Invest in your health – advantages of water filters
Why bother getting a water filter pitcher in the first place? What are the advantages of using these water filters instead of buying bottled water? Well, here is what you stand to gain:
- Less chlorine in your water means that you can stay away from diseases such as heart disease, allergic reactions, increase susceptibility to asthma especially in kids and expose you to carcinogens.
- Reduces the number of heavy metals and arsenic in your water that is responsible for many cancer/ neurological diseases. Metals such as mercury, led, copper and cadmium affect the body over time especially in large doses.
- You get to save the environment from plastic waste thus creating an environment that supports better health for everyone.
- Balances the PH of the water which in turn balances out your digestive and immune
- Removes fluoride from water that is responsible for weak bones and teeth.
Is it clean? How to test your water
There are basically two ways to know if the water you have is clean. These two ways include relying on government results or testing the water yourself using a kit. The US government has strict regulations over the quality of water in the country as it affects the people and the environment. It is possible to access these government reports online through platforms like consumer confidence reports. States like San Diego have a CCF reports that show you how the water is tested, treated and what the results are.
Since your water will move through a wide range of pipes, it may get to your house contaminated again. This is why you need self-testing kits like the First Alert WT1 Drinking Water. These small kits will let you know the pH of the water and any other contaminants present in the water like bacteria/pesticides/ nitrates/chlorine and others. There are other more intricate kits in the market it is just up to what you can afford.
How do water filters work?
There are basically two ways that filters work to clean up water. The first one is through physical means whereby the filter acts as a sieve to remove any particles and contaminants. For example, activated carbon filters have spaces that the contaminants can be absorbed in to and remain lodged until the filter is exchanged. The second method is through using chemical filtration where there are chemical compounds actively working to dissolves / attracts impurities in the water and binds them.
Cartridge or carbon?
In the market, water filter pitchers either come with carbon or cartridge filters. Both of this kind of filters have their own advantages and disadvantages. Carbon filters have to be activated to work. These filters can be made from wood, coconut shells, fiber or even petroleum pitch as long as they are activated. These materials can be activated through physical activation through carbonization in an inert atmosphere at high temperatures. Chemical activation requires carbonization and impregnation with different chemicals to make the filter active. Depending on the manufacturer’s process you can expect different results.
Both the chemical and physical carbon filters work by absorbing the contaminants in the water and trapping them within the structure. These contaminants include chlorine, voc’s, Trihalomethane Compounds, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia among others. When all the carbon filter is clogged with contaminants it is time to change the filter.
Cartridge water filters usually use a combination of filtration systems including activated carbon to remove most of the contaminants in the water. These different levels of filtration eradicate different contaminants ensuring by the time the water reaches your glass it is fit for a newborn baby. The filtration system also includes mineral balls so that the water is packed with valuable minerals useful to the body. If you want a more detailed water filtration system then cartridge filters are the go-to products
Features to consider while buying the safest water filter pitcher
The kind of water filtration filter that is adequate for you may fall short in another person’s environment. There are small factors that will influence your decision but still as important.
It is important to consider the size of the water pitcher for storage and handling purposes. The bigger the unit the more space it will take up on your counter and refrigerator. If you have a small number of people in the house then get a medium-sized pitcher so that you do not have to refill more often. Consider the amount of space you have and if it is easy to pour out water when full.
Different units possess different capacities, you just need to pick one that is able to serve the number of people available. A small house does not need a unit with an 18-cup capacity unless they are always thirsty for large amounts of water. Many people find that water filter pitchers with a capacity of 8-cups are satisfactory for small-medium environments. Remember put in mind the frequency at which people access the water so as to buy a unit with a respective flow rate.
It is good to know which filtration system works with the kind of water that you have otherwise you might end up with a useless piece. These are some of the common filtration systems that you may find:
- Activated carbon filters are based on charcoal and do a good job of removing chemicals like chlorine or pesticides from the water, as in Brita Atlantis. These kinds of filters are however unable to cope with removing impurities from hard water or effectively removing heavy metals as they clog up quick needing replacements.
- Reverse osmosis filters basically work by forcing unclean water through a fine membrane so that the water is pressurized to leave the contaminants behind. The only flaw is that things like bacteria/ hormones are able to pass through with the water. This means that you may need an extra filter to remove the remaining contaminants. Also, they tend to use a lot of water.
- Ion exchange filters are particularly good with handling hard water, the separate and trap the magnesium and calcium ions. In turn, they release sodium ions to replace the magnesium/calcium ions and eventually soften the water. Usually made from zeolite beads these filters need to be recharged with sodium ions by using a special kind of salt. If you are looking for one of these, you might want to learn about Invigorated Water Water Pitcher Ionizer.
There is absolutely no point of filtering water only for it to be contaminated without your knowledge. That is why the material being used to create the water filter pitcher has to be safe and approved by the respective authorities. In most cases, the pitchers are made from plastic but it has to be harmless plastic. Look for units that bear a BPA-free description so that none of the plastic is absorbed in the water. There are glass pitcher brands that you can access in the market then that would ensure that your water remained uncontaminated after filtration, the thing is they will cost you a bit more.
Replacing filters is unavoidable if you want to maintain the quality of water you are used to. However, you don’t want to spend a lot of money always replacing filters. In most cases, the manufacturer always recommends when it is good to replace the filter. If the filter can give you 2months of constant use or more then that is a good filter to work with. There are manufactures like the Seychelle water filter pitcher that advise you to re-flush the filter to unclog it. If the filter remains clogged then it is time to replace. It is also advisable to buy your filters in bulk so as to save money as opposed to individual buys.
How long does it take to filter water?
To get the best water means that you will have to sacrifice some time. Pitchers that come with multi-stage filters will take a while compared to the simple carbon filter. If you are in a busy environment that needs water constantly then you should purchase a unit with a fast filtration system. If all you need is great tasting uncontaminated water in no hurry then select units that have intricate filtration systems. Patience in this matter is the key.
Is it easy to clean?
Since many hands will be accessing the water filter pitcher it is only fair that it is constructed from materials that are easy to clean. The pitcher should not be vulnerable to water stains or the accumulation of mold. In fact, there are units in the market like the BWT Penguin water pitcher that is dishwasher safe. These types of units are easy to clean and disinfect saving you the time and frustration.
At times knowing that a product has been certified safe for use makes us feel better. Look for models that have a well-known certification like the FDA, TUV, NFS and other valid certifications that would indicate the safety of the product.
Although it is not entirely common there are manufacturers that offer warranties for their water filter pitchers. The warranties are not usually long but none the less they are helpful especially when trying out a product for the first time. There are those manufacturers that offer a lifetime warranty or 100% money back guarantee, select depending on what you need at the time.
How to change your water filter:
- Fill a sizeable bowl with fresh water.
- Insert the new filter into the water and let it soak for 10-15 minutes.
- Take the filter out and let the water drain from it.
- Take the pitcher and insert the filter in place.
- To make the carbon activated it is important to soak the filter while inside the pitcher and discard the water.
- Once the carbon has been activated, the filter is ready for daily use.