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13 Types of Water Filters and How They Work

Water, because of its molecular structure, is excellent at picking up different toxins and unwanted elements. Because of this, we need to take great care to treat the water that we use in our day-to-day live.

Investing in a water filter may seem unnecessary because billions of people utilize unfiltered water each and every day. That said, many people’s bodies are used to the toxins in their water so it doesn’t affect them as much. That doesn’t mean that those toxins won’t build up over time, though.

Additionally, water filters are often complicated and difficult to understand. For that reason, we’ve listed 13 of the main types of water filters and how they work.

Understanding Types of Water Filters

Before you decide on buying a water filter, you should understand the different types and how they work. We’ll cover a few kinds of water filtration before we begin to describe the various filters available.

Physical Filtration

This form of filtration eliminates larger substances sitting in your water. Whether these substances be invisible to the eye or dust-sized particles, physical filtration can be imagined as a strainer.

The materials are sifted out of the water flowing through the filter and the water comes out cleaner than it was. This type of filtration is good for otherwise clean water that may have had contact with soil or other debris that is not harmful. If your water is contaminated with different harmful bacteria or debris, physical filtration may not be your best option.

Chemical Filtration

This method involves a barrier that water passes through, similar to physical filtration. In this case, however, the barrier possesses a chemical property that purifies the harmful bacteria in the water.

This method is good for situations where the water is relatively free from dust and debris but may be contaminated with trace amounts of bacteria that is harmful to humans.

Reverse Osmosis

This form of filtration uses pressure to pass water through a strainer that collects clean water and eliminates impure water. Very small pores in the strainer collect most harmful bacteria and leave it in the impure water with other strained sediments.

Filter Types

Now we move on to the different filters available on the market. Use the information below to see what kind of filter may be best for you and your needs. When making a decision, consider the quality of your water, kitchen, and any needs that you or a family member might have concerning the quality of your water.

1. Boiling Water

The method most used by humans to purify water is boiling. Bringing your water to a boil will eliminate almost all bacteria and chemicals that are present. Boil your water for 2 to 5 minutes in order to ensure that it is clean and ready to use.

This can be time-consuming, though, and many water sources in the modern home need to be accessed immediately. It is not realistic to boil all of the water that you would use for a bath or shower, for example.

2. Solar Distiller

A solar distiller is an interesting form of filtration in that it uses vaporized water as its primary source. A clear container is placed around the water, then placed in contact with sunlight. The sunlight passes through the clear barrier of the filter, causing the water to heat.

As the water heats, it begins to evaporate, rising to the top of the barrier in the form of condensation. The condensed, clean water then rolls to the side of the filter where it is collected. The impure water remains in the basin of the filter and the clean water is entirely separated.

3. Ozone Filtration

This form of filtration utilizes 03, which is a molecule that releases a unit of oxygen that kills organisms in water. This process happens as a result of oxygen passing through a UV charge and must be carried out in a lab.

This is an excellent way to deactivate pesky organisms and bacterias in water that would be difficult to catch with normal filters. It also spares you the pesky byproducts found in water that uses chemical filters.

4. UV Filtration

Surprisingly, passing UV rays through water is an effective way to kill most bacteria from your water source. You must understand the requisite energy level for your water source, though, because a low energy level will not kill all bacteria.

This is a quick, easy way to filter water with no effect given to the taste or quality of the final product. The water is not added with any toxins or byproducts.

5. Iodine

If you’re a person who camps or travels regularly, using iodine to filter your water is an extremely good idea. By putting a suitable amount of iodine in your water bottle or cantina, you will be tasting pure water after waiting only 30 minutes.

This method will eliminate all bacteria that is harmful to humans, which is an extremely valuable thing when you’re taking water from natural sources.

6. Distilled Water

Similar to ozone filtration, distilled water utilizes processes of nature to vaporize and purify water sources. This requires capturing the steam from water at a boil, then gathering the condensed steam and funneling it into a drinkable place.

This process does have its downfalls, though, as it takes a decent amount of time to collect relatively small amounts of water. It does, however, kill all bacteria and provides an exceptionally clean source of water.

7. Adding Chlorine

Chlorine, like iodine, is another chemical that can be added to purify water. You may be familiar with the idea of cleaning pools with chlorine, and the same idea applies here. Much smaller amounts of chlorine are added to drinking water, of course, but the chemical does provide a cheap and convenient way to defend against bacteria and viruses in your water.

This is an option for limited use because extended drinking of water filtered with chlorine could cause health complications. That being said, for those traveling or taking a camping trip, chlorine is cheap and effective.

8. Reverse Osmosis Filter

As we’ve discussed, a reverse osmosis filter separates clean water from impure water by passing it through a porous filter. This method reduces most of the harmful bacteria and organic material in water while using very little electricity.

It does, however, take a longer time to complete the process and may not clean the water to be suitable for drinking and bathing. That is if you don’t by a high-end filter.

9. Charcoal Filters

Activated charcoals are extremely porous, and chemically bond too much of the bacteria and chemical material in drinking water. This takes care of much of the impurities in your water.

However, charcoal does not chemically bond to all materials, so there are a number of impurities that will pass through the activated charcoal. Additionally, the charcoal must be replaced after a time, as the pores get clogged and don’t bond with any materials when full.

These filters are used often in household devices such as the water pitcher filter, which we will cover later.

10. Fiber Filters

Fiber filters use a spun material that eventually becomes a porous mesh. Layered and layered, water passes through the mesh which absorbs all sediment and most organic materials from the water.

These come in a number of forms, but the most common form of fiber filter is cellulose and is spun into a cylindrical pipe shape.

11. Sand Filters

These filters are sometimes called biological sand filters and are made up of a few layers. They contain a graded sand bed and a layer of gravel. Water flows in from the top and sifts through the device to eliminate toxins.

While eliminating most sediment and solids, there is still a degree of bacteria that remain in the water.

12. Ceramic Filters

Ceramic is another porous filtration material that eliminates all materials that are larger than its pores. These devices also contain a number of pieces. There is a primary ceramic filter piece that sits in the filtration system, which then drips into a receptacle.

They often look like office place water coolers and contain a spigot and support stand to allow easy access.

13. Water Filter Pitcher

A very common residential filter, the pitcher serves as both a way to easily access water and a filtration system. The center of the pitcher contains a filter that typically utilizes active carbon and drips down from the center into the water basin.

These are relatively small devices and can only filter as much water as the pitcher can contain at one time. They fit comfortably in a fridge and are extremely inexpensive. That being said, if you’re looking for a higher-end, large-volume water filter, you may want to find another option.

Understand Your Water and Explore Your Options

Everyone’s water table is different, requiring different kinds of filtration systems. As we’ve discussed, different filters catch different bacteria. You want to ensure that your family is getting the highest quality of water available.

If you’re looking to buy a water filter for your home, we’ve got all of the information you need.

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