Pair of chickens:
- What does a water filter do?
- Types of water filtration methods.
- mechanical filter
- activated carbon
- reverse osmosis water filter
- ceramic filter
- Ultraviolet (UV)
- Types of home water filtration systems
- water filter jugs
- refrigerator filters
- Faucet Mounted Filtration Systems
- Free Standing Reverse Osmosis Unit
- Undercounter Filtration System
- Whole House Water Filter
- Things to Consider When Buying a Water Filter
What does a water filter do?
No more stocking up on bottled water when you can get clean, high-quality water at home with a water filter. Many filtration systems can remove bacteria, chlorine, pesticides, and other contaminants that may lurk in your tap water. While tap water is perfectly safe, water filters can soften hard water, making it more pleasant for hair, skin, and clothing, and removing bad odors and tastes from drinking water.
Water filters act as a cost-effective, eco-friendly alternative to buying plastic water bottles and come in a variety of price points to suit everyone's budgets.
Various types of filters work in different ways, and there are a few methods worth mentioning, including reverse osmosis, which uses activated carbon or ultraviolet rays to clean and purify water. These methods can be used on filtration systems that typically come in the form of water pitchers, sink filters, freestanding units, and more.
Types of water filtration methods.
A mechanical filter is the most basic type of filter available and can help remove dirt, sediment, rust, or other large particles from your water. They work by using a mesh or membrane to filter out large debris and can work in conjunction with other methods for more effective cleaning.
These types of filters are most commonly used in water filter pitchers. While water jugs are effective at removing contaminants, they are small and impractical for cooking, washing vegetables, or other tasks that require larger amounts of water.
The membrane filtration method can also be slow, as the speed depends on the size of the gaps in the water filter membrane. Smaller spaces mean slower water flow but more effective cleaning.
Mechanical filters are usually assigned a micron rating that indicates the effectiveness of the filter:
- 5 microns – will remove most particles visible to the naked eye
- 1 micron – will remove particles too small to see without a microscope, such as bacteria and chlorine
- 5 microns - Eliminates microbial cysts (Giardia and Cryptosporidium)
Also known as chemical adsorption, carbon is used in many filtration systems such as water pitchers, countertop units, and tap water filters to absorb impurities from water.
The benefits of this method include ease of installation, environmental friendliness, and effectiveness in filtering a high percentage of common contaminants. Charcoal is very effective at removing chemicals such as iron, manganese, chlorine, and hydrogen sulfide, as well as unpleasant tastes and odors, leaving important electrolytes and minerals in the water.
Most common household filters contain granular activated carbon (GAC), which reduces unwanted tastes and odors through absorption. More expensive filters may use carbon block elements that have a lower micron rating for particulate removal.
A variety of different substances can be used to produce charcoal for filters, including wood and coconut shell, with coconut shell filters being the most effective but also the most expensive.
reverse osmosis water filter
Reverse osmosis works by using semi-permeable membranes to remove ions, molecules, and large particles from drinking water. The water is passed under high pressure through a fine membrane, sediment filter or carbon filter and then the reverse osmosis membrane to remove odor and taste from the water.
Along with home distillation, this method is effective in purifying water to a lifeless, acidic state. However, it removes useful minerals in tap water like magnesium, calcium, sodium, and electrolytes. This pure, tasteless water can be useful for people with specific health problems or on kidney dialysis. This method is also expensive and extensive.
A remineralizer can be purchased to add helpful minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium to the water and raise the pH of the water to alkaline levels.
Ceramic filters use small pores to prevent the entry of large particles. Sometimes they are coated with silver, which kills bacteria and prevents mold. The advantages are that it is cheap and lasts for several years. It does not require electricity to operate and is effective in reducing bacteria.
On the other hand, this is not effective against viruses and may take time to work. Ceramic filters are often used in conjunction with other filtration systems, as many have an internal core of activated carbon.
During this method, high frequency ultraviolet light is used to irradiate water through a glass element which kills all bacteria and viruses. This method is environmentally friendly, but quite expensive and not entirely effective in decontaminating water. Although it disinfects the water, it does not remove contaminants such as chlorine, lead, or pesticides, so this method is often used in conjunction with other filtration methods.
Types of home water filtration systems
Filters are commonly found in homes in the form of water filter fields, faucet-mounted filters, and, for those looking to invest deeply in water, a whole-home treatment unit. Each comes with its own pros and cons.
water filter jugs
This is one of the most common types of water filters, as it is affordable and convenient. The top half is filled with tap water that is passed through a membrane that absorbs impurities to create filtered water. This flows into the bottom half of the jug and can be poured out for drinking or other uses.
Portable water bottle filters work in a similar way on a smaller scale: They typically contain a membrane or carbon filter at their core.
cheap to buy
Does not require installation
Easy to use
It does not remove valuable minerals from the water.
Improves the taste of water
Reduces chlorine and other impurities.
It will not remove all contaminants.
Filters must be replaced regularly.
Many refrigerators have a built-in filter that supplies water through a fitting in the door. Some also have an automatic ice maker. They usually use a method called chemical absorption through activated carbon filters to filter the water.
It comes pre-assembled on many refrigerators.
It can improve the taste of water.
Filters the water used to make ice.
fast and easy to use
Filters must be replaced regularly.
You will need to purchase a refrigerator with this feature, which can be expensive.
Faucet Mounted Filtration Systems
They connect to a standard faucet and can be turned on and off between the flow of filtered and unfiltered water. They are very convenient and affordable filtered water solutions.
You can easily switch between filtered and unfiltered water
It does not work with all faucets.
It can slow down the flow of water.
Free Standing Reverse Osmosis Unit
This unit will remove many contaminants and bacteria, but it will also remove some of the minerals your body needs. It tends to generate up to 1 gallon of fresh water at a time and uses a lot of counter space.
Removes most contaminants.
Improves the taste of water
Home setup can be expensive
Needs frequent maintenance and replacement
Removes essential minerals from water.
Produces a large amount of filtered water that you may not need
Undercounter Filtration System
An under-counter filtration system is convenient for those who don't have a lot of counter space and is a very affordable solution for filtering tap water. They are installed under the sink (some may require your own installation) and send the filtered water through a pipe to the filter faucet.
Filters large amounts of water
Doesn't take up counter space.
May require plumbing modifications
Whole House Water Filter
Whole house water treatment devices treat all the water that enters the house, not just the water used for drinking.
This method reduces hard water damage to your appliances, gets your clothes cleaner with fewer detergents, and allows for healthier hair and skin while you shower. Whole house water filtration is an expensive investment, but offers the best value for money.
The treatment is applied to all the water that enters your home.
Instant filtered water when showering, washing vegetables, etc.
May require plumbing modifications and professional maintenance
Filtration that removes chlorine can increase the growth of germs in the pipes in your home.
Things to Consider When Buying a Water Filter
Filter Type:Before deciding which product to buy, decide what you want to filter out of the water. If you are doing this for specific health reasons that require purified water, then distilled water or reverse osmosis units would be best. For general daily use, you can opt for a filtration method and system that removes odors and tastes while leaving essential minerals in the water.
Size and available space:It can be helpful to know the volume of water you are going to filter per day, how much space you have available in your kitchen, and whether you want to dedicate that space to your water filter.
If the answer is no or very little, many water filtration systems are compact or discrete, such as refrigerator water filters, sink water filters, or water filter pitchers.
Certification:Make sure any water filter you buy meets the Australian AS/NZS4348 standard and is WaterMark certified.
microns:The micron level of your filter is something to consider when making your purchasing decision, as the smaller the pore size, the more chemicals it can successfully filter.
Filtration speed:For large-scale uses other than potable water, you need to consider filtration rate and flow rate. If you need large amounts of filtered water, a slow filtration process can be a real problem.
Cartridge replacement:Cartridges must be replaced periodically to be effective, but this will incur additional costs. Keep this in mind when choosing which water filter to use.
Guarantee:When making a large investment, you want to feel confident about your product in case something goes wrong so you don't waste your money. Many UV, reverse osmosis, and other extensive filtration systems offer a warranty that is worth considering when shopping for a water filter.
Cost:The cost of water filters varies considerably, from affordable filtered water bottles and pitchers to whole-house filtration systems, plus the cost of replacement filters. Consider your budget and how much you're willing to spend on filtered water.
You can read reviews about the best water filters on our website today.