Why you need a water filter
Sanitary drinking water is a must for peak health. It taste better and there’s less chance of catching a disease. Of course, not all water requires a water filter to pass as sanitary. But even unfiltered water considered “sanitary” can contain harsh chemicals. That’s why a filter can help because water filters improve the taste and extract chemicals and sediments which make filtered water safer to drink.
Not all water filters are the same. So be sure to compare apples to apples when selecting a water filter for your water.
This article gives you a few pointers – things to think about – when selecting a water filter for your specific application.
Types Of Water Filters
A sediment filter acts just like a sieve to catch particles such as rust flakes from the pipes, grains of sand, organic matter, clay or any other small particles that find their way into the system.
Why remove sediment from the water supply?
There are a couple of reasons why you’d want to use a sediment water filter to remove sediment from your water. The first is purely for aesthetic reasons. The las thing anyone wants is a glass of water swirling with rust or sand particles. The second reason is that sediment can cause blockages or malfunctions in any equipment that uses water such as your washing machine, dishwasher or shower system. Loose sediment can find its way into flow controls and even the solenoids in powered equipment. A sediment water filter removes these particles but it does not filter chemicals from the water. To remove chemicals and heavy metals from the water you need a carbon filter.
Carbon filters are typically used when you need a water filter to remove harmful chemicals such as chlorine, pesticides and herbicides and any number of other chemicals that can find their way into your water supply. Carbon filters also remove bacteria and improve the taste and smell of the water.
How do carbon water filters work?
Carbon filters work through a process called absorption where the positive charged carbon attracts the negatively charged impurities found in the water. Because the carbon has hundreds of tiny pores, the molecules and impurities get trapped on the surface of the carbon and keeps them from getting into your water.
Carbon water filters are great for eliminating the following contaminants:
- Giardia Lamblia – is a parasite which can cause an infection in the bowel or gut known as Giardiasis. It attaches itself in large numbers to the wall of your bowel and restricts your body’s natural absorption of nutrients. Giardia Lamblia typically makes its way into your body through drinking contaminated water or by eating uncooked food, fruit or vegetables that have been contaminated or have been washed with contaminated water.
- Cryptosporidium – is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. The cryptosporidium parasite has a hard outer shell which shields it and allows it to survive outside the body for extended periods of time. Its ability to survive outside the body makes it very tolerant to chlorine disinfection. While this parasite can be distributed in several different ways, it is most commonly spread through drinking water. Cryptosporidium is one of the most common sources of waterborne disease among humans.
- Other Protozoa – Drinking water supplies that rely on surface or ground water are exposed to contamination by enteric waterborne pathogens. The discovery of these pathogens (and other indicator organisms) may signal fecal contamination of the water. These pathogens can initiate in leaking sewer lines, septic systems, or inadequately secured well heads that allow polluted surface water to leak into the aquifer along the outer well casing. Organisms of concern in this regard include waterborne pathogenic human enteric viruses, such as Adenovirus, Rotavirus, Hepatitis A, and Norovirus to name a few. These organisms are a risk to human wellbeing to anyone who ingests water in which these organisms are present.
- Chlorine – Chlorination is used to disinfect water and kill any germs that may reside therein.
Water Filter Micron Rating
Water’s ability to filter and remove contaminants by the size of the particles is measured in microns. A micron is a unit of measure in the metric system equal to 0.001mm. To put this in perspective, an average cross-section of a human hair is 50 microns or 0.05mm.
- 50 micron (0.05mm) – Diameter of a human hair
- 8 – 14 micron (0.08 – 0.014mm) – Giardia
- 3 - 6 micron (0.003 - 0.006mm) – Cryptosporidium
- 1 – 10 micron (0.001 - .01mm) – Protozoa
Although there are many different micron ratings, the two most common terms used are nominal and absolute. Why do ratings like nominal and absolute exist? They exist because when choosing a water filter you need to know the filters' removal efficiency of the specific particle sizes for your specific application. For example, a filter that has a rating of "10 micron" has some ability to capture particles as small as 10 microns; however, 10 microns doesn’t tell the whole story. That’s where nominal and absolute ratings come in:
Nominal vs Absolute Micron Rating
The Nominal micron rating of a water filter refers to the capability of the filter to arrest particles of a specified size at efficiency between 50% and 90%. For instance, a 10 micron nominal rated water filter simply means that filter captures as little as 50% or a maximum 90% of contaminants 10 micron in size and larger.
An Absolute micron rating means the water filter can remove at least 98.7% of a specific size particle. Using the same example of a 10 micron absolute rated water filter means the filter will capture 98.7% of contaminants 10 micron in size and larger.
A water filter that has an absolute micron rating therefore is much more effective at refining water than a water filter having a nominal micron rating.
I should add at this point that a water filter will not remove minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron that are necessary for our health. The down side of not removing these minerals is that as they increase I quantity they will build up as scale and eventually damage taps, hot water systems, showers and any other household appliance that uses water flow.
For hard water treatment see our chemical free hard water solution.
Micron Rating vs Flow Rate
Water filters with a higher micron rating have a larger pore size allowing higher flow rate. Low micron water filters have a smaller pore size and lower flow rate.
When choosing a water filter you need to consider flow rate and water filtration. The higher the micron rating selected, the higher the flow rate will be but the greater the instance of contaminants, bacteria and cysts passing through the water filter into your drink water. You do have a number of options to combat this and make sure your water is clear from bacteria and cysts.
Option 1 – Larger Filters
The first option is to increase the size or number of filters to enable higher flow rates when using a lower micron water filter.
Option 2 – UV
Adding UV to your system beyond the water filter will make sure all bacteria, cysts and virus are killed on the spot. The good thing about UV, especially where higher flow rate is desirable, is that you get the best of both worlds: higher flow rate AND elimination of bacteria, cyst and virus producing contaminates.
Ultra Violet (UV) Disinfection
Ultra-Violet (UV) disinfection of drinking water is widely acknowledged as a safe, effective, and inexpensive chemical free method of disinfecting drinking water without upsetting the taste.
Why it works: UV radiation of wavelengths between 200 to 280 nm (UV-C) has proved to damage DNA molecules of nearly all pathogenic micro-organisms including bacteria, viruses, yeasts, etc most commonly found in water supplies. When the DNA of a microorganism is damaged with UV radiation it loses its competency to cause infections. According to studies and testing, no pathogenic microorganism is able to resist properly applied and adequate doses of UV-C radiation.
Plastic vs Stainless Steel Water Filter Housings
Plastic water filter housings are the most commonly used around the world. They are manufactured from an ABS material, are UV stabilized and are pressure rated to 100PSI. Water filter housings are available in the following sizes;
- 2.5” x 10” Long
- 2.5” x 20” Long
- 4.5” x 10” Long
- 4.5” x 20” Long
Another option is stainless steel. Stainless steel water filter housings are obviously more hard-wearing and obtainable in either a grade 304 or 316 stainless steel. Grade 304SS is appropriate for normal fresh water applications and grade 316SS is used in salt-water applications. These stainless steel housing is ideal for use with cold and hot water, extreme heat or extreme high-pressure situations. They are pressure rated to 200PSI, which is twice the rating of the plastic filter housings. Stainless steel housings are premium filter housing and therefore you pay more. Stainless steel water filter housings are available in just two sizes;
- 2.5” x 10” Long
- 4.5” x 20” Long
Either the plastic and stainless steel housings suitable for whichever sized sediment and carbon filters are needed in your specific application.
Water Filtration vs Water Treatment
A good water filtration system removes sediment, chlorine, bacteria, cysts and odour from water and results in polished, bacteria free water for drinking and bathing. You have a number of options to study when selecting a water filter system including:
Bench Top Systems – a bench top water filter is a single housing unit typically with a single carbon filter. They connect directly to the tap on the sink and if the micron rating of the carbon water filter is low enough, they will give you bacteria free water. The main drawback of the bench top system is the fact that they take up bench space with a permanent tube running from the filter to the tap. But it’s a great option if you are renting.
Twin Under Sink Systems – The twin under sink system is installed under the sink and has two filter housings. The first stage filter is a sediment filter and the second stage filter is a carbon filter. The twin under sink system connects to your water supply and either to a dedicated water filter tap or to your cold water tap where it will filter all water flowing through your cold water tap. Again, the lower the micron rating of the sediment filter and carbon filter the better quality water you will have. You can also install these under sink models to your bathroom water to give bacteria and chlorine free water for brushing your teeth.
Whole House System – The whole house system is a terrific option if you want chlorine and bacteria free water throughout your whole house.
Shower Filtration – The purpose of a shower water filter is to remove sediment and chlorine from the water giving you a better showering experience.
All water contains minerals. When rain falls and is collected in water catchment dams or soaks through the earth surface and settles in underground aquifers, it dissolves minerals which remain suspended in the water. The number of minerals present in the water will determine the hardness of the water and define the scaling difficulties you will have.
Our bodies need the minerals found in water but we don’t want the costly problems associated with scale. So, to keep the good minerals without causing scale to form our water treatment systems include a water conditioner that treats the minerals and reduces costly problems as they filter the water. The end result is a soft, mineral rich but sediment, bacteria and chlorine free water.
We can supply you with a water treatment system including water conditioner and filtration for:
- Your sink
- Your whole house
- Your shower
- Your Caravan and RV
It doesn’t matter if you’re on town water, bore water or rainwater we have a water filtration or water treatment system to suit your specific requirement. UV can be added to our systems for additional bacteria and cyst treatment.
We provide rapid solutions to your hard water problems. Call us today to discuss your water filtration and treatment requirements.