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Water Filter Buying Guide

By Jeff Wise November 27, 2021

How keen are you on the water purity in your home? Though it is an essential part of life, there is no telling the water quality with a glance. So it would help if you put on your investigative cap to determine the quality of water you use in your home.

Besides going through the required tests and procedures, each state also has water standards that every water supplier should meet. You will be surprised at the type of contaminants, such as microorganisms or arsenic, that you are in your tap water.

At home, there are various ways to rid your water of pollutants through an excellent buying guide.

Understanding your water source will also help you streamline your filtering process. It will also guide you on the best ways and equipment that will benefit the safety and taste of your water.

Hard water sources will mostly prove trickier in working with them. On the other hand, soft water is easier and safer to use. Some even go as far as saying it tastes better than its counterpart. Here is the complete water filter buying guide that you can use.

Filtered Water

Why Do You Need to Filter and Purify Water in Your Home?

Having and taking clean water is an essential requirement that you need not be reminded of. Similarly, you need to have a solid plan to ensure your water safety.

The primary aim of filtering water is to raise the quality of tap water. You probably have an idea of the water source, but that is not enough assurance that it is safe for you.

There are a lot of water-related illnesses, such as respiratory conditions, kidney diseases, or even cancer. Filtration will reduce and eliminate the chances of having contaminants, pollutants, and impurities that can lead to these eventualities.

Additionally, people say that filtering and purifying water also changes the taste and flavor of the water. So, though it might be a slight disadvantage, it is essential to have water that pleases your taste buds.

Water Contaminants

Most people can easily state numerous contaminants in dirty, but not in clear or tap water. You must understand which types of contaminants you can find in water and how they can impact your daily life.

Some of these contaminants are:

Microbes

There are many microorganisms in the water that can include bacteria, viruses, and protozoa that may harm your health. These organisms can cause different reactions to the human body, like stomachaches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

You cannot readily tell the presence of these contaminants. But, depending on the water source, you can put extra care into handling your drinking water. An important thing to note, you can find these microbes even in bottled water.

Arsenic

You can find arsenic substances in water due to their exposure to hazardous wastes from the arsenic manufacturing industries. Thus, it is essential to watch out for these substances to avoid cancer or digestive problems.

Minerals

Minerals such as fluorides are naturally found in the soil. Though it is an essential element in the body, excessive amounts of water can weaken the skeletal system.

Aluminum

This metal is also naturally found in the water composition. But, increased levels in water in recent times have been the cause of some kidney and nervous systems. Thus, be keen on the aluminum levels in your water.

Nitrates

These chemicals are primarily from fertilizers and liquid wastes found in the plumbing systems. High concentrations or even short-term exposure to these chemicals can be dangerous. Besides, it is hazardous for those who have low immunity.

Gravity Water Filter

Types of Water Filters

Contaminants may not affect you immediately, but you cannot guarantee their eventual effects if you do not take care of yourself. Thus, make sure you take the necessary steps in purifying your water.

Whichever remedy you choose to ensure top-notch water quality, you need to provide an affordable and viable solution. Some people will go for bottled water, while others will choose filtration methods. Either way, they will both need filtration and purification.

Being vigilant in these processes will help you get a quality water supply. You need to be keen with your choices from the filter choice, what you need, and extra requirements that your household will need.

To combat these contaminants, you need to use suitable water filters. Here are some of the common types of filters:

​Water Filter Pitcher

This is the best model for households that use smaller quantities of water. It eliminates traces of chlorine in taste and odor with significant effects. In addition, its compact shape makes it portable and fits in the refrigerator or even your countertop without any problems.

You can use it in carbon or ion exchange filtration systems. You can also store this filtered water for later use. The best of it all is that it does not need any installation. Thus, it makes it quite simple to use it.

Typically, you fill in water from the top. The water then passes through an in-built filter before it dispenses from the other end. It is because of this process that it has slow filtration and requires regular replacement of the filters.

Though it is a high-maintenance filter, its benefit in a small setup outweighs the disadvantages. There are different models and sizes from which you can choose.

​Faucet Water Filter

These easy-to-install filters found above the sink have a complex yet intricate working system. As a result, you can achieve a continuous flow of filtered or unfiltered cooking and drinking water.

You only need to screw your filter at the end of the sink faucet. There are no complicated steps in the installation. Once you install, you can switch on the diverter valve to choose which type of water you will need.

This versatility makes it a powerhouse in carbon and ion filtration systems. It reduces sediments, pharmaceuticals, chlorine taste, and odor.

The downside of this filter is the slow-moving water that you will get with the filter. There is also a variation of this faucet filter that the plumber can integrate while installing the plumbing system – there is no need for the attachment.

But, these integrated filters are usually more expensive and have a complex installation system.

​Shower Head Filter

These filters will help to reduce the chlorine taste and odor in your bathroom. It requires a simple installation process where you fit it between the showerhead and shower arm. It also reduces the sediments in the water, especially in areas with hard water.

​Countertop Water Filter

These easy-to-install filters are less likely to clog because of their ability to handle larger quantities of water. In addition, it fits at the countertop, where you only need to screw it at the faucet aerator.

The downside of these filters is that they will clutter your kitchen top, and also, not every faucet can accommodate these filters. Therefore, they are limited but save you on any plumbing modifications that you may need with faucet filters.

​Under Sink Water Filter

These filters are almost like the countertop filter. The only difference is that you fit them beneath the sink. Though it frees space on your countertop, additional plumbing modifications often need dispensing the filtered water.

It is perfect for large quantities of water but quite expensive to install. Also, the additional pieces that you have to install can be pretty expensive, bulky, and noisy.

It also takes up space under your sink, which you may have had other plans before the filter. But, it can be an essential sacrifice you will have to make for your health's sake.

Refrigerator Filters

These inbuilt features in the refrigerators ensure that you get clean drinking water from the automatic dispenser. They are most common in double-door fridges or those with bottom freezers.

Its efficiency is like that of a countertop filter. First, it goes to show how effective the filter is. Additionally, it changes the taste and odor of the water (and the ice it makes).

But, you will need to regularly change the filters, at least bi-annually, which can be pretty expensive to maintain.

​Whole House Water Filter

This is a wholesome project that you should work on in phases. It involves creating a water treatment plant for the whole house. In addition, you will need to change the entire plumbing system by including different water filtration and treatment processes.

The plumbing expenses might be expensive, but once your system is good to go, you will not worry about the chlorine taste or odor, sediments, or any organic compounds. Most whole house water systems use RO systems for their filtration system.

These systems are large and are often complicated to install. Therefore, you need to hire an experienced plumber who will understand how best to integrate these systems into your plumbing.

How Do Water Filters Work?

Each method of infiltration will provide different challenges, pros, cons, and purposes. You need to understand your needs before you can choose the best filtration methods for your household. Here are some of the systems you should watch out for:

Activated Alumina Water Filters

As the name suggests, this system has aluminum oxide filters that eliminate approximately 90% of fluoride components, arsenic, selenium, and other features. It also eliminates other components by letting the water pass through filter pores.

The only worry with these systems is the possibility of having the alumina affect the composition of the water, thus affecting its purity. To curb this problem, ensure you use the certified alumina type in your filtration before introducing a new contaminant in your water.

Activated Carbon Filters

These filters use activated charcoal (increased porosity due to the treatment process) in their filter pores to remove contaminants such as organic compounds or chlorine as water passes through it.

But, it is ineffective against contaminants such as minerals or inorganic compounds, making the water unsafe for drinking or cooking.

Thus, it is not advisable to use it as a single filtration system. Instead, you will find it as a process in the RO process. It is more effective when used this way. Its advantages however, are that it improves the taste and odor of the water.

Ceramic Water Filters

Like carbon filters, ceramic water filters do not significantly influence eliminating bacteria and other organic and inorganic compounds during filtration. This uses a fine pore ceramic receptacle that traps any larger contaminant than the pores from the water running through it.

But, there is no assurance of getting every single contaminant, since it only relies on the porosity of the receptacle. Therefore, some people modify this receptacle by adding a silver coating that will deal with the bacteria, molds, or algae in the water, which can cause illnesses in the body.

However, it is still not reliable for other viruses. Therefore, be keen to use different processes when you choose this system. But overall, it is an inexpensive and long-lasting method that you can consider

Ultraviolet Water Purifiers

Even though it is not one of the traditional filtration methods, ultraviolet purifiers use UV light to kill the bacteria in the water. This purification process is used chiefly as the last process in the RO filtration system.

Since it eliminates contaminants from water, you can consider it both a filtration and purification system. It is an expensive and involving process that you should carry out with much care. But, it is also relatively safe for the user, since no harmful chemicals or additives may harm your health.

Distillation Unit

The distillation unit mainly works on killing bacteria, removing nitrates, organic compounds, and radionuclides. It involves converting water to vapor and then condensing it back to liquid to obtain the purer form of water.

But, it is not entirely reliable, as it does not eliminate some organic compounds and bacteria. You will have to pair it with other filtration systems to get the best out of it. Nevertheless, it is a simple process that you can use on a large or small scale.

Reverse Osmosis Water Filter

This is the most common water filtration method that people use. It combines several (up to 10) processes that will eliminate different contaminants in each process. It usually starts with removing sediments and trickles down to minerals and bacteria over the steps.

These filters are among the most expensive filters. But, you can use them as a home or commercial filter. It is at least a three-stage process that will remove most of the water contaminants in the process.

Its working principle involves using pressure to force the contaminants (solid waste) through a semi-permeable membrane. The system then reverses the pressure, and it flushes out the contaminants, not a drain, thus dispensing filtered water.

It is one of the best filters that most people rely on. The intricate and numerous processes make it exceptionally reliable in any setup. The RO's benefit is that it carefully sorts the water through with good taste and reliable quality.

Glass of Purified Water

Factors To Consider When Choosing Your Home’s Filter

How can you choose a suitable filter for your home? Unfortunately, this is a question that you will most likely have to answer before settling down in your home.

You might be lucky to have it installed during building and construction, or by the previous owner. However, a closer look at these factors will guide you on which filters to buy:

How Much Filtered Water Do You Need?

The amount of filtered water that your household will need should guide you on which filter to buy. For example, if you have a large home where you will depend on the filter for all cooking and drinking needs, there is no need to go for a slow or small filter.

Installing the filter in the system might prove better in this case. But, you can go for smaller filters, like the water filter pitcher, if you have a smaller household.

The purpose of the filtered water will also matter. Of course, drinking water does not need to be fast-flowing water. But you will concentrate more on the quality of the water.

Your location will also affect the type of filter that you choose. For example, agricultural or industrial areas might have more pollutants that you need to be careful about. This will translate to keener and elaborate procedures in such areas.

Pricing and Finances

Your finances will play a significant role in the type of filter you choose to buy. Filters cost as low as $1000 and can rise to more than $400. Therefore, you need to compare different systems with their process before committing to buy.

Your financing method will also affect the type of system you will buy. Look into different financiers and find the best option. After all, it is for a worthy cause.

When considering the buying price, always look into any installation and maintenance costs that later affect you. You might find a good deal, but the several cartridge changes you will make in a year might be more than you signed up for.

What Is Your End Goal?

Your filtration goal must include your vision in the water supply. Is it a long or short-term remedy that you are looking for? First, you need to define what you want and how you would like to do it.

The type of filtration and contaminants you want to focus on will also influence the variety of filters you choose. Again, this calls for extensive knowledge and research on the type of water and filters alike to get a good result.

Maintenance Costs

It would help if you were keen on the maintenance requirements of these filters. Some may require careful and regular maintenance, which can be pretty expensive. For example, some cartridge replacements can cost up to $50.

These costs can affect the flow of filtered water if you cannot do the replacements promptly.

Water Source

Where does your water come from? First, you need to understand your water source. Take interest and ask your landlord or the supplier about the source of your water. Most government offices will have a record on the safety and test of the water you are using.

Hard and soft water will each resonate differently with the user. It will also point you in different directions when buying your water filter and purifier. Hard water will force you to get a scale inhibitor, an added expense in your budget.

Failure to understand the importance of knowing your water source can make you buy the wrong filter. In turn, you will end up having unsafe water for drinking or cooking.

Manufacturers Ratings

There are many expert reviews and ratings before buying the filters. Ratings such as the micron rating will help you reveal how good a filter is. You can also work with reviews and determine which filters have the best reviews from the manufacturers and other customers.

How Can You Tell Which Filter Best Fits Your Home?

Once you consider all these factors, you can easily decide which filers will suit your household needs. Remember, it is about making it safe for your body and health. The better you understand the processes and how they suit your needs, your decision will be better.

Water Filter Maintenance

Maintenance of filters will require understanding the following needs:

  • Type of cartridge to use
  • Variety of chemicals, metals, or minerals to use
  • Type of plumbing system and maintenance

Understanding The Complete Buying Guide

You need to get the best water filter for your home. You can only do this by following this buying guide.

Understanding these filters and what you need will be the best way to maneuver through this guide. You can sign up to have your water tested for safety before using it.


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