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Water Filters 101: Which Filter Removes the Most Contaminants

whole house water filtration system

We all want our drinking water to be safe, affordable, and pleasant to the taste. Since buying bottled water all the time can burn holes in your pocket, the most practical thing to do is to have home water filtration installed at your home.

Even though the U.S. has some of the cleanest drinking water in the world, there are those who may still need a filtration system in order to remove minerals or particulates, or simply prefer the taste of filtered water.

There are several factors to consider when choosing the right water filter for your home. One is the shape and size, which will depend on your filtration needs, budget, and lifestyle preferences. Another is the technology used in removing contaminants in the water. 

Types of Water Filtration Systems

Water filters use a variety of methods in removing impurities. In terms of filtration systems, here are the different types of filters to choose from:

1. Particulate or Mechanical Filter

These basic filters are made up of simple screens that block large particles in the water. They usually serve as the prefilters in multiple-step filter systems.

2. Absorption or Activated Carbon

Absorption is the process of removal of the particles in the water as they stick to the surface of the filter material, which is usually carbon—in powder or granule form. These filters are the most common in the market and come in various forms, such as faucet-mounted and pitcher systems. 

They can effectively reduce chlorine and chlorine byproducts, as well as dissolve volatile organic chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides. These are considered the most worrisome compounds found in municipal water. These carbon filters work well in reducing bad taste and odor.

3. Softeners or Ion Exchange Units

These water softeners reduce hard metals such as lead through the process of ion exchange. When water passes through the exchange unit, hard metal ions get replaced by sodium ions. This makes the water softer, but with a saltier taste. The ion exchange technology is usually combined with absorptive or reverse-osmosis filters. 

4. Reverse Osmosis

This involves a process that forces water through a membrane to filter out molecules that are physically larger than water molecules.

This filter type is effective in reducing minerals, but it doesn’t work as well in removing chlorine or volatile organic compounds. But manufacturers solved this problem by combining the reverse-osmosis units with pre-filters and carbon filters. 

5. Ultraviolet Treatment

This technology uses IV lights to kill germs in the water. This is the only treatment method certified by the National Sanitation Foundation International in reducing bacteria.

6. Distillation

This makes use of water distillers to heat water and turn it into steam. The steam is then collected and transformed back into its liquid form. When the water evaporates, the contaminants are left behind.

This type of water filtration is very effective in removing most bacteria and minerals in the water, although there are some units that do not remove volatile organic chemicals. Compared to other filtration methods, distillation often requires more energy to heat the water.

As for deciding which filtration system removes the most contaminants, this will depend on the type of impurity or water issue you’re concerned with. Here’s a list of the filtration methods and which contaminants or water issues they work best in removing:

  • Carbon or charcoal filter – carbon can remove lead—combined with charcoal, it works best in removing bad taste and odor, as well as chlorine and chlorine byproducts. It can remove some chloramines as well. Keep in mind that water filters certified to reduce chlorine in the water do not necessarily take out chloramine, so it’s best to ask your local water utility to find out which disinfectant is used in your drinking water.
  • Reverse Osmosis and distillation – reverse osmosis alone can remove perchlorates while Both methods can remove fluoride and arsenic. When it comes to arsenic, keep in mind that there are two different forms found in water, so find out first which type you’re dealing with before choosing a filtration system.

Bacteria can be removed by reverse osmosis method only while ultraviolet light and chlorination can kill bacteria by disinfecting the water.

Water filters are not really effective in removing viruses. However, there are some water treatment systems that can kill viruses via disinfection. Chlorination can kill bacteria and viruses even before it reaches your home’s water system, which in turn removes the chlorine.

Other Concerns in Choosing the Right Water Filter

Filtration products can be equipped with multiple technologies and often sold as two or more stage filters.

The forms that typically use a combination of ion exchange and adsorption are carafe, faucet-mounted, and countertop-style filters. Plumbed-in filter systems use this combination as well, plus reverse osmosis.

Prices vary widely as well. The most affordable filters are carafes and faucet-mounted types, ranging between $20 to $50 while under-sink, countertop, and whole house water filtration system can set you back between $50 to $900.

When it comes to considering the price of your water filter, you have to add installation, replacement, and maintenance costs along with the initial purchase price. Remember that you have to change the parts of your filter periodically to prevent clogging.

Last but not the least, make sure that the water filter system that you choose will reduce the particular contaminant you want to be removed from your water.

Most importantly, be mindful of the claims found on the ads or packaging with regards to the kind of contaminants that the filter will reduce and how much it will remove in terms of percentage.

Get the Best Water Filtration System for Your Home in California

Whether you’re looking for a whole house water softener or a reverse osmosis drinking water system for your home or office in California, we offer you the best options within your budget.

You will also get a lifetime servicing plan which guarantees that your filter system will always work without a hitch. Book your service now, contact us at Puragain Water today!