Which is the Best Water Filter Type? | The Guide to Types of Water Filters and Their Uses
Why Should You Use a Water Filter?
There is no point in explaining the essential role of water in our lives. Use of clean water leads to healthier lives and a healthier earth. Though what are water filters good for, why should you use them, and which type is the best type? In order to answer these questions, we need to go through the main motives behind using a water filter. The main reason for using a water filter is to get access to water free from pollutants. Nevertheless, let’s take a deep dive to the motives below:
Motive #1: Tap Water is Far from the Ideal Drinking Water
The pollution in water is increasing. Numerous studies show that pesticides, medical waste, plastic waste, packaging materials, and many other everyday objects contaminate your drinking water.
The sewage treatment plants are no longer able to perform a thorough removal of these pollutants from the water. So, treated water may still contain a fair share of pollutants. In addition, pharmaceutical residues, which are very difficult to measure, are also present in tap water. On another note, the large number of substances in the water lead to chemical compounds. This makes it even harder to control all the pollutants within the water.
Only a small portion of the tap water is used for drinking. It is estimated that this value is less than 5%. The rest of tap water is used for a variety of uses such as showering, cleaning, rinsing, etc. So, it is also debatable if all the resources and effort used to make tap water completely pollutant free worth it or not.
So, what type of water filters are suitable to make tap water safe to drink?
A variety of powerful water filter systems are available in order to remove most or all pollutants from the water. Granular activated carbon filters, activated carbon block filters, reverse osmosis systems, and steam distillation systems are among those that can come in handy.
Motive #2: Lime Deposits and Limescale in Tap Water
Lime consists of two minerals: magnesium and calcium. Lime deposits cause that white and chalky residue on your faucets, shower heads and tiles. In addition to being aesthetically unpleasing, lime deposits also change the taste of water.
Lime builds up inside the plumbing of your house and it slowly degrades your pipes. The amount of lime in water pipes varies between households. Water with a high lime content is referred to as ‘hard water’. The difference between hard and soft water is mainly the taste. Hard water is calcareous and has a strong taste, whereas soft water is more pleasant to drink.
So, what type of water filters are suitable to rid tap water from lime?
Ion exchangers and reverse osmosis systems can be used to reduce lime in the water. Alternatively, central descaling systems are also available to install directly by the water meter. These make sure you get soft water throughout all your domestic water outlets.
Motive #3: Save Your Environment As Well As Your Budget
Tap water is either free or very cheap. It is also conveniently located right at your faucet. In comparison, bottled water is expensive and it is a hassle to transport back and forth from the market each time. But is bottled water always free of pollutants?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are both responsible for the safety of drinking water. Accordingly, they are responsible to monitor the processes of bottled water production. Since bottled water is typically extracted from natural sources or deep deposits, it has a higher chance of being protected from contaminants. Nevertheless, pollutants can still be found in bottled water.
So, what type of water filters are suitable to get rid of contaminants in bottled water?
If you are extra peculiar with your water quality, you may decide to even filter the bottled water you get. Most water filter systems, including various water filter pitchers, can be used on bottled water. However, if you will already go ahead with the investment of an appropriate water filter, it would be more convenient and cheaper to filter tap water instead.
Which Water Filter System is the Best?
There are a number of different aspects and criteria to assess water filter systems. These include purchase price, efficiency, effectiveness, maintenance hassle, maintenance cost, and others. Below, you will find a deeper analysis of the types of water filters, their strengths, and their weaknesses.
Water Filter Pitcher: Convenient and Affordable
Water filter pitcher is the most common type of water filter available. The activated carbon and ion exchange granules help remove lime residues and unwanted tastes from the water.
It is primarily used for the taste and not a complete solution to the filtration of the water by any means. Hardly any pesticides, bacteria, parasites, and other pollutants are filtered out of the water through this type of filter.
The advantages are the affordable price and the simplicity of use. This type of filter comes in a portable device and has an easily changeable filter. Hence, the filter does not need to be assembled or mounted to any pipe.
The disadvantages are low filter performance and frequent filter replacement necessity. Almost all pollutants remain in the water. The filters can quickly become a breeding site for germs if not maintained and changed regularly.
Activated Carbon Block Filter: An Ideal Middle Ground
As the name suggests, the activated carbon block filter uses activated carbon in order to filter the water. Contrary to the activated carbon granules used by the water filter pitcher, block filters have a fundamentally different process. It is able to remove a large number of pollutants from the water. This type of filter is both available as a table-top and as an under-the-table version.
The activated carbon block filter is able to remove pharmaceutical residues, toxic heavy metals, pesticides, germs, bacteria, and unwanted smells and tastes from the water. Better yet, the essential minerals are not removed along the way.
This type of filter is not efficient at reducing lime and nitrate in the water. Furthermore, similar to other water filters, regular maintenance and replacement of filters are required. The typical life cycle of these filters is six months.
Reverse Osmosis Systems: The Best Performer
The reverse osmosis (RO) process was originally used for seawater desalination. The reverse osmosis system uses a semi-permeable filter membrane, which only allows the tiny H2O molecules to pass through. Similar to activated carbon block filter, reverse osmosis filter is also available both in a table-top and an under-the-table version.
The RO filter leads to a very high degree of purity in the water. The process removes almost all pollutants, and lime along with dissolved minerals and salts.
The RO system comes with a high level of water wastage. For every 11 liters of water filtered, the system produces around 1 liter of drinking water. The removal of the minerals from the water reduces its pH level. The digestibility and taste arguably deteriorates, as the minerals make up the flavor of the water. RO systems are the most expensive water filter system to purchase and also to maintain.
The RO system is very efficient if you do not min adding the necessary minerals to your purified drinking water yourself. If you have the necessary cartridges, this can even be automated.
Ion Exchangers: Selective Filtering
Technically, an ion exchanger is not a water filter. This device is used to selectively remove individual substances from the water. For instance an ion exchanger extracts calcium ions from the hard water and replaces them with sodium ions in order to remove lime. This particular action does not help get rid of any other pollutants from the water.
Ion exchange is a very efficient and effective method for removing lime. Hence, ion exchangers are good at turning hard water into soft water.
An ion exchanger cannot remove pharmaceutical residues, heavy metals, or pesticides from the water. It also requires constant maintenance and monitoring. At times, the ion exchange may also lead the water to be more acidic, as it can contain excessive levels of the exchanged substance.
Steam Distillation: Saves the Water, not the Energy
Steam distillation is the process of heating the tap water to over 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius) allowing it to evaporate. The evaporated air is then collected, cooled, and returned to the liquid state.
As the water boils, the pollutant particles with a higher boiling point do not evaporate and remain in the boiler. The process leads to the water to reach a very high level of purity.
The steam distillation devices consume a lot of energy. They also require a thorough cleaning after each use, making maintenance cumbersome.
So, what is the best water filter to use at home overall?
The five types of water filters above are each commonly used for purification of drinking water. It would be fair to state that reverse osmosis systems and activated carbon block filters are the two most efficient systems among the five. They are clearly superior to the water filter pitcher and more convenient than ion exchangers and steamed distillation devices.
The most suitable water filter for your home ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. Both RO systems and activated carbon block filters are effective and efficient. Activated carbon block filters are advantageous as they leave the important minerals in the water. They are also more affordable compared to RO systems. On the other hand, RO systems achieve the highest possible degree of water purification. The main disadvantage of mineral removal can be compensated by subsequent addition of minerals.
Water: A Physical Wonder
In closing remarks, let’s pay tribute to the extremely unique state of water. Keep in mind that water filters mainly attempt to improve only the chemical state of the water by removing pollutants. Clean, fresh and safe water helps rid the human body of all kinds of toxins. These toxins can be created by bodily reactions, obtained from outside sources or through the consumption of contaminated water. Furthermore, clean water is an essential ingredient in food production.
We often take water for granted as it is so common. Though, water is a very unusual substance. The physical state of water is ever more interesting. It holds many anomalies from density, state of matter, and boiling point, which cannot be explained by the current state of science. More and more aspects of the biophysical properties of water surface. They have significant influence on the quality and taste of water as a whole. The structure and arrangement of molecules in H20 play a crucial role in the performance of water in humans.
Created by “BaconWrappedMedia” Editorial Staff
We at BaconWrappedMedia are a team of health and nature enthusiasts. We are obsessed with water and air. Both of these are some of the most important elements on earth and its fascinating structure. Hence, most of our subjects revolve around these two essential elements. Through this website, we aim to help everyone that is interested be more informed about water and air. It is of great importance that we take an unbiased, scientific approach in presenting the information. We hope you find the website useful and we would love to hear your feedback!