How to Choose a Home Water Filter
As concerns over tap water quality continue to grow, manufacturers throughout the country have introduced alternative drinking water products to the market. Water filters are some of the newest, most innovative of these alternative products, but how do you choose the best one? Simply follow this step-by-step guide to find the best home water filter for you.
1 Evaluate your specific water filtration needs. Are you interested in only a drinking water filter or do you need a shower filter, as well?
2 If you are interested in filtering all the water of the house, remember that there is no such thing as a whole house filter -- you have utility water and drinking water in a household situation. Therefore, you need to address each type of water need differently.
3 You need a whole house pre-filter to remove dirt and sediment down to 10 microns or so (and 80% of the chlorine); you might want to add a water softener to rid all the utility water of hard minerals, to protect the plumbing the fixtures and the laundry (with a softener installed on the house water, a reverse osmosis system for the drinking water is recommended, to remove the salts that the softener puts into the house water).
4 For the safety of the drinking water, you need a filter (such as a solid carbon block-type) that will filter down to 0.5 microns to remove the widest range of all contaminants
5 Decide if you want to target any specific contaminants when filtering your water. For example, if you receive water from a community water system, it is likely that chloramines are being added as disinfectants to your water, in addition to chlorine. You will want to find a water filter that is certified to remove chloramines, as well as chlorine AND trihalomethanes (a carcinogenic by-product of chlorination).
6 Do some independent research on water filtration. Find out what exactly a water filter does by going to NSF international (http://www.nsf.org/certified/
7 Once you have learned a little about , water filters begin to refine your search, keeping particular filter medias and technology in mind. However, instead of getting a different filter for each potential contaminant, it's more sensible and cost-effective to get one filter that is certified to remove the widest range of contaminants.
8 Decide on a few brands of water filters that match your budget and then conduct some more in-depth research. Look into their certification, find out what contaminants they remove, and determine what percentage of contaminant removal they guarantee. However, the ultimate "guarantee" is the unbiased NSF certification.
9 Look into consumer advocate organizations like Consumers Digest to find what other buyers have said about a particular water filter. However, remember that the testing that these groups do are far from comprehensive; the recognized standard for drinking water treatment unit certifications is National Sanitation Foundation, International (www.nsf.org). Their listings are available to everyone, online, and are the best protection from ripoffs or false claims. If a unit isn't listed with NSF, don't even go there!
10 Choose a brand of water filter that removes the most contaminants. In this way, you KNOW you are covered for anything that will come down the pipe! Most manufacturers offer a money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the product.
11 Choose a filter that has the maximum years of warranty on the housing. If you are going to invest in an under-counter model, go with stainless steel housings -- they last longer and are designed to operate under constant house pressure without any leaking or bursting problems.
12 Check to see what the cost of cartridge replacement runs -- what may seem like a cheap entry cost to a filter may end up costing you hundreds in maintenance! For example, the carafe/pitcher filters are cheap to buy, but at the cost of properly maintaining them for just one year, you could have bought a top of the line filtration system in the first place!!
13 Check out the manufacturer -- how long have they been in business? Will they be there for the long run to service you and support the product?