Before making a purchase decision on a water filter system, clients often ask whether they work and then how they work. This is understandable as water filtration usually involves removing small contaminant particles that don’t alter the water’s appearance. It’s easy to see how a survival filter transforms brackish water into clean, drinkable water. Water isn’t always so polluted. However, the majority of the water has contaminants. Does water filtering actually work? That depends on the job you want them to do, and the type of filter you use.
How do water filters work? It all depends on the type of water filter.
Both well-known and well-understood technologies are the most common home filters. The first type of filtration is carbon filtration. This is because it’s the most well-known. They are used most often in aquarium water cycling systems, portable water filter bottles, and reusable filter pitchers. They are reliable and can trap most chemical contaminants, provided that they are well-built and have sufficient carbon contact time. However, there are some exceptions to what they cannot filter. Many carbon filters can be paired with sediment filters or other sediment removing mechanisms, such as fabric wraps or foam pads to physically remove suspended particles like dirt, dust, and rust flakes.
Granular carbon filtration is limited by this process. The process involves finely milling carbon and packing it into a filter substrate. This creates a porous mass that has a much greater surface area than a block of charcoal. As water flows through the filter, carbon particles trap contaminants. This allows only small particles to pass through. A process known as adsorption allows chemicals to be drawn into the carbon matrix and trapped there. This system allows water to flow freely, but carbon filters can only last for a short time before they become too contaminated. A carbon filter can last for up to a year depending on how much carbon is present, the flow rate, and the contaminants.
Reverse Osmosis Filters require installation. The reverse osmosis process was first discovered in 1784. However, RO membranes were only made available after the invention of plastics in the 1960s. They can remove many contaminants that carbon filters cannot. Semi-permeable membranes are used to block particles larger than a specified size. Filtration systems often use multiple layers of filtration to filter water. They are therefore capable of obtaining purer water than carbon filters. Which one is best for you? It all depends on what you need and how clean your local water supply is.
What Do Water Filters Remove?
A micron rating is a measurement of the size of particles in carbon filters. This determines how effective the filter can be at removing certain substances. These micron ratings can be either a nominal or absolute value. A nominal rating indicates that the filter will retain 85% of the particle size, while the Absolute rating guarantees 99.9%. An Absolute rating is used for carbon filters that are intended to remove larger bacteria or cysts. Carbon filtration is excellent at removing chlorine and can significantly improve taste and color. However, it has its limitations. The carbon filters do not remove salts or mineral deposits as well as hard water.
Reverse Osmosis systems can remove virtually all contaminants from water including minerals and dissolved organic substances like fluoride and lead. This precision can also be used to remove any additives that you might want from your water, such as minerals. This can be avoided by choosing filtration options that preserve the additives you desire. There are also reverse osmosis water filters that can be used to preserve minerals and water quality. Water filters can remove lead? Reverse osmosis water filters can remove lead, while carbon filters can also remove 96% or more.
Different types of home water filtration systems
Are water filters worth the cost? Although it is almost certain, the right type of filter for your home will depend on many factors. There are many levels of investment, and each level will yield different results. We’ll start with the least expensive and move up to the more costly ones.
- Bottles, Pitchers, and Countertop Gravity filtration carbon portable units such as fridge pitchers filter out chlorine and other chemicals. However, they are not as effective as all carbon filters. Filters rarely last longer than 60 to 90 days in any model. Hard water can build up in pitchers and bottles that will require a neutralizing cleaner.
- Single-Faucet Systems
Reverse osmosis or carbon filtration can be used for single-faucet systems. Reverse osmosis filters are generally more durable, but they also cost more. According to EPA studies, units that were the least efficient used three times as much water. They are located under the sink and filter the water as soon as the tap is turned on. They can use a separate dispenser to filter water or bypass the faucet.
- Whole House Filtration Systems
Large carbon and sediment filters are used in many whole-house systems. This allows them to have a longer filter life and high flow rates, which helps maintain pressure during peak demand periods.
Where Do You Start?
Due to cost, many people start with a countertop or pitcher solution and then move to an under-sink model. You should consider investing in a bigger capacity filter with a longer life span if you are concerned about lead or other contaminants. How long can water filters last? It can take months for pitchers. It can take a whole year for a complete home system.
This post was written by a water treatment expert at Paragon Water Systems. At Paragon Water Systems we are the Manufacturers of the best Carbon Block Water Filter! We know that the best product comes from the best materials. We manufacture home water solutions such as reverse osmosis systems, under sink water filtration systems, showerhead filtration systems, carbon cartridges, and a wide variety of other products. Our focus is to provide Americans with safe and clean water throughout the home.