There are several types of water filters. What kind you choose for your home depends on your own preferences and situation. Some people don’t want a water filter at all. Others know they want one, but they aren’t sure what kind they should get.
Water filters come in all shapes and sizes. Some are cheap and some are expensive. Some are perfect if all you want is clean drinking water. Others are better if you want to filter all the water that enters your home.
Here is a highlight of the different types of water filtration systems.
Water Filter Pitchers
One of the cheapest filters you can get is a water filter pitcher. This is perfect for people who just want to have clean water for drinking and cooking. The pitcher fits nicely into any standard refrigerator and is very simple to use.
Basically, the pitcher contains a filter, usually made out of charcoal. The water is poured into the pitcher and gravity forces the water down thru the filter. The filter takes out the contaminants. The charcoal filters are replaceable. They can be exchanged for fresh ones as often as they need to be.
These charcoal filters are filled with something called activated carbon granules. This is similar to the GAC found in chemical water filters. The granules capture the impurities and contaminants through a process called adsorption.
Pitcher filters cannot capture lead. That is one downside of this type of filter. So, it is important to have your water tested before you decide on a pitcher water filter.
Unlike some of the more complex systems (such as reverse osmosis) under sink water filters only filter on demand. So only the water that is run through the filter will be purified. The rest of the water remains in your water tank. Under the sink filters don’t require a tank of any sort.
In a run of the mill under the sink water filter, water enters the filter from your cold-water pipe. The water runs through a piece of hose to the water filter. Once the water is filtered, it runs through a separate tube up to the filter’s own faucet.
The good thing about an under the sink filter is that every drop of water that comes out is drinkable. There is no spillage or waste. Also, it doesn’t interfere with your regular water functions. The water continues to come out of the hot and cold water taps normally.
Faucet Water Filters
Another inexpensive way to filter your home’s drinking water is with a faucet water filter. These types of filters are usually made out of coconut shells because they make expert water filters. Their pores are small enough to catch most types of contaminants.
A faucet water filter works simply. The filter is put on the faucet. The water comes out clean. The carbon filtration used in faucet water filters will remove the following chemicals:
These types of filters, however, do not remove the following types of chemicals because they are generally accepted as helpful rather than harmful chemicals:
Faucet filters are good because they only filter the water you want to use. They don’t filter out water in your hot water heater or general plumbing. They aren’t going to filter water for your toilets or your showers. They are meant to filter water used for drinking, eating, cooking and brushing your teeth.
Home distillers work pretty easily. The reservoir of the water distiller is filled with tap water. That water is then boiled by the distiller. The steam from the boiling water is captured in something called a condensation loop. The steam is converted back into water by the distiller.
The activated carbon filtering cup will take the water created by the steam and filter it. It will remove any impurities or contaminants. What remains is clean, healthy water.
The one interesting thing about distillers is that they have been around for quite some time. It is one of the natural ways water is cleaned. In the earth, the sun will heat up water sources. It then creates steam which is turned into water at some point. This water is cleaner than it was originally. This process repeats itself over and over naturally. This is why some springs are able to offer water that is already much cleaner than what we find in today’s bottled water.
This type of water filtration sounds very complicated. The name brings to mind chemistry classes and equations. However, reverse osmosis is not all that complicated.
With reverse osmosis, water molecules are forced through a semi-permeable membrane. Semi-permeable is just a fancy way of saying a membrane that is not totally closed off. Some particles will get through.
When the water is forced through, the membrane serves as a filter. It removes all chemicals and impurities from the water. When the water comes through the filter, it is clean and free of any contaminants.
Whole House Water Filters
As the name suggests, whole house water filters are different from all the other types discussed here. Earlier we focused on filters that were separate from your plumbing system. We talked about faucet filters and pitchers. We specifically didn’t talk about water filtration systems for your entire water source.
Unlike the other types of filters, a whole house water filter removes contaminants from all water in your house. There is no focus on drinking water. It treats the water that is to be used for cooking, bathing, cleaning, laundry, etc. It is important to understand this before you choose this method for your home.
It can be expensive. However, if clean water is important to your family, it is well worth considering. Essentially, a water filter is placed at the main point of water entry into your home. It is completed in a four-step process:
- The first step is pre-filtering. The water coming into your home is sent through a large filter to remove the bigger pieces of debris, sediment and other impurities. This helps to not only filter the water but it ensures that these contaminants won’t clog up the filtration system later in the process.
- The second level of filtration removes chlorine. This is what makes your water taste and smell good. Municipalities don’t filter out chlorine because it serves a purpose in main stream plumbing. However, once the water enters your home, it is best to remove the chlorine. Even if it is just to make the water taste and smell cleaner.
- The third step involves charcoal filtering. Just like the charcoal filtering we spoke of with the pitcher filters, whole house filters rely on charcoal to filter out the last level of contaminants.
- The final step is water removal. Any water that remains with contaminants in it is flushed away. It is not even put through your tap. It is sent out of the main water source. This ensures that only clean and filtered water enters your homes’ pipes.
No water filter is better or worse than the other. Each type serves a purpose and is ideal for a certain type of homeowner. It really comes down to priorities. You have to consider the following when looking at different water filtration systems:
- Purification levels
- Do you want whole house versus drinking water?
Regardless of your goal, there is a water filter that is perfect for you. Just make sure you have it installed by a professional if it is more complicated than a water or faucet filter.