How Do You Choose The Right Water Filter?

How Do You Choose The Right Water Filter?

Thanks to the Coronavirus, people have been raiding grocery stores and stocking up on food, water and other supplies. After going to multiple stores looking for bottled water and coming up empty, we decided to install a water filter in our kitchen. I have to say choosing a water filter has been a great decision.

Not only did we end up with bottled water quality directly from the tap, but we no longer have the hassle of buying water from the store and lugging it home, plus I’m personally drinking more water which is great!

The most surprising thing about having the water filter though is the peace of mind it gives us knowing we didn’t have to worry about contaminants in our drinking water.

When we went down the road of choosing a water filter it seemed overwhelming and confusing. There were so many choices, from particle water filters, uv water filters and reverse osmosis water filters to whole home water filters and on and on and on.

So how did we choose the best water filter for us?

Well, we really didn’t at first. Since I couldn’t really find any bottled water, or at least not enough for our family of 6, I bought a PUR Faucet mount water filter off the shelf at the store as an impulse buy. It was easy to install, I just screwed it directly onto the bottom of our faucet at the kitchen sink.

The filtered water tasted great coming out of the tap and I loved the LED feature that let you know when the filter cartridge needed to be replaced. That said, the drawback to this water filter for us was that it didn’t filter out fluoride.

So it was time to dig in and learn about the different options available for water filtration. Basically they fit into two categories. Whole home water filters and point of use water filters.

UV Water Filters

Many water filters deal with organic contaminants such as bacteria, fungus or viruses to varying degrees. But by far the best water filter for these types of contaminants is the ultraviolet water filter. A UV water treatment system can destroy up to 99.99% of waterborne microorganisms and can be combined with many types of whole home or point if use water filters.

ultraviolet water filter

Some Things to Keep in Mind With a UV Water Filter

UV light is only able to remove microorganisms and does not remove any other contaminants like heavy metals, salts, chlorine or man-made contaminants.   

UV light is also only effective if the water being treated is clear. UV light can not reach the microorganisms blocked by particles.

UV systems need electricity to operate. This means that it may not be suitable for some applications like emergency needs or survival needs if electricity is not available, so you may want to consider a battery backup.

Whole Home Water Filters

These are typically installed by a plumber at the point where the water supply enters your home. They tend to come with 3 stages of water filters and most begin with a sediment filter in the first stage. Depending on what you are looking to filter out, the second stage can either be a carbon blocking water filter or some other technology. For example, a kinetic degradation filter that uses high quality copper and zinc to remove contaminants in the water.

Some of these systems involve holding tanks, but almost all are simply high flow rate water filters that generally remove about 50 – 60 contaminants according to http://www.waterfiltercomparisons.com/.

Whole home water filters generally do a good job at dealing with heavy metals like lead and mercury, organic chemicals like herbicides, pesticides and VOCs or industrial solvents. Try to find one that has been verified and certified by an independent testing agency such as the NSF.

Point Of Use Water Filters

These are filters designed to be installed where they are going to be used and come in many forms. Shower heads, faucet mounts, under sink, countertop and even simple water pitchers. These are by far the most common and the ones people use and install.

As you can imagine, these filters come in all sizes, complexities and filtration methods.

The one I want to talk about though is the reverse osmosis water filter or RO filter as it is sometimes called. In my opinion, this is the most effective drinking water filter. The typical reverse osmosis filter comes in 5 stages, the first 3 are the same as the whole house filtration systems we talked about earlier. 

Reverse Osmosis Water Filter

Stage 4 though is typically where the rubber meets the road. This is the reverse osmosis membrane which contains extremely small pores that water is forced through under pressure. The pores block the contaminants which are larger from going through and let the water pass by. These were actually originally designed to purify salt water for drinking. (I assume it would work well for that).

Reverse osmosis water filters store the purified water in a tank. This tank is usually installed directly after the 4th stage membrane.
Now some systems have a 5th, 6th or even 7th stage filter inline after the tank to remove more and more contaminants or in our case to add back some of the good minerals, stripped out in the filtration process.

The filter we have adds back calcium carbonate to help ph balance the water and add alkalinity.

In the end I ordered the APEC 6 stage reverse osmosis system. We now use the PUR water for an emergency backup and the reverse osmosis filter for drinking water or cooking.

We decided on this particular reverse osmosis system for several reasons.

FIrst and foremost, it filters out everything we need, the reverse osmosis membrane removes up to 99% of total dissolved solids (TDS – total dissolved solids) and contaminants such as arsenic, lead, fluoride, chromium, radium, bacteria, viruses, etc.

We also knew we wanted to get a water filtration system that added alkalinity back to the water. The one we purchased came with a 6th stage filter that adds calcium carbonate to increase water alkalinity.

The thing that clinched it though was the ease of replacing the filters, they just snap in and out with the quick connect rings.

The filters and tank were installed under the sink and I was able to do that in about 2 hours. I put together an installation video and instructions so you can see exactly how I installed everything. I included links to everything I purchased and used to install it.

If you’re not fond of working with plumbing though there are several countertop options available to you. Albeit at a higher price than the under sink water filters and they will take some valuable counter space.

Conclusion

A water filter was a great choice for our family.  We don’t have to worry about the availability of bottled water at the store during the pandemic and beyond that, the hassle of lugging bottled water home goes away!  Plus we get great quality drinking water and peace of mind.

If you decide to purchase or install your own water filter, lets us know what you ended up with and how it went in the comments section.

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Brian Botch
Latest posts by Brian Botch (see all)

Brian Botch

Brian is the owner of House Fluent Inspections and is licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission as a professional real estate inspector (TX License # 22824 ). In addition, he is certified by the National Swimming Pool Foundation as a Certified Pool Inspector.

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