Kitchen necessities don’t get more fundamental than having a plentiful supply of fresh water. Not so long ago, it was a simple choice between what comes out of the tap and what comes out of a bottle.
Frankly, there are downsides to both, which have been well-publicized in the mass media. America seems to be lurching from one contamination disaster to the next. And while it is always important to remember that scare stories like these are what sells newspapers, it is undeniable that the US water supply infrastructure is getting past its best, and incidents like these are becoming more common.
The case against bottled water is, if anything, even worse. It is costly, the FDA quality regulations are little better than those laid down by the EPA for tap water and worst of all, the environmental impact represents one of the most significant challenges our children and grandchildren will have to face.
The Case for Filters
Fortunately, there is another option, and it is one that is attracting growing traction, not just in the US but across the world. Water filters check all the boxes. Choose the right one, and it will remove contaminants from the water while leaving the minerals and trace elements that are so important to our health. Also, water filters are vastly more cost effective than bottled water, and they don’t have the environmental impact.
Using a water filter really is a no-brainer, so it is not surprising that it’s a competitive and growing market with lots and lots of choices. Competition among suppliers and a wide choice are words that should be music to the ear of consumers, but it does mean you need to do your homework in order to make the right purchase. Let’s look at the different types of filters out there.
These are rapidly becoming the most popular type of water filter, and the arguments in their favor are compelling. They have the advantage of volume, having a typical capacity of one to six gallons, yet they do not require special plumbing or installation. That also means they are completely portable, so ideal for road trips. Gravity filters are effective at removing contaminants like chlorine and heavy metals, while some, like the Berkey filter system, will even filter out fluoride, too.
It’s hard to see a downside to gravity filters – the only potential negative is that some can take a while to refill, so it is worth checking this parameter out when comparing specifications.
Activated Carbon Filters
These are the filters that can be installed directly into your water supply. It means a little aggravation in getting them fitted, but it is not overly complex or time consuming for somebody who knows what they are doing. Once you’ve got the system in place, you effectively have a whole house solution, with filtered water being delivered to every faucet and shower.
Activated carbon filters are convenient (once installed) and cost effective, but they do have their downsides. They are less effective at removing arsenic and do not filter out fluoride. They will also need a certain amount of maintenance to ensure mold does not form. If that happens, the filter could do more harm than good.
It’s the oldest trick in the book. Boiled water is certain to be OK, right? Distilled water is actually a little more sophisticated than that, as after boiling the water, it collects the steam and filters out all contaminants.
It’s certainly effective, and will deliver pure water. That’s great if you want to top up your car battery or carry out some scientific experiments, but by filtering out absolutely everything, you could be creating a problem for yourself. The body needs certain minerals, such as calcium and potassium, to stay healthy, and your primary source is the water you drink. Filters like the gravity ones mentioned earlier are more selective and do not filter out the minerals and trace elements that are so important for our wellbeing.
Reverse Osmosis Filter
This type of under counter filtration system sounds highly sophisticated and it uses a process called hyper filtration to deliver perfectly pure water effectively and quickly.
The trouble is, it has the same failing as the distiller. It is a little too effective, and filters out absolutely everything with zero selectivity. That means you are being deprived of those essential minerals.
A Water Ionizer
Ionization systems are getting plenty of publicity at the moment, and are becoming fashionable pieces of kit for health nuts. The idea is that it separates your water into two categories – alkaline rich, with all those lovely minerals, for drinking and an acid-rich component that is perfect for washing.
It sounds great in theory, and ionizers certainly have their place, but they are not filtration systems as such – you’ll still need to filter the water first if you want to remove contaminants like fluoride. Also, the effects of ionization are short-lived, so unless you are planning to drink the water within an hour, the benefits will be negligible.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.