Everyone wants clean, tasty water when it comes to their drinking water. A home water filter may help many homeowners have clean water that is free of smells, pollutants, lead, and other potentially dangerous things. Although many of these filters appear to be the same, there are major differences between the various types and brands.

If you’re not sure about what type of water filter best suits your needs, this article will help answer questions related to the different technologies and their functions.

When it comes to water filtration, you can get overwhelmed with a variety of different types of filters and what they do. Knowing the basics about different types of water filters and what to look for in a water filter will help you get better-purified water throughout your home.

Water Filtration 101

Before going over the various types of water filtration systems available, it’s a good idea to have a general understanding of filtration and why it’s important.

For decreasing or eliminating impurities from water entering your home, water filters for residential use may utilize a mix of physical, chemical, or biological methods. Physical filtration material is most commonly used in residential water filters. This means that contaminated water is passed through a physical medium that absorbs, retains, or prevents impurities.

There are different types of contaminants that can be found in water. Some chemicals can’t be filtered out of the water, while other filters are able to take out some of these contaminants. For example, some water contaminants like bacteria are easily removed by carbon filters but other contaminants, such as chemicals, can be more difficult to remove because they need a more advanced type of filter.

This means that different methods of filtration will remove different types of contaminants. That’s why many systems combine more than one filtering method to create a system with multiple filtration processes. These are called hybrid systems because they contain more than one filter media.

Common Methods of Water Filtering

There are two common ways to purify water: reverse osmosis and granulated activated carbon. It’s also worth understanding what water softening systems do as they may be used in conjunction with one of these filtration methods to filter a broad spectrum of contaminants. Let’s take a look at these filtration methods in more detail.

Reverse Osmosis

If you’re searching for residential water filtering solutions, reverse osmosis (RO) systems will almost certainly come up, so learning more about how they operate can help you decide if they’re ideal for you.

Reverse osmosis water filtration systems, as their name suggests, reverse the natural osmosis process. A liquid flows spontaneously from a low-solute solution to a high-solute solution in osmosis. This flow happens across a semipermeable barrier, such as the cell wall of a plant’s root or our own cells. Water is absorbed by plants through osmosis. Water moves from nutrient-poor soil to nutrient-rich plants.

In terms of water treatment, reverse osmosis systems work by pushing contaminated water through a specially designed membrane with very small holes. Water molecules and a few extremely small impurities pass through the pores, but the bulk of toxins and undesired particles are left behind and discarded.

Reverse osmosis can best be understood by looking at desalination plants. Desalination plants use reverse osmosis to purify water by forcing saltwater through a membrane at high pressure. The membrane allows water molecules through but not the salt, and the end result is purified water.

Although reverse osmosis is a strong filtering process, it does not remove all pollutants, as do all filtration systems.

Reverse Osmosis systems are good in removing the following contaminants:

  • Nitrates
  • Salts
  • Lead, copper, and iron metals
  • Protozoa
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Arsenic, fluoride, sulfates, potassium, and phosphorus are reduced.

RO systems are not as effective at removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as well as chemical disinfectants that remove water contaminants and particles. Because of this, some RO systems integrate filters, which often use activated carbon, to filter out many contaminants and particles.

Activated Carbon

The most prevalent form of media used in household filtration systems is activated carbon. It’s commonly known as activated carbon or granulated activated carbon (GAC). Activated carbon is a form of charcoal that has undergone oxygen or heat treatment. This procedure greatly enhances the carbon’s surface area. To give you an idea of how huge this filtering media’s surface area is, 1 gram of activated carbon has a surface area of around 32,000 ft.

The surface area of activated carbon is essential because it uses adsorption to filter pollutants. The process of a solid, in this example carbon, trapping molecules of a gas, liquid, or solution on its surface is known as adsorption. Contaminants are retained on the surface of the activated carbon granules as tap water passes through the filter. As the amount of accessible surface area for adsorption decreases, activated carbon filters will eventually need to be replaced.

The following pollutants can be removed from water using activated carbon:

  • Organic substances that are volatile (VOCs)
  • Chlorine and bromine are disinfectants used in water treatment.
  • Industrial solvents
  • a few insecticides

While activated carbon is great at eliminating the chemicals and compounds that give tap water a bad taste and aroma, it isn’t as good at removing other impurities. Heavy metals and mineral ions, which contribute to water hardness, nitrates, microorganisms, and fluoride, which are often employed in water treatment in the United States, are among these contaminants.

Water Softening Systems

Water softening systems aren’t frequently grouped with water filters, but it’s worth taking a time to learn what these systems do to your water. Water softener systems use ion exchange to remove the mineral ions that contribute to water hardness. As water flows through the system, the minerals are attracted to the resin beads and replenished with sodium ions when water passes through it.

Minerals like calcium and magnesium are removed with Water filtration, as well as heavy metals like lead, copper, and iron. Other pollutants such as microorganisms, VOCs, pesticides, and solvents are not removed. Water softening systems are typically point-of-entry devices that soften water throughout the house. To supply clean drinking water, they are frequently paired with other point-of-use filtering systems, such as a RO system put beneath a sink.

Final Thoughts

It might be tough to figure out which type of water filter is best for you. We recommend starting with a test of your water source to determine which pollutants you should be concerned about. You may then limit down the systems that will best suit your demands, both in terms of living style and water filter cost.

Contact Caccia Plumbing now to learn more about water filter alternatives or to schedule a home water test.