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With the uncertainties that sometimes surround the purity of water, it may not be easy ascertaining water that has gone through the filtration process and one may be forced to ask, ‘what is filtered water?’.
Water comes in many forms; flowing, still, clear, salt, foamy, muddy, and even smelly.
Have you ever paused to wonder how a world without water would look? – There would be no life, period!
All ancient civilizations grew around water sources such as rivers and lakes.
For example, Ancient Egypt’s lifeline was the River Nile, while the Chinese grew around the Yellow River.
This refreshing fluid is the fuel that powers our world and rejuvenates the land in which we live.
What is certain, however, is that the desire for clean and safe water is universal, and man has made efforts to treat water and restore its purity before using it, so what is filtered water anyways? – Keep reading to find out.
How Is Water Filtered?
Water may contain a varying number of contaminants like microbes, minerals, chemicals, heavy metals, and particles.
Some microbes that might be present in water include E Coli, Giardia lamblia, Cryptosporidium, and Coliform bacteria.
Arsenic, lead, and fluoride are some of the heavy metals found in water, that can have detrimental effects on human anatomy.
These impurities have the potential to cause deadly diseases, to people and animals.
As a precaution, water meant for domestic purposes like cooking and drinking should be free, from disease-causing pathogens.
The nature of the impurities determines the method, used to filter the water.
Below are several ways to purify water:
1. Reverse Osmosis
Reverse Osmosis is a procedure that uses a semi-permeable membrane thin enough to allow pressurized water to pass to one side while retaining impurities on another side.
This process produces clean water known as permeate, while the wastewater produced is known as brine.
Water passes through the following stages in the reverse osmosis machine:
- In the pre-filtration stage, sediments and Chlorine are removed from the water as they can damage the RO machine
- The next step takes care of microscopic particles as the water passes through the RO membrane
- The filtered water directly flows to a storage tank that fills gradually as the RO process continues
- A final post-filter leading to a tap cleans the water to make it safe for drinking
Benefits Of a Reverse Osmosis System
A reverse osmosis system can be expensive to acquire but is worth every penny owing to the following benefits:
- Can easily fit under the kitchen sink compartment
- Easy installation and maintenance
- Effective removal of harmful impurities
- Reduces pollution when compared to bottled water
- Reduces odor and removes bad taste from water
Disadvantages of Reverse Osmosis:
- The process is time-consuming
- It is expensive to make routine filter changes
- The system requires regular maintenance to prevent clogging.
In this process, water is heated and converted to steam, leaving behind impurities and cooled back to produce purified water.
The heat also kills harmful pathogens like viruses and bacteria.
A distillation kit comprises a heat source to vaporize the water, a condenser to revert the steam to water, and a tank that collects the purified water.
The process is pretty simple, as it mimics nature’s way of producing water.
As the sun’s hot rays strike surface water, vaporization takes place and the water molecules ascend to form clouds.
Cooler temperatures higher up in the atmosphere condense the water, forming droplets that fall back to the earth as rain.
Benefits of Distilling Water
While the heating costs might be costly, there are various benefits of distilling water:
- Simple to use
- Efficiently produces filtered water
- Friendly to the environment
- Easily portable systems that occupy little space
Disadvantages of Distillation:
- Requires a lot of heat to function
- It is uneconomical to use in poor households that can’t afford heating expenses.
- Might lead to a flat taste in water as all minerals get extracted
Chlorine is a commonly used chemical in the treatment of water.
It is a cheap and readily available compound, that has been effective in water treatment processes, for many years.
Long before the discovery of chlorine’s ability to disinfect water, multitudes died from water-borne pandemics like cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A and typhoid.
Apart from killing bacteria and parasites, chlorine is useful in the routine maintenance of water tanks, cisterns, and pools to keep the water, pathogen-free.
Water reservoirs that have to contend with the growth of algae and slimy bacteria, use chlorine to keep the water clean.
Benefits Of Chlorination:
- Chlorination is a cheap method of treating water
- It is an efficient disinfectant
- Requires a short time to work
Disadvantages Of Chlorination:
- Should be used with precaution as it is a dangerous chemical
- It does not kill viruses
- Chlorination produces hazardous by-products
Ultraviolet rays have the potency to kill bacteria and viruses in water.
Some of the microbes that UV rays can kill include salmonella, E Coli, Streptococcus, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Dysentery bacilli.
UV rays attack the DNA of the microorganisms that cause diseases and prevent their multiplication.
However, UV radiation has to be used with other filtration methods, to be effective.
You will need to consider a system that incorporates a filter, that can eliminate substances like heavy metals and chemical impurities.
Advantages Of UV Radiation:
- Requires small amounts of energy to operate
- Does not use chemicals and is therefore safe
- It is tasteless and odorless
- Effectively kills pathogens in water
Disadvantages Of UV Radiation:
- It only eliminates viruses and bacteria
- Has to be used with other methods to filter water effectively
Activated carbon is made from elements rich in carbon, such as wood, peat, coal, and coconut shells.
Impurities present in the water get attached to the activated carbon, in a process known as adsorption.
Most water filtration systems incorporate activated carbon, as it has excellent absorption properties.
Advantages Of Activated Carbon:
- Improves the taste of water and eliminates odor
- Effectively filters organic chemicals like Chlorine
- Free from chemicals as it is composed of natural substances
- Affordable and easy to maintain
Disadvantages Of Activated Carbon:
- Inability to filter some microbes and viruses
- AC filters need regular replacements to work effectively
- Can only remove chemical impurities that are attracted to carbon
- Is only effective when there is enough contact time with water
Ion Exchange Filtration
Ion exchange water filtration works by exchanging ions between specific elements, to soften water.
For example, magnesium ions switch places with sodium ions, in the softening process.
Ion exchange removes nitrates, arsenic, alkalinity, sulfates, boron, fluorides, and water hardness.
Advantages Of Ion Exchange Filtration:
- Easy to maintain
- Quick and effective
- Can be used with different tank sizes
- Easy to install
- Environment friendly
Disadvantages Of Ion Exchange Filtration:
- Does not remove bacteria
- Can lead to an increase of acidity due to the incorporation of sodium ions
- Expensive to operate
How To Choose The Perfect Home Water Filter
There are many options for water filter systems designed by manufacturers for use in the home set up.
Before you consider buying a water filtration system, you will have to consider some factors.
Understand Your Water Source
Knowing the source of your water will enable you to grasp the type of contaminants, present in your water.
Popular water sources for homes include rain, cisterns, wells, boreholes, and public water systems.
Water from wells and boreholes should undergo a quality test in a certified lab, to ascertain its purity.
The quality test should be able to identify microbes, pH levels, nitrates, heavy metals, and dissolved particles.
You will be able to choose a water filtration system, depending on the level of impurities detected.
Rain water’s purity will depend on factors such as the prevalence of rainfall, nature of storage, and your location.
Roofing materials may contaminate your rainwater, with elements like copper, lead, and asbestos.
Dust particles, leaves, soot, and rust might find their way into your rainwater collection tank.
Since your tank may host many impurities, disinfect the water regularly, especially if you are using it for drinking and cooking.
Public water supply systems generally take steps to provide relatively clean water, by using chemicals like Chlorine.
Test your home supply, to verify the type of impurities present.
This knowledge will help you choose an appropriate water filtering mechanism, for your needs.
Identify Your Reasons For Choosing Filters
For starters, find out why you need a filter and what you would want your filtration system to accomplish.
People choose filters based on a myriad of reasons; some of which are as follows:
1. Bad tasting water
Minerals and chemicals that are present in water, can affect its taste to some extent.
If you desire to have a system that takes care of the bad taste, check the manufacturer’s label, to ensure your product is capable of solving the issue.
2. Weak Body Immunity
For various reasons, the natural defense system that protects people from infectious diseases can be weak, owing to several conditions.
Some factors that weaken a person’s immunity include cancer treatment, HIV, and chronic illnesses like diabetes.
People with a weakened immune system should take precautions to prevent water-borne diseases, which could take a severe toll, on their already weakened bodies.
Cryptosporidium infection can be life-threatening, in the face of a weak immune system.
Be sure to confirm that your choice of water filtration, can eliminate this pathogen if you have a compromised immune system.
3. Hard Water
Hard water can pose a challenge, especially in the domestic set up.
This type of water contains a lot of minerals like magnesium and will leave a signature residue, on surfaces that come into contact with it.
The flaky residue makes it hard for soap to lather, leading to excessive soap use for cleaning purposes.
Appliances like kettles, are unable to work well unless you descale the hard water deposits, that form around their heating elements, which come in contact with hard water.
4. Presence Of Lead In Water
Lead contamination occurs as a result of the water piping system and is detrimental to children’s well-being.
High levels of lead exposure are known to cause mental retardation, and disorders in children.
Lead poisoning can manifest in symptoms like vomiting, stomach pains, anemia, and seizures.
If your water contains lead, find a filter capable of reducing lead and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
5. Safe Water For Nasal Rinses
Nasal rinses have been used for ages to alleviate symptoms of flu, colds, and asthma.
Some religions, incorporate nasal rinses in their spiritual rites.
They are useful for loosening and flushing mucus, to help reduce nasal blockages and allow normal breathing.
Water used for nasal rinsing has to be filtered or treated to prevent infection of the nasal cavity, which can be fatal.
Take Note Of Your Home Consumption And Budget
For a start, ensure that you choose a certified device, to achieve what is listed in the manufacturer’s labels.
Read the label’s contents keenly and understand the functions provided, before splashing your hard-earned cash.
Consider the cost of acquiring the system, installing it, and the ease/cost of maintaining it.
Get to understand how often the appliance will need a filter change and make an informed choice.
It is important to keep your water needs in mind, as you do your window shopping.
You might need a fast filter if you require large amounts of filtered water, at any moment.
However, if you are only looking to filter your drinking water, a standard filter will do.
Some conventional water filter devices used in homes include:
Under Sink Compartment Filters
They are positioned below the sink, to allow water into the filter’s faucet.
If you are short on counter space, consider an under sink filter.
However, get a certified plumber, in case your system requires some modification.
Water is poured into the pitcher from an opening in the top and flows through a filter, before passing out of the faucet for drinking.
On the downside, they filter water slowly.
Entire House Water Treatment
This system treats the water input for the entire household.
People that use hard water can install a system, that softens all the household water.
Treating all the water that comes into a house is expensive and may require altering the plumbing system.
Refrigerator Water Filters
Some types of refrigerators come with pre-installed water filters on the refrigerator doors, to allow the filtering of drinking water.
Refrigerator filters are easy to use but must have regular filter replacements.
Maintain your Water Filter
Keep in mind that your filter traps all sorts of impurity, as you continue using it to filter your water.
If you do not regularly replace your filters, you risk contracting water-borne diseases, that can wreak havoc to your body and finances.
Benefits Of Filtered Water
Access to filtered water can add a sparkle to your daily living and dazzle your home with rejuvenating freshness.
Here are some benefits you can gain from filtered water:
Save Money Spent On Bottled Water
A home filter will help you forget about having to budget for bottled drinking water constantly.
Bottled water is expensive and unnecessarily wasteful on your finances.
Ditch the water bottle fad and watch your savings grow.
It does not take rocket science, to see the environmental damage created by, the unwarranted use of single-use plastic water bottles.
Beaches are suffocating under plastic water bottle heaps, while drains are always blocking, as bottles find their way into drainage holes.
Water filters eliminate the need for plastic bottles and give a lifeline to the already significantly polluted environment.
There has been a surge of heartburn or acid reflux cases, over the past few years.
Specialists have attributed this to dietary choices and other underlying conditions such as gastritis.
Water filters that produce alkaline water can aid patients, as the salty water has a neutralizing effect on the gut’s acidic enzymes, which cause the gnawing sensation on the esophagus.
Get Rid Of Lime Scale
Hard water can be particularly tough on home appliances and leave an undesirable film of mineral deposits on your water.
Water filters effectively rid your cooking or drinking water of limescale, enabling your appliances to last longer and work efficiently.
Preserve Your Dental Health
Acidity in drinking water is corrosive to tooth enamel.
People that often drink acidic water have to contend with stained teeth, that are prone to dental decay.
Dental care is expensive and may bring about complications if not done well.
Acidic water may also worsen mouth dryness.
Filtered water takes care of this problem, once and for all.
Remove Odor From Your Tap Water
Public water systems responsible for the supply of tap water to homesteads, use chemicals to kill microbes in water.
Some of these chemicals, such as Chlorine, end up leaving a strong odor and alter the taste of the water.
With a filter system in place, forget about smelly water and enjoy a clean, odorless fluid.
Get Rid Of Heavy Metals
One of the most pressing concerns raised, on the safety of piped water is the presence of heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and mercury.
As pointed out before, lead is detrimental to young children’s mental health and should be kept at minimal levels.
Lead has also been linked to prostate complications and reproductive problems in both sexes.
Filtered water is free from these metals and will safeguard your family’s health.
Great-Tasting Tea And Coffee
Ever tried making tea using salty water?
The outcome was probably unpleasant, but for lack of a better option, you went ahead to gulp that briny fluid down your throat grudgingly.
Filtered water will produce greater tasting tea, compared to hard water, and allows you to relish your tea o’clock moments.
Increase your Daily Water Intake
One of the benefits of having a home filter is an improvement in water intake among users.
Having a filter at the comfort of your kitchen means, you do not run out of drinking water unexpectedly, as is the case with bottled water.
Great tasting water is a plus and is an effective way of making fussy water drinkers up their daily intake.
Lose Weight With Little Effort
An increase in daily water uptake can help with weight loss, by reducing appetite levels.
Drinking a lot of water helps your body to burn calories faster and help reduce body weight.
Water helps the body eliminate waste substances like feces, and urine from the body, which is excellent for a trimmer waistline.
Fight Colds And Flu
When you drink lots of water, you enable your mucus to loosen and relieve nasal blockages brought about, by colds and flu.
Proper water intake will help flush viruses and toxins, thus helping the body recover quickly from infections.
Enjoy Better Tasting Food
Minerals and heavy metals present in water can alter the taste of food, by absorbing the natural flavors.
You can solve this problem, by using filtered water for cooking.
Relieve Headaches And Migraines
Did you know that headaches can develop, as a result of chronic dehydration?
Most people grab over the counter painkillers to cure headaches, despite the health risks associated with regular use of such medication.
Regular water intake will keep the body hydrated and less prone to headaches or migraines.
Slow Down Aging
High levels of free radicals, stress, and inflammation can greatly hasten the aging process.
Filtered water contains antioxidants, that help fight free radicals, responsible for premature aging.
Proper hydration will also keep the skin supple and glowing, to maintain that radiant, youthful look.
We hope we’ve managed to answer the question of ‘what is filtered water’ and the actual process.
Times have considerably changed and the difference a water filter makes in the typical household cannot be downplayed.
Filtering water can bring significant benefits to you and your family and greatly help your finances.
While water filtering methods differ, it is important to consider the highlighted factors and get your household an appropriate water filter mechanism to enjoy the wholesome goodness of water.
The benefits of water filtration greatly outnumber the disadvantages and go a long way to ensure a healthy, balanced life.
Protect your family by investing in a suitable water filtering device and forget about water-borne diseases.