The importance of water in daily life cannot be overemphasized. Water is essential for many domestic processes and activities such as drinking, bathing, laundry etc. These domestic processes and activities require different levels of water purity. If water that is full of contaminants is used in any of these processes and activities, the end results can be very undesirable. This is why you need to find the best water filter system.
Most homes rely on municipal water supply with a few augmenting this with water from wells. Water from these two sources come with a host of contaminants which include:
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as chemicals found in pesticides and herbicides. These chemicals have been found to be carcinogenic as well as causing damage to the liver, kidneys and reproductive system.
- Heavy metals like mercury and lead. Small amounts of these heavy metals can cause serious health problems such as damage to the brain, kidneys, stomach and nervous system.
- Additives like fluoride and chlorine. These have been linked with thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism) as well as other endocrine disrupting conditions.
- Chlorination by-products such as Trihalomethanes (THMs). These are produced as a result of the treatment of water with chlorine.
- Microbes such bacteria and virus are present in public water supply. These microbes are pathogens for a host of diseases and infections.
- Radioactive materials like radon and uranium.
- Particulate matter like dirt, leaves, algae etc.
In order to make domestic water fit for use, these contaminants have to be eliminated and this is where water filter systems come in. This report is an introduction to the various types of water systems that can be used to eliminate contaminants from domestic water supply. The goal is to provide an introductory study on the best water filter systems available.
In Reverse Osmosis filter system, a semi-permeable membrane is used to remove contaminants from the water. The process by which Reverse Osmosis works is by removing dissolved inorganic contaminants from the water. The driving force for this Reverse Osmosis process is the pressure of the water supply which pushes (forces) the water through the semi-permeable membrane which carries out the filtration process. These dissolved inorganic components have a larger particle size than water.
Reverse Osmosis filters setup is made up of membrane and holding tank. It is usually installed under the sink. The impurities which are filtered out during the process are flushed down the drain. On its own, Reverse Osmosis is quite effective in removing contaminants from the water but it does not remove Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). For this reason, a Carbon Filter Block is usually added to the setup. Some of the impurities that can be removed with Reverse Osmosis are as follows:
- Heavy metals like mercury and lead.
- Dissolved inorganic contaminants like nitrates and sulfates.
- Chlorine and Chloramines.
- Volatile Organic Compounds like pesticides and herbicides (when used in tandem with a Carbon Filter Block).
One drawback of Reverse Osmosis when considered with all the other candidates for best water filtration system is that it wastes a lot of water. Several gallons of water are filtered for every gallon of purified water produced. Also, some useful and important dissolved minerals present in the water such as calcium and magnesium are also removed during Reverse Osmosis.
Water Distiller filtration utilizes heat to turn water into steam which is then sent to a cooling chamber where it cools down to become liquid water again, leaving behind many dissolved and particulate contaminants. Water Distiller filtration can be employed as the filtration system for the entire domestic use, in which case it is installed at the entry points for water in the house or they can be combined with Carbon Filter Blocks to achieve greater removal of impurities. Some of the impurities that can be removed with Water Distiller Filtration include:
- Fluoride and Chlorine
- Dissolved inorganics like sodium and selenium
- Heavy metals like copper, lead and mercury
- Bacteria and other microbes.
A drawback of Water Distiller filtration is that it cannot remove VOCs (like benzene) from water. This is because VOCs boil at a temperature lower than that of water. So when the water is heated up, they vaporize with water and form part of the steam. It also requires a large amount of electricity and as such will contribute to higher electricity bills. Finally, several useful minerals are lost during the process and prolonged use of Water Distiller filtration will lead to mineral deficiencies.
A Whole House Water Filter system is ideal for places where the quality of the municipal water supply is found to be below standard. In such a situation, individual filtration systems may prove ineffective in purifying the domestic water supply.
It is usually an integrated water purification system that is installed at the point of entry of the water supply into the house. They employ multiple filtration mechanisms to ensure that most of the contaminants are removed from the water. Some of the contaminants typically removed by the Whole House Water Filter system include:
- Lead, mercury, copper and other heavy metals.
- Benzene, toluene, polyaromatics and other VOCs.
- Microbial organisms
- Harmful additives like chlorine and fluoride
The major drawback of this system is that is considerably expensive. This is mitigated somewhat by its efficiency and the fact that it is long lasting; the components do not need to be replaced regularly, unlike other filtration systems.
Gravity Filtration is arguably the best water filtration system. It comprises of two chambers; upper chamber and a lower chamber. The water flows (drips) under gravity from the upper chamber to the lower chamber which contains activated carbon blocks. By a process known as adsorption (or stripping), the carbon strips away dissolve impurities in the water. This happens by means of molecular attraction between the carbon and these dissolved impurities. As such, the impurities become attached to the surface of the carbon blocks leaving the water purified.
When the surface of the carbon blocks becomes full, they must be replaced. However, there are carbon block filters that can be “scrubbed” and reused several times. One main disadvantage of the process is that it is slow.
These are some of the best water filter systems that can be employed for domestic use. These filter systems are capable of removing many of the common contaminants found in public municipal water supply.
Hope this helped you figure out what the best water filter system is for you. We know this is an important decision so reach out as you get questions.
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