How To Choose A Drinking Water Filter
A Few Tips On Picking The Right One For You
When contemplating the water people put into their bodies every day, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. The average cost of bottled water is staggering, estimated at up to 2,000 times the cost of tap water. Considering how similar bottled water is to tap, the price is especially insulting.
Believe it or not, the majority of bottled water is equal to standard tap water. Most municipal water systems and bottled water sources are fairly equal in terms of contaminants. Research shows that tap and bottled water contain harmful toxins such as lead, mercury, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s), which are organic chemicals like herbicides, pesticides, and industrial solvents. All of these pollutants are proven to have negative compounding long-term health effects.
The best way to guarantee the purest drinking water is by investing in a drinking filtration system. The following guidelines and considerations on water filters will help provide the most informed option.
Find the Right Water Filter Whether You Rent or Own Your Home
If you rent your home, select a drinking filtration system that can be easily installed and removed so it can be taken to any residence old or new. There are many countertop filtration options for water that do not require any type of permanent installation or pitcher filters that can rest on your countertop or in your refrigerator.
If you own your home, you’ll have the freedom to choose a more permanent solution. Some under sink and reverse osmosis options require professional installation, while others make for relatively easy DIY projects. Most of these systems will have a dedicated tap that’s included with the purchase of the system. It’s also important to consider pairing a drinking system with a whole home filtration system to make sure you have clean, filtered water from every tap in your home.
Household Water Consumption
The estimate for how much water an average household uses depends largely on the number of people residing in the home. Break it down by determining how much water we should drink each day. For a household size of 2 people drinking the recommended ½ gallon of water per day, it equates to over 360 gallons of water per year. To compare, this is 3,000 bottles of water per year – over $3,560 of bottled water!
The average cost per gallon for a drinking water filter is only 9 cents per gallon. Compare that to an average of $16 per gallon for bottled water, and the cost-savings of investing in a drinking water filtration system seems like a no-brainer.
Which Filters Tackle Which Contaminants
Deciding which contaminants are most important to you to remove from your drinking water is priority one. Selective filtration pitchers brought about a wave of awareness of drinking water filters. Other filters use carbon filtration technology to retain contaminants inside the carbon substrate, which prevents them from flowing through to the container; through the process of absorption, contaminants collect on a filter media surface area and reduce the number of pollutants.
There are several different types of contaminant-reducing media:
- Activated Carbon: Reduces pharmaceuticals, herbicides, pesticides, and VOCs.
- Catalytic Carbon: Targets chlorine and chloramines.
- Ion-Exchange or Reverse Osmosis: Eliminates heavy metals like lead and mercury and remove fluoride.
- Absolute Sub-Micron Mechanical Filtration: Captures asbestos and chlorine resistant cysts like cryptosporidium and giardia.
Contaminant reduction improves as the water stays in contact with the media for a longer period of time. In other words, not all filters are created equal.
Reverse Osmosis Filters
One of the most controversial ingredients found in tap water is fluoride. In the 1960s, the United States Public Health Service (PHS) recommended that fluoride be added to tap water to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is now provided to public drinking water in approximately 3 out of 4 U.S. homes. Only a reverse osmosis system will remove fluoride from your drinking water.
Reverse osmosis (RO) is a process of separation that uses water pressure to force water through a semi-permeable membrane. Think about it like pasta getting caught in a colander. The semi-permeable membrane retains 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.
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. The Aquasana OptimH2O Reverse Osmosis + Claryum filter, on the other hand, includes a remineralizer that adds back in those healthy minerals your body craves and restores pH. Not to mention, it removes more than 5x the contaminants than other RO systems, including 95% of fluoride and mercury, 97% of chlorine and arsenic, and 99% of lead and asbestos.
Under Sink Drinking Filters
Unlike other selective filters, the Aquasana 2- and 3-Stage under counter drinking filters, as well as the Aquasana 3-Stage Max, meets NSF Standards 42, 53, 401, and +P473. This means that the selective filtration systems have been tested and certified to reduce toxins such as herbicides, pesticides, cysts, asbestos, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), pharmaceuticals, chlorine-resistant cysts like giardia and cryptosporidium, and more. The complete list is over 77 contaminants long.
Countertop Water Filters
Claryum® Countertop and the Clean Water Machine do not require permanent installation or fixtures, so they are easily transportable and great for the average home renter. Additionally, both of these countertop systems are tested and certified to NSF/ANSI Standards 42, 53, 401 + P473 to remove over 97% of chlorine and chloramines. It also reduces:
- Heavy metals like lead and mercury
- Chlorine resistant cysts like giardia and cryptosporidium
- Organic chemicals like herbicides, pesticides and VOCs
- Pharmaceuticals like estrone and ibuprofen
Please visit the Aquasana Drinking Water Filter comparison chart for full details.
NSF International: The Gold Standard of Water Filtration Testing
Before making a purchase, it is important to know the health benefits of any drinking water system. It should pass NSF/ANSI standards including Standard 42 for aesthetic effects and Standard 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 and odor, as well as 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.