Finding the right water filter for your home
The water coming out of your faucet is sometimes not be as clean and pure as it should be. If you have concerns about the water in your home, consider an independently certified water filter to produce clearer, better-tasting water, as well as remove contaminants that could affect your health. You should first determine what type of filter might be best for your home.
In most cities, healthy adults & children can drink water right from the tap water without concern. However, those that are pregnant, young, elderly or with compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable to some contaminants (both chemical and biological) in tap water.
You may want to test your tap water for lead contamination using the University of North Carolina's low-cost lead test (about $25 US). This caused by old pipes and plumbing, most common in old homes and in old neighbourhoods.
Household water filters are either installed at the point-of-entry units (to treat all water before it's distributed throughout the house) or at the point-of-use. These include countertop filters (like filter pitchers), faucet filters, and under-the-sink units.
Some filters combine several filtration technology to increase their effect. Look for filters marked "NSF/ANSI standard 53" and check that they are certified to remove the contaminant(s) of concern in your water. The NSF certification program verifies claims made by the manufacturer by independent testing. NSF filters exceed just aesthetic filtering. For many people, an activated carbon filter bearing NSF Standard 53 certification will filter out most pollutants of concern, but certain water-borne chemicals may require specialized filters
|Filter Type||How It Works||Where Used||Gets Rid Of|
Activated Carbon Filter
Positively charged and highly absorbent carbon in the filter attracts and traps many impurities.
Countertop, faucet filters and under-the-sink units.
Bad tastes and odors, including chlorine. Substantiall reduction of many hazardous contaminants, heavy metals (copper, lead and mercury); disinfection byproducts; parasites (Giardia and Cryptosporidium ); pesticides; radon; and volatile organic chemicals such as methyl-tert-butyl ether (MTBE), dichlorobenzene and trichloroethylene (TCE).
Cation Exchange Softener
"Softens" hard water by trading minerals with a strong positive charge for one with less of a charge.
Whole-house, point-of-entry units.
Calcium and magnesium, which form mineral deposits in plumbing and fixtures, as well as barium and some other ions that can create health hazards.
Boils water and re-condenses the purified steam.
Countertop or whole house point-of-entry units; can be combined with a carbon filter.
Heavy metals(cadmium, chromium, copper, lead and mercury), as well as arsenic, barium, fluoride, selenium and sodium.
A semi-permeable membrane separates impurities from water. (This filtration technique wastes a substantial amount of water during the treatment process.)
Under-the-sink units; often in combination with a carbon filter or UV disinfection unit.
Most contaminants, including certain parasites (Cryptosporidium and Giardia); heavy metals (cadmium, copper, lead and mercury); and other pollutants (arsenic, barium, nitrate/nitrite, perchlorate and selenium).
Ultraviolet light kills bacteria and other microorganisms.
Under-the-sink units, often in combination with a carbon filter and sediment screen.
Class A systems protect against harmful bacteria and viruses (Cryptosporidium and Giardia).Class B systems are make non-disease-causing bacteria inactive.
No filter will give you good performance over the long term unless it receives regular maintenance. You should be alert to filter clogging, contaminants build-up, and follow the manufacturer's maintenance directions. A clogged/over-used a filter can release harmful bacteria or chemicals back into your filtered water.
Some filters only require a cartridge change, while others are better maintained by a certified professional. Before buying any filtration or water treatment system, compare filter prices as well as the operating & maintenance costs for the different units.