Recently, innumerable ways of filtering tap water have been discovered. And while it’s great to have options, choosing one can be really overwhelming. However, that doesn’t mean you just pick one. Considering factors like budget, location, and needs can help you figure out which type of water filter is best for you. But, first, let’s find out how using a water filter can actually help you.
Why Should You Use A Water Filter?
Tap water might seem harmless, but it’s full of added chemicals. Cities often use chemical disinfectants to ensure that water is safe for use. For example, chlorine is added to water to kill viruses and bacteria like Cryptosporidium, even as they travel through pipes. These microbes may cause sickness or even death, especially in people with weak immune systems.1 Chemicals called dichlorophenols are also used to kill bacteria in water. However, high intakes of such chemicals can actually increase the risk of food allergies according to a 2012 study.2
Furthermore, contaminants like arsenic, lead, and pesticides can also sneak into tap water. While most cities do a good job at controlling these toxins, how can you know for sure?3 The best way to avoid any such uncertainty and stay healthy is to use a water filter.
Here are 5 different kinds of water filters and their pros and cons to help you pick the right one for your needs.
What Are The Different Types Of Water Filters?
Every filter eliminates different levels or types of contaminants. Before choosing one, test your local tap water. It’s the best way to know which filter will fit your needs.
1. Filter Pitchers
Inexpensive water pitchers are a smart choice for small households. Most models have granular activated carbon and resins that bond and trap toxins, including lead. However, depending on the filter’s pore size, specific contaminants may or may not be removed. Always double check to make sure it fits your needs.
Also, don’t forget that carbon filters have a shelf life. Keep tabs on expiration dates and replace the filters accordingly.
2. Faucet Filters
You can also attach a filter directly to the faucet. This is more convenient than a pitcher and doesn’t require regular fill-ups. It uses the same technology as pitchers and may reduce lead, protozoan cysts, and other contaminants.
Just like with pitchers, be sure to regularly switch out the filters.
Distilled water, which is available in stores, can be prepared at home with a distiller. Distillers kill microbes and germs by boiling water and collecting vapor. And although they leave behind most chemicals, they also destroy useful minerals, making distilled water unsuitable for drinking. This also why many people feel distilled water tastes flat. Regardless, such water comes in handy for humidifiers and nasal rinses.
4. Reverse Osmosis Units
A reverse osmosis unit, which forces water through a semipermeable membrane, is the best water filter to use for the whole house. It uses three times as much water than it treats, but it kills pretty much all microbes. A majority of the chemicals are also eliminated.
5. Water Softeners
Another type of whole-house filtering system is a water softener. It’s installed straight into the water line where resin reduces water-hardening minerals like calcium and magnesium.4 Soft water is also thought to extend the lifespan of pipes.
After deciding which filter suits your needs, take time to shop around. Check out reviews and do your research. If you’re choosing a whole-house system, look into the schedule and cost of maintenance as well.
|↑1, ↑3, ↑4||Filtration Facts. Environmental Protection Agency.|
|↑2||Jerschow, Elina, Aileen P. McGinn, Gabriele De Vos, Natalia Vernon, Sunit Jariwala, Golda Hudes, and David Rosenstreich. “Dichlorophenol-containing pesticides and allergies: results from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006.” Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 109, no. 6 (2012): 420-425.|