Water filtration has come a long way since 1804, when a Scot began using an experimental sand filter at his bleachery. Since then, we’ve seen a lot of general improvements in public water supply, from chlorination to carbon and charcoal filtration systems. Today, most refrigerators come equipped with some type of fridge filtration system for your water. But the types and qualities of these vary from model to model, and it’s still necessary that you replace your filters on a regular basis. History has taught us you can’t always count on water treatment centers to provide you with water that’s completely clean (though they’re a great benefit). Often, there are still potentially harmful particles or chloramines that a good fridge filter, replaced regularly, can trap.
What Does Your Fridge Filter Actually Do?
Carbon and charcoal fridge filters catch particles, and contaminants separating them from the water. While removing these unwanted contaminants is healthier for you, the process also removes unwanted odors, colors, or bad tastes—stuff we’ve been trying to fix since the first aqueduct. There are different types of carbons used in filters today—generally powdered block filters or granular activated filters, some from coconut shells—and these work through absorption to trap unwanted particles. Now that we have microscopes, we don’t have to rely on bad odors, tastes, to know that our water is unclean.
US Clean Water Act of 1972
Flash forward to the ‘70s: businesses and industries had been dumping waste into our water sources, and there was little in the way of prevention. Then came the US Clean Water Act of 1972. Through law, this required that all natural water had to be safe for fishing and swimming by 1985, and it helped cities fix contaminated waters. This was a big step in getting our water clean. But it wasn’t the last step.
Into the Kitchen
Omnipure Filter Company is the main reason why you have clean water in your homes. They created a disposable water filter for refrigerators in the ‘70s, and this revolutionized everything. While the Clean Water Act helped, there were still many water sources that were contaminated. But now there was a filter that could stop some of it, at least. KX Industries continued in this vein, introducing a filter in 1996, and we’ve only improved since then.
Nearly every new refrigerator comes equipped with a replaceable water filter. And that’s the key word: “replaceable.” To get the absolute best quality of water available, it’s necessary that we replace these filters. With the many different types of carbon filters, you can remove most of the contaminants—if the filters get replaced.