If you’re trying to get your family to drink more water or simply consume more yourself, investing in a home water purification system can ensure you’re doing yourself good, not harm. Many residential water supplies contain heavy metals, endocrine-disturbing elements and even lead from contaminated pipes (Flint, Michigan, anyone?).
Investing in a whole-house water purification system can prove costly, but the investment pays for itself over time. You’ll no longer need to pay for pricey bottled water, the plastic from which clogs our landfills and often ends up in the ocean. Your family meals will taste more delicious when prepped with clean water, and your little ones can run a lemonade stand using only the finest ingredients. Here’s what to know before making the investment in filtration for your home.
What’s In Your Family’s Drinking Water?
Prior to investing in a home filtration system, it pays to know what you’re trying to filter out. Home water testing enables you to learn which contaminants impact your drinking water. This determines which type of filtration will work best for your family.
It is expensive and virtually impossible to test for all possible contaminants, however here are some to watch out for:
- Coloform bacteria – These indicate infection in the water system.
- Cysts and viruses – These can cause gastrointestinal distress.
- Lead – This stunts childhood growth and development.
- Nitrates – Often stemming from agricultural runoff, these can cause blue baby syndrome in sufficient concentrations.
What Types Are Available?
Several options exist when it comes to filtration. Some methods use countertop devices and gravity to filter water; others rely on reverse osmosis or other means to filter toxins. Certain kits apply to the entire home, while others exist at the point of use, such as a filter attached to your kitchen faucet.
Carbon filters, as the name implies, uses activated charcoal to filter impurities from the water. Carbon works through adsorption, meaning it binds dirty elements chemically rather than physically. The advantages to these types of filters is they can be used at the point of use, meaning inexpensive filters attach to many standard faucets. They’re relatively inexpensive. One disadvantage, though, is such filters may allow certain molecules to pass through.
Reverse osmosis is efficient, practical, sustainable and economic and is popular both on industrial and residential levels. The biggest advantage to reverse osmosis is the systems’ ability to remove a high level of contaminants from almost any water source. Reverse osmosis systems are so powerful, they are used by crews at sea to desalinate sea water for drinking. Such systems can prove costly.
Distillation systems provide yet a third way of filtering water. In such a system, water is evaporated and condensed. The process is 100 percent natural and it removes all pathogens from drinking water, including bacteria and viruses. You can buy countertop distillers where you put water in at night and are rewarded with fresh water in the morning. You can also invest in full home water distillation apparatus which hooks to your plumbing, but understandably costs more.
Making The Right Choice For You
Ultimately, the right choice of water purification for your family boils down to a matter of price and convenience. If you know, for example, having to remember one more thing to do at night before going to bed will cause you to snap, a countertop distiller likely will prove ineffective. However, if money matters most, a $100 countertop model will work if you have the time to fill it.
Some people suffer from allergies which make bathing in unfiltered water uncomfortable or itchy. If your little ones insist taking a bath makes them scratch like mad, investing in a home filtration system can declare ceasefire on the battle.
Keeping Your Family’s Water Safe
Without testing, it’s impossible to know exactly what you’re putting in your body each time you run the tap. With the right water filtration system, you can rest assured the drinking water your family uses meets your standards of purity.
Emily is a freelance writer, covering conservation and sustainability. You can read her blog, Conservation Folks, for more of her work.