Since about two thirds of our bodies are actually water and we can’t live more than a few days without hydrating, it’s easy to conclude that the quality of water we drink is of paramount importance. If contaminated, it causes more harm than good, which is why it comes as no surprise that more and more people are turning to various types of water filter systems both at home and at work.
Water filters use different principles for the same purpose: to clean our drinking water and eliminate odours and unpleasant taste. Depending on your needs and budget, there are different options available on the market and you need to analyse them carefully before making the final decision.
Filters using reverse osmosis are quite popular choices, most often mounted under the sink, which contain a membrane that removes the water contaminants. It’s very effective when it comes to removing many contaminants, including arsenic, fluoride, asbestos and heavy metals.
The downsides of having such a system are that there’s a lot of water waste and that it also removes necessary minerals from water, such as calcium and magnesium.
Activated Carbon Filter
These contain a highly absorbent carbon which traps the impurities. These filters can be used as countertop, under the sink and as tap filtration systems. Their main advantage is that they improve the taste of the water, while removing odour and chlorine.
Activated carbon filters are also known to reduce heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, parasites, pesticides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
These systems boil the water and then recondense it. They are often used as a whole-house system (a.k.a. point-of-entry units), but can also be found on the countertop. They are particularly efficient when it comes to eliminating arsenic, fluoride, sodium and heavy metals, such as copper, lead and mercury.
An increasingly popular option is a highly efficient UV water filter. It uses UV light to destroy the bacteria and other microorganisms. It’s small enough to be installed under the sink. Such units are often combined with a carbon filter and a sediment screen for maximal result, i.e. elimination of parasites and bacteria.
How to know which one is for you?
There’s no universal solution and the answer depends on many factors, primarily the needs of your household and the quality of water distributed to your home. Based on these analyses, you take your next step. Also, finances play an important role, since larger systems cost more and require an expert who can install them properly. Here are some options you could consider.
Pitcher Water Filters
Pitcher water filters use granulated activated charcoal and are quite cheap. However, you would need to replace the cartridge very often. They are efficient against chlorine, but not so much against VOCs and heavy metals.
Faucet Water Purification Systems
These small devices are excellent if your water can be used for bathing and laundry, but not for drinking. You install them onto the tap and they provide clean drinking water as soon as you flick the switch.
House Filtration Systems
This is a good option in case the quality of water is really below par. These systems are installed at the point where the main water supply pipe connects to the house. Naturally, installation must not be turned into a DIY project, which might increase the price of the project significantly.
What are the alternatives?
Actually, there’s just one and that’s bottled water. It is considered by some as the cleaner option, but it’s far from perfect. The plastic bottle chemicals might contaminate the water, whose quality also depends on many things, including how the bottles were handled and stored before you bought them. Finally, when you use water bottles, you create more consumer waste.
As you can see, there are many options out there, including those really inexpensive ones. Our advice is to take into account the quality of water at your home and your budget to calculate how much time it’ll take for the investment to pay off. If you can put a price on your health, that is.