Ever wondered what is water filtration or what are the best methods to filter water?
In this article, we will go through the most common questions about water filtration and we will answer them as detailed as we can while still keeping the answers easy to understand for the common user.
1. What Is Water Filtration?
Water filtration is a process used to remove as many common water pollutants from drinking water as possible.
Local water distribution facilities typically use industrial water filtration methods to cleanse the water before the liquid gets to your pipes.
However, relying on the municipality’s filtration methods alone is often not the best idea, since many times they fail to filter several of the most common water contaminants.
2. What Are the Best Methods for Water Filtration?
There are several water filtration methods that will serve you well depending on the pollutants you want to remove.
For example, UV water filters are excellent for removing bacteria, viruses, and parasites as long as the water doesn’t have inorganic impurities which may block the UV-C rays from reaching the pathogens and eliminating them.
On the other hand, you have reverse osmosis systems that are good at eliminating fluoride, heavy metals, chemicals, and hard minerals. You might find yourself needing to rely on two filtration methods if the water in your area has more types of pollutants than a single filter can handle.
3. What Is TDS?
Total Dissolved Solids is the measurement used to figure out how much dissolved minerals are left in your water, the most common ones being calcium and magnesium.
Many might think that TDS tests are a good method to figure out how many chemicals or pathogens are in the water, but that’s far from the truth. In actuality, TDS is used to measure the hardness of water, not the level of contamination.
4. Do Water Filtration Systems Remove Chlorine?
Yes, some water filtration systems are specifically made to remove chlorine, such as activated carbon water filters.
5. Does a Water Filtration System Soften Water?
A typical filter does not soften water. If your main problem is hard water, then you will want to look for a water softener or water descaler.
Hard water affects 80% of US households, so if you live in this country, there’s a high chance that you too have this problem.
6. What Is the Difference Between Chlorine and Chloramine?
Chlorine and chloramine are both use as disinfectants in water, especially when talking about well water or as an industrial water treatment used in municipal water plants.
Chlorine is typically added to water to reduce pathogens but it also leaves disinfectant byproducts.
When you add ammonia to chlorinated water, it results in chloramine, which removes the disinfectant byproducts, but the resulting water will taste and smell slightly worse.
However, both chlorine and chloramine are safe to drink as long as they’re in the amount permitted by EPA regulatory standards.
7. Do Water Filtration Systems Remove Lead?
Yes, they can. Water filters have their efficiency against certain elements rigorously tested before they hit store shelves.
If you want lead removed from drinking water, check to see if the filter you’re buying has NSF or WQA Standard 53 certification.
8. What Is the Purpose of Using a Filtered Water System?
There are numerous benefits to having a whole house water filter installed.
First of all, you get clean drinking water straight from the tap.
Secondly, filtered and softened water is less detrimental to your skin, so you’ll have less chance of developing eczema or dermatitis as a result.
And on top of that, you’ll also get cleaner dishes and reduce your overall costs in time.
9. What Do You Do If You Have Water Contaminated by Radioactive Matter?
Needless to say, you need to move out ASAP.
Some people might confused radioactive water with water that has Radon in it, but that’s not the case.
Radon can be removed with a simple carbon filter, whilst radioactivity can’t be tackled by any filter out there. Usually, government agencies should warn the citizens about increased radioactivity in the area, case in which we suggest following their instructions.
10. What Are VOCs?
The term refers to volatile organic chemicals.
Well-known VOCs include paint, cosmetics, and fuel to name a few.
Some of the most common VOCs found in drinking water can be removed effectively with a granular activated carbon filter.
11. Why Do Not Filtration Systems Reduce TDS?
Water filters are specifically designed to reduce the amount of pollutants in water, but not minerals.
TDS minerals like calcium and magnesium are actually beneficial when it comes to drinking water, as they are not only recommended by doctors, but they also add a little of that specific water flavor.
The only real downside of TDS is that they can produce limescale buildup in your pipes over time, and they negatively impact your appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines. This is why water softeners or water descalers are of major importance. On top of having a water softener, you can also get water softener salt that can be used exclusively for your dishwasher.
12. Why Would the Filtered Water from the Unit Appear Cloudy Sometimes?
Usually this is caused by air pockets forming inside the filter.
Sometimes, the cloudiness from a glass of water will disappear if you simply let it sit for a minute or so.
To solve this issue, the easiest method is to turn the filter upside down and allow water to run for two to three minutes. This is an effective way to remove air pockets from the filter and remove the cloudiness problem completely.
13. How Do Filters Compare to Reverse Osmosis or Distillation Systems?
Water that goes through a reverse osmosis or distillation system has all minerals removed from it.
Typical water filtration systems don’t remove beneficial minerals like calcium and magnesium. The best water is water that is free from contamination but still contains a natural mineral balance.
As such, you might want to consider a normal filter for drinking water, and an RO or distillation filter solely for using water with appliances, or for washing dishes, and cleaning or ironing clothes.
14. Is Chlorine Harmful?
Chlorine is mainly beneficial when it comes to removing pathogens from drinking water.
It has been used since the early 1900s to do so, and it has greatly reduced the number of people who have died from typhoid infections.
However, chlorination is not entirely beneficial, especially in large quantities.
Chlorine does not exterminate all bacteria. Complex microorganisms are known to become dormant in the presence of chlorine but not exactly killed.
Chlorine isn’t environmentally-friendly, not by a long shot. Apart from removing harmful bacteria, it can also remove beneficial bacteria from water, causing trees and plants to get less nutrients than they normally need to.
Commercially available chlorine, if stored improperly, can also disintegrate into chlorine gas, which is toxic.
Overall, chlorine is beneficial if used sparingly and carefully. But the side effects aren’t to be disregarded, especially if used by someone who hasn’t read the instructions on the packaging carefully.
15. Why Do Some Areas Test Negative for Chlorine?
Virtually all major cities use chlorine to a certain extent for disinfecting the municipal water.
The level will vary based on outdoor temperature, the season, distance from water utility and current usage. On certain days, based on heat and other factors, chlorine might be undetectable by standard OTO Tests.
It is also important to note that some municipalities might use ammonia in combination with chlorine to form chloramine, which eliminates chlorine by-products and is also somewhat undetectable by regular test kits. So even though chlorine levels might be undetectable on some days, that doesn’t mean chlorine isn’t present at all in the water.
16. Can Filters Be Used on Hot Water?
Not all types of filter can be used with hot water.
Countertop filters, for example, have a fairly limited heat range at which they can do their job effectively without causing any leaks.
Showerhead filters, on the other hand, can theoretically withstand even the hottest water setting that your plumbing system can output.
The problem doesn’t lie with the filters themselves, but mainly with their o-rings that can soften and thus create leakages.
17. Do People on Private Wells Need to Use Shower Filters?
Most groundwater contains traces of volatile chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, and other pollutants that have a certain impact on your skin.
By installing a showerhead water filter, you’re substantially reducing these elements’ presence and making your water better to use for cleaning yourself. On top of that, shower filters also help to balance out the water’s pH levels, which brings many cosmetic benefits.
18. Are Water Filters Considered Purifiers?
No, because purified water means that only hydrogen and oxygen molecules are present.
It used to be hard to obtain 100% pure water outside of a controlled environment, such as a laboratory.
However, in recent years, water purifiers have hit the market that manage to completely separate water from other chemicals, minerals, and bacteria. Although not perfect, purified water is safe to drink.
Be aware, however, that the lack of minerals means you’ll have to get them from other sources such as supplements. And it won’t be as beneficial as getting them straight from your drinking water. Luckily, you can solve this issue by getting an alkaline water bottle filter.
19. Do I Need a Water Filter If I Already Have a Water Softener?
This depends on what pollutants there are in your water.
Water softeners simply remove calcium and magnesium and replace those particles with sodium.
Water filters, on the other hand, don’t remove said minerals, but they can remove sodium, chemicals, organic and inorganic compounds, as well as many more contaminants.
If you have a problem with both hard water and contaminants, a reverse osmosis system might be ideal for you. However, not even that solution is perfect, since an RO system wastes a lot of water.
With that said, you might want to invest both in a water softener and a water filtering system.
20. Should I Filter My Water at The Point of Use or Point of Entry?
You might have heard of these two different types of water filtration methods, but what do they mean?
Point of entry filtration refers to filters that you can attach at the point where the water enters your plumbing system. This type of filtration removes particulates such as rust, sand, silt and sediment providing cleaner, clearer water to protect your plumbing and appliances.
21. Do I Need an Extra Faucet for an Under Sink Water Filter?
Having an under sink water filter will greatly reduce the flow of water.
It does so because the water needs to be in contact with the filtration media for enough time to remove pollutants.
Having an extra faucet, in this case, is ideal because you can use it solely for getting filtered water that’s good for drinking and cooking, whilst you can keep the main faucet for washing dishes or doing other tasks that require high water pressure and flow.
22. What is Sediment Filtration?
Sediment filtration refers to the removal of dirt, rust sand, and silt from water.
We advise you to get a sediment filter particularly if your main water source is a private well. Since well water comes from the ground, it is far more likely to have rust, sand, and dirt.
23. Aren’t Water Treatment Plants Supposed to Remove Harmful Substances from my Water Supply?
Theoretically yes, but they’re not perfect.
You probably already know about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, or about that time when an entire Canadian city got infected with E. Coli from their tap water.
The sad truth is that you can’t rely solely on the authorities to filter or purify the water for you. That is why having a water filter is essential no matter where you live.
24. Is There a Shelf Life to my Filters?
As long as you store your replacement filter in a dry place, away from chemicals, and with above freezing temperatures, they should last you a lifetime.
It is best to keep the filters in their original packaging if you don’t need to use them immediately. The only replacement filters that do have a shelf life are reverse osmosis membranes.
Dry reverse osmosis membranes’ shelf life differs from one manufacturer to the other. Be sure to check the packaging to see which is the best storage method for the longest shelf life.
Wet membranes, on the other hand, have a shelf life anywhere between two and eight months if stores in their original sealed packaging in the refrigerator. And just like with dry membranes, it is best to read the instructions or contact the manufacturer if you’re uncertain about these details.
25. What is a Micron Rating?
The micron rating showcases how small the filtered particles can be.
In simpler terms, the smaller the micron rating, the smaller the size particle the water filter cartridge will remove. Particles smaller than 40 microns, for example, are not visible to the naked eye. So, at a basic level, you’ll want the micron rating to be as small as possible.
26. Are Water Pitcher Filters Worth It?
The best water filter pitchers work just like your typical water filter but in a more compact and economical format.
Depending on the filtration media used, they can eliminate heavy metals, hard minerals, chemicals, VOCs, and even sediment. If you don’t want to complicate your life with difficult plumbing or if you can’t afford a full-fledged water filtration system, then getting a water filter pitcher is a good idea.
27. When Should I Change the Water Filtration Cartridge?
Every filtration system should have some sort of indicator that tells you when you need to change the cartridge.
As a basic indicator, many replacement cartridges should be changed after about 40 gallons. However, more premium variants can hold up to 100 or more gallons.
28. How Do You Stop a Leaking Water Filter?
Clean the Water Filter
First, stop the water supply by turning the ball valve lever 1/4 turn. Then, depressurize the filter by turning on the tap and letting water run until it stops.
Then unscrew the filter housing and check the o-rings and the cleanliness of the housing. Clean the filter housing as necessary and lubricate the o-rings with silicone-based lubricant.
After this, reassemble the system and hand-tighten everything in place. Then turn on the water and see if the problem persists.
What If the Filter still Leaks after Cleaning?
Usually, this problem persists because of uneven water pressure.
Most filters should have a pressure release button located on top of the head. Press this button several times while the housing is under pressure and you may release the debris that is preventing it from sealing.
You might want to use a towel to do this, as pressing the button might also release some excess water. If this does not stop the leak you may have to replace the o ring underneath the button or have your plumber replace the whole housing.
29. Why Should I Choose Water Filtration over Bottled Water?
Water filtration brings several advantages over bottled water.
Water filters are environmentally-friendly since they don’t produce as much waste. 80% of plastic water bottles end up in landfills, a good chunk of the remaining ones end up in forests and oceans.
Also, water filtration systems have a relatively low need for maintenance. While many people might be turned off by the fact that the installation process seems cumbersome, you’ll be happy to hear that you won’t need to bother that much with maintenance.
30. Does Water Filtration Give more People Access to Clean Drinking Water?
This is a no-brainer, but yes. Many people worldwide barely have access to clean water, and a filtration system is their best bet.
Even in developed countries, such as the USA or most of Europe, water pollution is still a big problem despite the authorities and many organizations’ efforts to reduce it.
Furthermore, 97% of all available water is either saline or for some reason undrinkable. Luckily, if you’re out camping and need to filter out water, you can try one of the best filtered water bottles on the market today.
31. How Should I Store Filtered Water?
While filtered water is definitely better than regular tap water, you will need to store it adequately to avoid becoming stale.
It is a good idea to get a water storage container for a few reasons. First off, you’ll have a large amount of water at your disposal in case of a crisis, such as floods, tornadoes, etc.
Secondly, getting a water storage container is essential if you plan on traveling long distances. Often times you might find yourself thirsty in the desert, and having a container with clean water can be a life saver.
On top of that, it is a practical method of keeping water handy in case of a faulty pipeline or malfunctions at your local water plant. While these things don’t happen often, when they do occur, it usually takes at least a couple of hours to fix them.
32. Do You Need a Plumber to Install a Water Filtration System?
This depends on how knowledgeable you are about plumbing in general.
However, many water filtration systems come with decently-explained manuals that will guide you thoroughly through the entire process.
And if you choose a portable or countertop water filtration method, then you don’t need to put up with plumbing at all. In the end, it’s up to you to choose the filtering method that best suits your needs and that will alleviate many headaches when it comes to installing it.