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Safe Drinking Water

Safe drinking water has become an issue in recent years. The drinking water in certain areas has been proven to contain many hazards that local water treatment procedures don't remove. To eliminate some of the harmful toxins that have been found in drinking water, some homeowners install water treatment devices.

Three major types of water treatment devices are available: filters, distillers and softeners. Filters are probably the most common of the three. Three kinds of filtering devices are available. Carbon filters are found most frequently. The second most common uses sediment filers. The third and most expensive type is a reverse osmosis unit.

Carbon filters use carbon cartridges that have a porous surface. This device allows the cartridge to absorb a variety of substances, including THMs, odors and disagreeable tastes. There are five types of carbon filters available which include:

  • Faucet mount
  • Portable (pour through)
  • Specialty (ice makers)
  • Line by-pass (beneath the sink) (entering the house)
  • Stationary (under sink)

Sediment filters are used so that solid particles are strained out of water. Two types of sediment filters are available which include fiber filters and ceramic filters. Fiber filters contain cellulose, rayon or some other material spun into a mesh with small pores. Turbidity (suspended sediment) is removed as line pressure forces water through the mesh. The filtered water passes to the opening that leads to the faucet. Ceramic filters work in a similar fashion except the water passes through a ceramic filtration media.

A reverse-osmosis (RO) filter removes nearly all contaminants in water because it is designed differently then the other devices. Unlike the other types that reduce impurities in the water, RO removes water from the impurities. It works by forcing water through a specially designed, semi-permeable, nonporous synthetic membrane that separates soluble and suspended particles from the water. It works exceptionally well when combined with carbon filtration. It is the most expensive option because it requires a number of accessories in order for it to operate.

Before making the decision to purchase a water filtering device, the water in your home should be analyzed for impurities. Your local health department or a private water testing laboratory can perform these tests. The charges are based on the number and kinds of tests performed.

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