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How To Choose The Right Home Water Filters and Water Purifiers For Your Needs
When it comes to home water filters and water purifiers, consumers have many choices. You can choose from leading name brands such as Brita, Culligan, PUR, and Braun. You can go with counter top water filters, under the sink models, or whole house water filters. You can pick from systems that use carbon filters, reverse osmosis water filters, and ultraviolet (UV) light technology. It's great to have so many options, but how do you know which home water purifier is right for you?
Do You Need a Home Water Purifier?
The first question to ask when considering a residential water purifier is whether you even need one. If you have a municipal water source then your water is already treated. But many people don't want to drink the chlorine or other additives that city's use to treat water supplies. And there have been many instances when city water supplies have become contaminated despite treatment procedures.
If you feel secure about your city water supply and enjoy the taste of chlorinated water, then you may not need a purifier. If you're not sure what's in your water, you can ask to see a water quality report that all cities are required to provide.
Although well water isn't treated, it comes from an underground source that can often be cleaner than municipal water. But if you live in areas with farming, manufacturing, and other industries that may inadvertently or purposely dump chemicals into the water table, your water is at risk.
Additionally, well water may contain sediments, such as iron, that can cause discoloration and odor. These sediments can also build up in dishwashers and other appliances and cause malfunctions. Many home water filters and purifiers can help improve the taste and quality of well water. To find out what type of impurities are in your well water, purchase a home testing kit or for more reliable results, have your water professionally tested.
What Contaminants Do You Want To Target?
If you've decided you need a home water purifier, the next step is to decide what type of contaminants you want to filter out or protect against. Are you concerned about bacteria and other microorganisms? Do you want to remove chemicals and compounds such as chlorine? Maybe you know your water contains sediments and high mineral content. Or perhaps like many people, you're concerned about all of these things and you want a comprehensive home water purifier/filtration system.
Bacteria and microorganisms
If bacteria and other organisms are your targets, then you want to consider home water purifiers that use UV technology. Of the three most common water purification technologies, UV is the only one that effectively immobilizes bacteria. However, it does not remove sediments, chemicals and other contaminants.
Chemicals and sediments
Home water purifiers that use either carbon filters or reverse osmosis technology will remove suspended solids such as sediments, dissolved chemicals, and many other contaminants. Of the two, reverse osmosis is effective on a wider range of contaminants. However, neither of these technologies is effective at removing bacteria.
For a comprehensive home water purification system, it is important to combine UV technology with one of the other options. A carbon pre-filer is the most common choice. It's also critical that you change your home water filters regularly and follow manufacturers' maintenance schedules. If you don't routinely change the filters on your home water filters and water purifiers, you could wind up creating an even bigger problem with bacteria than the one you may be trying to avoid in the first place.
Where Will You Put Your Home Water Purifier?
Where you want to locate the filter/purification system can also influence your decision. Faucet mount and countertop water filters typically only come in carbon filter technology. You can usually find both carbon filters and reverse osmosis water filters in under sink systems. And both reverse osmosis and UV technologies come in whole house systems. Each of these can also be fitted with a carbon pre-filter for comprehensive treatment.
If your only concern is your drinking water, then you may prefer one of the many countertop or under sink water filters. They are less expensive than whole house systems, ranging from about $20 to $30 for a countertop pitcher or faucet filter to around $200 or $300 for an under the sink model. The under sink water purifiers are capable of processing water much more quickly, and the filters tend to last longer.
If you want to treat your bathing water and keep sediments and bacteria from building up in your appliances, then you will need to consider a whole house system. They start at around $400 for basic models and can cost upwards of $1000 for high-end systems. In the end, your budget may be the ultimate factor in your decision.
Installation and Maintenance
One final aspect to consider when choosing between different home water filters and purification systems is whether or not you want to install and maintain it yourself. Faucet mounts and countertop models basically require no or minimal installation. And the only maintenance is changing the filters, which is a simple process.
Depending on your mechanical aptitude, under sink models and whole house water purifiers may require professional installation and maintenance. Some companies require that their technicians perform all the work. The companies say this is to avoid mistakes and improper setup. Others say it is simply another means of charging more money.
But for those who don't want to deal with the fuss and possible mess, a service plan may be well worth the extra money. In addition, a service plan often covers the equipment if it malfunctions or breaks down.
There are several factors to consider when choosing between the various types and styles of home water filters and water purifiers. The best place to start is with an analysis of your water. Different water purifier technologies target different types of contaminants, and a water test will help you determine which technology will meet your needs. Considering how much we depend on clean water for drinking, cooking, bathing and other daily activities, a home water purifier can be an inexpensive way to provide safe and healthy tap water for you and your family.
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