Compare & Buy the Best Home Filtration Systems of 2017

Whole House Water Filter

Water Filter Pitcher & Counter-Top Dispensers

Under Sink Water Filter

Filtered Water Bottle

 

Why use a Water Filter?

Why exactly should you use a water filter system in your home? There are many reasons that people decide to install or use some sort of water filtration system in their home. The most obvious answer is to ensure that they are drinking clean water. Depending on where you are based in the US, or in your own specific country, there are several threats to drinking water in your home. I often advise on using one or more of the following; a filtered water bottle, water filter pitcher or water filter dispenser, under sink water filter with a water filter faucet and a whole house water filter.

In the US, water is relatively safe to drink straight from the tap. However, that doesn’t mean to say that the water does not contain contaminants. For example, in the Southeast, 40% of the US Coal Ash is produced, and most plants are located near important waterways. Coal Ash contains Thallium, Arsenic, Lead and Mercury amongst other dangerous chemical compounds. Testing in these areas often find traces of these elements in the drinking water. Whilst these traces are considered minute, think of it…would you want your kids or yourself drinking this source every single day unfiltered?

Floods and Droughts

In the US, many states suffer floods and droughts. Both weather conditions pose a significant threat for maintaining acceptable levels of safe drinking water.

During heavy floods, water washes over our streets, farms and sewers. Although our drinking water is piped off, this water can still seep into our water supply. Ever turned the tap on during adverse weather and noticed your water coming out a different colour, or smelling of sulphur (egg like smell)? A great example of this was in 1999, when Hurricane Floyd, swept through North Carolina. Drinking water was contaminated with Hog waste from the vast number of pig farms located in this area. To this day, there is still over 4,000 hog waste lagoons following hurricane Floyd!

During conditions of drought, farmers will often have to rely on groundwater to irrigate their crops. The nitrates they use for their crops then makes its way back into the ground (which is common water source). So, whose affected by this? Those that live in rural areas and country towns surrounded by farms, especially people who rely on a well for their drinking water. Exposure to nitrate contaminated water can cause; blue baby syndrome, miscarriages and in some cases, even death.

Industry v Water

We live in a time where manufacturing and mass production is happening on a large scale. These economic activities have by-products in the forms of emissions and waste, which eventually makes its way back into the water system. Me personally, whenever I visit a city, I NEVER drink the water from the tap, I will show/tell you why later. Again, this is another reason why you should use at least one of the following; a filtered water bottle, water filter pitcher or water filter dispenser, under sink water filter with a water filter faucet and a whole house water filter.

Emissions…

Whether it is the exhaust from that beautiful and shiny diesel SUV, or the plume of smoke coming out that chimney of the large pharmaceutical factory outside the city, they all have something in common and that is the chemicals still present. They make their way up into the atmosphere, where they bind onto water droplets, which then fall as rain and end up in our water system.

Waste…

A lot of the waste produced by ourselves and industry end back up in our water system. In Singapore for example, your toilet waste is recycled back into the water system. Do not fear though, apart from Orange County no one else (as of writing this) do not put this into practice. However, much of our waste water from washing machines, sinks, showers and Industrial water waste do end back up in our water supply.

Is my water not treated to federal standard?…

In short yes, it is. However, if you, like me, seen the process in treating your water and the number of chemicals used to do it, you would certainly think twice about drinking unfiltered water in a city home. If you were to compare the taste of water from a city tap to that of water from a tap in country town, you would notice a considerable difference in quality and taste.

Drinking water infrastructure

Water Mains Pipe

Inside of a Water Mains Pipe

Want to know why I use a whole house water filter in my home? Having worked as a pipeline engineer (water of course) for some 20+ years, I have seen what the inside of our pipes that go straight to our tap looks like.

To be honest the photo to the left, is not that bad, that is just corrosion. However, you are still consuming that water, and this is the infrastructure that comes after the water treatment plants.

Corrosion is just one issue. Pipes also suffer from growths of all sorts, which would make your stomach churn if you see what I have seen in those pipes. With my experience in the industry and from what I have seen, I always strongly advise my friends and family on using one or more of the following; a filtered water bottle, water filter pitcher or water filter dispenser, under sink water filter with a water filter faucet and a whole house water filter. Those with kids, or those who suffer from immune system disorders are especially vulnerable to unfiltered water.

 

How do Water Filters work?

Digesting the above information may cause you to wonder how exactly do water filters work and are

inside a water filter

Common water filter example

they worth it, will they remove all the afore mentioned contaminants. You would be amazed with what water filters today can achieve, however like most items of a technical nature, you will get what you pay for.

The example shown is one variation of a water filter but highlights the mechanisms used to filter your water.

Water filters usually (or should!) contain layers of different materials and compounds, each layer serves a purpose such as sediment removal, chemical neutraliser and removing odour. For example;

Activated Charcoal: This is the most common layer/ingredient to any water filtration system. Activated Charcoal is charcoal that has been treated with oxygen to open lots of tiny micro-pores. These pores create a large surface area in which chemicals and impurities can bind too. Chlorine is used to treat our drinking water, and the odour and taste of the chlorine can make its way to our taps. Activated Charcoal water filters are great at trapping Chlorine particles (as well as other impurities) and eliminates the taste and odour of chlorine from our water supply. However, other chemicals such as nitrate and sodium will pass right through activated charcoal. Hence why we have other layers in a water filter.

Silver nanoparticles: Silver is also used in water filters. Why? Silver is a great antibacterial element. Silver nanoparticles can help eradicate bacteria, chlorine, lead and trihalomethanes and lead particles.  It is also extremely efficient at eradicating water-borne diseases such as Legionnaires disease.

Ion exchange resins: This can be an important layer in any water filtration system. Ion exchange resins have a multipurpose use;

Water softening: Hard water, which often causes lime scale and mineral build-ups in our water system, can be eliminated with whole house water filters which have an ion exchange resin built in. To simply it, when the magnesium and calcium in hard water comes into contact with the ion exchange, it is replaced by sodium, to soften the water.

Water-Purification: Ion exchange resins are vital in removing poisonous and heavy mental particles from water (e.g lead, copper, nitrates, cadmium). In the same manner, the magnesium and calcium is removed, so are these particles. When they come into contact with the ion exchange, they are swapped for harmless ions such as sodium and potassium.

Microfilters: Throughout water filters will be different layers of microfilter materials which have a pore diameter that is measured in microns. These materials are used to filter out large foreign materials and sediment from your water supply.

Therefore, it is important which water filter you choose and understand if it is suitable for your needs. Different water filters have different filtration elements and some of them may only contain activated charcoal whilst others will encompass all the above and more for the best water filtration system.

Check out my other page to see the best water filters that cover; Best filtered water bottle, best whole house water filter, best under sink water filter and the best water filter pitcher.

 

Types of Water Filters

Whole House Water Filters

In my opinion, whole house water filters are the best option when considering your water filtration needs. It’s almost an install and forget system, where you install the system and you can have peace of mind that every tap, shower and water source in your house will be producing clean filtered water. As I have kids, who seem to like to drink water in the shower and from any tap they can find in the house, this is especially important to me to have installed. Depending on the solution you go for, they are not that expensive, considering they filter your entire house. Installation is relatively hassle free taking around 30-60 minutes to install by a professional.

One of the major upsides to having a whole house water filter is that due to their size and conspicuous location, they can incorporate a comprehensive filtration system, that integrates many filtration technologies to produce high quality purified water.

Care/Maintenance: If you have a decent whole house water filter installed, then there is not much in terms of maintenance and after care. The water filtration systems I recommend, are long lasting and come highly recommended in the industry. The filters will can handle around 100,000 gallons of water (one year supply of an average household), so they will only need changing once a year and can be changed by anyone. No need for a professional to come in, it is a simple unscrew old one and screw in new one…like a jam jar lid. Average cost of a whole house water filter (filter unit) is about $75-$150, although there are many bulk discounts available online.

Suitability: Whole house water filters are especially suitable if you live in a city area or you rely on a private water source for your water, such as a tank or well. If you have kids, or someone who suffers from an immunity disorder I would consider this an essential installation.

Pros

  • Comprehensive purification system for your house, with high quality water output
  • Easy installation (by a professional), no need to dig up pipes or destroy walls
  • Easy care and maintenance, changing filter is easy
  • Only need to change filter once a year at a cost of $75-$150

Cons

  • Some may find the initial cost expensive ~$300-$1000 + $150-$300 installation

 

The Best Whole House Water Filter 2017

The Best Whole House Water Filter 2017

 

Under Sink Water Filter and Faucet

Under sink water filters or water filters faucets, are water filtration systems that are located as a single unit under your sink, usually the kitchen. Like the whole house water filter systems, they have a comprehensive filtration system and produce high quality purified water. Before I bought my current home, I use to live in an apartment in the city. The under-sink water filter installed in my kitchen, as apart from the kitchen the only other room that dispensed water, was the bathroom.  So having a water filter faucet was the best option for my living situation at the time, and it worked great, in fact it did the same job as my whole house water filter system that I currently have…just with one tap.

Care/Maintenance: The filters can be changed with ease and there is no need to call in a professional to swap the filters when needed (my 86 your old mother, bless her and love her, does this by herself no problem). How long do they last? Well it depends. Some of my friends change theirs once every 6 months whilst others change theirs once a year or more!

Suitability: If you live in your own house, I would always suggest a whole house water filter. However, this is suitable for those living in apartments or buildings where they have no access/control over the water mains coming into the building. In addition, I also recommend it if you have a detached pool house, shed, barn, garage that has its own water mains where you may need filtered or fresh drinking water.

Pros

  • Comprehensive system that fits under most sinks
  • Often comes with a stylish faucet
  • Easy care/maintenance for changing filters
  • Easy installation, 30-minute job by a professional

Cons

  • A decent system can cost just as much or more than a whole house water filter system
  • Can be bulky and take up a lot of room under your sink

The Best Under Sink Water Filter 2017

The Best Under Sink Water Filter 2017

 

Water Filter Pitchers & Water Filter Dispensers

This may be a slightly biased overview of water filter pitchers as I am not a huge fan of them, however I do like water filter dispensers as opposed to water filter pitchers. My issue with water filter pitchers is that they are often bulky and take up a lot of room in the fridge. In addition to this, because the water filter mechanism is so bulky, water filter pitchers often do not hold a lot of water and you must constantly refill them. Water filter dispensers on the other hand, hold a lot more water and do the same job. However, these are only suitable if you have a big fridge, and if you do have a big fridge always choose a dispenser over a pitcher, it is simply more convenient.

Unlike your whole house water filters and under sink water filter/water filter faucets, water filter pitchers and water filter dispensers only have a basic water filtration method. Most of them will only have activated charcoal as their main filtration mechanism, amongst a few other membranes to filter out large foreign particles. This is good if you live in an area that has a water source that is treated with chlorine and subsequently you can taste that chlorine in your water. As mentioned earlier, activated charcoal is especially good at removing chlorine and odour from your water.

Care/Maintenance: Filters are easy to change, and is often just a pull out and push in method. Depending on your make and model, you may have to change your filter anytime from once a week to once a month. Water filter dispensers can be slightly longer. In comparison to under sink water filters and whole house water filter systems, the filters can be expensive in the long term.

Suitability: If you are generally happy with your water supply, but want the peace of mind that your water is clean then this is for you. In other cases, if you live in an area with high chlorine content in your water with an odour, this is also recommended for you.

Pros

  • Cheaper overall than Under Sink and Whole House filtration systems
  • Easy to change filters and look after

Cons

  • Water filter pitchers can be bulky, take up a lot of fridge room
  • Pitchers also tend to not hold a lot of water
  • Long term more expensive than under sink and whole house systems when considering cost of filter units

The Best Water Filter Pitcher & Countertop Dispenser 2017

The Best Water Filter Pitcher & Counter Top Dispensers 2017

 

Filtered Water Bottles

Whether you are a fitness and gym goer, office worker or active during the day we all need to consume water throughout the day for our health and well-being. Whilst bottled water is widely available in stores up and down the country, it can add up if we are purchasing half a gallon of water a day (recommended consumption of water). So if you are in the gym or even the office, we tend to use the free water sources available. However not all these sources may be filtered. For example, a lot of the cold water dispensers we see (without the blue botte on top) are connected straight to the mains and is solely treated by UV light, great for killing bacteria, but that’s it. Having a filtered water bottle is a relatively cheap but useful item you can purchase to give you peace of mind about the water you consume from public sources. Berkey Water Dispensers come with water bottles are considered a leader in the industry.

In addition to this, if you like hiking, hill walking, camping and other outdoor activities, having a filtered water bottle is essentially a great tool to have as you can safely drink from most fresh water rivers and streams without any danger to your health.

Care/maintenance: Depending on your brand you may need to change the filter between once a month and 6 months, this is dependent on the brand and your usage.

Suitability: Ideal for those who drink lots of water throughout the day whilst out of the house. A great must have item for those who enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, camping, mountaineering and hill walking.

Pros

  • Portable source of purified water
  • Relatively inexpensive and last a long while

Cons

  • Not suitable for all your filtration needs (I.e certain chemicals, water softening)

The Best Filtered Water Bottles 2017

The Best Filtered Water Bottle 2017

Final thoughts…

My experience in the industry has lead me to encourage my friends and family around me to install or use some sort of water filtration system in their daily lives. Water is an essential element in our survival and we could not live for more than 2-3days without. With something so important, I want to ensure that it is clean and free from the 1000s of contaminants that make its way into our water system. Each year millions of people die in 1st world countries, from water contaminants and water-borne diseases, by taking the right precautions you can avoid illness or worst.

Ideally I would recommend that you install a whole house water filter system. It is not that expensive for what you are getting and you have the peace of mind that your entire homes water system is getting comprehensive filtration. If you live in an apartment or a building which does not give you access to the mains (which is most of them), then an under sink water filter or also known as a water filter faucet may be your best option.

Make sure to check out my list of best filtered water bottle, water filter pitcher or water filter dispenser, under sink water filter with a water filter faucet and a whole house water filter.