Filtering your water provides numerous benefits. It can remove contaminants and minerals that worsen your water’s taste, make sinks and tubs harder to clean, reduce the life of your appliances, and even present health and safety concerns. We all want water that’s pure, safe to drink and tastes better, but how do you know which is the right filtration system for you?
Here are five ways to figure that out.
Find Out What’s in Your Water
The first step in choosing a filler system is determining your starting point, namely, what’s in your water. To do this, you can check the Consumer Confidence Report provided by your water supplier. The Environmental Protection Agency requires most community water providers to publish this report each year. You can also choose to have an independent company test your water or buy an at-home test.
You should also come up with an estimate of how much water you use on a typical day, which will help you choose the right size for your filtration system.
Decide on Your Filtration Goals
Once you know what’s in your water, you can decide what you want your filter to accomplish. List the kinds of contaminants you want to filter, as different filters work better for various substances. Other potential goals include improving the taste of your water and removing minerals that make your sink harder to clean. Getting rid of contaminants such as metals and sediment is often referred to as filtration, while removing minerals is typically called water softening.
Choose a Type of Filter
Next, you can figure out what kind of filter you want. To pick the best type for you, consider your filtration goals and the substances you want to remove. For some contaminants, you can use almost any filtration technology. Others require a specific type. NSF International published a list of water contaminants and the filtration methods that can remove them.
Common types of filters include:
- Activated Carbon: With a carbon filter, the water runs through an activated carbon filter that traps contaminants.
- Reverse Osmosis: Reverse osmosis filters send the water through a semipermeable membrane, through which contaminants can not pass.
- Distillation: Distillation involves heating water until it turns to steam, leaving many contaminants behind.
Choose a Location for Your Filter
Your filtration system can either be point-of-entry, meaning it filters your water before it comes into your house, or point-of-use, meaning you filter it where you access it, such as at a sink or showerhead.
The benefit of whole-house models is that just one device filters all the water for your entire home. These systems are usually best for removing mineral deposits, as well as unwanted tastes and odours.
If there are contaminants present that you wish to remove, you may want to use a point-of-entry filter. You can buy filters that attach to showerheads or go under the sink. You can also use pitchers, which are less expensive but require you to refill them manually.
Using both types of systems may get you optimal results and remove unwanted tastes and odours, minerals and contaminants.
Choose a Brand and Model
Once you’ve decided on the filtration technology and the location, it’s time to choose the brand and model of filter. At this step, you’ll consider cost, ease of installation, maintenance requirements and other factors, as you would with most any other purchase.
All that’s left to do is install your system or fill up your pitcher. Then, enjoy your water. Don’t forget to maintain your system and change the filter regularly if needed.
Emily is a freelance writer, covering conservation and sustainability. You can read her blog, Conservation Folks, for more of her work.