Your water quality will vary greatly depending on where you live. Water filtration offers many benefits to your home by removing contaminants and improving the taste of the water. Various kinds of filters using different technologies are installed at other points in the home e.g.over the counter, faucet, fridge water filter, etc.
The right kind of water filter for you will depend on your water quality and budget. Check your annual water quality report in the mail or online to know which contaminants your water filter will be required to eliminate. This article lists the various types of water filter technologies and their pros and cons.
Activated Carbon Water Filters
Activated carbon water filters are the most common due to their cheap nature, low maintenance, accessible and diverse installation techniques. Carbon water filters remove impurities by a process called adsorption. Even though they require regular replacement, carbon water filters are a popular option for small residences because you can install them as pitchers, on faucets, or over the counter.
Carbon filters improve the taste of water and remove some impurities (chlorine and mercury) for a relatively low cost. Unfortunately, carbon cannot remove impurities like fluoride, lead, and other heavy metal and dissolved substances contaminating the water. Carbon water filters have slow filtration and require periodic replacement.
Reverse Osmosis Water Filters
Reverse osmosis utilizes pressure and physical filters to remove impurities from water. Force is used in reversing the osmosis process so that water moves from a high concentration region to a lower one through a series of physical barriers.
Reverse osmosis is one the most efficient forms of water filtration because it eliminates nearly all contaminants, improves water’s taste, and is convenient to use. It is the second most common filtration method after carbon filters.
However, reverse osmosis wastes a significant amount of water and requires regular expert maintenance. It is an expensive option because it has high upfront and operation costs. Reverse osmosis also eliminates some mineral salts in water that are useful to the human body.
Ultraviolet water treatments are not very popular because they must be used together with another water filtration method. It utilizes violet filtration to purify water by killing all the harmful microorganisms present in it. Even though UV treatment does not remove heavy metals and other dissolved substances, it is highly effective in killing any pathogens that may be present in water.
UV treatment is costly to purchase and install. However, once you get past the initial cost, it requires very little maintenance and energy. UV water treatment is a safe and environmentally friendly option for persons with flexible budgets and can afford to use it in collaboration with another filtration system.
Microfiltration physically removes impurities from water by forcing it through a fibrous membrane with microscopic holes that do not let the contaminants through. These microfiltration membranes can resist harsh conditions for a long time because they are made of durable materials that are suitable for industrial use,
Even though microfiltration is expensive, it effectively removes heavy metals, pathogens, and other dissolved solids. After the initial installation costs, microfiltration is very cheap to maintain because it is durable, energy-efficient, and low maintenance.
On the downside, microfiltration does not remove all dissolved contaminants and, therefore, cannot be used is not ideal for personal use because of the high cost.
Distillation is a water purification method that boils water into steam in one chamber and condenses it into liquid in a different compartment. Distillation is very effective because the heat destroys the microorganisms, while condensation filters all heavy metals and dissolved substances.
Unfortunately, distillation does not remove contaminants like chlorine that have lower boiling points than water. It can also remove minerals that are healthy for the human body. Distillation is expensive because it requires complex installation systems or single-use plastic bottled distilled water which is an environmental threat.
Water ionization purifies water using electrolysis to raise its pH level and then separate it into acidic and alkaline streams. Ionization treats the alkaline stream of water which is then considered safe for use.
Ionization makes water taste better because the ionizers have many filters that remove a wide range of contaminants, unlike other methods. Ionization is very expensive and requires specialized maintenance.
Carbon water filters and reverse osmosis remain to be the most popular water filtration methods. This is because of their affordability and effectiveness in eliminating the most common pollutants found in water.