Water filtration is an important component of living comfortably in your home. Contaminated tap water is bad for drinking because it can contain E. coli, lead, aluminum or chloramines, arsenic, nitrates, pesticides, calcium, giardia, hexavalent chromium, trihalomethanes, fluorine compounds, and hormones. Each of these compounds are frequently found in tap water.
You Need Safe Drinking Water
Showering, bathing, washing dishes, cooking, and drinking should all be done with water free from contaminants. Using a water filter in your home will provide clean water for your family. Your only consideration is whether you want a point-of-use water filter to make sure the water in the kitchen sink is drinkable or if you want a whole house water filter.
Selecting the Best Filter for Your Needs
The best whole house water filter should be purchased based on the amount of water used in your home as suggested on Qualitywaterlab.com. Base your choice on the number of people that live there; the number of bathrooms in your home; the number and kinds of appliances you own that use water; and the type of contaminants that are in your water. All those factors will determine the maximum flow rate your water filter system needs to clean in any given period.
Whole House Filtration Systems
Carbon Absorption System
These are the most common water filters. They use porous carbon to leach all the contaminants that are filtered as the water runs through the carbon. These very tiny crevices in the carbon capture the particles traveling in the water, purifying it.
Catalytic Conversion Filters
This type of filtering system converts magnesium and calcium, the two minerals that contribute to making water hard into scale-resistant crystalline, making the substance created neutral. The water is softened and better for use. The filters use little energy, and they are eco-friendly.
Ion-Exchange Water Filters
This filtration system is used to soften water. The negatively and positively charged ions are exchanged as the water passes through solution-coated resin beads. When the most common minerals that harden water pass through the resins, they are transformed into potassium or sodium ions.
These systems are also called, ‘Redux systems’. A series of activities cleans the water. The activities are electrochemical oxidation, followed by reduction, followed by absorption. This system changes the oxidation state of atoms by using a chemical reaction. In homes using this kind of system iron and manganese are removed. Rust will be avoided by using an oxidation-reduction system and hydrogen sulfide is not produced creating that horrible rotten egg smell coming from the tap.
Sediment Filtration Systems
For homeowners who get their water from a well, a sediment filtration system is ideal. It captures the types of organic matter that would settle in a well like silt and dirt. Filter cartridges made from cellulose, string, paper, and polypropylene trap the dirt and silt on the surface and inside the filter as water passes through.
If you need to filter more substances than just the basic dirt and silt, there are heavy-duty sediment filtration systems that can be installed. These systems use a backwashing tank that incorporates Zeolite to treat the water. The treated water is then sent through a mechanical straining filter, ion-exchange, and finally subjected to electrostatic absorption techniques.
UV Sterilization Water Filtration
The UV sterilization water filter uses ultraviolet light to kill bacteria as it passes through a stainless steel system. The light does all the work, and no chemicals are used, but still, the bacteria is killed making the water clean for drinking even if it once contained E. Coli or giardia.
Testing Your Home’s Water
If you are using city water or community water, you can refer to the annual report generated by your local Community Confidence Report (CCR). It will detail the most recent water quality test results for your community water systems.
If you are using well water or another source shared by a household, you should periodically have the water tested at a certified water testing lab.
How Much Water Does Your Household Use?
You can get a good idea about how much water your family uses by checking the water meter outside in the late evening and rechecking it later 24 hours has elapsed. Another way to determine your water usage is to calculate water consumption based on common usage numbers. Use these common averages to determine how much water you’re using each day and then calculate what your home’s flow rate is in the most demanding time of the day.
- Dishwasher: 3 gallons per load
- Washer: 14 to 25 gallons per load
- Ten Minute Shower: 2.5 gallons per minute equals 25 gallons
- Bathtub Bathing: on average 30 gallons
- Handwashing: up to .46 gallons
- Dishwashing: 13-30 gallons
- Toileting: 1.5 gallons per flush
Determining the Water Flow Rate
The flow rate is the number of gallons per minute (GPM) used in your home. A commonly used flow rate is 15 to 40 gallons per minute. Your flow rate may vary if you have a larger or smaller home with bathrooms, a larger or smaller family or household, and more or less appliances using water. Read the label on the whole house water filter system you’re shopping for to make sure it will accommodate your family’s needs.