There are two ways to approach water filtration. You can treat all of the water coming into your home, or you can treat water at one point of use. Many of us are familiar with point of use filtration in our refrigerators. Carbon filters in refrigerators with water dispensers remove a good amount of contaminants from our water. However, carbon filters are not perfect.
Water filters are rated in microns, which is a measurement of the smallest size particle they can remove. To give some size comparison – human hair is approximately 75 microns wide. Bacteria can range from 0.2 microns to 3 microns in size. Most carbon filters for a refrigerator water dispenser are rated at 20 microns. They remove most contaminants in your water that affect the taste and smell including chlorine, pesticides, lead, etc. However, bacteria and other very small particle contaminants can still pass through.
If you want water for drinking or cooking in your home that is the closest you can get to pure water, a reverse osmosis filter is the answer. Reverse osmosis forces the water through a semi-permeable membrane that is rated on average at 0.0001 microns. This removes not only the contaminants that affect taste and smell, such as dissolved minerals, lead, iron, fluoride, pesticides and chlorine, but also protozoa, bacteria, and viruses.
A reverse osmosis filter is typically installed under your kitchen sink. The most common components under the sink include a pre-filter, a reverse osmosis membrane, a post-filter, a holding tank, and a drain line. On your countertop you will have a smaller faucet installed that supplies the filtered water. Maintenance is relatively easy for a reverse osmosis system. The pre and post-filters will need changed every 6-12 months, and the reverse osmosis membrane only needs changed every 3-5 years.
While the water from your reverse osmosis filter is as close as you can get to pure water for drinking and cooking in your home, there are many benefits to whole house water treatment as well. You are still exposed to the untreated water you brush your teeth with and the water in your showers and baths. Some contaminants can also harm your plumbing.
Interested in learning more about a reverse osmosis filter or whole house filtration? Let us know!