8 TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE BEST WATER FILTER FOR YOUR HOME
Millions of Americans are exposed to unsafe drinking water every year. And globally? 844 million people are without the most basic clean water services.
This is a huge issue for any number of reasons, but most importantly is human health.
The majority of any human body, infant, adult male or female, is made up of water. So when your doctor tells you to hydrate more, you better believe it’s good advice! Ok, so you’ve committed to drinking more water. But is your water really safe straight from the tap?
Instead of worrying, it’s a good idea to get a water filter installed. There are so many benefits to this, not just for your health. But how do you choose the right one?
Keep reading for 8 tips on styles to help you figure out which water filter is best for you and your family.
1. Water Filter: Go Big or Go Frugal?
These days, there are many styles of water filters to choose from. That can cause some confusion for you, but only if you don’t know what you need and want from a water filter. You might need to do a little research, first.
For example, what state do you live in? Some states have public water issues that might really impact your family’s health. That would mean you’d need a bigger, more complicated water filter for your entire home. Or, you could live in a state with higher quality water, and you’d only need a small, simple filter unit.
In addition, you need to decide how much water you and your family uses per day, and if you want to deal with a higher maintenance option that requires electricity. If it’s just you in your home, you could get away with a nonelectrical option that doesn’t need to filter too much.
Some filters are more affordable than others, too. If you’re really invested in you and your family’s health, then it would make sense to purchase something with a warranty that will do a lot of work over a long period of time.
But if you’re budgeted and aren’t sure if you’re ready for that kind of investment, something small might do the trick.
Regardless of what you do end up choosing, it will be well worth the investment. Filtering your water is always beneficial.
2. Carbon Filter
If your water is obviously funky- tastes bad, looks murky, or smells weird, you could get an activated carbon (charcoal) filter. It’s great for removing chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, which is vital for your health. It’ll also remove radon and THM’s (trihalomethanes) along with some other inorganic chemicals.
A real issue to consider is that some, but not all, carbon filter will remove lead. Some of the varieties that will trap lead are solid-block and pre-coat absorption filters. You’ll have to check the certification of the unit you’re looking at buying, and really check for proof that it actually does remove lead.
These filters also won’t remove salts, nitrates, and nitrites, nor will they remove all metals. Don’t rely on a carbon filter to remove all organisms, either.
The thing to remember with these filters is they will accumulate the contaminants they remove, so bacteria and other critters might breed on it. You’ve got to replace filters according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Don’t think that a carbon filter that has pesticide silver is actually effective. The EPA hasn’t endorsed those, and studies have shown they’re not totally effective at killing bacteria or other microcontaminants.
Be aware that the range of carbon filters will vary in price. The countertop or faucet-mounted options that sell for super cheap aren’t always the most effective, while the whole-house units will eliminate anything worrisome. So you’re looking at a wide range of prices from $30 to thousands.
3. Reverse Osmosis
Are you living in a state where removing inorganic chemicals like salts and lead, asbestos or any other toxic chemical has shown up in public water supply? You might be in the market for a reverse-osmosis (RO) water filter.
Most models will also contain carbon filters, both pre and post, which will do a good job of catching sediment, pesticides, and the other dangerous chemicals like radon. They’ll also remove lead but won’t always remove chlorine. The taste of the water will be good, though. The post-filter handles that.
RO filters will connect directly to your plumbing, so locating them under the sink and to your faucet supply is ideal. Small tanks will store filtered water until it’s needed, and contaminated water drains out through the line to the sink trap.
The water you actually drink comes out of a separate, sink-top spout. They aren’t too expensive, ranging from $200 to $400 and there are models that cut down on the amount of water wasted.
4. UV Water Filters
These are great filters for when you want to be ‘high-tech’ and eco-friendly.
However, they won’t be effective against chemical pollutants. They also won’t kill spores, although they can kill most bacteria, viruses, and help your water taste and look better. Combining them with carbon filters is ideal, and these units will cost from $300 to $700.
5. Water Distillers
These water filters are the most convenient. They’re simply portable, sink-top devices that do a good job of eliminating salts, asbestos, organic chemicals, lead, and metals.
They’re inexpensive, but you might find your water tastes a bit weird. Distillers heat the water until it becomes steam, then condenses the steam back into water. That gets deposited in a separate chamber (a fun science experiment for kids) which keeps the junk from following along.
However, unless you get a carbon filter to go along with it, a distiller can’t remove all bacteria and chemicals. You’ll have to fill this manually, and they use a lot of electricity to operate.
They’ll take several hours to complete their process, too. A gallon of water can take some time to be produced. The price range is affordable, though, ranging from $80 to $400.
6. Water Filtering Faucets
You can look for a full, under-sink unit, which is ideal. But there are filters that attach to the end of your faucet spout. Again, like other devices that are more portable, and changeable, it won’t always do a great job of eliminating all of the offending chemicals and bacteria.
Most will come with a carbon filter installed, and those will need to be changed regularly. If you’re just using it for drinking water, it’ll probably okay for just you. If you’re providing filtered water for your family and pets, though, you’d want to invest in the full under-sink options.
Remember not to fall for unverified claims or too-good-to-be-true options. If something isn’t endorsed by the EPA, or doesn’t have certificates you can check, then don’t invest.
7. Gravity Filter
If you want to go old-school and survivalist, and don’t want to rely on needing maintenance or electricity, go for a gravity filter. These can hold a lot of water although you need to fill them manually.
They sit on your countertop and are made of stainless steel, and they’ll use a carbon filter. These are great for removing lead, so along with the carbon filter, they’ll do a good job of keeping your water safe.
The cost ranges from $100 to $300.
8. Whole Household Filter
This is the boss of water filters, and although a hefty investment, it’s the best way to ensure your water is fully safe.
You install this where your main water line enters your house, and every tap and appliance will be supplied with this filtered water. That includes your hot water heater.
The styles are similar to everything discussed in this guide thus far: carbon, reverse osmosis, UV…the advanced technology for next-generation water filters can be included in your whole house filter.
Your least expensive option will likely be the carbon-based system, going for around $800 and can last 300k gallons before needing replacement.
RO house filters are more expensive, coming in at over $4,000 and needing a large water storage tank. These are also high maintenance but won’t require separate drinking water filters at your taps.
Whole-house filters are great for large families, with lots of kids and pets. Your water needs will be taken care of, for a long period of time. However, be prepared to do some serious research on which style to go with.
Water Filters: Keeping It Clean
You’re going to want to filter your water because it’s a worthwhile investment in your health.
This guide gives you some ideas as to which water filters are available, and what would be most practical and cost-effective for your needs. But if you need more information on what to choose and how to install it, let us know!