You deserve the cleanest water possible in your home. Whether you get your water from a municipal supply or a private well, a water treatment system can make your water cleaner, both in terms of providing clean tasting and clear water and helping to reduce the levels of contaminants. When it comes to choosing a water treatment system for your home, you have several options that each offer unique advantages and disadvantages.
As you think about adding a new filtration technology, you’ll want to know the types of water filtration methods available for your house, along with their pros and cons. With that information, you’ll be better prepared to determine the appropriate water treatment system for your needs.
Why Water Treatment Matters in Your Home
One of the most important aspects to your health is staying properly hydrated. Besides simply consuming enough water each day, you also should be concerned with the quality of the water you’re drinking. You might not realize it, but unclean water results in hundreds of thousands of deaths per year.
Unclean water can also severely impair a person’s quality of life. For example, the presence of lead and other chemicals in water can damage organs, cause cancer, and lead to learning disabilities in children.
For those who live in an area with access to clean drinking water, effective treatment can still improve the water’s quality. Using a water treatment system can:
- Reduce contaminants: The average adult should drink about 11.5 to 15.5 cups of water per day — therefore, it’s crucial to avoid drinking water that contains harmful chemicals or contaminants that could negatively affect your health. Contaminated drinking water causes an estimated 485,000 deaths a year. Additionally, contaminated water can cause gastrointestinal illnesses and spread diseases like polio, dysentery, typhoid, and cholera.
- Soften hard water: Sometimes, municipal water is hard, which means it contains a high amount of dissolved minerals. While hard water isn’t generally considered a health hazard, it can still cause negative effects. Hard water can make shampoo difficult to rinse out or prevent soap from foaming up. It can also make dishware look dull and foggy after cleaning or cause white laundry to take on a gray tint. Some water treatment systems can filter these minerals out.
- Keep water appetizing: Most municipalities use disinfectants such as chlorine or chloramine that can lead to bad smelling and tasting in water. Additionally, water can contain gritty sediment or a high iron content that can take on a rusty tint. Though this discoloration doesn’t represent a health threat, the water’s visual effect can make it much less appetizing to people who aren’t used to it. A good water treatment system filters out several disinfecting chemicals, the iron and sediment to help ensure your water comes out clear and tasting great.
The Pros and Cons of Different Water Filtration Methods
Various water filtration methods are available to consumers. As each method relies on a different water treatment process, and numerous pros and cons come with each one. To choose the best water filtration technique for your home, you should be aware of the differences between the main filtration systems, along with their applications and benefits.
As you read, keep in mind that different water filtration brands offer varying performance levels. Some brands won’t filter out as many contaminants as others. Some will need to have their filters and other key components switched out at shorter intervals. Since different methods of filtration don’t always remove the same contaminants, you’ll want to check for third-party certifications and water filtration testing, like NSF Certification, to ensure you’re getting the best product possible.
The most common types of water treatment systems are:
1. Reverse Osmosis Drinking Filters
One popular water filtration method is reverse osmosis. Drinking systems equipped with this technology utilize a multistage filtration process. In the beginning, water passes through a sediment prefilter, which is constructed to stop larger particulates like silt and sand. In the next step, the water travels through a carbon filter to remove chlorine before it goes to the heart of any reverse osmosis drinking filter: the membrane.
By using high water pressure, the filter pushes the water through a membrane with small pores. The pores let the water flow through the membrane while blocking some contaminants. The water then passes into a pressured storage tank where it is stored until it is needed.
This water filtration process is known for its highly effective ability to reduce the presence of viruses, bacteria, and protozoa. It protects households from ailments like Norovirus, Hepatitis A, Salmonella, and Giardia, among many others. A reverse osmosis system can also treat chemical contaminants like copper, chromium, sodium, lead, and chloride.
One of the primary advantages of a reverse osmosis system is how well it removes chemicals and heavy metals from a home’s water. Health-conscious households concerned about their water quality often choose this filter. Another benefit is that these filters don’t require electricity to work.
Despite this filtering method’s perks, there are still a few cons. Wasted water is a constant issue with reverse osmosis, with homeowners only receiving a portion of drinkable water after the process is complete. In fact, these systems often end up wasting 2 to 10 gallons of water for every single gallon of filtered water produced. Besides wasting water, the process also removes healthy minerals like magnesium and calcium from the water.
Additionally, the water system can be quite complex to install and maintain, which can lead to extra costs. After installation, they also tend to take up a great deal of space due to their holding tanks and filters. Finally, a reverse osmosis system processes water slowly and therefore generally has a limited storage tank, usually only holding 2 to 3 gallons of water before running out.
2. UV Water Purification
Ultraviolet (UV) water purification allows households to treat their water with UV light. At a high enough intensity, UV light produces enough radiation to deactivate a microorganism’s DNA.
Typical UV water purification systems are placed at the front of a flow chamber, where water passes through before it reaches the consumer. As the water goes through the flow chamber, the UV light renders bacteria and other microbes sterile.
These purification systems are commonly used for their ability to treat bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and parasites. A few of these include Cryptosporidium, Giardia, E. coli, Hepatitis A, and Rotavirus. As such, one of the major benefits of using UV water purifying systems is its ability to deactivate microorganisms that could be living in your drinking water. Additionally, the process doesn’t alter the water’s taste because it doesn’t use any chemicals to purify the liquid.
Some of the downsides to UV water treatments include:
- Only treats microbes: UV light can only remove microorganisms, meaning it can’t treat chemicals and other contaminants. Some of these contaminants include salts, heavy metals, lead, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and chlorine. This lack of filtration can be a problem if your water contains a lot of them. To remove these substances, you’ll have to invest in a prefilter or filtration system to pair with the UV purifier.
- Requires electricity: For homeowners who want to avoid a higher electric bill, the UV system’s need for electricity will be a barrier to this technology. Besides higher energy costs, the need for power also makes this option an inconvenient choice if you want something that will work in a survival situation or emergency.
- Needs clear water: Since UV light treats microorganisms, it’s only effective with clear water. Particle-filled water will block the UV light from reaching the microbes. Private well water can often be murky and will need a prefilter for a UV filter to work.
3. Activated Carbon
Otherwise known as activated charcoal, activated carbon has gone through a process that maximizes its pores. These pores are crucial to water filtration, as they attract and trap pollutant molecules and other larger contaminants. Carbon’s high-porosity powdered form creates a large surface area, providing the greatest opportunity to reduce the concentration of contaminants.
There are a couple of different methods that utilize activated carbon — carbon block filters and granulated activated carbon are both types of filters that rely on the material. While a carbon block filter is made with finely ground carbon that’s been held together with a binding agent, granulated activated carbon is composed of loose carbon granules that aren’t bound together.
Granular activated carbon is best used in households that need a high flow rate, as the loose carbon allows water to pass through faster than a carbon block filter. Additionally, it’s good at removing contaminants like chlorine that alter the odor and taste of your water. However, this method has a few disadvantages, like providing lower-quality filtration, allowing more particulates to get through, and needing constant replacement to avoid the buildup of organic material.
Though carbon block filters have a slower flow rate, they are one of the best filtration methods on the market if you want to remove contaminants from your water. Due to their large adsorption surface and tightly packed carbon, the filter is often used to extract chlorine, health-threatening contaminants, sediment, and organic compounds before they reach consumers. One of the primary disadvantages of most activated carbon block filtration systems is that many don’t remove viruses or excess minerals, but some do, like the Aqualuxe.
You’ll often see this type of water filter in household filtration systems. Some of carbon block filter’s advantages include:
- Offers low costs: Activated carbon water filters are quite common, which is helped by how inexpensive they are upfront. Along with the low initial costs, buyers often enjoy the decreased maintenance expenses that come with utilizing activated carbon water filters.
- Needs no electricity: Households looking to keep electricity costs low will love how activated carbon filtration systems don’t require electricity to operate. Additionally, if you live in an area where the power regularly goes out or natural disasters often occur, you’ll want your filtration system to work no matter what. Activated carbon can work without power or high water pressure.
- Remove many contaminants: Water filtration systems that use activated carbon do an excellent job at treating sediment, chlorine, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). As a result, the water will generally smell and taste better. Even though the filters reduce contamination, the water still retains essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium that are often removed in alternative filtration methods like reverse osmosis.
Not all carbon block filters are created equal — some offer greater filtration ability, and many can be custom-made with different pore sizes for different applications. Because there can be some variation in the quality of carbon block filters, it’s important to find a trusted brand.
Ionizers raise the pH of regular water through electrolysis. In this ionization process, water passes over electrically charged plates. As it travels across the plates, the water is separated into acidic and alkaline streams. This separation gives consumers softer, low-acidity water. An ionizer’s primary selling point as a water treatment system is its ability to produce alkaline water, defined by its pH level of seven or higher.
Though there are a lot of unsubstantiated claims about how healthy alkaline water is, it does come with some proven benefits that can make an ionizer attractive to buyers. For example, alkaline water’s negative oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) level turns the liquid into an antioxidant, with studies also finding that drinking alkaline water can facilitate better hydration levels. Scientists have even found evidence that alkaline water can alleviate some of the symptoms of acid reflux.
However, a major disadvantage of ionizers is that they aren’t equipped with a prefilter capable of reducing contaminants — they only raise the pH of the water. This problem leaves consumers with water that might contain contaminants like hormones, lead, pesticides, viruses, bacteria, asbestos, and pharmaceuticals. Additionally, alkaline water usually doesn’t have as many beneficial minerals as other types of water as these are removed in the water treatment process.
Which Water Filtration System Is Best for My Home?
Now that you have a better idea of what each type can offer you, you’re ready to choose a filtration system for your home. Check out some of the top drinking water systems from Multipure below:
- Aqualuxe: With a powerful PureBlock carbon block filter backing it up, the Aqualuxe is for buyers who want a high-tech water purifier that can significantly reduce bacteria and viruses, contaminants such as asbestos and arsenic, and a wide range of chemicals. Besides its water-purifying capabilities, the Aqualuxe comes with next-gen Wi-Fi monitoring, a leak detector, QuickSecure plumbing attachments, and FilterSync technology. The filter is perfect for most homes, as you can install it under the sink or on the countertop.
- Aquaperform: The Aquaperform Drinking Water System utilizes solid carbon block filter technology to treat contaminants in your drinking water. Like the Aqualuxe, it even comes with arsenic-adsorptive media, which makes it a popular choice for buyers wanting to avoid ingesting the deadly Arsenic V and other contaminants like asbestos, mercury, lead, and radon. This system comes in stainless-steel housing that you can attach under your sink or straight onto your faucet.
- Aquaversa: Like the Aqualuxe and Aquaperform, the Aquaversa uses solid carbon block filter technology that meets NSF standards for contaminant reduction. This system is one of the best mid-range water filtration options on the market. You can place it below the sink or on your kitchen sink faucet. One major selling point for homeowners is its generous 750-gallon-capacity filter.
- Aquamini: As the smallest water filter on this list, the Aquamini works well as a travel drinking filter that uses a solid carbon block filter to give users clean water. Its compact design and 250-gallon-capacity filter make it perfect for single families, college dorm rooms, and those who want to take a water filtration device with them on business trips or family vacations. You can use the Aquamini on the countertop or below the sink. Since it’s smaller and has a lower capacity compared to others on the list, it is one of the most affordable water filters available today.
Why NSF Certification Should Influence Your Home Filter Purchase
Make sure your home water filter has NSF certification. A system with certifications means the product has gone through third-party water filtration tests that show it meets multiple benchmarks. For example, NSF certification proves the system meets the manufacturer’s claims about contaminant reduction, has a structurally sound design, and avoids adding anything harmful to the water. It also ensures that manufacturing processes stay consistent and marketing materials remain accurate and truthful.
It’s also important to note that not all NSF certifications are the same. There are a number of NSF certifications that deal with different factors. For example, NSF Standard P231 deals with the ability to purify bacteria, live cysts, and viruses, while NSF/ANSI Standard 42 only refers to aesthetic effects. Some companies will receive a single NSF certification for a product and display the seal on their marketing materials, implying that their product filters more than it actually does.
For example, a company could have an NSF certification for only purifying aesthetic effects and still display the NSF seal. As you search for a water filter, ensure that the company you’re buying from has received multiple NSF certifications for their product, especially if you’re looking for a specific kind of filtration type.
Multiple NSF certifications mean you can have confidence in your drinking water and give your family, pets, and visitors high-quality, clean water. Only choose a water filtration system if it has the relevant NSF certifications that pertain to your needs. Some companies will claim their products have been tested according to NSF standards or similar regulations but will not have the proof an actual certification provides.
Choose Multipure for Your Water Treatment Needs
As a top manufacturer of high-quality water filters, purifiers, and drinking water systems for homes in the United States, Multipure is ready to give you the best water treatment system for your needs. Part of the reason we’ve been in business for 50 years is that we create all of our products with the philosophy of providing our customers with better water and physical well-being. Additionally, our products come with a 90-day money-back guarantee and a lifetime warranty.