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Buying A Water Filter System Things To Know

Updated on August 21, 2017

Buying a water filter system for your home is an important choice to make, because contaminant-free, drinking water will go a long way in keeping your family healthy.

This is regardless or whether you have town water attached or are using a rainwater tank to get your drinking water needs.

Yet because there is such a high demand for water systems, along with the good there are also some pretty bad products being offered.

The top companies generally are the most reputable and honest, but there are always a few marketers that can't be trusted.

Is Tap Water Really Contaminated?

Some reasons why tap water is contaminated include improperly disposing everyday items such as paint, cleaning solvents and motor oil into sewer systems. This becomes industrial waste, and the problem seems to be occurring everyday, as you read about accidental leaks or large companies using illegal methods to dispose of toxic waste. It seems that using a good water filter is essential.

Stay Clear Of Shady Companies

Companies that are murky on the specifics of their water filter product should be avoided. If you call them regarding the details, you may learn that what they are offering is not a water purifier at all, but merely a filtering system that blocks some chlorine and eliminates odor.

The company's data sheets should include information about how effectively each contaminant will be addressed and removed. There are drinking water filtering systems that will remove all of them, but you have to be a smart shopper to find them.

Is The Water Filter Sold Nation Wide

Another great way to tell if the filter you are considering is effective is if it is not sold in specific states. There is always a good reason why this is so. In states such as Wisconsin, California and Massachusetts, companies are required by law to have their products certified by independent laboratories.

During the certification process, claims must be verified before the product can be sold. It is then obvious that companies who provide inferior systems will avoid the states with regulations.

For those companies that have excellent water quality performance records, California also provides a department of health certification. To receive this certificate, extensive testing is required. If you see that a company has the certification, you can rest assured that you have found a quality, home water filter product that will work as it should.

Many people would like to start using some type of water filter, but don't really know where to begin. There are many brands and types available. Yet don't believe that the most expensive models are the best, as that is not always the case. The same philosophy goes for the cheapest units as well.

Though some water filters are cheap and tend to do a good job, they require expensive replacement cartridges, which can end up costing you more in the long run than purchasing a higher priced filter.

The Science Behind UV Water Filter Systems

The concept of using ultraviolet (UV) light to purify water has existed for over one hundred years.

Yet in spite of its early beginnings, the science behind ultraviolet light disinfection is rather complex.

To understand the fundamentals of how UV light is able to purify water for drinking requires a somewhat deeper understanding of chemistry, physics and biology. In this article, the science behind disinfecting tap water using UV water filter systems is discussed.

What is UV Light

UV light actually refers to wavelengths of light that occur between visible light and x-rays on the electromagnetic spectrum.

Ultraviolet light can be sub-categorized into three categories: UV-A, B and C. UV-A and B are probably the most well known of the ultraviolet wavelengths since they are responsible for browning the skin when you get a suntan or sunburn. UV-C light is a greater energy and is a more damaging form of ultraviolet light. It is this form of UV light that is used in UV water filter systems.

Understanding Bacteria In The Water

The end result of cell reproduction is two identical cells, each with a functional copy of DNA as well as all of the other necessary structures for the cell to function. This is true for human cells as well as for plants, animals and the bacteria and viruses that can sometimes be found in drinking water.

For DNA to replicate, a special protein travels its length and splits it in half. Using the ladder analogy, this protein then travels down the ladder and splits each rung along the way. What results are two separate molecules that each resembles a side of a ladder. During normal DNA replication, the protein travels down the ladder and as each rung is split, each side is immediately rebuilt.

What results are two identical strands of DNA; one for each of the resulting cells.

Ultraviolet-C light is able to penetrate through cells and attack the DNA inside them. UV-C actually fuses some of the rungs of the ladder together. After the DNA of a cell has been exposed to enough ultraviolet-C light and some of the DNA rungs have been fused, the protein that is responsible for splitting the DNA cannot do its job. As it encounters a fused rung, it just stops completely, and the replication stops along with it.

This keeps the cell from being able to reproduce. Therefore, a viral or bacterial cell that can't reproduce is also not capable of causing an infection. To say it another way, if a viral or bacterial cell cannot reproduce, then it can't make anyone sick.

Manufacturers of UV water filter systems produce varying sizes of filters to address different water conditions and flow rates. A slower water flow rate means that the water that is undergoing treatment stays in the filtering system for a longer period of time.

For systems with higher flow rates, a longer UV lamp is required to make sure that the dose of ultraviolet light is adequate.


Is The Reverse Osmosis Water System Right For You?

A reverse osmosis filter, or RO water system, can be very valuable for removing water contaminants, including arsenic and dissolved solids.

How Does This All Work?

A reverse osmosis filtering system works by forcing water through a semi-permeable membrane. When something is referred to as semi-permeable, it simply means that some molecules can pass through the filter, while others cannot.

This forces the cleaned, treated water through the membrane, while leaving the contaminants behind. Let's take a look at the stages involved in the process and whether RO is right for your family.

A sediment pre-filter is used to extract larger contaminants like dirt, sand, dust, grit and rust particles from the water when present. An optional secondary carbon pre-filter is used to extract most of the organic chemicals and chlorine; providing enhanced taste and reduction of odor while helping to protect the reverse osmosis membrane, which can be vulnerable to chlorine.

What is The Membrane?

A RO membrane is normally made from a thin film composite. An optional carbon post-filter is used to capture any chemicals that are still present. This step also helps guard against any tainting which might occur within the device's water storage tank.

Another option, an ultraviolet light (UV-C), is incorporated into the process to disinfect the water of any organisms that may have escaped the reverse osmosis membrane.

These Water Filter Systems Can Be Bulky

A RO water system can be bulky, which means it will take up a lot of cabinet space under or near the sink. Here are a few other shortcomings of reverse osmosis water filtering systems.

Unlike faucet, counter top or carafe filters, reverse osmosis filters require plumbing modifications and need to be installed by a professional.

If you don't mind modifying your plumbing and giving up some cabinet space, then a RO filtering system may be the perfect choice for you.

A RO water system may not be appropriate for everyone, since by its very nature it is a wasteful process; it flushes away three to four gallons of water for every one gallon of clean water that passes through. If your water has a poor taste or smell to it, then you could consider a carbon-based, multi-stage filtering system that incorporates reverse osmosis into the process.

Whether you choose a reverse osmosis system or a system that incorporates several types of filters into one unit, do your research before you buy; water filtering systems can be very expensive.

We Would Like To Hear Your Comments

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    • Michael Eliot profile image

      Michael Leach 4 years ago from Rosarito Beach, Baja, Norte, Mexico

      It is a good topic, for any article site. Over the past few months I've become somewhat of a water quality activist here in the US. We've got significant ground water issues here, and few folks are aware of the seriousness. I look forward to your articles.

    • matryx profile image

      Ron Cripps 4 years ago from Australia

      Hi Michael thank you very much for the kind words. I thought this would be a great topic for HubPages and I have a few more articles to add as yet to get it all finished.

    • Michael Eliot profile image

      Michael Leach 4 years ago from Rosarito Beach, Baja, Norte, Mexico

      Great hub! Important information and very well-written. Thanks