Did you know that at least 25% of the US population drinks potentially unsafe water? That’s over 93 million people who could get sick from drinking contaminated tap water!
One possible reason for this is the country’s aging drinking water infrastructure. Each year, it suffers an estimated 240,000 main water breaks. These damages contribute to contaminated water flowing into many US homes.
This should be enough reason for you to invest in a water purifier. Water purifier systems for home use not only make tap water safer but taste better too. It can help lower the health risks of unsafe water by removing many of the contaminants it contains.
The question is, how exactly do water purification or filtration systems work? What unwanted stuff can they remove from the water?
We’ll answer all these questions and more in this post, so be sure to read until the end!
1. Water Filtration Systems vs Water Purifier Systems for Home
Most water filtration systems use at least two “screens”: a pre-filter and the main filter. The pre-filter catches and traps bigger contaminants, such as silt, sand, and sediments. The main filter then screens out finer particles like chlorine and heavy metals.
A water purifier does all these while also removing other elements that a filter cannot. A reverse osmosis (RO) system, for instance, “purifies” all minerals out of water. It does so by forcing water through a semi-permeable membrane.
That said, it’s best that you know exactly what’s in your tap water before buying either a filter or purifier. A water quality test will provide you a detailed view of the contaminants in your tap water. This will then help you make a better choice between a water filter and a purifier.
2. Both Types of Systems Can Protect Against Toxic Chemicals and Heavy Metals
From lead to arsenic to chlorine — all of these are dangerous chemicals found in tap water. A common denominator among these is their association with cancer development. This means that drinking tap water can put you and your loved ones at an elevated risk of cancer!
The good news is, an in-home water filtration system or purifier can get rid of most of these chemicals.
Flint, MI isn’t the only place in the country with lead-contaminated water — almost 3,000 other places do too. In fact, these other areas have at least twice the lead poisoning rates of Flint. What’s more, 1,100 of these communities had elevated blood tests four times higher than Flint.
44 million folks from 48 US states rely on well water. Unfortunately, at least 2.1 million of them are at risk of arsenic poisoning from such water supplies. These include much of the West, many areas of Northeast and Midwest, and some Southeast states.
The problem is, arsenic is highly toxic, and long-term exposure to it can result in cancer and skin lesions. Studies have also linked this chemical to heart diseases, diabetes, and cognitive impairment.
Chlorine is one of the most common chemicals in tap water, as it acts as a disinfectant. In controlled amounts, it’s safe and doesn’t do much harm, albeit funny-tasting. However, exposure to this chemical may cause bladder and rectal cancers.
Studies estimate that chlorine may account for at least 5,000 bladder cancer cases in the US each year. Chlorinated water may also be the cause of 8,000 rectal cancer cases in the country each year.
3. Water Filters and Purifiers Have Varying Contaminant-Removal Abilities
Other cancer-causing chemicals, such as radium and uranium, may also be in tap water. Residents of the Golden State are among the most at risk of exposure to these toxic elements. In this state alone, almost 5,000 people can get cancer from just guzzling tap water.
Standard water filters may not be “fine” enough to trap these chemicals. If a water quality test reveals that you indeed have radium and uranium, an RO system may be your best choice.
If you’ll invest in an RO system though, be sure to consider getting a “remineralizer” too. This will replace the healthy minerals, like fluoride, lost through purification.
What if your water contains mostly chlorine, chloramine, or pesticides, or insecticides? Then a catalytic carbon filter may be enough for your needs. This type of filter can also help reduce excess minerals in water like sulfur, iron, and magnesium.
4. RO Systems and Some Water Filters Can Also Safeguard You from Pathogens
4 to 32 million people in the US get acute gastroenteritis due to pathogens in public drinking water. That’s only one type of waterborne disease, but many others also suffer from diarrhea. Infections and even lung problems can also arise from bacteria and viruses in water.
Fortunately, microfiltration can remove many types of bacteria and protozoa in water. These very fine filters are very effective against Cryptosporidium and Giardia. They’re also moderately effective in removing salmonella, E. coli, and other bacteria.
However, microfilters aren’t that great when it comes to dealing with viruses. Whereas RO systems can remove these, as well as protozoa and bacteria. If your water tests for all these pathogen types, a reverse osmosis system may be your best bet.
5. There Are Water Filter/Softener Combination Units
If you also get hard water at home, you can get a filtration system equipped with a water softener. This will help remove much of the dissolved minerals in your water. Keep in mind that hard water can cause damage to pipes and water-using appliances.
Get a Water Filter or Purifier for Safer, Better-Tasting Water At Home
There you have it, the key facts you should know about water filters and water purifier systems for home use. The bottom line is, they can help protect you and your loved ones from the dangers of contaminated water. You just need to test your water to find out what exactly to “filter” or “purify” them for.
By knowing what’s in your water, you can then make a more informed choice on which system to get.
Ready to make your tap water far less contaminated while also improving its taste? Then be sure to check out our extensive collection of water filters and purifiers!