chlorine and fluoride added by the municipality. Other elements like heavy metals, pesticides, and sometimes even pathogenic contaminants can also make their way into drinking water.
Other water sources like spring or well water can get even more pollutants in the form of petroleum byproducts, or animal waste. Efficiency in taking out many of these elements from drinking water is what a good water filter should be able to do.
What constitutes a good water filter?
Water filtering technology has been on a constant evolutionary trajectory over the years. Different techniques of cleaning water have been tested and implemented, ranging from mechanical to chemical techniques, or a combination of both.
- Maybe the simplest and widely used method of filtering water is the mechanical or biological one: Passing water through certain materials in order to clean out unwanted components. The materials used to absorb harmful elements from water, range from sand, activated charcoal, fabric mesh, and even ceramic containers with tiny pores.
- On the chemical side of water filtration, there are a few processes that deal with cleaning water effectively. Flocculation is one such process by which sediment is removed either naturally or by supplying it with flocculants to forcefully separate sediments out.
- Chlorination is the most common method of water treatment used by city treatment facilities.
- Lastly, ultraviolet filtration is one very effective chemical water cleaning method to implement in a home.
What does a good water filter look like?
Generally, the more stages to a water filter will mean better, more effective filtration overall. This is what ultimately influences how far the cleaning process of a water source will go. What is more, many of the methods used in filtering water are quite basic and have functioned extremely well for many years and in underdeveloped countries that have very little access to clean water.
Rudimentary water filters have proven to be sturdy and highly effective in the past. Those very methods have been adapted into high-tech filtering devices for consumer use in modern households.
Multi-stage filters tend to have finer filters that provide higher quality water treatment. For instance, a two-stage filtration system could have a 0.2 micron filter while a five-stage reverse-osmosis system can have a 0.0005 micron membrane. Finer filtration media remove far more contaminants and small molecules from drinking water.
Reverse-osmosis water filters
Complex water filters like reverse-osmosis systems are typically designed as under sink systems that tackle pollutants like dissolved inorganics along with chlorine and many other elements. An RO system is a very efficient cleaning device that can be used as a blanket filter for multiple water issues. These types of filtration systems require water pressure to function properly, somewhere over 40 PSI. If that is not the case then a booster pump may be needed to provide pressure.
The style of an RO system is quite another thing to consider. Some are far easier to maintain and require less skill when it comes to changing cartridges. Being highly efficient at caring for an RO system also comes with environmental concerns. The style of the system can permit less waste to be produced as the filters can be either entirely replaced during maintenance or only exchanging the filtering medium while keeping the housing of the cartridge. This difference, small as it may seem, has more positive outcomes for reducing plastic waste and can even save a good amount of money since they are cheaper, but no less effective.
Ion exchange filters
Water filters that treat issues of build-up can greatly benefit from ion exchange filter media. Descaling water is usually done using resin beads to keep the magnesium and calcium from bonding together and forming limescale.
This kind of filter can come in a tubing form and be installed with other tube-like cartridge filters to layer multiple types of filtering media. There is also the option to only have the ion exchange filter by itself in a larger container.
What makes this kind of filter quite efficient is that it protects devices from limescale build-up. On top of that, the ability to layer it with multiple other types of filtering media like activated charcoal makes it very effective.
Installing under sink water filters
The many different aspects of under sink water filter installation get bogged down in minutiae, but it doesn’t have to be a headache. Step-by-step guides about the installation process are readily available from sources like watermasterz.com that do a great job at providing helpful information.
Under sink filters commonly require their own dedicated source to get water from and start the filtering process. It can be fairly easy to do the installation job yourself, provided there is enough space and all the necessary outlets are there. If however there is no separate water valve for the filter, a plumber’s help may be needed. This is necessary because otherwise, it would filter all the water that comes into the home. There are options for this also, with whole house water filters, but taking into account whether hot water is passed through the filters is important.
The efficiency of any water filter ultimately comes down to water quality in each specific area where a system like this is required. The efficiency of a drinking water filter is only as good as the number of issues it can resolve from the drinking water source where it’s being installed.