What's The Best Home Water Filter To Use?

"What's the best home water filter?"

A home water filter provides a safer source than untreated tap water for drinking and cooking. 

You can use a counter-top pitcher with a replaceable carbon filter. This is a popular water filter for renters because there's nothing to install, it's completely portable. 

Brita is the most popular brand of counter-top filter. 

It makes a good tasting water, though it doesn't filter out as many contaminants as other types of filters. 

It's inexpensive though, and you can buy one at most local drug stores, and even larger grocery chains carry them now, usually in the bottled water isle.

There are a number of contaminants making their way into our kitchen sink. Chlorine, fluoride, agricultural pesticide and herbicide runoff, industrial contaminants, heavy metals, pathenogenic microorganisms, and now, pharmaceutical residues? We're a mess, people.

The main point is, it's not such a great idea to drink untreated tap water, or to cook with it for that matter. Get a water filter and use it for filtering your tap water before drinking or cooking with it.

The best water filter for you depends on what your needs are. Water filters come in a range of sizes and prices. If you are a renter, and just want something small and affordable, you'll probably want to get something like a counter-top water filter which comes with its own pitcher.

Or consider a filter unit which you can attach right to the faucet. That's what I use in my home and it works great. You just switch it on when you want to filter the water, or leave it off if you're washing dishes. A number of faucet filters even have a little meter right on the unit which tells you when its time to replace the filter.

If you're a home owner you can have a water filtration system installed for your entire house. I know a number of people who use a reverse osmosis system for filtering their drinking water in the kitchen. The unit is installed under the sink and out of sight. It makes a nice tasting water and is known to remove a number of contaminants.

In Search of the Best Home Water Filter...

There's a number of options for water filtration, including:

- reverse osmosis
- carbon
- distillers
- ceramic
- ozone
- UV light

Best Home Water Filter - Options

Granular Carbon

Granular carbon absorption filters are the most widely sold method for removing unpleasant tastes and odors, and they do remove substantial amounts of chlorine as well. Because of these features, they're well-suited for homes on municipal water sources. If you have a countertop pitcher style water filter it most likely
uses a granular activated carbon filter.

There are only a few models, however, which are certified to remove lead, asbestos, volatile organic chemicals (VOC's), cysts, and coliform. Most do not remove other heavy metals, microbes or bacteria.

While they are affordable and easy to use they do have some negative aspects to consider.

As the carbon accumulates impurities from the filtering process, these impurities can become breeding grounds for unfriendly bacteria. In a similar fashion, as chemical impurities build up in the filter to a certain saturation point, they'll render the carbon granules ineffective. Once the granules have reached that saturation point they can no longer absorb any more impurities, and can actually begin to release built up impurities back into the water being poured through the filter.

And finally, as the granules are not packed super-tightly inside the filter, to allow water to pass through, they can settle in certain ways which open up channels where the water can pour through too quickly, without sufficient contact with the carbon granules to effectively remove impurities.

Best Home Water Filter - Options

Solid Block Carbon

Solid Block Carbon filters are made from finely pulverized activated carbon mixed with a binding medium and formed into a solid block. These carbon filters don't have the problems associated with granular carbon filters.

Most carbon block filters have such a fine porous structure that they're able to filter out coliform and other pathenogenic bacteria, pathogenic cysts such as giardia, and lighter-weight volatile organic chemicals (VOC's).

Best Home Water Filter - Options

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis filters trap impurities by forcing water through a semi-permeable membrane, which needs to be replaced from time to time as sediment builds up.

Reverse Osmosis water filters are good for removing lead and other heavy metals, something called total dissolved solids (TDS), asbestos, radium and something else called dissolved organics. Hey, I'm no scientist, I'm just reporting on what I've dug up from my reading thus far. . . :)

They also remove organophosphate pesticides, chlorinated pesticides, and the heavier-weight volatile organic chemicals. They are not as effective at removing lighter-weight volatile organic chemicals and other pesticides which have chemical compounds which are either too small or too lightweight to be caught and filtered out.

A couple of things to consider before investing in a reverse osmosis filtration system:

They use anywhere from 3 to 9 gallons of water per gallon of purified water produced. However, the wastewater can be collected for uses other than drinking. Also, it takes about 3 to 4 hours for a residential unit to produce one gallon of purified water.

Some sources recommend using a combination of Reverse Osmosis and Carbon Filtration.

Best Home Water Filter - Options

Distillers

Distilled water systems remove pathenogenic microorganisms and some other pollutants including trivalent arsenic, fluoride, lead and mercury. The do not remove organic chemicals and chlorine. Most home distillers come with a carbon filter as well to remove the remaining chemicals and chlorine.

Best Home Water Filter - Options

Ceramic

These filters are usually used in countertop models, though they can be designed for whole house systems too. They are usually made of a combination of diatomaceous earth and something called nano-silver. They filter out bacteria and pathenogenic microorganisms.

Best Home Water Filter - Options

Ultraviolet Radiation

UV radiation treatment is effective at killing bacteria, viruses and other pathenogenic microorganisms. You can install a UV treatment system under the sink, or get one for the whole house. UV bulbs need to be replaced about once a year.

Best Home Water Filter - Options

Ozonation

Ozone is used in place of chlorine in hot tubs and swimming pools and can be installed as a whole house system. It kills bacteria and other pathenogenic microorganisms and can remove some pesticide residue as well. I love this system for pools and hot tubs as I'm
sensitive to the smell of chlorine, I taste it
in my breath for about 24 hours after swimming in
a heavily chlorinated pool.

If you're really interested in the state of the drinking water in your area you can check the Environmental Protection Agency's latest reports and also I've found good information in the past at the National Geographic website.

With the way things are going these days in the public water supply, it may not be a bad idea to opt for a good bottled water until you work out which is the best water filter for you!

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