The Ins and Outs of Water Filtration Systems

by Rachel Laurendeau on April 4, 2012

There are so many types of water purification systems on the market that it is hard to know where to begin and how to choose the right one. There are devices such as pitcher type water filter systems, filters that are installed on a single faucet and filters built into your refrigerator. There are filters that tap into the cold water line under the sink and filters that have their own separate faucet at the sink. Some are easy to connect and maintain and others need a qualified plumber to do the installation. No wonder we’re so confused!

The Basics
Water filters typically improve the taste, smell and appearance of drinking water and remove some chemical substances. Exactly which substances will be removed depends on the particular type of filter. You’ll need to read the manufacturer’s information about specific filter models in order to find exactly what will be filtered out of your water.

One concern with water filters is that they can give you a false sense of safety since they cannot disinfect water and therefore don’t remove microbiological contaminants. In fact, if they are not properly maintained they can actually contaminate your drinking water.

Types of Filters
Particle filters, as their name would indicate, screen out particulates.
Activated carbon (AC) filters remove certain organic contaminants such as hydrogen sulphide, and chlorine, which can affect your water’s taste. A word of caution though: AC filters can trap bacteria which then begins to grow on the filter so it is essential to flush the filter with cold treated water daily and follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and replacing the filters.
Resin filters remove contaminants such as lead and other heavy metals and are often used in combination with AC filters.

Do I Need a Filter? If you live in an older home or neighborhood with lead pipes, you may want to invest in a filter that specifically removes lead. Typically in the United States if your local utility supplies your drinking water, it has been treated to make it safe to drink, so adding a water filter is purely for taste and smell and not for health reasons.

For more information on installing a water filtration system in your home, contact your local plumber or home improvement professional.

If you found this blog interesting, you may also like Beyond Sinks and Showers – Other Useful Water Features For Your Home. And, check back soon as we will be discussing other water purification systems such as Reverse Osmosis units in upcoming blogs.

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