Every living organism requires water to survive. For humans, clean water is an essential requirement for good health. However, clean water is not always easily accessible. Most water sources out there are contaminated with pollutants and unfit for drinking. Fortunately, there are water filters.
Water filters are designed to reduce the impurities in water, making it suitable and healthy to drink. This article discusses the various types of water filters, how they work, and their pros and cons.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filters
Reverse osmosis is a water filtration technique that removes the contaminants present in water with the help of a semipermeable membrane. The contaminated water molecules are forced through the membrane. However, only the water molecules pass through—every other component, usually larger molecules like pollutants and minerals, are blocked.
Why choose RO Filters?
Reverse osmosis water filters are known for their high effectiveness and efficiency. They remove most impurities in water, including fluoride, arsenic, and lead. They also remove viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms from water.
Why avoid RO Filters?
Compared with other types of water filter systems, RO filters do not come cheap—installation and maintenance require a considerable financial commitment. In addition, traditional reverse osmosis systems tend to waste more water and remove beneficial minerals from water during filtration. Nevertheless, RO systems are becoming increasingly popular. There are more options to choose from. For example, users can add a remineralized water filter to their RO system to re-add the lost beneficial minerals.
Activated Carbon Filters
Activated carbon filters purify water using activated carbon. Activated carbon is a form of carbon that has undergone treatment with oxygen to increase its porosity and filtration capabilities. The role of the carbon is similar to that of a sponge—it absorbs impurities when the contaminated water passes through it.
Why choose Activated Carbon Filters?
Activated carbon filters can efficiently reduce organic compounds from contaminated water, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and chlorine. They also remove bad taste and odor, leaving only great-tasting and odorless drinking water.
Why avoid Activated Carbon Filters?
Activated carbon filters cannot effectively remove inorganic compounds and minerals from the water. For instance, contaminants like fluoride and lead may persist in water filtered with activated carbon filters. They are also less efficient and tend to get clogged after prolonged use.
Filtration in sediment filters is mechanical—the filters physically trap contaminant particles in water as they pass through the porous material, usually cloth or sand.
Why choose Sediment Filters?
Sediment filters excel at getting rid of larger particles in water, including silt, sand, and others. They also cost less to purchase, install, and maintain.
Why avoid Sediment Filters?
They struggle to remove smaller particles from water, including viruses and bacteria. They also tend to trap particles and get clogged.
Ultraviolet (UV) Filters
As the name suggests, Ultraviolet filters inactivate bacteria and other microorganisms in contaminated water using ultraviolet light.
Why choose UV filters?
They are the most effective for killing microorganisms like viruses and bacteria in water. The filtration process also retains the beneficial minerals in the water.
Why avoid UV filters?
While they effectively remove microorganisms, they struggle to filter out other contaminants in water, including heavy metals and chemicals. In addition, UV filters are almost always electric-powered, with a high installation and maintenance cost.
Alkaline/Water Ionizer Filters
Alkaline/water ionizer filters are designed to make water more alkaline by changing the pH through ionization.
Why choose Alkaline/Water Ionizer Filters?
Alkaline/water ionizer filters do an excellent job of eliminating contaminants in water. They also increase the pH of water while removing the bad taste and odor.
Why avoid Alkaline/Water Ionizer Filters?
These filters are not cheap—installation and maintenance can be expensive. You also require electricity to operate it. Lastly, alkaline/water ionizer filters do a poor job of reducing certain impurities in water.
To Round Up…
Installing a water filter is one way to enjoy an unlimited supply of safe, fresh, and healthy drinking water. While there are many filter types, this article has highlighted their working principles and pros/cons to help you decide the best.