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Health is something everyone must take seriously, especially with growing surge of deadly diseases such as cancer and various skin disorders. You have to eat healthy and drink healthy. In fact, clean water is essential for drinking, cooking, and even showering. No wonder, people all over the world are investing in a reliable home water filtration system.

And, it’s not just a luxury; it’s a necessity. You don’t want harmful bacteria, chemicals such as lead, and other impurities to enter your body, right? Clean water is very much like oxygen — absolutely crucial to maintain life. Everyone needs to consume water — in the correct amount and minus the contamination — for the body to function properly. After all, our body is made up of 70% water.

Family drinking water Food photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com

So, are you really sure that the water you are ingesting is absolutely clean, treated, and without contaminants? The fact that you’re reading this article indicates that you too are concerned about the issue and are contemplating a home water filtration system. Wise decision. And, we will help by giving you all the facts that you need to know before buying one.

But first, let’s burst a myth. Water coming from the sink is drinkable. It’s a developed country after all. Wrong! Unfortunately, toxic tap water is a real issue in several areas throughout the United States. Whether it’s Michigan, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, or Texas — the threat is real.

Now that we have your attention, we will tell you all about water filtration, types of water filters, and the benefits of water filtration for your home.

What is a home water filtering system?

Home water filtration systemPhoto by Nicholas Lundgaard on Flickr licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

A water filter system is a purification unit that takes care of water treatment in such a way that it cleanses it thoroughly. It gets rid of all the contaminants and harmful bacteria present — so that you get the purest of water to drink, or for any other usage. It can be either a whole-house system or an undersink one. 

Whole-house water filtration system vs Undersink water filtration system

Whole-house water filtration, aka point-of-entry system, is installed at the entry point of water lines of the entire house. The purpose is to supply filtered water through every faucet of the house.

Undersink water filtration system is installed near the particular water source, for instance a tap or other direct-water-access point. For this reason, it’s called a point-of-use drinking water system. The filtration in this case is restricted to that area.

Both kinds, however, use same filters but the plumbing is done differently. They ensure that you get clean, softened drinking water.

How much do water filtration systems cost?

A point-of-use carbon system may cost $100 or slightly less while a reverse osmosis, or RO system, costs several hundred dollars. The price is more in the case of a whole-house system. A carbon one may set you back by approximately $2,000. A reverse-osmosis filter, on the other hand, may cost several thousand dollars. Of course, the total cost will depend upon the capacity and quality of the filter used, which will be based on the water quality of your area.

There are many varieties of water purification filters to choose from. If you’re not looking for something elaborate, simple house filters will also do. You can go for a sediment filter if you’re happy with the water quality and softness.

Each one has different mechanics and functions. Most importantly, all of them serve the same purpose: cleansing your water supply to provide you with healthy, safe drinking water. Let’s understand the three popular types in detail.

Clean, filtered drinking water Photo from Pexels

Types of Water Filters

Activated Carbon

It’s one of the most common types of water filters for households. And, the least expensive too. It’s generally installed under the sink. The mechanism is simple — it makes use of activated carbon granules to attract and trap physical as well as chemical impurities through absorption.

These granules are charcoal-based and porous. Interestingly, they are created by burning wood in less oxygen. Since charcoal has a lot of nooks on its surface, it helps boost the absorption further.

An activated carbon filtration system is known to effectively remove chemicals, parasites, and even heavy metal from the water. But, every brand may not do so. Some may just remove chlorine. This kind is most essential when you need to improve the taste and odor of water in your locality.

There are others that remove substances such as lead, asbestos, mercury and volatile organic compounds aka VOCs such as solvents, degreasers, gasoline, and other additives. But, activated carbon cannot remove inorganic contaminants including arsenic, nitrate, fluoride, perchlorate, or hexavalent chromium.

Also, carbon filters are not so useful when it comes to combatting hardness like sodium, limescale heavy metals, nitrates, fluorine, and even microbes.

Do note that this type of filtration system needs to be checked from time to time. You may have to replace the filter cartridges. A simple water test will help you evaluate the situation. If the color of the water is looking darker, then you need to change.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis, or an RO system, is a simple yet effective filtration method. Unfiltered, impure water is made to pass through a semi-permeable membrane at very high air pressure. The logic is similar to what you probably remember from your science class. While the water is able to pass through, the contaminants present in the water are left behind. The plastic membrane catches all the impurities.

It’s the most effective home water filtration system. Almost all impurities are filtered out effectively. This filtration process may involve 5, 6, or 7 stages. Any more and you’ll get alkaline water. So, choose your model well. On an average, the total output is between 50 to 90 gallons per day.

However, there is a huge downside to reverse osmosis. It’s a point of contention, especially with the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The process wastes a lot of water for filtration.

It uses three to 20 times more water than it produces! EWG recommends that filtered water obtained through RO needs to be used judiciously — only for drinking and cooking.

Ion Exchange

Also known as cation exchange water filter system, this water softener works on a scientific logic. Here, positively-charged ions are used to attract negatively-charged ions. These negative ones may include harmful substances such as barium and calcium.

For all those unaware, barium is known to cause serious health issues. Did you know, prolonged exposure to this earth metal can affect your internal organs? Well, now you do. As far as magnesium and calcium are concerned, they may damage water pipes and also make water taste rancid.

There’s another advantage that this filtration system has. It’s the best filter for softening water. Once you determine that your area has hard water, the filter will take care of removing all the limescale. It will make hard water soft, and more digestible. You may ask, how does it do it? The filter is designed in such a way that it splits atoms of the contaminants into ions. They then trap these and release only the good ones present in water.

The filter uses zeolite beads that have sodium ions. These beads trap the incoming contaminants and replace them with good sodium ions. As explained above, magnesium and calcium are filtered out by this method — leaving your water softer and more pleasant in terms of taste and odor.

Distillation

This filtration system is perhaps one of the simplest ways to purify water. You don’t need any fancy device, just a distillation filter. It involves boiling the water, but it’s more than just that. As water boils, it releases steam. Then, the filter captures the steam and cools it back into water in a separate container.

The logic is simple. Since, water boils at a much lower temperature than most contaminants such as toxic heavy metals, these will stay back as the steam separates and boils off. And, you get clean water that’s free from bacteria.

Now that we’ve established the types of filters, you may have realized that the purpose of each is to make sure you get unadulterated, pure water that contributes positively to your health. Want more reasons? Here are some amazing benefits to look into.

Benefits of a home water filtration system:

  1. Access to safe drinking water anytime: Once you’ve installed a filtration system, it only needs annual maintenance or filter change every 3 to 6 months.
  2. There’s no odor or bad taste in water, it also lowers the pH level of the water.
  3. More cost-effective than bottled water: It saves almost $700 annually for a family of four members.*
  4. Sustainable option for the environment.
  5. Ensures extended life of water-using appliances and household pipes — reducing plumbing costs and maintenance.
  6. Reduces rashes, allergies, and skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema which occur due to the presence of heavy metals, fluoride, and chlorine in the water.
  7. Offers protection against contamination due to a sudden burst in sewer lines near your house.
  8. Maximizes the cleaning power of soaps by making water soft (hard water has minerals that prevent the ionic action of soap).
  9. Reduces risk of gastrointestinal diseases because of parasites and other microbes.
  10. Removes soap scum on bathroom walls, sinks, and deposits on clothes (that chemicals and hardness of unclean water cause).
  11. Softer and longer-lasting clothes.
  12. Healthier skin and hair.

*Suppose each one of you drinks three bottles of 16.9 ounce water every day and you buy an average of 24 pack of water bottles at $5.00, you will save $700 annually.

Final Thoughts

It’s vital to keep your water as clean and filtered as possible. And, we are glad that water filters are becoming more and more popular and in demand. We hope our complete guide on home water filtration system helped you in choosing the right one.

Whichever you select, do remember to change your water filter every 3 to 6 months, or sooner if you notice the water flow slowing down or the water color becoming darker. It’s important to put your health first. Drinking, cooking, and bathing in clean water is a huge step in that direction.

Home Water Filtration System: A Complete Guide was last modified: October 6th, 2019 by Ramona Sinha
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