Water Filtration Systems
When trying to tackle the subject of water filters, you can find a lot of information about many different products on the Internet. Narrowing down the list of choices can be a lot easier if you know a few things about your water and the types of filtration systems available. And don't be shy to contact a plumber to help you decide what filtration system is best for you.
Know Your Water
The most important thing to know before choosing a filtration system is what is in your water. Laboratory tests are the only reliable tests you can have done to know exactly which contaminants may be in your water. You can contact your local health authority for information on state-certified testing labs in your area. Once you know what contaminants you want to filter out of your water, you can choose the type of filtration device that will work best for you.
The most common contaminants found in water include: Iron, manganese, sulfur, bacteria, nitrates and low PH. Other contaminants include chlorine, fluoride, sediment, heavy metals (lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, chromium and thallium), hydrogen sulfide and radon. Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is a term you will see in the literature for many products. It refers to the number of particles in and the conductivity of the water. TDS meters measure dissolved minerals in water, such as calcium and magnesium.
There are a number of methods to remove contaminants from water. The most common are: activated carbon, ceramic (utilizing Diatomaceous Earth) and fiber filters, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light. The types of water filtration devices include: refrigerator water filters, whole house water filters, water bottle filters, shower water filters, portable water filters, faucet water filters, under-sink water filters, well water filters, countertop water filters and pitcher water filters. Some filtration devices include line by-pass options.
Overall, the filtration systems utilizing activated carbon filters filter the widest variety of contaminants, including the deadly Giardia and cryptosporidium bacteria. Generally, the carbon filters are more effective the longer the water is in contact with the carbon. Treating water with Ultraviolet light is only effective against living organisms in the water. Reverse osmosis removes a wide range of contaminants, as well as TDS, by forcing water through a membrane. The ceramic filters are effective and last longer than carbon filters, but are not as common. Fiber filters - made of cellulose or rayon - work well at filtering out sediment.
Cost of Filtration Systems
You can expect pitchers and faucet water filter systems to range from $10 to $275 or more. Reverse osmosis systems cost $150 - $500 or more; under sink and countertop systems range $50 - $400 and up; and whole house systems range from $100 to thousands of dollars. Before you make your final decision on the type of water filtering device that will work for you, make sure to review the product's Performance Data Sheet. The PDS lists which contaminants the product is certified to remove. Also, you may want to factor in the cost for replacement filters and review the company's warranty and replacement policies.