How to Determine the Types of Water Filters You Need for Your Home
Water impurities are spread throughout the entire country. The southern region is regarded as the worst in this category. States like Texas, Florida, and Georgia lead the list of the most polluted drinking water.
The lacking water quality means that you will need a filter. Several types of water filters serve multiple purposes. Today we’ll be exploring the ones that US residents need the most.
Types of Water Filters
Activated alumina water filters
These filters are designed to remove fluoride, arsenic, and selenium from your drinking water. Producers of these filters claim that they reduce fluoride by up to 99%. The aluminum oxide, out of which these filters are made, gives them an interesting look.
- Very efficient at removing fluoride, arsenic, and selenium
- They are usually cheap
- Depending on the pH level, aluminum can leach into the water
- Hard to install, might require a plumber
- Doesn’t remove much else
Activated carbon filters
These filters have seen a massive rise in popularity in the past couple of years. Their activated charcoal is processed to maximize the number of pores found within. These pores trap pollutant molecules and remove them from your water.
- Highly effective in removing volatile organic compounds
- Improves the smell and taste of water
- Efficient at removing chlorine and sediments
- Doesn’t require electricity
- Can’t remove minerals, salts, or dissolved inorganic compounds
- Needs replacement often
- If water flows too fast, it can’t do its job properly
- Not all bacteria get filtered by it
Ceramic is used because it has a lot of small pores on it. As such, anything larger than the pores gets blocked. You can also find models that are treated with silver to kill bacteria and prevent mold or algae in your water.
- No electricity required
- Can last for years if taken care of properly
- Efficient against bacteria and protozoa
- Relatively simple to set up
- Completely useless against viruses
- Slow to operate with high wait times
- Can clog up easily, needs frequent cleaning
Reverse osmosis filters
These filters remove the vast majority of contaminants found in drinking water. They use a membrane that rejects particles based on size and charge. The higher the ionic charge of a particular pollutant, the harder it is for it to pass through the reverse osmosis system’s membrane.
- The system can remove up to 99% of salts, particles, and bacteria.
- Because it reduces salts inside the water, it’s an excellent choice for people who use salt-based water softeners. This will make your water drinkable again.
- RO systems usually make food taste better. That’s why many restaurants choose it over other filtration methods.
- No electricity consumption whatsoever.
- A reverse osmosis system operates by pushing tap water through its membrane using your plumbing’s water pressure. This process takes time, so if you use a lot of water at once, you’ll have to wait a while before it refills.
- If you don’t do maintenance correctly, the tiny pores of its membrane can get clogged.
- Filters can add up a lot to the cost over time.
This type of water filter uses ultraviolet rays to eliminate pathogens from your water. They are meant to target microorganisms specifically and nothing else. Since a significant part of US water pollutions is microbial, these are must-haves in any region of the country.
- The best choice against bacteria, viruses and parasites alike. It removes some of the most common pathogens, such as Giardia, Hepatitis, and E. Coli.
- Most US waters have pathogens inside them, so you will most probably need a UV filter.
- Very easy to install, requires no plumbing skills whatsoever.
- Low maintenance – just change the bulb and sleeve once a year.
- Needs pairing with a filter that stops inorganic materials.
- It requires electricity, which makes it useless in emergencies or survival situations.
8 out of 10 homes in the United States have to face hard water. Even though hard water isn’t toxic, it still causes trouble. Minerals inside the water affect your everyday life in many ways. They leave residue on your dishes, showerhead, faucet, and others. They stick to your hair and skin, making shampoo and soap hard to remove. Many people rely on water softeners to solve this issue, but we recommend water descalers for several reasons.
- The descaler changes the shape of mineral crystals to make them less sticky. As a result, your water becomes softened without losing its nutritional qualities.
- It reduces the formation of limestone in your pipes. Your plumbing system will become easier to clean. And it will need cleaning far less often.
- The process doesn’t add any sodium or chemicals in your water. You can water your plants, give water to your kids and pets without worrying about their health.
- Using a water descaler prevents the chances of your pipes getting clogged by excessive hard minerals.
- Easily installable without a plumber’s help. Even if you’ve never installed one before, you’ll be ready in approximately 10 minutes.
- They’re eco-friendly because they don’t waste any water.
- It takes time to notice improvements, depending on how hard your water is.
- It requires electricity. If the power goes out, it stops working.
People have been using water distillers for many years. Distillation is a process that purifies water. It’s meant to make water as “natural” as humanly possible. Using a distiller is quite simple once you learn the process. Countertop distillers are the most practical if you want to engage in water distillation.
- The process removes bacteria and most contaminants.
- It greatly improves the taste and smell of water.
- You don’t need to replace anything. There are no filters to take care of, and the equipment can last for a very long time.
- The process is sluggish. It can even take hours to produce only a small batch of distilled water.
- It requires electricity to work.
Pitcher-style water filters
Out of all the types of water filters, this one is probably the least expensive. Its low cost and portability make it so easy to use that it’s practically seamless. These filters use activated charcoal/carbon to do the job. As the water passes through the top part, it drops into the container. From there, you can simply pour it in a glass. But with portability come limitations. You can’t use it to filter the water inside your pipes actively. So you won’t be able to filter the water in your heater. However, it’s still a great pick if you plan on going camping.
- Small price compared to other filtering methods.
- It can remove numerous chemicals and minerals.
- You can just carry it by hand or put it in a bag.
- Not a single other filter is easier to use than this type.
- It’s relatively slow.
- Minimal capacity. These filters usually can’t take more than two liters of water at a time.
- You can’t use it to actively filter water in your pipes. So it won’t filter your shower water.
Countertop water filters
If you only want to filter out your tap water and nothing else, these are a good choice. They’re a better choice than faucet filters overall. That’s why we chose to put them on this list instead of their lesser alternative. These small devices connect to your faucet and filter your water actively as you turn on the tap.
- Relatively low price when it comes to their overall value.
- They generally offer proper filtration, as they are able to take out bacteria, nitrates, fluoride, arsenic, and other pollutants.
- Low maintenance. You only need to change the water filter a few times per year, depending on the model you buy.
- They take up space on your countertop despite their small size.
- They’re only useful for filtering tape water. Your washing machine, showerhead, and other appliances will still be affected if you have pollutants or hard water.
Frequently asked questions about types of water filters
- What should I use if my main goal is to get rid of hard water?
A water descaler is by far the best choice when it comes to softening water. It doesn’t use salt or any other chemicals to remove hardness. Instead, it turns calcium and magnesium crystals into ions. They’ll no longer stick to anything. As a result, your pipes will be less likely to clog. And limescale deposits throughout your plumbing system and water-based appliances will be greatly reduced. You also get the added bonus of retaining your water’s nutritional qualities.
- Since pathogens are the most common pollutants, what filter should I pick?
UV filters are one of the only four FDA-approved methods of disinfecting water. They work on all pathogens and microorganisms. Ultraviolet rays target them at their DNA level to disable their genetic code and stop them from spreading. However, it is important to note that it doesn’t work on inorganic materials. As such, your filter won’t work on minerals, metals, pharmaceuticals, or man-made pollutants. In fact, if your water has any of these, they will block the ultraviolet rays and their effect. You need to pair your UV filter with one that absorbs inorganic matter.
- My water is fine. I don’t think I need a filter. Should I get one anyway?
Even though your water may be fine now, you never know what the future holds. What happened in Flint, Michigan, and Newark, New Jersey, are just some of the more recent examples of water system failures. If the citizens of the two cities had their own water filters, they wouldn’t have had to deal with the local authorities’ incompetence. It’s always a better idea to prevent disaster instead of trying to fix it after it has already struck.
- What filter should I use if I get my water from a private well?
Private wells are an ideal place for bacteria to grow. If you live on a farm, the water in your well can get infected from numerous sources. For example, using animal waste disposal systems, pits, and lagoons of manure, animal feedlots or pesticides, and weed killers near the well. The examples could continue on and on, but one thing’s clear. Private wells are usually highly susceptible to bacteria and other pollutants. In this case, we recommend using a UV filter with a pre-filtering system or an activated carbon filter. The pre-filter or carbon filter will get rid of most inorganic contaminants, while the UV will get rid of bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
- I live in Flint, Michigan, or another area where water is contaminated with lead. What filter is best for me?
Theoretically, Reverse Osmosis Filters can remove lead. However, we would recommend searching for filters that are designed specifically for lead removal. The market is full of such filters, and you can find user reviews for them. Since lead is highly toxic, this problem isn’t meant to be taken lightly.
The bottom line about types of water filters
No filter can remove all types of contaminants. Depending on what pollutants you have in your water, you will need to look at the pros and cons of each filter to determine what’s best for you. If your water has several types of contaminants, there’s a high chance you might need to pair two filters together.
However, since over 80% of US households have hard water, and most water pollutants are microbial, we recommend taking into consideration water descalers and UV filters.
These are guaranteed to remove water hardness and pathogens, respectively. Unlike water softeners, water descalers don’t take out nutritious mineral from the water; rather, it turns them into ions. And UV filters are the best choice for getting rid of bacteria, viruses, and parasites alike.
The advantages of these two far outweigh their downsides. And our money-back guarantee ensures that you’ll get your money back in case you are not satisfied with our products’ results. If you have any questions regarding our offers, feel free to contact us.