Everything You Need to Know About Under Sink Water Filtration Systems
Being worried about the purity of your drinking water is perfectly normal. If you live in a city, chances are the water went through extremely vigorous treatment before it left the treatment plant. However, as the cases of contaminated water over the past few years can attest, the water isn't always pure by the time it gets to your home.
In the infamous Flint, Michigan case, the pipes were outdated and contained lead, and on the way to people's homes, drinking water collected enough lead to poison a small child. You could never be too safe, and investing in the best under sink water filter is the only way to ensure the water coming out of your tap is pure and safe for drinking and cooking. But first, what is a water filter?
In simple terms, a water filter is a tool that purifies your drinking water by filtering out impurities like heavy metals, sediment, bacteria, hardness, and odor. There are two variations, one that goes over the counter and one that's installed under the sink.
Although under the sink filters are often bigger and more expensive than the over the counter variations, they are generally more efficient and superior in terms of speed, water flow, and water holding capacity.
Types of Under Sink Water Filters
There are different types of under sink water filters, and they can be identified by the kind of impurities they filter out and the mechanisms they employ to do so.
Activated Carbon filters are also referred to as carbon filters or pre-filters; they consist of a type of carbon designed to maximize the number of pores on it. These pores attract and trap any large sediments or dirt molecules in the water.
Due to their large absorption surface, they greatly reduce the amount of chlorine and organic compounds present in the water, resulting in better-tasting water with little odor. However, an activated carbon filter cannot remove salts, minerals, and dissolved inorganic compounds.
Reverse osmosis filters (RO) are probably the most popular due to their high efficiency. Pressure is used to force water through a semi-permeable membrane with small pores, and the membrane lets the water through while filtering out any contaminants present. A typical RO filter consists of a pre-filter that collects larger contaminants like silt and sediment, and a reverse osmosis membrane which filters out the smaller contaminants.
They are typically bulky, more expensive, and installing one can be a challenge if you're not an experienced plumber. They are also complex and require comprehensive maintenance, but they result in purer, odor-free, and better-tasting water for home use.
Ultraviolet water purifiers are fairly new to the market, and they kill microscopic organisms like bacteria by exposing them to ultraviolet light. It can remove a variety of microorganisms from the water ranging from salmonella, E. coli, algae, and fungi to hepatitis B and streptococcus.
However, ultraviolet purifiers cannot remove particles, bad tastes, or odors, and they often work in conjunction with carbon filters.
Ceramic water filters are one of the oldest methods of water filtration, and they are popular due to their longevity, affordability, and effectiveness. Ceramic surfaces have a network of tiny pores, and a ceramic filtration system runs the water through these pores to filter out bacteria, sediment, and turbidity (cloudiness due to suspended particles).
These under sink water filters are usually cheaper than other alternatives. They are also environment friendly as the ceramic filters can be removed from the system, cleaned and reused. This also reduced the number of filters you'll have to buy, resulting in more cost savings.
Activated alumina water filters are usually the first choice water filter for most local governments around the world for filtering contaminants like arsenic, fluoride, and selenium from household water. This filtration system consists of activated alumina specifically designed to remove arsenic and fluoride from water. They have a high capacity for fluoride absorption, and they can remove up to 99% of the fluoride in your tap water.
How to Choose an Under Sink Filter
Before settling in one of the many under sink water filtration options, you will have to consider a few facts to make sure you use an option that's best suited for you. For starters,
- What do you want to filter out? We've already seen that different filters are suited for different types of contaminants. So whatever impurity you want to filter out of your tap water will help you decide which filtration option to use.
- Price, of course, is a factor. Some filtration systems are expensive and require comprehensive maintenance to keep functioning at optimum levels. Others are cheap to install and don't need much maintenance. Your choice will depend on your budget.
- How much water will be filtered? Different under sink filtration systems usually have different capacities, and you'll have to look at the flow rates and compare them to your household's water use. This way, you'll opt for a filtration option that filters enough water for the household, no more, no less.
Under sink water filtration systems are a must for anyone living in a city. Heck, for anyone who relies on tap water. Not only will they remove sediment dirt, baby metals, and dissolved chemicals, but they also eliminate harmful microorganisms like bacteria, resulting in pure, odor-free, and better-tasting drinking water.
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