How to choose a water filter: we know which filter is best
The quality of our tap water is, to say the least, always in doubt. Admit it, drinking raw tap water is an extreme activity that can lead to serious health problems. Therefore, buying a good filter is a top priority.
If you don't like to risk your health, you must be thinking about how to choose water filters in Oregon and the whole USA. The variety of offers on the market will make even the bravest confused.
We will help you put everything in its place and decide on the choice - this article discusses the existing varieties of filtering devices and their characteristics.
Filter types by design
There are several basic types of household water filters.
In order to decide on the choice, it is better to study in detail the principle of operation, advantages, and disadvantages of each species, so as not to be confused by the variety of proposals.
Type #1 is a jug of clean water.
The simplest type of filter for drinking water is a jug. It looks very simple, the name speaks for itself. The filter is a plastic vessel in the form of a jug.
A removable cartridge is installed in a special opening. It purifies water from impurities in the ways that combine mechanical, chemical, less often biological purification.
To understand the principle of the filter-jug, it is necessary to consider its "heart" - the replacement cartridge in the section.
Inside it can be very diverse, it all depends on the manufacturer, but the technology is always the same. Water enters the filter from above, passes all levels of purification sequentially, and gets into the jug.
What kind of filter media can be in your filter sinkhole:
- Activated charcoal. The most common component. Thanks to the high level of adsorption, almost all harmful organic impurities are removed from the water;
- It is found in filters very often. It removes ammonia and other organic compounds;
- Shungite. Added to the cartridge to remove chlorine and its residues from the water;
- Ion-exchange resin. Softener, used in cartridges marked "for hard water";
- Antibacterial additives. Most often based on silver ions - serve to prevent growth and multiplication of bacteria, algae, and other unwanted animals inside the cartridge during its use.
The main advantages of jug category water purifiers are their compactness and mobility. They can be carried and transported wherever you want, left on the table, placed in the kitchen cupboard, or at least in the fridge.
A great plus - ease of use: poured, waited, ready. Attracts an affordable price in comparison with other types of filters.
From lacks allocate average quality of clearing - all depends on the initial quality of tap water. Not happy with frequent cartridge replacement and small volume.
Type #2 - flow variants of filters
Flowing varieties are leading the way among the mechanical water treatment devices.
There are several options for implementing this method:
- in the form of a tap attachment;
- for washing and for the mainline.
Desktop - the easiest variant in operation. The cleaning system is a replaceable cartridge in a plastic case.
On one side there is a tap for purified water, on the other - a flexible hose connecting the filter to the water tap.
To clean tap water, a nozzle is placed on the tap and a weak pressure is activated. When all levels of cleaning have been completed, ready-to-use water flows out of the filter.
The filter nozzle on the tap is the same technology but in a different design. Manufacturers have simply reduced the distance between the cartridge and the mixer spout.
The filter nozzle has a universal mounting and can be mounted on the mixer both with external thread and with internal thread. The obvious advantage is that it does not take up space. Installing the nozzle is as easy as a desktop model - you can do without calling a plumber.
The filter system under the sink is the most radical method among flow filters.
Installation requires free space directly under the sink and space for a separate tap on top. This filter is connected directly to water pipes and then to the mixer.
The modular filter system is a console with plastic flasks. They are installed in the course of water movement according to the degree of purification.
The first one is mechanical filtration with the retention of large mineral and organic inclusions. Then the water passes through the modules that conduct sorption, softening, de-ironing.
Apart from the large size, this option has no significant disadvantages. The degree of purification does not, of course, reach more expensive reverse osmosis systems, but it is quite suitable for domestic use.
Type #3 - Upgraded cleaning with ultrafilter.
Despite its loud name, the Ultrafilter is a kind of flow device with a location under the sink. It also consists of several flow modules connected in series with different characteristics.
In fact, the Ultrafilter is something between a conventional flow system and a reverse osmosis system.
The main difference between an Ultrafilter and a special fine diaphragm located in a fine module cartridge. The size of the holes is between 0.1 and 0.01 µm.
Water enters the membrane after having passed all stages of mechanical cleaning: coal, polypropylene, etc. The pore size of the membrane is so small that it does not let in even some bacteria and viruses, not to mention large particles.
The ultrafilter disinfects the water without changing its chemical structure and mineral composition, which occurs during boiling, for example.
Type #4 - reverse osmosis system.
The reverse osmosis system is currently the most advanced method of tap water treatment. The system includes mechanical filters for preliminary purification from sand, rust, organic compounds, chlorine, ammonia.
This is followed by a membrane with pores of 0.0001 µm filtering water at the molecular level. After the membrane treatment, the filtered water enters a special tank and all harmful impurities are discharged into the sewage system.
The design of the system is quite complex and can be retrofitted with additional components if desired:
- pump - at low inlet pressure;
- a pressure reduction reducer - if the pressure is too high;
- a tourmaline cartridge - to restore the water structure;
- increased water tank - for apartments with high consumption;
- mineralizer - enriches water with calcium, magnesium, sodium;
- ultraviolet block - control sterilization of water.
The disadvantage of reverse osmosis systems is considered energy dependence and the need to maintain a stable head.
Criteria for choosing a good filter
So how do you know which of all the water filters is better? When choosing a filter for home use or townhouse, it is important to pay attention to several important criteria.
To see which one is right for you, consider:
- average water consumption;
- the degree of purification;
- the space available in the kitchen;
- your estimated purchase budget.
Above all, consider water consumption. It depends on the number of people living in the apartment.
Criterion #1 - daily water consumption
It is recommended to drink about 2 liters of water daily. Add to this amount 1 liter of soup, tea, and coffee, which is also better prepared on filtered water, and get an approximate norm - 3 liters of water per adult per day.
By means of simple calculations it is possible to derive a monthly consumption rate for a three-person family:
3 people*3 l/day*30 days. =270 l.
Having compared the obtained figures with the declared resource and performance of the filter, it is possible to choose a suitable model.
If you take into account that the average resource of the jug cartridge is 250-300 liters, then a family of three people will have to change it every month. This is not very rational. It is better to buy the jug as a temporary portable filter, for example, for travel or for townhouse.
Let's look at the same family of three people who, by our estimates, consume 270 liters of treated water per month.
Having studied the market, we see that the resource of cartridges for the reverse osmosis system is 3-6 thousand liters. Approximately the same picture with sorption flow filters - 3.5-8 thousand liters.
Min. 3000 l. : 270 l/mes. = 11 months.
Max. 8000 l. : 270 l/month : 270 l/month = 30 months.
However, manufacturers do not recommend using the same cartridge system for more than a year or even less. For a family of 3 people will fit any of the filters for washing. Moreover, it makes no sense to buy a filter with a higher consumption resource - it is unlikely to be able to use all 8000 liters per year.
Criterion #2 - water quality without a filter
What only does not come to our apartments under the guise of tap water: sand, rust, algae, fungi, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, all kinds of salts, acids, and bases - the list can continue.
It is therefore advisable to see the original picture before purchasing the filter.
You will not find it out on your own unless you have your own mini-laboratory and you are a chemist. The rest of you will have to collect water for examination. You could go to a plumbing station and take samples for analysis. Faster, but more expensive, private labs.
One of the key indicators is rigidity. It's no secret that the tap water is very stiff. But how hard? The lab will give you the exact value in mg-eq. If it's within 8, then a flow filter is allowed.
But such a system is unlikely to cope with very hard water - 8-12+ mg-eq. At this level of hardness, only a reverse osmosis system will work, which simply will not let hardness salts molecules through the membrane.
Another direct indication for the installation of a reverse osmosis filter is the presence of organic matter in the water.
Fungi, bacteria, viruses, even the simplest multicellular microorganisms - none of the above will get into your glass after passing the membrane and final cleaning with UV light.
Criterion #3 - free space and price.
The availability of free space is understandable. Not every kitchen has space for a large "sink" system, while an extra 15 cm2 for a jug on the table can always be arranged.
Often, the choice of filter is limited to the financial issue.
Position the filters in order of their value:
Jug - the average price of 10-12 $.
The nozzle on the tap - 12-15 $.
Desktop flowing - 22-25 $.
Flow system for washing 60-80 $.
Flow filter with a membrane - Ultrafilter - $ 80-85.
Reverse osmosis system in different configurations - 180-200 $.
An important nuance - the quality of parts. All connecting elements must be of proper quality.
Criterion #4- the need for filter maintenance
Buying and installing a filter is not everything. It needs to be taken care of all the time.
Some systems are designed in such a way that you do not need to go to the masters for full operation, everything is easily replaced and installed by your own hands in a few minutes.
It is on the list of mandatory regular procedures:
replacement of mechanical cleaning cartridges (for any filter - after the declared water consumption or after the end of the service life);
- Reverse osmosis membrane replacement or in the ultrafilter (term depends on water quality and usage mode, on average once every 1.5 years);
- membrane rinsing (if the membrane is to be repaired chemically, it is much cheaper to rinse it than to change it);
- rinsing the valve and its prevention;
- backfilling of filters (replacement of cartridge fillers, de-ironers, softeners);
- regeneration of the softener with chemicals (if any).