Is a Water Filtration System a Smart Investment?
There are two reasons why you should worry about your tap water and start thinking about filtration options. They’re not equally important, but both should be taken into consideration. First of all, if your water has a strange color or if you’ve noticed stains on your clothes after washing them – you should definitely get it fixed right away. The other reason is less dangerous, but equally important. Sometimes the chemicals used to make the water safe leave a strange aftertaste or give a strong sent to your water. That’s also a good reason to get a filter even though the water you’re getting is drinkable.
The risks involved in drinking unfiltered tap water can be microbiological or chemical. The first one refers to micro-organisms that might enter your water supply system. It’s not an important concern at least in the developed world, where there are government agencies which check for these on a regular basis. Chemical concerns, however, are real, because some of them are the result of water purification itself.
Pesticides can be found in rural area water supplies, because they are used in farms and they get to water trough storm drains. That water flows to rivers and creeks and then back to your home. Water suppliers are definitely checking for pesticides, but there have been reported cases of water contamination.
Chorine is the biggest cause of problems with your tap water. It’s used to kill microorganisms that get into water system and the amounts are regulated so it can’t be harmful. However, it changes the taste and smell of your water. If you think the water smells like bleach – you’re probably right and the chlorine is to blame for it.
When determining whether to use a filter and what kind – it basically comes to cost versus benefit analysis. Installing and maintaining filters take a little effort and money, but in return you get clean and drinkable water. It’s up to you to weigh those two out. Choosing the right kind of filter is the biggest part of that job.
Jug filters don’t actually need to be installed - they’re just placed in front of a tap, which is easy and convenient for smaller amounts of water. The setback is that they’re prone to clogging and the filters need to be regularly changed.
Counter-top filters can deal with larger amounts of water, without any changes to the plumbing. However, they can’t be used on all faucets and they take up a lot of space on your counter-top.
Under-sink filters can filter the biggest amount of water and they don’t take up much space in your kitchen. On the other hand, they require professionals to install them and they’re the most expansive, because of the additional cost of plumbing work.
Choosing the right filter medium is your next most important concern. The choice is mostly based on what kind of problem your water supply has and what you want to filter out.
Using a quality water filter and cartridges will get rid of basically all contaminants using water pressure and a very thin membrane which blocks the unwanted particles. The process is fully automated, so you don’t have to think about it after the installation.
If you have a problem with mineral saturated water (so-called hard water), the filters that remove calcium and magnesium are the choice you should go with. These filters are appropriately called softeners.
UV lights are used to kill microbes, so they’re the best solution for your irrigation needs. However, it only works if the water is clear already.
All filtration systems come with advantages as well as disadvantages, but they make a valuable addition to your home, because you can’t put a price on health.
Guest Contributor, Lillian Connors