Welcome! Most people realize how critically important pure, clean water is for our health. There are some health and fitness experts who say that most of the population of the United States is woefully under-hydrated. They generally recommend that most of us should drink ½ of our bodyweight in ounces each day. That means that if a person weights about 160 pounds, he or she might be wise to consider drinking 80 ounces each day.
And yet, how many of us do that?
Since water is such a major and important part of our lives, let's dive in and explore the topic in greater depth. (Pun intended!)
- 1 Do You Trust Your Water Source?
- 2 Do We REALLY Need Water Filters?
- 3 Types of Filters and their Components
- 4 A More In-Depth Look at How they Work
- 5 What is the Best Filter System?
- 6 A Word about Removing Fluoride:
- 7 Top 10 Benefits of Water Filters
- 8 Conclusion - and Time to Explore your Options!
- 9 Cited Sources
Do You Trust Your Water Source?
The question remains, why don’t more of us drink as much as we know we should? Is it possible that the reason is that we actually don’t trust our source? And, if so, it is possible that there is a part of us that – in all likelihood – cringe at the idea of continually purchasing bottled water and in so doing, we wind up with dozens (or hundreds) of plastic containers that have to be recycled.
Perhaps we don’t even always trust the sources that are used in commercially available bottled water. (And, by the way, you are wise if you don't, because according to this article in Time magazine from September 2019, not all bottled water is created equal. There are some brands which - after testing - have been found to contain a variety of contaminants.)
Among our staff are individuals who rely on city water which is not only chlorinated, but also fluoridated. Others rely on a well that in some cases has traces of lead and other heavy metals (not to mention other contaminants).
This brings us to the topic of home water filters, which is our primary focus in this website – with an emphasis on how they can not only benefit you and your family, but also how to choose the right one for your home.
As you continue throughout this article and this website, we will provide a guide to the best and most reliable filters on the market today, along with giving you an understanding of how they work.
Let's get to it!
Do We REALLY Need Water Filters?
Let us assume that your home is either fed by a drilled well located somewhere on your property, or it is supplied by your municipality. Of course there are other means by which our homes may be supplied by water.
In fact, one of our own friends lives in a small cabin in the mountains where a stream above his cabin feeds his supply year-round (except when extreme ice blocks his supply at which point he has to go “to town” for drinking water and showers. Don’t feel bad for him; it’s his choice and he loves it!)
Other than our friend’s somewhat extreme choice, in most cases your own home will fit into one of the other scenarios! According to the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card1, 90% of the drinking source in America comes from public supplies.
For the most part in our United States, we fully expect that when we open the tap we are drinking, cooking, and cleaning with good, clean, uncontaminated supplies. After all, isn’t that one of the hallmarks of a developed country?
Yes… and no. Fortunately, for the most part anyway, municipal supplies throughout the United States enjoy excellent reputations for keeping it safe for their communities. But, not all supplies are equal. And there is always the chance that these supplies will be compromised.
An Aging Infrastructure
You never know when pipes will fail. Some of them are pretty old – older than I am, and I’m getting up there.
For example, the city of Philadelphia, PA has the oldest mains in the country – over 100 years old! (BTW: I’m not quite THAT far up there.)
Aging pipes become corroded - and this type of corrosion is a problem because as the metal in a pipe corrodes and thins out over time - the copper and iron of those pipes can leach into the water that ends up coming out of your faucet. And excessive copper and lead and other metals can lead to a variety of health concerns – some of which may be noticeable in the short term, and others which may present themselves later.
Then there are other nasties that can find their way into your H2O such as arsenic, various pathogens, cadmium, and more – depending on where you live.
For example, some cities in the US test at levels which are over the health limit guideline such as total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) – which are actually the result of a group of disinfectants used in water treatment (chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane, and bromoform).
By the way, these corrosive TTHMs are found in the Flint River (of the tragic Flint, MI water debacle2).
This is what corroded the pipes during that terrible crisis, which of course was responsible for leaching the lead in such dangerous levels into the supply, which went into homes and schools.
It does lend a little perspective, doesn’t it? And it doesn’t sound very good.
Other metals that might affect the quality include zinc and iron, which may not necessarily be harmful to your health, but might lend a metallic and bitter taste.
And, if it doesn’t tastes good, we aren’t as likely to drink it.
When You Can't Even Drink the Water at a Restaurant...
Case in point: While travelling, I stopped at a hotel off I-95 en route to a meeting. While at dinner, I requested a glass of water. When it came, it had a foul smell and I couldn’t drink it. Thinking it may have been a dirty glass, asked the server if I could have a fresh glass. He promptly brought one, and I couldn’t drink that one either.
He apologetically offered to bring bottled water, saying, “It's really nasty in this town. It tastes and smells like this everywhere around here.”
"How on earth do you drink it?" I asked. He shrugged and said, "I don't ever drink tap water here."
That was an eye opener for me! Upon returning to the hotel, I showered, and again was struck by how awful it smelled.
Since then, each time I travel in that area for business now, I make it a point to skip that exit and stay elsewhere. And no matter where I'm staying, I carry a supply of drinking water with me.
Of course, not every municipal source has the same contaminants or toxins.
Getting back to the issue of aging pipes, the age of the Philadelphia system is just one example. We don’t “see” the aging pipes in our system in the same way we see aging roads and bridges, so we aren’t always aware that this is a problem in the US.
The fact is, according to the same 2017 Infrastructure Report Card we mentioned earlier, a lot of the pipes that carry our water were installed anywhere from the early through the mid-20th century. And those pipelines were given an estimated a lifespan of anywhere from 75 to 100 years, which means they need attention. Another article estimates that the average pipeline in the US will be 45 years old by 2020. 3
Think of where you live, and how old your own community’s delivery system is.
What about your well water?
While it may be comforting to have your own well on your property, there could also be contaminants that have leached into the supply. For just one example, if a neighbor's septic system has failed, yours could be contaminated by bacteria such as E. Coli. Other dangerous substances that can reach your supply include pesticides, herbicides, nitrate, arsenic, among others.
Note about Radon
Radon is commonly found in many states due to what is a natural process - uranium (whether it is the soil, water or rock) naturally decays, resulting in radon gas being released. When it comes into your home (in the air, and yes - even through the tap), the gas gets released into the air and can accumulate. Over time it can increase the risk of serious health issues, including lung cancer. Because you cannot see it, taste it, or smell it, you will not know whether or not it is in your home without testing.
(The EPA has a resource that outlines the "radon zones" in the US. How does your region stack up? Check it here.)
So, one good look at the issues facing our nation's supply should explain not only WHY we need filters, but hopefully also convince you that yes, we really do need them. If you still find yourself wondering, however, jump down the page to our list of the "Top 10 Benefits of Water Filters."
Filtered vs Purified: What's the Difference?
Let's address this question answered right away, so that there is no confusion going forward. There IS a difference between "filtered" and "purified", and the terms are not necessarily interchangeable.
- "Filtered" Water has physically moved through membranes and/or filtration devices designed to trap and leave behind impurities, contaminants, and other objectionable particulates, chemicals and/or toxins. After having moved through these filters, it is considered "filtered" and is ready for use. Depending on the type of filtration method used, certain minerals may be left behind, and there is nothing added.
- "Purified" Water is a term that can have different meanings, depending on how it is used. For example, water used in a laboratory setting may need to be pure to the standard of something called "Reagent Grade Water" (RGW) that won't interact or otherwise skew whatever the experiment or procedure is being conducted. Therefore, simple "filtered" would not fit the bill here. And in laboratory applications, there may be varying degrees of "purity" that are required, depending on the requirements of the task at hand.
Even the National Institutes of Health literature states that the process of purifying it "is not an exact science." 4 Nonetheless, there does appear to be a standard in order to be able to label it as "purified." As a Consumer Reports article from 2012 explained, if it has been treated to the point where the pathogens and the chemicals (dissolved solids) do not exceed 10 ppm (parts per million), it can be termed "purified water." 5
The most common methods used for this purpose would include distillation (which removes all minerals thereby making it better for use in small appliances because it won't cause any residual mineral buildup), Reverse Osmosis (RO), and deionization. Please note that although your municipal supply may have been "cleaned" and treated with a chemical (or chemicals) in order to make it safe for consumption (e.g. chlorinated), it is not going to be considered "purified".
For the purposes of this website, we are focusing on filtration systems for personal, home use (rather than scientific laboratory use). Our aim is to help guide you whether or not you opt for a whole house filter, simple pitchers, or other filtration device.
A Quick List of Our Filter Pages
In the event you would like to visit any of the specific filtration categories we highlight on this site, click on your choice of the following primary pages. The main article continues after this list.
Types of Filters and their Components
You've likely seen the most common water filter pitchers on the store shelves, but there are a number of different types of systems. And while some look similar to one another, they are often made from different materials, depending on their intended function.
There are two broad categories when it comes to filtration:
These are options that treat it at the point where you actually use it/drink it - for example, from the tap into a filter pitcher, from a faucet to the tap, etc. Under-counter Reverse Osmosis (RO) is also popular choice for POU systems.
Whole-house filtration systems - aka "point-of-entry" (POE):
These systems are located at or near where your water comes in to your residence. You are likely to see them near your tank or meter (if you are on a municipal supply). These are usually a bit larger than you'd see mounted below your sink or on your counter tops. Softeners are an example of a POE system.
Take a look at the image to the left - This is a picture of Michael Corcoran of AquaOx (a US veteran owned home water filter company) standing next to his flagship unit, a whole-house point-of-entry model. This is a good example of what your POE unit might look like.
(See more about these systems on our page here.)
Before you decide on any filtration system, you should know what is in it to begin with so that you have a starting point. We discuss this in further detail later in this article.
Now, let's look at some of the most common types.
Brief Introduction to Each Filtration Type:
Granular-Activated Carbon is sometimes abbreviated "GAC," and is the most common component found in most types of filters.
This is the type of system you may have on your counter-top, or perhaps under your sink, installed on your tap, or even as part of your whole-house filter. It is the most common and well-known type of filter, and therefore the most popular. This is the type of filter seen in water filtration pitchers (the ones with a replaceable GAC cartridge).
Some of the popular "gravity fed" filtration systems fall into this category, since many of them use activated carbon filters (not always granular; some use block forms of activated carbon). We'll discuss these counter-top gravity-fed systems elsewhere in the site.
Now, not all carbon filters are alike, and some may remove more than others. Keep in mind that carbon filters won't be effective for removing fluoride, radionuclides, microbes, or sodium. It would take a special type of activated carbon filter to remove lead and other heavy metals, so if this is an issue for you, be sure to purchase a filter for which this is indicated.
Reverse Osmosis (RO):
Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems use a series of membrane filters through which the water passes.
A Quick Science Review: To understand this type of filtration, let's quickly review the concepts. Osmosis is a natural process in nature, where a dilute solvent (such as water - since it can DISSOLVE particles - such as salt, sugar, etc) passes through a semi-permeable membrane into a solvent that is more concentrated. The goal is that it wants to be "equalized" on both sides of the membrane.
Now, the way this works is that only the WATER can pass through that semi-permeable membrane, because the openings in the membrane are going to be too small for the other particles (such as salt or sugar) to pass through. This means that the water with LESS particles - the less concentrated - is naturally able to flow more through the membrane than the MORE concentrated.
Look at the image below for a moment to see how this works...
As a simple example to visualize this, think of a cell inside our body that contains a certain concentration of salt and water. The semi-permeable membranes of our cells allow it to pass through, but don't allow the salt to pass through (the salt particles are too big).
If we are dehydrated, there is less water and more salt inside the cell (therefore more concentrated), so when it is once again available for our bodies to use, it "re-fills" the cell through the semi-permeable membrane and once again, equilibrium is accomplished.
No special pressure is necessary, because this is the natural process.
With REVERSE osmosis, the exact opposite is happening because we want to keep contaminants (which would mean that the contaminated it is more concentrated) on ONE side of the semi-permeable membrane, and push the CLEAN supply through to the other, dilute side. Because in natural osmosis, the dilute (less-concentrated) solution would naturally be moving into the more-concentrated solution, we need to use pressure to go from the more-concentrated solution (containing the contaminants) to a less-concentrated (clean) solution.
Check out this short video that explains how it works as it pertains to desalinating water:
As we will see later in this article, the process uses several filters with various membranes. The actual RO process will take place through the semi-permeable membrane.
Along with distillation, which we'll look at next, a good RO system is one of the best options for truly clean supplies.
- Water Distillation:
The process of water distillation has been known since ancient times, and there are even records of Aristotle suggesting that clean drinking water could be obtained from the sea by distillation 6 . In distillation, the liquid is boiled, and as it evaporates, the condensation collects and drips into a separate container. This is considered to be one of the more complete methods of filtration, as is Reverse Osmosis (RO).
Distilling creates a "separation" of the liquid, and the contaminants or impurities - which, if they do not boil at the same boiling point - stay in the original container.
Distilling it will remove fluoride, bacteria, nitrates, lead, most organic compounds, and hardness (leaving it without any mineral content - e.g. potentially beneficial calcium and magnesium would be removed). Some people think that, because of the lack of trace minerals in the distilled water, it has a bland taste.
By the way, this process will not remove chlorine, toluene, benzene, and potentially other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), that have a boiling point lower than (or very close to) that of water. That would make it necessary to use a secondary filter if one wanted to remove such substances.
- Ion Exchange (IE) Treatment:
Ion Exchange (IE) systems may not be as well known as their counterparts, but they are a developing and growing field. The key word here is "exchange." Simply put, in ion exchange treatments, an unwanted contaminant is "exchanged" for something that ISN'T considered a contaminant. It exchanges a "bad" (or, objectionable) compound for a "good" (or, less objectionable) compound. "Softening" is one example of IE treatment.
Anyway, when contaminants are dissolved, these dissolved contaminants form what are called "ions."
A Quick Science Review: Stepping back just a bit to recall an old science lesson, an "atom" has protons, neutrons, and electrons.
The center of the atom (nucleus) is made up of protons (which have a POSITIVE [+] charge), and neutrons (which have NO charge - or NEUTRAL  charge). The electrons (NEGATIVE [-] charge) surround the nucleus of the atom.
The charge of the electrons [-] and the protons [+] is the same size; but they are opposite (+ and -). Remember that opposite charges attract one another, so that means that protons and electrons attract one another. There are always the same number of protons in an atom; however, there may be fewer or more electrons. If there are an EQUAL number of protons and electrons in an atom, then the ENTIRE atom has a "Neutral" - or "0" charge.
If there are more or fewer electrons, however, then we have what is called an ion - and there are two types of ions: cations and anions.
A CATION has fewer electrons - and that gives the atom a positive (+) charge.
An ANION has more electrons - and that gives the atom a negative (-) charge.
If the objectionable ion in the water has a positive charge (cation), the substance with which it has to be exchanged must also have a positive charge.
Likewise, if the contaminant has a negative charge (anion), the substance with which is is exchanged must also have a negative charge.
We'll talk a little more about how these filtration systems works below.
A More In-Depth Look at How they Work
Now that we've looked at some of the basics, let's dive in a little more! Let's look at each type of filter.
Granular-Activated Carbon (GAC) - How it Works:
The process by which it treats the water is known "activated charcoal adsorption" (Note that "adsorption" is different from "absorption." "Adsorption" means that the particle adheres to the carbon.)
Sometimes the filters are referred to as "charcoal" but they are technically a carbon material such as coconut, coal, wood, or even the shells of nuts that is treated by exposing the material to high temperatures and steam, but in the absence of oxygen. It is inexpensive, lightweight, and very easy to use.
Have you ever shaken one of the cartridges and heard something inside? That would be the granules of activated carbon (again, think of charcoal) which - depending on the quality - may block many common contaminants that might be found in your water (such as chlorine, sediment, copper, trihalomethanes, cadmium, etc) as well as smells that consumers might find objectionable (e.g. "sulfur" or "rotten egg" smell, etc).
Because of the chemical nature of certain contaminants like fluoride, microbes, sodium and nitrate, the carbon does not and cannot attract them to its surface. That means if you have concerns about these types of substances, you will need to consider a different type of filtration system.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) How it Works:
As we reviewed above, osmosis is a way for a more dilute solvent to naturally penetrate a semi-permeable membrane into a more concentrated solvent. In the case of reverse osmosis, pressure is applied against the more concentrated liquid (the contaminated water) through a semi-permeable membrane, to allow the clean particles of it through while leaving the unwanted or undesirable particles behind. The approximate pore size of an RO membrane is 0.0001 micron. That's pretty small!
Most RO systems use a series of filters of membranes - all of which have their own unique function. The typical system will have at least 3 filters, and some units have even more. Many consider RO to be the most effective and best choice for a whole house water filtration system simply due to the many impurities that can be removed. It is estimated that RO systems are exceptionally effective in removing viruses (e.g. Norovirus, Hepatitis A, etc), bacteria (e.g. E. coli, Salmonella, etc),
While the RO process by itself cannot remove chlorine, the carbon filter that is typically part of an RO system will do the trick. Your water will go through a carbon type of pre-filter first, in order to organic contaminants including chlorine and its by-products.
Water Distillation - How it Works:
Think of a distiller as a type of "hydrosphere" which is based on the the principles of evaporation, condensation, and then precipitation. These units have a reservoir where you pour the liquid to be treated, which, once boiled and vaporized, gets cooled and then condensed back into a second container as water.
So, the unit first boils it, and then once the steam (vapor) is produced, it is collected and cooled, after which time it is collected in the final container. The contaminants that distillation can remove are left behind .
Distillation is one of the few known ways to remove fluoride, other than reverse osmosis. However, as mentioned above, it does not remove chlorine or other substances whose boiling points are lower than the boiling point of it.
Ion Exchange (IE) Treatment - How it Works:
As we mentioned earlier, this method may be unfamiliar to many, however, it uses exciting technology. Earlier in this article, where we first introduced Ion Exchange (IE) treatment, we discussed the basic science - that an "undesirable" particle in the water that has a specific charge (positive [+] or negative [-]) must be "exchanged" for a "more desirable" particle of the same charge (positive [+] or negative [-]).
This is done by using "ion exchange (IX or IE) resins" that are very small "microbeads" - and one well-known type of specialty resin is made from zeolite. Zeolite is garnering attention for its ability to help remove fluoride (an issue which we talk about below).
One of the most popular technologies for removing "hardness" is IE treatment. A more conventional term is "water softening," and IE is very effective for removing limescale which is created by minerals such as calcium and magnesium. In the "exchange" the calcium and magnesium ions are replaced with sodium ions which are contained in the zeolite beads. Remember that the ions being removed must be replaced with another particle, and the resin beads happen to "like" the calcium and magnesium ions more than the sodium ions, so once those calcium and magnesium ions are in the resin, the filter then releases their sodium ions back into the water.
An important thing to remember is that if the material in your water is not ionic, such as benzene, it cannot be removed via ion exchange.
What is the Best Filter System?
Now that you have become acquainted with the most popular options available on the market, you can begin to narrow your choices. It is important to note that no single system can remove every contaminant. For just one example, as noted above, an activated carbon filtration system can remove chlorine; however, it cannot remove fluoride. On the other hand, both reverse osmosis (RO) and distillation can remove fluoride, but not chlorine.
So, before making a buying decision, your next step will be to determine what system will best suit your home.
In a nutshell, the following infographic lists the steps that consumers are advised to take - we explain each in detail below.
Step 1: Observe!
Observe some of the undesirable qualities using your senses of sight, smell and taste. This is a good starting point! Let's talk a little more about this:
There are a number of common smells in tap water that consumers find offensive.
- "Sulfur" or "Rotten Egg" smell: This is usually due to when there is Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) in the supply. It could be from a bacterial growth in your drain or plumbing - including your hot water tank, or it could be in your system itself. Do some preliminary tests, such as letting it run a bit, then collecting some in a clean glass and going into another room to see if you are still detecting the odor.
If not, get a good quality drain cleaner and try that first. If, however, you believe that the odor is definitely coming from the water itself, you'll want to test to be sure what actually needs to be treated (e.g. your plumbing, your source/well, etc)
- "Bleach" smell: If you are on a public supply, the likely cause is the chlorine treatment at the municipal level. If the smell hasn't dissipated after flushing your lines, contact your water department.
- "Moldy" or "Musty" type of smells - also "Earthy/Grass-like" or even "Fishy-like" smells: While anything that "smells fishy" gets my attention immediately, the more subtle "earthy" or "musty" types of smells might be more subtle. Think "decay" and "bacteria" when you encounter these types of smells. As with the "sulfur" smell, see if you can determine if your drain is the culprit by collecting a sample into a clean glass and smelling it in another room. If you have a pressure tank, consider that the issue may stem from the tank, in which case a good cleaning might help. If not, again, once you test your it you'll have a better idea as to whether you need to chlorinate and filter it.
- "Fuel" or "Petroleum" types of smells: This could be a lot more serious, because it could mean that there may be toxic contaminants leaching into your supply (if you are on a well) or into the municipal supply. In the case of smelling something like fuel, gas, "medicine-like" or any other type of "solvent" type of smell, your first call should be to your water department. Do not drink it until you know for sure what the issue is, and what needs to be done to remedy the situation.
- "Miscellaneous" odors: Let's face it, if there is something that doesn't smell right, chances are you want to test it as soon as possible. If you are getting a "detergent" smell, it's possible that there may be a sewage/septic tank leak near your well. If something smells "off," get in touch with your local authorities, and get your it tested.
When it comes to the taste, the primary complaints from consumers are usually that their water has a "metallic," "salty," or "sweet" type of taste.
Step 2: Test!
Test it to see what's in it to begin with! It is easy to find testing kits these days, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a list of all the certified laboratories in each state at its site: https://www.epa.gov/dwlabcert/contact-information-certification-programs-and-certified-laboratories-drinking-water.
In addition to testing on your own, if you have a supply through a municipal system, you should request a "water quality" report from your town or city. It would be a good idea to do both - this way you can compare what the town's report says to the results from your own, which will test at the point of use: your own tap!
It is very easy to obtain a testing kit. Some communities supply them from either an extension service in the area. A local hardware or home improvement store may also stock them. If not, elsewhere on this site we offer a number of options for you to easily find a kit online.
Step 3: Ask!
Ask yourself what it is you wish to have removed from your water. While you may already have an idea of what you find distasteful or objectionable, your test results may alert you to additional contaminants that you may not have known about before.
For example, you may have known that you had a "sulfur" like taste which you wanted to alleviate, but once your test results came back, you discovered that you also have traces of lead or fluoride or another material that you would prefer to remove.
Between your town's report and the testing that you have done on your own, you will now have the information you need to begin narrowing down your options. All of a sudden, the search for the right filtration system for your home won't be nearly as overwhelming as it may have been before you started this process!
Also, to help you further, we have a partial list of contaminants here at the site along with the types of filtration system that can remove or reduce them. You may find that list helpful as well.
Step 4: Compare!
Next you will want to compare the various options available to you. Again, we will be able to help guide you in your selection process. You will be able to compare POE (Point of Entry) systems to POU (Point of Use) systems. You can compare prices as well.
While we will go into greater depth on each type of filter system here at the site in different pages, let's compare a few of your options here to get started. You have already seen what the basic types of water filters are available to you, but let's briefly point out a few that are likely to address some of the most common concerns - for example, "reducing chlorine and other smells," or "reduce fluoride," or even budgetary considerations.
Since we mentioned fluoride, this is a topic we want to touch on here, because it comes up often in questions about filtration... How to Remove Fluoride from Drinking Water.
A Word about Removing Fluoride:
Many community supplies add fluoride to their water. While some people don’t mind it, there is a growing population of consumers that consider deliberately swallowing water with fluoride in it to be toxic, and they don’t want it in their drinking water. Those who are on municipal supplies don’t have a choice unless they purchase their drinking water, or find a filtration system that can reduce or remove it.
Reverse Osmosis is one of the few proven ways available for removing unwanted fluoride. Other ways to reduce fluoride include distillation as discussed above, and other systems using naturally occurring stilbite zeolite – a crystal that many consumers haven’t known about until recently, and which may be part of some specialty ion exchange systems that use zeolite resins. Another filter component in some systems that may reduce the amount of fluoride is activated alumina.
We're also beginning to see a variety of countertop pitchers that claim to reduce over 97% of fluoride (e.g. the Epic Pure Water Filter Pitcher, made in the USA from a company based in Boulder, CO - see their data sheet from February 2020 here).
Here at WaterFilterMania.com, we compare and contrast a number of different systems available to homeowners – some of which are able to remove fluoride if this is a concern to you. In any case, we always recommend that you test it before deciding on a system. And check with your city to see if this chemical is added to your water. There is no reason for you to spend money on something that isn’t necessary!
Top 10 Benefits of Water Filters
You've now read the basics of water filtration - the systems available to the homeowner, along with how the different filter systems work. My guess is that you have a starting point for your next steps in the process of choosing the best option for your own home. As we wrap up this page and direct you to the various systems and comparisons for your consideration, let's take a look at all the benefits you will derive from installing and/or using a filter.
1. Fewer Chemicals and Contaminants
As we're seen throughout this article, any number of toxins - including the residue of prescription medications - heavy metals, and other contaminants can enter your supply. Even the chlorine and any other chemicals that your municipality uses to ensure that the supply coming out of your tap is clean and safe to drink is considered by many to be unpleasant and toxic. Filtering it is the best way to ensure that yours is the way YOU want it.
2. Better Smell
One of the most immediate positive after-effects of getting all that objectionable stuff out means that you won't be wrinkling your nose every time you go to take a sip, because those nasty smells will be gone. That alone may entice you to consume a healthier amount each day.
3. Better Taste
Along with the better smell, it will simply taste better. The foods that you prepare and cook with your filtered supply will taste better as well. And that will also encourage you to drink more of it! I have personally noticed that simple pleasures such as a cup of coffee or tea taste much better after brewing it with clear, filtered water. It really is that noticeable!
4. Cheaper than Bottled Water
If you have been depending on buying gallons every day and week, then this one is probably the most obvious benefits for you! Imagine how much money you are going to save over the course of the next months and years now that you are investing in a home filtration system! And, the cost savings doesn't end with the money that you will save, but also the time it takes to buy, transport and store it. This is a win-win for you.
5. Better Quality than Bottled Water
Nearly every bottle you drink is stored in plastic containers. Some of these containers may contain bisphenol A (BPA), which can leach into your supply. There are concerns that BPA may have a negative effect on your and your children's health (including the health of your unborn baby, if you are pregnant).7 Understandably, there may be times when you must use bottled water. If so, please read the label before you buy it to ensure that the container is free from BPA. Many more companies are now using plastics and can liners that are free from BPA, so that's a step in the right direction. We also include a section of the best filtered bottle reviews on the site to help you choose an option for when you are travelling or otherwise away from your home supply.
6. Better for the Environment
Along with saving your personal resources of time and money, forgoing bottled water and investing in a filter and/or whole-house filter, you will be doing your part to preserve the environment. Aside from the plastic waste, you are also reducing your carbon footprint. Fewer bottles used means fewer bottles that will need to be produced to begin with, filled, transported, hauled away and recycled (if they don't wind up in the landfills or elsewhere).
7. Supports Your Children's Health
Providing clean drinking supplies to your children means they will be less likely to ingest potential toxins like lead, nitrites/nitrates, chlorine, and more. Giving children a healthy start in life is a parent's primary goal. And considering that it is one of the most important substances you will be giving your children throughout the years, knowing that you are giving them the absolute best quality available will be one less thing for you to worry about! As an added benefit, if you are pregnant, drinking filtered, clean water that is free from nitrates will also support your unborn child's health since nitrates are linked to birth defects.8
Finally, if you are preparing infant formula, you will be mixing it with a superior quality than you are likely to get from the tap.
8. Supports YOUR Health
Aside from the mental health benefits of knowing that you don't have to worry about what chemicals are now going into your body whenever you use the water from your tap, drinking clean, fresh water supports more bodily functions than you might realize! For example, drinking healthy amounts supports your kidneys, digestive system, and healthy weight management, helps avoid dehydration and headaches, improves the appearance and feel of skin and hair, and much more.
By the way, I have blonde hair, and untreated supplies at my rental unit almost always creates a bit of a "greenish" tint to my hair over time (not to mention a coarse feel); however, installing a shower water filter has cleaned it up.
9. Cleaner Air
No one wants chlorine being released in the air in our home. Installing a home filtration system appropriate for whatever contaminants are currently in your supply will help alleviate having the gasses wind up in the air you breathe. (Note: To remove radon from your drinking water, you will need a system that includes the "GAC" or, "Granular Activated Carbon" phase.9 )
Learn more about radon in your water and home at this page from the US Environmental Protection Agency.
10. Peace of Mind
It really does come down to your overall peace of mind, knowing that you are doing everything in your power to ensure that what you you drink, cook with, and bathe with is the best you can possibly offer yourself and your loved ones.
Conclusion - and Time to Explore your Options!
When we first started looking for a way to clean up our drinking water a few years ago, we honestly had no idea that there was so much to consider. To say we've learned a lot is an understatement!
Hopefully, our extensive learning curve and research makes your own journey a little bit easier! The rest of this site is dedicated to introducing you the the best filters we could find. No single system will be the best choice for every household (this is something we discovered the hard way!)
Our menu at the very top of this page will navigate you to the numerous types of home water filters that we have found - and while we have not personally used every single one of them, we've used quite a few! We also researched and asked professionals for their own opinions. In addition, we have determined that we will not feature certain filters if we feel they aren't receiving enough positive reviews or consumer confidence. So, it is possible that you may have heard of a certain type of filter, but you may not find it here.
In the interest of total transparency...
In some cases, we have developed an affiliate relationship with some manufacturers that we admire and respect (both the people and the product), and in others, we only have Amazon listings. In most cases, if there is a product link, there is a good chance that we may earn a small commission if you decide to purchase it through that link (and you will NEVER pay more for a product purchased in that manner - and sometimes you may find yourself paying a little less, depending on what promotions a company or manufacturer is offering).
Again, if the product doesn't "feel" right to us (even if we could have made a few bucks by referring it), we didn't feel right including it here.
With all that said, we are grateful that you have visited our site, and hope that we have provided enough information to help you in your own efforts to improve the quality of water for you and your loved ones.
Thank you again!
2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flint_water_crisis and https://www.cnn.com/2016/03/04/us/flint-water-crisis-fast-facts/index.html and https://audgen.michigan.gov/finalpdfs/15_16/l761032015.pdf
Additional references used in preparation of this document
iaspub.epa.gov/tdb/pages/treatment/treatmentOverview.do?treatmentProcessId=263654386 (ion exchange - zeolite resin)
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Wilmington, DE 19801
Thank you for reading!