Archive for the 'Methods of Filtration' Category
As consumer awareness of contaminated tap water increases, many are looking for water filtration solutions. With many to choose from, it is important to understand the benefits and limitations of the different types of water filtration solutions available.
Here at Aquasana, we are often asked about the difference between reverse osmosis purification systems and selective filtration systems. While both are effective at removing contaminants, the filtration processes are indeed different and there are things you need to know about making an informed decision before your final purchase.
Reverse osmosis (RO) is a process of separation that uses water pressure to force the source water through a semi-pervious membrane that retains the solid contaminants on one side while allowing water to pass on to the other side. This membrane is effective at removing anything that is bigger than a water molecule. This process takes place through ion exclusion, where a concentration of ions emerges from a barrier at the membrane to allow water molecules to pass through without letting the contaminants do so. A typical reverse osmosis system will provide approximately 10% purified water, leaving the other 90% as wastewater. Because of this, reverse osmosis systems require a drain. In practical terms, this means it takes 10 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of filtered water. The remaining 9 gallons is wastewater.
The reverse osmosis process removes fluoride, sodium, sulfate, nitrate, iron, zinc, mercury, lead, arsenic, chloride, and cyanide, along with a few other water contaminants. Because RO systems are effective at removing solids from water, they also demineralize the treated water. RO systems remove healthy minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Without these minerals present, the water can become acidic. Some reverse osmosis systems can be equipped with a re-mineralization system to add back in healthy minerals and balance pH.
Many filters use carbon filtration technology to retain contaminants inside the carbon substrate preventing them from flowing through for consumption. Through the process of absorption, contaminants collect on a large surface area where molecules exert force for other molecules to attract to. The longer the water stays in contact with the carbon, the more contaminants can be absorbed from the water.
Aquasana’s Claryum selective filtration technology uses 4 different filtration technologies to tackle contaminants in unfiltered water. Activated carbon, catalytic carbon, ion exchange and 0.5 micron mechanical filtration technologies combine to form Aquasana’s Claryum Selective Filtration. The activated carbon reduces organic chemicals while the catalytic carbon targets chlorine and chloramines specifically. The ion exchange process filters heavy metals like lead and mercury and the 0.5 micron mechanical filter captures asbestos and chlorine resistant cysts like cryptosporidium and giardia, making the water safe to drink.
Aquasana selective filtration is effective at removing over 96% of chlorine and chloramines, and over 99% of lead and mercury. Additional contaminants the system is tested and certified to reduce include: herbicides, pesticides, cysts, asbestos, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), pharmaceuticals, and a long list of additional water contaminants from the water while leaving in beneficial minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These filters also minimize water waste on the environment.
Before making a purchase, it is important to know the health benefits of any drinking water system. It should pass NSF/ANSI standards including NSF #42 for aesthetic effects and NSF #53 for health effects. NSF standard 42 establishes a minimum requirement for the point-of-use systems to reduce aesthetic contaminants such as chlorine, chlorine taste, odor, and particulates that may be present in drinking water. NSF standard 53 sets the parameters for POU systems designed to remove health-related contaminants such as lead, mercury, Cryptosporidium, Giardia, volatile organic chemicals, methyl tertiary-butyl ether, and other harmful contaminants from drinking water. Note that the NSF 53 certification does not mean that all of these contaminants are tested – manufacturers can choose any of them to test to get this certification, so be sure the list includes VOCs, lead, mercury and any other elements you want to ensure your filter tackles.
System Pros vs. Cons
Drainage system required
Results in acidic water
No VOC reduction
Claryum Selective Filtration
Chorine & chloramine reduction
50+ other contaminants removed
No fluoride reduction
No nitrate reduction
Whether you use city water or rely on water from a private well, it’s smart to know what’s actually in your water. Clean, healthy water is one of the most important things you can do to maintain healthy living.
Most people believe the tap water they receive at home is safe to drink. But this really depends on what one deems as “safe”. According to a study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), over 316 contaminants have been found in the nation’s drinking water. Over 60% of these contaminants have no standards and are not regulated.
Over time, the increased use of water disinfectants, pesticides, herbicides and ongoing environmental pollution all contribute to the contamination of our drinking water. If you drink tap water without filtration, it is likely that you’re consuming chemicals and contaminants including chlorine, chloramines, led, mercury, pesticides, herbicides and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s)—a chemical cocktail of sorts.
Fortunately there are steps you can take to become informed on the quality of water coming into your home so you can make informed choices on the action to take, including filtering your water.
Water Quality Report:
The first step is to review your local water report. Each year you should receive a water quality report typically called a Consumer Confidence Report or Water Quality Report before July 1st. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires all drinking water suppliers to provide this report annually. This report provides water quality statistics on regulated water contaminants. This report will tell you where your water comes from and contaminants that may be present in your water, including which chemicals are used for water disinfection.
You can also access your water quality information online. The EWG maintains a national drinking water database and the EPA maintains a directory of water quality reports. In addition, most local water suppliers also have this information readily available on their website.
Home Water Tests:
Water can become contaminated as it passes through the distribution channel and even as it passes through the pipes in your home. A home water test will give you a general indication of certain contaminants present in the water from your tap. Home water tests are available at many home supply stores and online. Depending on the home test kit, you can test for a variety of contaminants including E.coli, lead, pesticides, nitrates/nitrites, chlorine, hardness and pH. Even though these tests can be less than 100% accurate, it is a fast and easy way to identify the contaminants present in your water.
Independent Lab Test:
Submitting water samples to an independent testing lab is by far the most accurate way to determine the quality of your water. Although a bit more expensive (most start at around $100), lab tests are quite extensive and provide accurate readings when the lab instructions are followed exactly.
At Aquasana, we use National Testing Labs to test our customer’s water. The results from these tests are used to customize water filtration solutions to meet the exact needs of our customers. The price of the lab test can be used toward a water filtration solution making it a smart choice for those who are ready to take actions to improve the quality of their water.
Important Note about Well Water:
If you receive water from a well, it is important that you have your water tested at least once a year. Most well water is not regulated or monitored for quality and it is up the homeowner to ensure the water is safe to use. Well water can be susceptible to bacteria, iron, hardness and a host of other environmental contaminants. Each of these problems can be easily solved with the proper filtration, softening and anti-bacterial solutions in place.
If you have questions about testing your water, let us know and we’ll connect you with a water specialist on our team!
1. You’ll drink more water: It’s easier to drink filtered than unfiltered water. Unfiltered water often tastes kind of funny, depending on where you live and what your water source is. So you drink soda or bottled water (which we will discuss in a minute), or possibly turn to tea and coffee as an alternative. Filtering does two things: it removes contamination that makes your water taste funny and maintains the healthy minerals (calcium, potassium and magnesium) that your body craves along with its water. If you’ve ever tasted distilled water or water from a reverse osmosis system, you may notice that it tastes kind of flat. Drab. Almost dry. That’s the lack of minerals. Often drinking this water fails to quench your thirst, so even if you’re full, you still have a craving for something wet. Why do people turn to sports drinks and soda? They both contain minerals your body needs—that’s both their value proposition and the mechanism that satisfies your thirst when you drink. By drinking filtered water that maintains healthy minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium, you feel more satisfied and less thirsty, and won’t hanker so much for a soda, either.
2. Your water will be cleaner: Filtration gets rid of the majority of your water’s contamination while preserving the healthy minerals that hydrate you better and relieve thirst better than some of your other options. Tap water is all right: It generally contains all the minerals in it you need, along with a good dose of contamination that you don’t. Some cities are better than others—get your local water report to learn where your city ranks—but even after treatment, the city pipes and water delivery system most likely contains some kind of contamination that gets back into the water before it gets to you. Heck, the pipes in your house are probably not all that clean, either! To be sure, a point-of-use system that attaches to your faucet goes a long way to easing your mind about the quality of water you consume.
3. You’ll have more control: Filtration gives you more control and insight into what’s in your water. It’s just always better to KNOW what you’re eating or drinking. Look no further than the spate of governmental rules and regulations food and beverage manufacturers must comply with to see that not only is it good to know what’s in there, but you have the legal right to know what’s in there. Filtering your own water once it enters your house offers a fine level of control over the quality of your drinking, cooking and bathing water.
4. It’s convenient: Really, what all the above reasons amount to is a higher level of convenience in your life. One more thing you don’t have to worry about, you don’t have to think about or wonder when you’re shopping in the grocery store. “Do I need to stock up on bottled water? Oh, no—I have better at home!”
5. It’s cheaper: Filtering is cheaper than bottled water by a mile. It’s even cheaper than pitcher filters. With Aquasana drinking filters specifically, you get almost twice as much bang for your buck than many pitcher filters, and over thirty times more than from bottled water. If you’re looking to save money in 2012, quitting the bottled water habit and choosing to filter is a long step in the right direction.
6. It’s green/sustainable: Going along with cheaper, filtering is also a very sustainable method of treating your water. Reverse osmosis wastes quite a bit of water, especially as a household solution (as opposed to a larger scale operation). Basically, you get a bit of clean water, but concentrate the contaminated water and send it back into the environment. Distillation requires electricity and also wastes water. Bottled water, aside from its health concerns, fills landfills with tons of plastic waste each day. Most bottles are not recycled (up to 80% are simply tossed in the garbage), despite their eligibility for recycling, and end up clogging rivers and land when they’re not actually disposed of “properly” in a landfill. Filtering can remove up to 4,000 bottles a year from landfills. Also, filtering is removing contamination from water—meaning less ambient contamination in general (not just for your drinking pleasure). And carbon—the chief material used in filtration—is good for the environment even once you’re done with using it to filter your water.
Have another great reason to filter your water? Let us know in the comments!
It’s not JUST water
We can all remember the days of high school chemistry class and learning the basic components of water, H2O: 2 hydrogen molecules attached to 1 oxygen molecule. You may also remember that our bodies are composed of 70%-80% water and we must drink enough of it to survive. Today we face major problems regarding safe drinking water, not only because of mass contamination from environmental and synthetic chemicals, but an even bigger problem is growing due to corporate and governmental control of our bottled water system. We are being forced to buy more bottled water than ever and the only people who benefit are the big corporations who mass produce this highly consumed product. It’s not easy to find clean, affordable drinking water but there are things that we can do.
The EPA has set standards for more than 80 contaminants that may occur in drinking water and pose a risk to human health. The EPA claims its standards protect the health of everybody, including vulnerable groups like children. Is there really a safe standard when it comes to drinking toxins? And, what happened to the countless other contaminants found in our drinking water? According to the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) two-and-a-half year investigation, tap water in 42 states is contaminated with more than 140 unregulated chemicals that lack safety standards. In an analysis of more than 22 million tap water quality tests, most of which were required under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, EWG found that water suppliers across the U.S. detected 260 contaminants in water served to the public. One hundred forty-one (141) of these detected chemicals — more than half — are unregulated; public health officials have not set safety standards for these chemicals, even though millions drink them every day.
According to the EPA, contaminants fall into two groups based on the health effects that they cause. Acute effects occur within hours or days of the time that a person consumes a contaminant. Chronic effects occur after people consume a contaminant at levels over EPA’s safety standards for many years. The drinking water contaminants that can have chronic effects are chemicals (such as disinfection by-products, solvents, and pesticides), radionuclides (such as radium), and minerals (such as arsenic). Examples of the chronic effects of drinking water contaminants are cancer, liver or kidney problems, or reproductive difficulties.
Go here for more information.
The bottled water scam
With so many of us becoming aware of our contaminated tap water, the world is embracing the bottled water industry like never before. In 1999 the sales of bottled water in the US was around $6 billion in one year. By 2007 the sales of bottled water jumped to over $11 billion. Some believe that drinking bottled water is no more pure or better for your health, nor is it safer than community or municipal water. The purity standards for bottled water are no higher than those applied to tap water — in some instances they are lower or less rigorous. Studies have shown that chemicals called phthalates, which are known to disrupt testosterone and other hormones, can leach into bottled water over time. There are no regulatory standards limiting phthalates in bottled water. The bottled water industry waged a successful campaign opposing the FDA proposal to set a legal limit for these chemicals.
Go here for more information.
What can you do?
The majority of the contaminants found in our drinking water can be traced back to improper or excessive use of ordinary compounds like lawn chemicals, gasoline, cleaning products and even prescription drugs. As a consumer, you might consider buying eco-friendly cleaners, avoid using toxic toiletries, and dispose of your medications properly. By doing your part in creating a less toxic environment, we will be able to create safer water for generations to come.
The benefits of bottled water are convenience and novelty. Instead of buying bottled water you can carry a canteen or a reusable athletic bottle. My personal favorite is to use a glass bottle and filter the water at home using a water filter. It is good for the environment and lowers the risk of chemical exposure such as BPA, a common toxic chemical in plastics. This change will save you a lot of money and will help the environment because water bottles are one of the major sources of plastic going into landfills today. Shipping billions of gallons of water every year also uses a lot of fuel.
Lastly, recycle empty water bottles, EVERYTIME! And don’t WASTE your water by letting the shower or faucet run. Use old water for things like watering plants and invest in water saving devices for you home. Be a responsible and conscious water consumer. We will all benefit from it.
—Dr. Wendy Norman, D.C.
And for more information on how to dispose of your pharmaceuticals:
March 22 every year is World Water Day. And what is World Water Day? Not another Hallmark holiday, I can assure you. World Water Day is an education and awareness program that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Environment and Development Conference. World Water Day 2005 marked the beginning of a Decade of Action, between 2005 and 2015, during which Word Water Day each year would focus on a specific problem facing global water supplies. 2010 was “clean water for a healthy world,” 2009 was “transboundary waters: sharing water, sharing opportunities,” but my personal favorite was 2001’s discussion on “water for health – taking charge.”
World Water Day 2011 is about water for cities and the many issues and challenges facing cities regarding sanitation, waste water and drinking water. According to the World Health Organization, in 2005 40% of the world’s population did not have access to even a simple pit latrine, and 20% did not have access to a source of clean drinking water. I hope advocacy and education programs like World Water Day have improved those numbers, but the situation for so many people is so grim.
There are World Water Day events going on in a lot of cities worldwide today, with the main event taking place in Cape Town, South Africa. Learn about the issues and challenges, and take part in some local events if you have the time.
Did you see Ellen this morning? We sure did!
Spotted: Aquasana made a flash appearance on Ellen this morning with Pam Anderson, actress and spokesperson for Waves for Water. Waves for Water is a non-profit organization dedicated to getting clean water to every single person who needs it. We believe so strongly in their mission and vision to provide families the world over with healthy and clean drinking water that we donated $10,000 to the organization. Pam accepted our donation to help get clean water to people in need on behalf of Waves for Water.
Find more about Waves for Water on their website.
So you took the step of purchasing a drinking water filter in your house? Congratulations! You should take time to relish the relief you feel at providing healthy and safe drinking water for your family. I don’t know about you, but before I installed a drinking water filter, I always felt a kind of sour internal feeling that maybe drinking the tap water wasn’t really in my best interest, my heart plagued by guilt and doubt. But no more!
Bath & Shower Demons
Now let’s turn our attention to another source of nasty business in the house: the shower and bath water. If you have noticed that your hair and skin seem to be dry and that your baths or showers irritate your skin, that is likely the result of shower water contamination: chlorine, lead, VOCs, SOCs, chloramine, and other harmful vapors. The potential damage that shower water contamination could be causing goes much further than just irritated skin or dry hair. When you take a shower, your skin “drinks” water that it comes in contact with. In fact, during an average shower, your skin absorbs as much water as you would drink during an average meal. If that water is not filtered, the good work you did to protect your family from bad water in the kitchen may be undermined in the bathrooms. Here’s a quick rundown of the effects related to showering and bathing in chlorine-laden, unfiltered water:
• Contaminants absorbed more easily through skin and inhalation
• Mild or inflamed eczema and other skin disorders
• Inflamed asthma
• Dry, brittle hair
• Excessively dry and sensitive skin
• Eye irritation
• Respiratory irritation
The great news is that by taking the step to filter your bathing water, you can enjoy a good number of health and beauty benefits. It’s amazing how much changing just that one little thing can do:
• Healthier skin
• Softer, more manageable hair
• Healthy steam
• Less respiratory inflammation
• Improvement in existing skin conditions
Just Don’t Inhale!
Do you love taking long, steamy hot showers as much as I do? Ever had the unpleasant feeling of a tight chest or feel the need to cough? That steam we dig so much is the vaporized water coming out of the shower faucet, which—when unfiltered—contains all that vicious chlorine. That vaporized water invades your lungs and pollutes your body with even more unhealthy toxins. As much as we may love the idea of a relaxing, hot and steamy shower, the idea of standing in a small room with toxic steam makes the idea somewhat, shall we say, less appealing.
Shopping for a Shower Filter
For the best and most effective results, you should look for a filter that employs carbon, which filters out synthetic chemicals, THMs and VOCs. Also look for a filter to have a KDF stage of filtration, to reduce the amount of chlorine and balance the water’s Ph (for that healthy glow).
You may have heard the reports of the 60,000 chemicals from our industries that sometimes make their way into our drinking water supplies; the press keeps us abreast on what contaminants affect your water. You’ve no doubt heard all the dramatic warnings concerning the dangers of heavy metals, chlorine, bacteria, viruses, pesticides, volatile organic compounds, cow pee and fairy dust. Depending on the amount of unfiltered tap water you consume and the specific contaminants, you and your family’s health may be at risk.
The Gulf Oil Spill. Lead and giardiasis in city water. Water boiling warnings. You’ve seen this stuff all over the news, especially when the media run stories on local water supplies showing that this or that contaminant has been found. In these circumstances, your concern is probably justified. You may begin to worry, sniff the water that comes out of your taps, run water for 30 seconds before using it to cook or drink, or even make plans to buy bottled water or a water filter. Get the facts before you act. Consider the following:
1) Contact your municipal water supplier. You have the right to review their annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) for ongoing water quality issues. If there is a widespread, short-term problem, your municipal water supplier will have some sort of statement prepared, and will likely have it posted on their website along with instructions on what to do.
2) Contact local news and media outlets. If there’s a problem, they will more than likely know what’s going on. And if you are the first to bring it to their attention, they will probably investigate it!
3) Contact local hospitals or a trusted doctor. If there’s been a spike in recent cases of water-borne illnesses or sickness related to contamination, they will know about it and be able to tell you what the danger is to you and your family, what symptoms to look out for and how to avoid it.
4) Check the EPA’s website for information on contaminants that are prevalent in your area. This can be a good guide, but is rarely specific enough to really tell you enough information on your home or neighborhood. (Or try the Water Quality Association’s Interactive Problem Solver.)
5) Have your water tested. This is only applicable if the problem persists and the local water treatment supplier is unable to correct the levels of contamination. Find out what, exactly, the problem is so you can take steps to correct the problem yourself.
Now, what to do if there is a problem? And worse yet, what if the problem is persistent? You can go the bottled water route, but that leaves you vulnerable while bathing. I’d go with a water filter, for both drinking and bathing water, with a carbon filter that is certified by one of the two main independent certification organizations: Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). Also, check out this guide for how to choose a water filter.
Treat the problem, not the symptoms
We all have to work together to keep the federal, state, and local government accountable for how they treat the nation’s water supply. This is not an issue that lobbyists should be deciding, but sadly it does come to that from time to time. Make your voice and your opinions known. Write your regional and state representatives, let them know you feel water contamination needs more attention, help set the agenda and get out there and vote on Election Day.
Tap water contamination isn’t a hoax, and it’s no laughing matter. There really are contaminants in your drinking water. Small amounts of those pollutants aren’t usually harmful, but exposure to large portions of impurities affects your health.
For more information, check out some of the stories out there on water quality and the issues that surround it.
If you are under the assumption that all water purifiers are the same, further research is in order. Water purifiers made by Aquasana have been shown to be superior and that means that they deliver quality drinking water. You need to understand that different products manufactured out there in the world of water filters are not all the same.
There is also plenty of variety when it comes to what types of contaminants different water filtering systems are able to remove from the water. Therefore, you need to make sure the one that you get is designed for the types of contaminants found in your drinking water supply. To find out, get a water report that details what has been identified in your drinking water. The EPA requires that this information is kept up to date and accessible.
Aquasana Water Purifiers – You Can Tell the Difference
Water purifiers from Aquasana offer you a system that is very simple to use. This is a great method of removing the various impurities from your drinking water or the water that you bathe in. You certainly don’t want to drink or have heavy metals or other forms of contamination get into your pores when you shower.
As you take your time to explore your own water filtering needs, you will be less intimidated when the time comes to shop for one of them and you will have become an educated consumer. Water purifiers from Aquasana are easier than you think to purchase and begin using. This is a cost-effective method that ensures you can have an unlimited supply of healthy water all of the time.
You don’t have to continue allowing your family to take in harmful forms of contamination. Even if the levels are below what the EPA guidelines are, there are many studies out there that link serious health problems, including cancer, to drinking water. The risk is much too high to feel safe about drinking plain tap water.
The cost of bottled water continues to increase all the time. It also gives a false sense of safety that you are drinking pure water. Bottled water has contaminants in it, just like tap water. The plastic bottles that the product is sold in cause environmental problems, too, so you need to find a better solution than buying bottled water.
Water purifiers from Aquasana can be found online if you aren’t able to buy them locally. They have terrific reviews and that is certainly encouraging. Now is the time to take action and to get quality drinking water in your home. That is going to bring peace of mind to your home. Plus, it will save you lots of money over bottled water.
There are many types of water purifiers from Aquasana that allow you to get great drinking water and to filter the water for your shower, and they even have water bottles that you can refill for when you are away from home. They are a company dedicated to making sure you have great water in spite of what is found in your environment.
You’ve seen them in people’s homes many times. Many people are choosing refrigerators with built-in water filters. To some, water filters have become a prerequisite in buying refrigerators. Sometimes, filtering water has become part of the refrigerator’s job description.
Refrigerator water filters are a good option for providing clean and healthy drinking water that is also instantly chilled upon dispensing. Because the water is filtered before it goes into your refrigerator, you know it will come out clean and chilled for use by you and your family. At the same time, refrigerator water filters provide ice from filtered water. Some people do not pay attention to the kind of water used for making ice. Ice made from unfiltered water, however, is just like drinking contaminated water. It’s like opening the door wide to waterborne diseases or health problems caused by toxic chemicals that come in your drinking water every day.
You don’t have to worry about problems of contaminants in your chilled water or in your ice when you have a refrigerator water filter. The type of water filters used in refrigerator doors are the same type of filters used in drinking fountains, commercial ice machines, coffee makers, and water coolers. You can also buy an additional level of water filtration for your refrigerator that is installed in the water line going to your refrigerator.
Refrigerator water filters have been proven to be very efficient in providing the best type of drinking water. A filter can remove impurities such as pesticides, chemicals, sediment, and chlorine residue. This takes care of any unpleasant taste and odor that might be present in your tap water before filtration. Aside from purification, refrigerator water filters also keep natural trace minerals in the water throughout the filtration process. Unlike other filters, it doesn’t strip your water of the minerals your body needs to get from it.
Refrigerator water filters pass the water through a long and efficient process before the water becomes available to you. The first filter the water goes through removes big dirt particles like soil, silt, and sand. The water then goes through a mixture of copper and zinc that are responsible for removing chlorine. The last stage involves carbon filtration, which removes all the other microscopic contaminants. It also takes care of the water’s taste and odor.
This carefully designed craftsmanship that goes into refrigerator water filters can benefit your family’s water supply every day. It is a must that your family uses a refrigerator water filter if you want to provide a total solution to your family’s water quality needs. With a good refrigerator filter system in place, you will be assured that your children can easily get clean, tasty water from the refrigerator. By providing a reliable system for assuring a good supply of clean water, you no longer have to worry about waterborne diseases.
If you are planning on purchasing a refrigerator water filter, trust Aquasana, one of the nation’s leading water filter providers. Aquasana has been around for years with the purpose of providing quality, affordable, and easy-to-use water filters for every home. Through the years, Aquasana has consistently mastered the science of water filtration and has devoted their time to provide only the best.