How to Choose the Best Water Filter for Your Family

Introduction

Water is among the most critical substances on Earth; it encompasses 71% of our planet’s surface and can comprise up to 75% of the human body. It’s obvious that water is essential for a variety of functions, from those in farming, medicine, transportation, heating and cooling, recreation (such as swimming pools), and food manufacturing, as well as washing and, of course, drinking.

The majority of us get our drinking water from municipal purification plants, that is generally safe to consume but often has unwanted odors and/or tastes from chemicals like chlorine, a chemical used to sanitize the water. Depending on where you live, your tap water may also cause limescale deposits to form that can be unsightly and cause the tap water to taste worse. They can even damage appliances if not regularly and thoroughly cleaned.

Why Water Filters Are Important

The significance of filtration systems is that it provides people with clean water. Without it, you run the risk of becoming ill from contaminated water. The quality of municipal water filtration systems can vary, so it is important to check with websites such as ewg.org/tapwater, as water test values may fall outside of the pH range the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends. 

Giardiasis is a type of diarrheal illness that can last up to six weeks. Giardia intenstinalis, the microbial parasite that causes the disease, is an organism that can live in the environment for months. It can be transmitted from contaminated water containing animals and human feces. Cryptosporidium is another parasite which can cause similar problems. Cryptosporidium is resistant to chlorine treatment and as a result must be removed using mechanical filters. These pathogens can be successfully removed by filtering water through mechanical micro-, ultra-, and nano-filters.

Boiling water used to be enough to kill most germs and bacteria, making it safe to drink. Now, however, boiling water will not remove emerging new contaminants such as pesticides and other toxic materials that find their way into our watersheds. That is why it is essential to consider the value of water filtration and purification options in order to keep your family’s drinking water safe. Water filters can remove bacteria and chemicals which may be harmful that can lead to illness or health problems.  

While filters can remove the aforementioned harmful substances that are invisible but found in many tap water resources, water filters intelligently guarantee that essential nutrients such as magnesium, fluoride, calcium, and zinc are preserved. They help to make sure you still receive the minerals found in tap water which are essential for your health at the same time prevent you from ingesting harmful pathogens. As an added benefit, water filters also keep limescale at bay—the chalky, yellow-white buildup that is often found along the rims of old faucets—which keeps your home looking cleaner and can reduce your household’s overall chore load.

Most of us have friends or family members who insist that water can taste different depending on its quality, and often filtered water tastes better. While many dismiss these claims, there is scientific truth to them found in studies such as this one: because impurities are removed, filtering water improves its taste and smell. Different minerals which are naturally present in water contribute significant tastes. Drinking filtered water results in a more refreshing and improved flavor, as well as a greater sense of satisfaction. Therefore, drinking pure water benefits both the immune system and mental health.

How Absorption/Adsorption Water Filters Work

Carbon, which is highly efficient in removing contaminants, is most commonly used for adsorption in water filters. Carbon removes contaminants because it boasts a large internal surface that is densely packed with interior wells that can at a microscopic level electromagnetically trap chemical impurities. The majority of common household filters comprise of activated carbon or charcoal. Activated carbon refers to carbon sources which have been treated with a chemical, usually oxygen, that enhances its porous surface texture. More intensive filters use elements comprised of entire blocks of carbon, which are usually more effective and normally have the ability to remove particles in the micron range of size—enough to mechanically filter out even some pathogens.

This method works because the large surface area of activated charcoal provides a plethora of bonding sites, and certain chemicals attach to the material surface and become trapped when they pass near it. This explains why carbon filters must be replaced after a certain amount of usage: since the interior wells of the charcoal are filled with impurities, there over time results a smaller amount of overall wells which can accept new impurities. 

However, it is imperative to remember that within this explanation lies a glaring con to carbon-only water filters: not every water impurity will electromagnetically attract to the bonding sites on carbon’s surface, so some impurities can still pass right through these filters. This is why the products considered to be the best water filter type on the market often utilize multiple layers of filtration comprising of different materials. When choosing a water filter, you should consider which impurities you want to remove from your water and choose a filter that suits those needs.

Carbon filters can be made from a variety of materials, including wood but also coconut shell, with the latter material being more efficacious but also more expensive. The environmentally-conscious homeowner may be interested in looking into water filters made from agricultural waste products, as carbon is produced from the burning of a range of organic materials.

Since the occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has come to greater understand the importance of sanitization and good health habits. Ensuring the quality of your water is one of the many ways in which you can further protect yourself and your family from invisible killers, as even though some of the diseases and adverse health effects you may encounter from drinking unclean water are not always fatal, the cost of tragedy that results from widespread illness is too high to avoid when modern technology has granted so much of humanity with the opportunity for further protection.

 

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