Water Filtration Systems

Only about 1% of the Earth’s supply of fresh water is available for human and animal consumption at any given time. The United States is blessed with plenty of fresh water, though some major metropolitan centers are forced to transport fresh water from hundreds of miles away.

With the growth of population seemingly straining our resources at times, and with the increase of pollution which accompanies human activity, often our water supplies are less pure than they should be for optimal health. Governments have set quality standards for drinking water, but too often, the combination of contaminants with remedial efforts leaves the water “safe” to drink, but by no means “pure”.

Our public water supplies are tainted with chlorine, fluoride, arsenic and organic toxins, like viruses and parasitic water creatures. There can even be traces of carcinogens in many of our public water supplies, as well as in the water table, from which private wells draw their supply. In up to 1/3 of fresh water sources in the United States, different mineral contaminants have undesirable effects on clothing and human health, and produce unpleasant odors.

Bottled water has been very popular as a supply of drinking water, but it is costly (compared to tap water), and suspicions arise from time to time that these products are not as pure as they purport to be.
Boiling water kills any microorganisms that might contaminate it, and it will remove added chlorine, but it does nothing to remove heavy metals or minerals that may be present. Distilling water will leave you with pure H2O, but is a rather impractical solution. Filtration will help to reduce sediments, rust and other solid particles which can cause an unpleasant appearance – and odors – and which can lead to blockage of plumbing fixtures, such as shower heads, over time.

There are different methods of filtration, depending on your individual needs; a test of your home’s water quality will help determine the best type of filtering. Many filtration vendors will perform such a testfor free. Municipal water utilities will also provide a water quality report for your area upon request. Lead content may not be accurately represented in public water quality estimates, because it may be introduced after it enters the home. If your home or business is older, and it is possible that lead may be found in your pipes, the more reliable test is one that examines the water coming from your tap. Levels of contaminants will vary with the season, or with the weather, so that must be considered when reading a water quality report. Filtration will allow you to maintain a consistent level of purity.

The primary methods of filtration are carbon filtering and reverse osmosis systems. Carbon filters out chlorine, chloroform, pesticides and other organic chemicals. Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems filter out fluoride, iron, nitrates, lead and organic contaminants. It is possible to combine both filtration methods in order to eliminate the widest range of contaminants, and many RO systems include an activated-carbon post filter.
Bear in mind that a reverse-osmosis system discards about 4 gallons of water for every clear gallon produced, though there are various remedies being investigated to reduce this waste. If this option is attractive to you, talk to the vendor about the various waste reduction methods.

There are also different installation methods, ranging widely in price. The least expensive option is to purchase a pitcher which filters drinking water. There are also faucet-mounted filters, which can filter the water from a tap. A more complete – and more expensive – option is to install a system which filters all the water entering the home or business. Chlorine, commonly found in drinking water – aside from being poisonous in large quantities – dries out hair and skin. Filtering this chemical out of the water supply will provide a noticeable improvement when showering. Only an in-line filtering system will provide filtered water for the shower as well.

A faucet-mounted system, while relatively inexpensive, requires more frequent filter changes, while in-line systems can be installed which last several years between filter changes. Indicators can also be included to tell you when the filters are due to be changed. Medical experts suggest that we should drink at least 8 cups of water daily, much more water than most of us drink. 80% of our daily water intake is from what we drink. There is water in many things we eat, but most of our intake is from drinking it.

Water that tastes better will make it more attractive to us, and we might be encouraged to drink more of it if the unpleasant odors and unsightly solids were removed. A whole-house filtering system would also make it more likely that our pets and even our potted plants and gardens get pure water, which would improve their health.

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