How to Compare Water Purification
With growing concern about the health consequences of chemicals found in the public water supply, water filtration systems have made their way into many households. They can be costly to purchase and maintain, however, making it important to find the right filter for your needs. Not only are there dozens of models on the market, but there are several broad categories that each model falls under. The first choice is between inline and countertop systems. The second choice is between carbon filters, distillers and reverse osmosis.
Inline water filters are attached directly to your kitchen sink, either to the faucet or to the pipes below. These are by far the most convenient filtration systems as you simply need to turn a knob to use them.
Countertop filters generally come in two forms: carbon filter pitchers and water distillers. They must be manually filled, but the trade-off is that they are generally more affordable than inline systems.
Charcoal water filters are the most commonly seen on the market. They work by binding harmful chemicals such as chlorine to activated charcoal. Sometimes they come with activated silver, as well, which has anti-bacterial qualities. Charcoal filters are some of the most affordable upfront and they have quick water flow. However, the lifespan of each filter is relatively short, some lasting as little as a month, and replacing the filters regularly can become a considerable expense. Additionally, charcoal filters allow more chemicals to pass through than other systems. They come both in countertop and inline models.
Water distillers are in many ways the opposite of charcoal filters. They are slow and initially expensive, but produced the purer water and have no components that need to be regularly replaced. Over the long run, they are considerably more cost effective then charcoal filters. They work by boiling water and gathering the steam, which is then collected in a glass jug for consumption. Impurities evaporate more slowly than water and remain at the bottom of the distiller, where you can wash them out later. Unfortunately, most distillers are countertop, which means that you’ll need to manually fill the distiller’s tank every day.
Reverse osmosis filters produce water with the same purity as distillers, and they also work as slowly. They are almost always inline and require constant, high pressure to function properly. The high pressure pushes water through a membrane filter, which finely separates impurities of every shape and size. Originally, reverse osmosis was used in submarines, converting ocean water into drinking water. Unfortunately, their filters must be replaced on a regular basis. Combine that with a high initial expense, and you have the most costly water filtration systems on the market.