glass clean drinking water

Do You REALLY Need a Home Water Filter?

Why are you looking for a home water filter?

Maybe you just joined some MLM company and your upline told you that you really needed to buy the company’s home water filters to protect your family’s health because your drinking water isn’t safe?

Maybe they told you that the brownish stuff in your tap water shows that your water supply is contaminated by dangerous chemicals and the chlorine used by the water company to kill germs causes cancer.

Maybe they even said that the fluoride added to tap water to protect your child’s teeth is actually a mind control drug to make you submissive to your government and corporate overlords.

In the end, it does not matter whether or not you believe in conspiracy theories. What matters is that you are now in the market for a home water filter.

This article aims to provide you with some rules to help you choose the best home drinking water filtration systems for your needs. Make your choice rationally instead of letting the FUD spouted by salesmen and MLM distributors cloud your judgment.

1. There is sediment, rust or some other brown sludge in your drinking water

If your only problem is (relatively) coarse-grained sediment or rust particles, tying a few layers of muslin cloth to the mouth of your water tap is probably the cheapest and simplest way to enjoy clean drinking water.

You should be able to buy one year’s supply of muslin cloth to use as a drinking water filter for just a few dollars.

If you need something that looks a little better, you may prefer to buy tubes filled with some kind of fiber like polyester, cotton or some other cellulose fibre.

Point-of-use sediment home water filters like these are also quite cheap. If you can’t find them at Walmart or your local convenience store, you should be able to buy them online for under $10.

A third and more expensive option for removing sediment is a ceramic or granulated activated carbon (GAC) drinking water filter device. Ceramic filters used to be cheap and popular, but seem to be superseded by GAC filters nowadays.

The 50 micron GAC water filters are more than good enough to get rid of most sediment and yet still give you a reasonably fast water flow (30 to 200 litres of water per minute, depending on brand and water pressure).

At the time of writing, Culligan makes some pretty decent home water filters that you can buy from Amazon for $20 to $50 (depending on the actual model and capability) or you can browse through reviews on watersoftener-review.com.

Some people might bye tempted to get the much finer 0.5 micron home water filters. While it is true that these drinking water filters will remove even cysts that chlorine treatment cannot kill, they also slow down your water flow to 5 litres (or 1 gallon) of water per minute.

2. You do not like the taste of chlorine in your drinking water

Some people have very refined senses of taste and smell. They do not like the smell of chlorine in their drinking water, or they find that using chlorinated water to brew their tea or coffee spoils the taste.

If you fall into this category, you will need to buy a home water filter made of carbon.

Whether it is the older GAC (granulated activated carbon) or newer powdered carbon block technology does not matter. Even the rating does not matter. Just buy the drinking water filter that does the job.

How do you find what’s right for you? Bottle up a few litres of your tap water and lug it to your local hardware store. Pour your tap water through their demonstration water filters and find the cheapest one which does the job. Some people like to check Amazon customer reviews. This can also work.

However, I find that many manufacturers of home water filter systems made their reputations with fine quality products 5 or 10 years ago, but have now cut costs and churn out barely adequate water filtration products. Hands-on testing is still the best.

3. Worries about germs and microorganisms

Reverse OsmosisMost modern civilized countries chlorinate their water supply to get rid of germs.

Chlorination works very well, with only the cysts of Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium protozoa able to survive treatment.

That said, most municipal water supply is safe and do not have this problem.

For those who remain worried, the best way to thoroughly get rid of germs in your drinking water is to boil it (or leave it at near boiling temperature for a long period of time, for example using an electric airpot).

Another option is to filter cysts out of your drinking water with a 0.5 micron or better carbon water filter.

Of course, if you live in a neo-Luddite community or own a personal water well (I know of someone who owns a vacation lodge with his own personal lake) your water supply will not be chlorinated and you will need a better grade of filter.

Instead of point-of-use drinking water filtration, you may need to install a whole house water filter system. A reverse osmosis home water filter is the best, if you can afford it, but a carbon home water filter system (rated for 0.5 micron or better) will also work.

Some salesmen will try to sell you home water filtration systems using UV to kill germs. Some of them will even tell you that public water treatment plants use these same technology.

The problem is that they are omitting some important facts. UV deactivates the genes that allow most germs to reproduce. They do not kill germs.

They also work poorly if your water supply is turbid and filled with sediment (the UV light needs to pass through clear water). Water treatment plants that use UV still chlorinate water.

4. Worries about fertilizers and organic chemical contaminants like pesticides and herbicides

If you draw your drinking water from a well or lake, and you know that there is sometimes contamination from the farms in your area, you may need to install a carbon or RO (reverse osmosis) home water filter.

Both types of home water filtration systems are good at removing organic chemicals (both modern pesticides and herbicides are made from oil).

Unfortunately, to filter out fertilizer from your drinking water, you need to use reverse osmosis. Most modern fertilizers contain large amounts of nitrites and nitrates, which carbon-based water treatment systems cannot remove on their own.

An alternative is to add an appropriate resin ion exchange system to the carbon water filtration system. This ion exchange unit needs to be rated to remove nitrites and nitrates.

5. Heavy metal contamination

Some people live in houses which still have lead, copper, brass or bronze plumbing. Others get their drinking water from reservoirs which may become contaminated from nearby oil drilling, mining, industry, power generation or smelting operations nearby (where nearby can be more than 1000 miles with the right wind blowing).

In theory, your water company should remove all of this nasty stuff for you … but accidents happen … and sometimes big businesses like to cut corners …

When you do not know what heavy metal may get into your drinking water, reverse osmosis home water filters are your best choice.

Unfortunately, carbon home water filters just cannot get rid of heavy metals on their own. Of course, if you really cannot afford an RO filter system, you will just have to play the odds.

In the industrialized world, the most dangerous heavy metals (and the most likely to be present as contaminants) are lead and mercury.

If you add a resin ion exchange system rated to remove these two heavy metals to your carbon home water filtration system, you should be safe from the most serious and likely dangers.

6. Consider your budget

When choosing home water filters, remember the three main costs of ownership:

  • The cost of buying and installing the water filter unit
  • The cost of replacing the water filter cartridges
  • The cost of operating the home water filter (for reverse osmosis filtration systems). Remember that they are not 100% efficient. For example, typical RO home water filters only produce 5 to 15 gallons of water out of every 100 gallons. They waste the remaining 85 to 95 gallons of water. Most carbon water filtration systems do not have the same problem since they work using a different design.

7. Consider your water pressure/water flow rate

The higher the quality of your home water filters, the higher the water pressure needed for it to work properly. The higher the quality of your home waters, the slower they produce clean water.

If your home has low water pressure, certain types of home water filtration systems may not work (e.g. RO or multi-stage carbon filters with 0.5 micron ratings).

Conclusion

If you live in an industrialized nation, you probably do not need to use any home water filters. However, some people do have valid reasons for getting a home water filter.

When evaluating which home water filtration system to buy, remember the seven main factors above.

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