Water is essential to life, but not all water is created equal. If you haven’t yet invested in a water filter for your home, you’ll want to take a moment to consider the many benefits of cleaner, safer, and more delicious water.
Water filters are a great investment for anyone who values their health, tastes the difference between good and great water, or hates using plastic bottles.
But how do you know if you need a water filter?
Read on and find out why you might need a water filter, the different types of water filtration systems available, and how to choose the right water filter for your home.
Reasons Why You Need a Water Filter
In an ideal world, every cup of water should be as clean and refreshing as a cool dip in the ocean. But unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Have you ever taken a sip of tap water and thought, “Wow, this tastes like a sweaty gym sock?”
Chances are, that bad taste comes from the chemicals and contaminants in your water. And if your water doesn’t taste good, not only does it make drinking enough water to stay hydrated harder and less pleasant, but according to experts, bad-tasting water can be bad for your health.
Not all water that smells bad is bad for you, but water that has a foul odor can sometimes be an indicator of something in the water that’s not good.
Some common causes include:
- High lead levels in your pipes: Lead is an extremely toxic metal that’s especially harmful to kids and pregnant women. It can enter your water supply via corroded pipes or lead service lines.
- Dissolved minerals: Minerals like iron, manganese, and sulfur can give water an unpleasant smell or taste. These minerals can also cause staining and scaling in sinks and plumbing fixtures, leading to clogs and other problems with your plumbing system.
- Bacteria growth in your plumbing: Bacteria can also lead to a bad smell or taste in your water and it can also pose serious health risks.
If you live in an older building, there’s no telling how old your pipes are. They may contain lead and other harmful chemicals that could contaminate your drinking water.
Another common issue with old pipes is rust. If you notice a reddish-brown tint to your drinking water this means there’s a lot of rust sloshing around in the pipes that bring water to your home.
While this may not be harmful to you, it could damage your plumbing system over time, leading to expensive repairs.
Sediment is one of the first things that you want to be on the lookout for when it comes to your water. This is because sediment can cause plenty of issues such as clogged pipes (see also ‘What Causes High Suction Pressure?‘) and fixtures and a change in your water’s color, taste, appearance, and odor. Sediment is typically caused by organic and inorganic solids that are in your water.
Dry Skin and Hair
When the water you’re using in your shower has a ton of chemicals in it, you can expect to see those chemicals at work on your skin and hair. They can dry out your skin and hair, they can cause irritation, they can even make you break out. And that’s not even mentioning the long-term implications.
High Water Bills
Hard water can make you spend more money on your utility bills.
Think about it – if you’ve got a dishwasher or washing machine that has scale buildup, it is likely to work harder than it has to in order to get the same results. That means using extra energy, which can jack up your utility costs over time.
Benefits of Using a Water Filter
Better Tasting Water
Filtered water tastes better, and there are many reasons for this. Filtered water gets rid of any weird “off” tastes that can sometimes come from our tap water. It also gets rid of any odors that may be present in our tap water.
By using a water filter, you can enjoy all the benefits of pure-tasting water without buying tons of bottled drinking water.
Improved Water Quality
One of the main benefits of using a water filter is that you’ll notice an improved quality in the water you drink. This is important for two reasons: first, it’s more enjoyable to drink water that tastes good, and second, clean drinking water is good for your health.
Hard water can make it difficult for the detergent to work effectively, causing your clothes to stay dirtier than they should be. But by installing a water filter, you’ll have access to soft water that will make it easier for your detergent to do its job, leaving your clothes cleaner and brighter.
Safer and Softer Water
One of the most important benefits of using a water filter to purify your home’s water supply is that it removes hard metals from your water.
Hard metals commonly found in tap water, include copper, lead, and mercury. These metals can lead to serious health problems and cause damage to your plumbing and other parts of your home.
Longer Appliance Life
A good water filter will help your appliances last longer. Less sediment and other debris in your water means less wear and tear on your pipes and less damage to the appliances that use it.
Improved Skin Texture and Hair
A water filter (see also ‘Water Filter Vs. Water Softener: Which One Do You Need?‘) can soften the water you’re using at home, which makes it better for your skin and hair. Soft water is less likely to cause dryness, irritation, or itchiness,
And that’s not all, it also means that you won’t have to use as much shampoo or soap, which will save you money.
Another benefit of using a water filter at home is that it can save you money in the long run. This is because it eliminates the need to buy bottled water, which can be quite expensive.
The good thing about installing a home water filtration system (see also ‘How Much Does a Water Filtration System Cost?‘) is that it will pay off over time because it reduces waste by eliminating disposable plastic bottles. It also reduces costs by removing contaminants from municipal (city) sources before they enter your home piping system, which prevents high water bills, and costly repairs or replacements in the future.
Types Of Water Filteration Systems
Whole-House Water Filteration Systems
A whole-house water filtration system is exactly what it sounds like: a filtration system installed in your home to filter your entire house’s water supply.
Unlike drinking water filters that need to be replaced regularly and only treat one source of water at a time, a whole-house filtration system is installed on the main water line of your home.
This means that all of the water sources in your home from kitchen sinks to bathroom sinks to toilets are filtered through the same filtration system.
The two most common types of whole-house filtration systems are reverse osmosis and activated carbon.
- Reverse osmosis filtration System– Reverse osmosis is a system that pushes water through a semi-permeable membrane in order to filter out most of its impurities. The water is forced through the membrane under pressure, which enables the filter to remove contaminants down to the atomic level.
- Activated carbon filtration system – This system is used to capture and contain a wide range of contaminants, from chlorine to industrial chemicals. It is a type of water filtration system that uses activated carbon granules or blocks to remove harmful substances from the water.
Whole-house water filtration systems are especially well suited for homes where the local municipal water is known to have contaminants. And where the homeowner gets their water from a well or has otherwise poor-quality groundwater in their area
Ultraviolet (UV) Water Purifiers
Ultraviolet (UV) water purifiers are a type of system for making contaminated water potable. The system uses UV rays to kill microorganisms and make the water safe to drink. The process is effective against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. It is also capable of destroying chlorine-resistant microorganisms such as cryptosporidium and giardia lamblia.
UV water purifiers are ideal for situations in which chemicals cannot be used to purify the water, or when chemical treatment would make the water too expensive to be practical. UV systems are also very effective at treating large volumes of water quickly, making them ideal for emergency use in disaster situations such as floods or earthquakes.
A distillation system (see also ‘How To Make Distilled Water‘) is used to remove contaminants from water. It uses the natural process of evaporation and condensation to remove contaminants that have boiling points higher than water, including dissolved salts, microorganisms, and chemicals.
The process begins by heating water until it evaporates into steam. As the steam rises, it leaves behind the unwanted contaminants. Since there are no longer impurities in the steam, it can be cooled and condensed back into a liquid state leaving you with pure drinking water that you can also use for other purposes.
These systems are highly effective, easy to install, cost-effective over time, and are suitable for situations where:
- The source contains abrasive materials that cannot be filtered out
- The source contains biologically active contaminants and the system must produce sterile water
- The source is contaminated with volatile organic compounds or other chemicals that would pass through a filter
- A reliable supply of water is needed
Water softeners are systems that remove calcium and magnesium, two natural elements that can cause water to be hard.
These minerals are responsible for many problems throughout a home, including spots on dishes and glasses, itchy skin and hair, and a scale buildup in plumbing fixtures.
There are two types of water softeners (see also ‘How To Add Salt To A Water Softener‘) available: salt-based and salt-free water softeners.
- Salt-based softeners use a chemical process called ion exchange to capture hard minerals and replace them with sodium ions. The mineral deposits are then flushed from the system.
- Salt-free systems use different methods to neutralize hard mineral ions so that they will not stick to surfaces.
It’s important to note that neither of these systems actually soften the water. They just make the water safer and easier to use.
Water softeners (see also ‘When Should You Replace A Water Softener?‘) are best used in areas where the water is especially hard and they are most effective when used in conjunction with a water filter, which can remove other contaminants such as chemicals and sediment.
How To Choose The Right Water Filter For Your Home
Water filters have come a long way in just the past few years. While that means there are more options to choose from, it can still feel overwhelming.
That said, here are some tips for making sure you find the right water filter for your needs.
Determine the Type of Filter You Need
If you have established that you need a water filter, you need to figure out what type you need. There are so many options – you can get a pitcher, a faucet attachment, or even a whole-home system.
Each works differently and has its own advantages and disadvantages. You should look up reviews of each type and find one that sounds like it would work best with your family’s needs.
Think About Space and Installation
Another thing to consider is how much space you have for a water filter. If you’re living in an apartment or small house, then going for one of the larger options might not be feasible.
Some of the filtration systems also require installation, which can be costly depending on the size and complexity of the system. You should also think about where you want your filter. Do you want one under the sink? Attached to your fridge? Or connected to your main water line?
Set Your Budget
Think about how much money you’re willing to spend on a water filter. This will help narrow down your choices significantly, as there’s a huge range of prices when it comes to these products. How much you want to spend will depend on the size of your household and your personal finances, so do what feels right for you.
Filtering water can help you and your family live a healthy life, give you fresh water, and save you money. You can’t go wrong with that, neither can you go wrong keeping as much plastic out of the oceans as possible.
The only thing you need to do next is find the right water filter for your situation. If you know how to go about this, then you will get yourself the best water filter that serves your purpose well.