Water 101: Types of Water
In the water business, we often have conversations that stem from the question: “What filter should I get?” the answer really starts with a discussion about water. Many times we need to talk about the different types of water out there. Here is a summary of a few of them:
Tap Water (the most common)
The water that comes out of your faucet and is typically treated with chemicals like chlorine or chloramines to kill bacteria and micro-organisms. If you get your water from a public water source, this tap water is potable (drinkable) according to EPA standards. The Safe Drinking Water Act governs acceptable contaminants in tap water and includes regulations for 91 specific possible contaminants. Outside of the thousands of other un-regulated chemicals that may be in tap water, we recommend filtering chemicals like chlorine and it’s byproducts out of your tape water because they are not particularly good for your body and have been linked to cancer. Chlorine does kill the microorganisms that can make you violently ill. There can also be lead in the water depending on the age and composition of the pipes delivering the water to your home. Lead can make you and your family sick. Another reason to invest in a good water filter.
Spring water is water from a spring, as opposed to river water or rainwater. Spring water often assumed to be pure. More often than not, it’s just good marketing. True spring water likely contains impurities found in drilled wells or even tap water. In fact, since springs feed our rivers, there’s lots of spring water right in your own tap water. On average, the purity of spring water is comparable to that of tap water.
Purified water is water that has been mechanically filtered or processed to remove impurities and make it suitable for use. Like other types of water, there are popular misconceptions about purified water as well. Purified water is often confused with filtered water. Many people believe the two terms to be synonymous, but this is not the case. Purified water is cleaned and purified through additional processes- typically through water filtration, but true filtered water is usually held to higher standards and certified by outside groups such as the NSF (National Sanitation Foundation)
Distilled water is water that is created through the process of distillation. Basically, in the process of distillation, the pure H2O is boiled out of its contaminants. Water (with its contaminants) is boiled, the “pure” water turns into steam and is captured and cooled and thus becomes distilled water. The junk left behind is all of the contaminants. However, there are many volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in water with boiling points below that of “pure” water. So, when the water gets heated, the volatiles boil off first, then the pure water. So, it’s very important to have additional purification technologies – besides distillation – to make sure all the bad stuff is removed.
Rainwater is water that has been condensed from the clouds. The first drop is distilled water. But when it falls as rain, it picks up germs, dust, smoke, minerals, lead and many other atmospheric chemicals. By the time rain water reaches the earth it is so saturated with dust and pollutants it may be yellowish in color. Water is supposed to act as an atmosphere purifier. If we had no air pollution, we would have far less pollution in our drinking water. Rainwater collection is gaining popularity. Rainwater can be collected in large tanks underground or in above ground barrels. The prices and size of the collection systems vary. It is beneficial to collect rain water because it reduces the demand on our existing water supply. Rainwater can be used for nearly any purpose and it can be tied into an Aquasana whole house filter with a UV filter to kill any bacteria.
Hard water is water that has high mineral content (in contrast with “soft water”). Hard water is formed when water runs off through deposits of limestone and chalk which are largely made up of calcium and magnesium carbonates. It is saturated with calcium, iron, magnesium, and many other inorganic minerals. All water in lakes, rivers, on the ground, in deep wells, is classified as hard water. If your water is hard you will need a water softener. If you need a water softener, check out Aquasana’s SimplySoft, a salt-free, eco-friendly option.
Soft Water is water that is soft in comparison with water which is harder. Soft water is surface water that contains low concentrations of ions and in particular is low in ions of calcium and magnesium. Soft water naturally occurs where rainfall and the drainage basin of rivers are formed of hard, impervious and calcium poor rocks. It may contain many trace minerals and chemicals, viruses and bacteria. The term may also be used to describe water that has been treated by a water softening process. Because soft water has few calcium ions, there is no inhibition of the action of soaps and no soap scum is formed in normal washing. Similarly, soft water produces no calcium deposits in water heating systems.
Reverse osmosis (RO) is a water filtration technology that uses a semipermeable membrane to remove larger particles from drinking water. Anything smaller than a water particle passes through the RO membrane. Anything larger, like dissolved solids, gets trapped to separate impurities from our drinking water. One of the problems with this filtration process is healthy minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium also get trapped in the membrane. Aquasana’s OptimH2O is the first reverse osmosis system to pair powerful reverse osmosis filtration with Claryum® selective filtration PLUS re-mineralization. It removes the most contaminants from your water while maintaining the benefits of healthy minerals, like calcium, potassium and magnesium other reverse osmosis systems simply remove.
De-ionized Water is sometimes called DI water. It is water that has had almost all of its mineral ions removed, such as sodium, calcium, iron, and copper, and anions such as chloride and sulfate in a process of exchanging “hard” ions for “soft.”
Alkaline water is water that’s less acidic than regular tap water. Alkalinity and acidity are measured on the pH scale, which is a scale from 0-14 that measures the concentration of hydrogen ions in compounds. Neutral is measured at 7.0, while acids are below 7.0 and alkaline compounds (or bases) are greater than 7.0. Alkaline water is water that measures anywhere above a 7.0 on the pH scale. Alkaline water is simply water that has been altered to increase its pH. Proponents claim that alkaline water has many health benefits, and helps keep the body in an alkaline state. However, the body has systems that keep its pH in tight control, regardless of the kind of water that you drink. There is no consensus in the medical community about the health benefits of alkaline water. Aquasana’s Claryum® Selective filtration effectively reduces acidic compounds while preserving healthy minerals that naturally increase pH and alkalinity of water.
We saved the best for last. We believe in the power of filtering water. Filtered water is treated water that is then run through a filter. In our case, a special carbon filter to remove the chlorine and other containments to make it safe and healthy to drink. There are many different filters on the market today. Our filters feature NSF Certified Claryum® filtration technology independently tested and proven to remove over 97% of chlorine and chloramines. Aquasana filters also reduce heavy metals like lead and mercury, cysts like giardia and cryptosporidium, organic chemicals like herbicides, pesticides and VOCs, and some remove pharmaceuticals from your water.