Choose the Right Water Filter

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Last updated on April 11th, 2018

choose the right water filter pure water

In the developed world, we often assume that because our water is monitored, sanitized and filtered, it is thus clean and safe for us to drink. However, unfortunately, it is not that simple.

 

Is our tap water safe?

 

The answer to this question is complex.

 

First of all, water disinfection itself is not so straightforward. While we benefit from chlorine added to water, chlorine reacts with naturally occurring organic matter to create many by-products such as chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane, and bromoform. Chloroform and bromodichloromethane are classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as probable carcinogens. (Source.)

 

The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 is supposed to protect our water supply, but in practice, it does not always work well. Records have shown that 49 million Americans drink water that contains illegal concentrations of chemicals such as arsenic, dangerous bacteria, and radioactive substances. Radioactive substances? Yes, power plants are a major source of toxic by-products that go into rivers, lakes, or landfills that leach into nearby groundwater.

 

Another problem with the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 is that it only covers 91 contaminants. As you might know, there are 82,000 chemicals used commercially within the United States. Many of those chemicals find their ways into our streams, rivers, lakes, and, ultimately, into our water supplies.

 

In addition to chemicals, we have lots of pharmaceuticals. People take prescription drugs, and these don’t just stay in our bodies. They get excreted and eventually find their way into our drinking water. It has been estimated that at least 46 million Americans are supplied water that contains trace amounts of pharmaceuticals. Access this map here to see if you are affected.

 

And lastly, much of our water supply also contains fluoride that either comes from natural sources or that was added by local water districts. As you might know, water fluoridation has been a topic of controversy for a while now. A recent study requested by the EPA reported that even current levels of fluoride may cause tooth and bone damage. There is also growing evidence that fluoride is associated with underactive thyroid.

 

 

Main Types of Kitchen Water Filtering Technologies

 

The good news is that we can improve the quality of our water by installing a whole house or kitchen water filter. Although there are hundreds of brands of home water filters, they all rely on a small number of technologies to remove contaminants. The main technologies include activated carbon, carbon block, and reverse osmosis. Some filters may utilize a few different technologies. For example, many reverse osmosis filtration systems use activated carbon filtration making it more effective.

 

Activated Carbon Water Filter

 

Activated carbon chemically bonds with and removes some contaminants in water filtered through it. Carbon filters vary greatly in effectiveness. Some just remove chlorine and improve taste and odor. Others remove a wide range of contaminants including asbestos, lead, mercury, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and pharmaceuticals.

 

Pros: Inexpensive

Cons: Does not remove fluoride, arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, nitrate, and perchlorate, or other inorganic pollutants.

 

Carbon Block Water Filter

 

Carbon block filters contain pulverized activated carbon that is shaped into blocks under high pressure. They are typically more effective than granulated activated carbon filters because they have more surface area. Their effectiveness depends in part on how quickly water flows through the water filter.

 

Pros: Normally more powerful than activated carbon, removes a wide variety of contaminants, does not waste water and does not demineralize water

Cons: Normally does not remove as many contaminants as reverse osmosis filters

 

Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water Filter

 

This process pushes water through a semi-permeable membrane that traps particles larger than water molecules on the other side. Reverse osmosis can remove many contaminants not removed by activated carbon, including arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, nitrates, and perchlorate. However, reverse osmosis does not remove chlorine, trihalomethanes or volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). Fortunately, most reverse osmosis systems include an activated carbon filtration that removes these other contaminants.

 

Pros: Powerful and effective at removing all types of contaminants

Cons: Can be expensive, wastes water, normally uses 3 times more water than it produces, demineralizes water

 

What are water filter NSF certifications?

 

In the 1970s, NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) International led the development of the American National Standards for materials and products that treat or come in contact with drinking water, including water filters used in homes and businesses. In other words, as a consumer, it is good to know that the filter is certified to NSF standards and thus works as promised. However, that can get tricky. There are different types of standards so it is always a good idea to ask which standard to which the filter is certified.

 

NSF 42

 

The NSF 42 standard requires filters to reduce non-health-related contaminants to improve the taste of water, which includes chlorine and particles. Since chlorine is a contaminant that spoils the taste of water, in a way NSF 42 is helpful for chlorine reduction. However, certification to NSF 42 does not mean that the harmful by-products of chlorine mentioned above are removed. Moreover, under this standard, there are different degrees to which a filter can remove or reduce chlorine.

 

NSF 61

 

The NSF 61 standard does not tell you if the filter does a great job filtering; instead, it is aimed to prevent leaching of toxic substances from the components of the filter itself, which is great to have.

 

NSF 53

 

This standard establishes the minimum requirements for the certification of filtration systems designed to reduce specific health-related contaminants, such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, lead, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether).

 

The scope of NSF 53 includes material safety, structural integrity and health-related contaminant reduction performance claims. The most common technology addressed by this standard is carbon filtration.

 

NSF 58

 

This standard establishes the minimum requirements for the certification of reverse osmosis systems designed to reduce contaminants that may be present in public or private drinking water.

 

The scope of NSF/ANSI 58 includes material safety, structural integrity, total dissolved solids (TDS) reduction and other optional contaminant reduction claims. The most common optional claims addressed by NSF/ANSI 58 include cyst reduction, hexavalent and trivalent chromium reduction, arsenic reduction, nitrate/nitrite reduction, and cadmium and lead reduction.

 

NSF 401

 

This standard addresses the ability of a water treatment device to remove up to 15 individual contaminants, which have been identified in published studies as occurring in drinking water.  This standard was created to address a growing concern over pharmaceuticals, BPA, and flame retardant chemicals in our drinking water. It is applicable to both RO and carbon filters.

 

For a full list of NSF standards, visit here.

Choose the right water filter

Shortcomings of NSF certifications

 

So, when you are buying an NSF-certified water filter, ask to which standard the filter is certified. If your water filter is rated to standards NSF 42 and 61, this means that the filter removes some chlorine and the filter itself does not contaminate water.  These standards are very helpful but they do not answer all questions about the performance of a water filter.

 

Also, even filters that are certified to the same standard may vary widely in terms of their performance. In other words, the number of contaminants and degree of their reduction can vary under each standard. If a filter is certified, it is a good idea to take a look at the certification report. Unfortunately, not every manufacturer has that information readily available.

 

It can be very costly for a water filter manufacturer, to go through the process of NSF certification can be very costly. It can cost more than $100,000 to receive the certification. Not all manufacturers, especially small businesses at the beginning stages, can afford it. For a consumer, that means that generally NSF-certified filters are more expensive. Instead of going through the NSF certification, some water filter manufacturers rely on tests by independent labs, which is much more affordable.

 

Another thing I noticed is that custom water filters that utilize a variety of technologies do not fall under any specific standard. And I have not seen a water filter certified to all NSF standards that would reduce all of the contaminants from which I would like to protect my family.  Instead, I found these three great water filter businesses that answered all my numerous questions to my satisfaction.  I found that a great customer service is very critical when buying a water filter.

 

The Water Filters I Like

 

Clean Air Pure Water Filters by Jim McMahon

 

While reading my article, you are probably thinking that shopping for and owning, a filter is a daunting task – choosing a type of filter, choosing a brand, installing it, changing filters regularly, etc. I agree. That’s why I love a small business called Clean Air Pure Water by Jim McMahon. Although he is located in Utah, you can order products from him over the phone. Jim will talk to you about your water concerns on the phone and ask you to provide him with your water district’s water quality report. After he studies your report, he will recommend the most cost-effective filter for your needs. The water filters he sells are made to his specifications at a local factory. Mr. McMahon can also customize a filter for you at an affordable price.

 

The water filters are not certified to NSF standards because they are custom-made. However, the components that go into making the filters are certified to NSF 61 and NSF 42.

 

Mr. McMahon is an ecologist with more than 30 years experience working in environmental science. He is very knowledgeable and makes the process of buying, installing and maintaining a water filter is so much easier.

 

If you tell Jim that I (Irina Webb) referred you, he will give you 5% off on your purchase, not including shipping (and, full disclosure, I will receive 5% as well).

 

Do not hesitate to contact Jim McMahon by phone.  You can find his phone on his website.

 

Pure Effect Water Filters

 

Pure Effect offers unique filters that utilize a number of different technologies.  Pure Effect makes water filters that remove a wide variety of contaminants. Igor Milevskiy is the founder of this small business. He is a passionate advocate for pure water, who was not happy with the filters offered on the market and decided to create something better.

 

He was able to create a water filtration system that is reportedly as effective at removing a wide range of contaminants as reverse osmosis systems are, but without the shortcomings of reverse osmosis filters, which are water waste and demineralization of water. I asked him lots of questions about his water filters and he patiently answered them to my satisfaction.

 

Pure Effect Water filtration systems utilize a combination of innovatively designed carbon block, activated carbon, KDF55, UV technologies and others to achieve powerful results.

 

The following components are certified to the following NSF certifications.

 

1. The Carbon in SuperBlock is certified to NSF 42 and NSF 61.

2. The Media in FluorSorb is certified to NSF 61.

3. The Filter housings are NSF pressure-tested and certified for material safety.

4. The heavy metal reduction media is KDF55 and is NSF 42-certified.

 

Pure Effect water filter is designed to remove:

  1. Radiation
  2. Pharmaceuticals
  3. Fluoride (see the report here)
  4. Chlorine
  5. Chlorine Chemical By-Products such as Chloramines
  6. Heavy Metals
  7. VOCs
  8. Agricultural Contaminants: pesticides and herbicides
  9. Microbial Cysts, viruses and bacteria and
  10. Sediment

 

I love the fact that Igor Milevskiy has water test reports with an independent lab readily available that support his claims.

 

You can view the comprehensive report here.

 

What I don’t like about reverse osmosis filters is that the filtered water sits in the tank and the lining of the tank is made of plastic; the safer type of plastic but plastic nevertheless. With Pure Effect filters, there is no storage and the water is virtually instantly filtered, it passes into the unit and through advanced filtration media, and out freshly into your glass, which means the water does not have a chance to go stale or absorb plastic that seems to be part of all the filters I have looked into.

 

Another disadvantage of reverse osmosis water filtration is the fact the water gets deprived of all minerals. This is a controversial subject and there are no scientific studies to tell us if de-mineralized water is bad for us. However, if you are concerned about water void of anything of minerals, a Pure Effect water filter may be a solution (sorry for the pun) for you. The water filter does not remove chloride, magnesium, or sodium.  There is some natural calcium in the system, which gets added to the water.  Because of remaining minerals, the water is alkaline. If you are looking for alkaline water, this water filter is worth checking out.

 

To learn more about Pure Effect filter, visit here.

 

Propur ProOne® G2.0 Container Water Filters

 

What if you want to avoid the hassle of installing a water filter?  What if you rent your place or want to have a portable filter at your office?

 

I work from home, but if I had an office, I would definitely try this water filter. Let me tell you why I like Propur ProOne® G2.0 filter.

 

The Propur ProOne® G2.0 filter comes in a variety of sizes, ranging from 55 ounces to 3.75 gallons and does not require any installation.

 

There are two technologies utilized in the Propur G2.0 container filters – silver infused white ceramic and granular activated carbon.  The silver is NOT colloidal, meaning that it does not leach into the water. In fact, after the water goes through the water filter, it does not touch/sit in the filtered water. Thus, we can rest assured that nothing from the filtration media leaches into water over time.

 

The container is made of 304-grade stainless steel, also called 18/8, which means that it has 18% chromium and 8% nickel. It is the same stainless steel used in cookware. Nickel is used to prevent corrosion. Since there is no exposure to acidic content, leaching of nickel should be minimum.

 

Propur G2.0 container filters are certified to NSF 42 Aesthetics, 53 Health Effects, and 231 Microbiological Effects. And you can see the test report published on the website of the retailer that sells them.  You can access the test report here and here.

 

It might be a daunting task to read the test report with a long list of contaminants. Let me help you. The water filter does a pretty good job of removing fluoride compounds that may be used for water fluoridation. They are listed as follows:

Sodium Fluoride – 97.5%

Fluorosilic Acid – 96.3%

Hexafluorosilicate – 94.0%

 

This water filter does not remove 100% of fluoride.  If you are looking for 100% fluoride removal, you might have to go for a Pure Effect filter or a Reverse Osmosis filter built by Clean Air Pure Water. Keep in mind that water is not fluoridated in every area, so find out if your water is.

 

I always look at how well a filter removes heavy metals because they accumulate and get stored in bones. Once they are stored there, it is quite challenging to get rid of them. I speak from my own experience. You can read more about my heavy metal test results here. In my opinion, mercury, lead, and cadmium are the worst because they are widespread and harmful at very small doses. I am glad that these metals are removed at 99.9+.

 

Propur ProOne® G2.0 water filter does not remove beneficial minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium. It reduces potassium and calcium by 2.5% and 81.1%, respectively. And it does not remove magnesium at all.  You can see that in the test report here.

 

And lastly, I wanted to tell you about the customer service of Pure Living Space. I have recently created another criterion for recommending products on my blog. It is customer service. There are other good water filters I have considered, but I chose these water filters in part because they are sold by passionate health advocates who are patient and available to answer all your questions. Pure Living Space is managed by a husband and wife team. Carol does a great job answering questions by email or phone. (Igor of Pure Effect and Jim of Clean Air Pure Water provide great customer service as well.)

 

And Carol has offered 10% off on all the products in their online store (look around the website, and if you see a product of your interest, ask me what I think about it). When you click on the link below, your discount code ReadLabels10 will be automatically applied at the checkout.

 

To buy Propur ProOne® G2.0 filter with 10% off, please visit here.

 

Propur G2.0 water filters are sold on Amazon, too, but you might not find the same customer service and the discount code there.

 

I hope I made it easier for you to shop for a water filter, providing you with an overview of water filtration technologies, regulations, and specific businesses that can help you choose the best filter for your needs and budget.

 

To learn what contaminants are in your water, visit here.

 

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62 Responses

  1. Suzie

    This is great, you were reading my mind. I am very picky about my water. I currently purchase spring water packaged in glass bottles for drinking and regular spring water for cooking but this still
    does not help with showering. I’d been doing research on filters that can remove fluoride, chloramines, voc’s as well as other contaminants and don’t like RO filters because of the water waste. Thanks so much for the info.

  2. Amy

    Just a few weeks ago I purchased a whole house water filter and under kitchen sink filter. I wish I got to read this sooner. We are going to install it next week. I ordered from a company in Nevada City called Friends of Water. Any chance you did any research on them. It is not a reverse osmosis system. I hope the one I got is ok. Thanks for you input!

    • Irina Webb

      Hi Amy, I have not researched that filter. What type of filter is it? And what contaminants does it reduce? ~Irina

      • Amy

        It says it removes chlorine which is what the water in my county is treated with plus 600 other contaminants. I got a separate one for the kitchen to remove fluoride with activated alumina. It uses a foam advantage granulated carbon system. I don’t understand the exact details but it was recommended by someone I know who did a lot of research on it.

  3. Stacey Lukaitis

    Did you look into Berkley filters at all?? Until your article this was the best I could find

    • Irina Webb

      Hi Stacey: yes – I did some research into Berkley water filters. Berkley indoor filters can’t be shipped to California (where we live) because they are not in compliance with California “lead-free” law. Also, I am not sure I like the fact the water sits in the container on the countertop. ~Irina

  4. Rachel Rich-Shea

    Amy and Irina,

    Friends of Water is very similar to Pure Effects. I know many people who are having a hard time deciding between the two. I have only personally talked to Timothy over at Friends of Water, but not Igor at Pure Effects.

    Rachel

  5. Ilknur

    Hi Irina,

    I live in an apartment so can’t get a home filtration system but I was wondering what you think of Whole Foods’ reverse osmosis water. They sell big bpa free bottles which you can fill up from their station. I currently drink spring water but they come in smaller bottles and not they are not bpa free. Any suggestions?

    • Irina Webb

      Hi Iknur, I did not have a chance to look into Whole Food’s filtered water yet. Do you they provide any information on it? If possible, I prefer to avoid all types of plastic. The Whole Foods we go to has an orange juice maker. I bring my own stainless steel bottle to fill up with orange juice. I wonder if you can do the same with water. ~Irina

    • Ashley

      I live in an Apartment too, and I did install an under the sink 10 Stage filter by New Wave. Not sure how good it is, but does do more than chlorine. Do you know Irina, the 10 Stage under sink filter? My apartment people do inspections and they never say anything.

      • Irina Webb

        Hi, Ashley: I am not familiar with it. From the website, their claims are impressive. You can email them and ask what technology they use and if they have any NSF or WQA certifications or if they provide third-party output reports. Let me know what you find out. ~Irina

  6. Shari

    Thank you so much for the information you provide to your readers. I use the Zero water filter. The filter system is made of several layers. It comes with a reader so that you can test your water for particles. When your meter reader (resembles a thermometer) says 006 it is time to replace your filter. I feel very safe using this as I have tested this against bottled water, spring water, filtered water and tap water. It is the only filter that actually takes out all of the unwanted particles. Have you heard of this product? What do you think? Thank you for your time and interest & your motivation to help others live a healthier life!

    • Irina Webb

      Hi Shari, thank you for sharing. I briefly looked at their website and I am unclear which NSF standards the filter is certified to. Do you know? What technology do they use? Is it activated carbon or carbon block? How did you test their meter against bottled water? Does just show a number or some specific contaminants? In other words, how do you know that the filter removes everything? Thanks. ~Irina

  7. Susan Miller

    I actually talked briefly with Jim Mcmahon before we moved awhile back when we had city water. Our new place has well water. I am assuming we would provide Jim or Pure Effects with results of water testing first. I have done the research like you have with the same feelings and findings. Would love your input.

  8. Maria

    Irina:
    During your research did you happen to look into APEC or Aquasana?
    My brother is recommending APEC and so far I am liking the fact that they are made in the USA (actually here in CA).
    I need to purchase a filter for my grandparents and I really like pure effects but they are out of their price range.
    I am therefore considering the APEC RO system or the Aquasana RO system.
    Please let me know if you have any information on these companies.
    I need to make a decision soon and I need to choose something in their price range without sacrificing quality.
    Thank you!

      • Maria

        Irina,
        As I continue to do more research about water filters I thought it was worth sharing that I just discovered that APEC has a countertop version of their RO systems which does not require the typical plastic lined tank (which is often times the main concern with RO), instead the output line can be connected or placed inside any reservoir system for example a glass pitcher.
        I will continue to share as I learn more.
        Let me know what are your thoughts.

          • Maria

            Irina,
            My understanding is that since there is no tank connected to this unit then you can just filter the water directly into any container of your choice. For example, this would allow you to filter the water directly into a glass pitcher (instead of having it sit inside the tank) by simply placing the output line inside the glass pitcher. I am still in the process of learning more about the materials used in the filters. I will share as I learn more. I have emailed them to find out more about the materials used for
            the plastic in the filters and the output line.

          • Maria

            Irina,
            I emailed them to ask about certifications, reports and list of contaminants reduced and eliminated (including specific percentages). I will share as soon as I receive a reply.

        • Maria

          In the mean time while I wait to hear back from the company or contact them directly I thought I would share the link to their website if anyone is interested in doing their own research as there seems to be two companies with similar names that are not to be confused one with the other.
          The website to the APEC RO system that I am referring to is: http://www.freedrinkingwater.com/

          • Irina Webb

            Thank you, Maria! Could you provide a link to the over-the-counter filter model you are interested in? Thanks!

          • Irina Webb

            Hi, Maria, thank you for sharing! The filter has pretty good reviews. I hope they will respond to you soon. ~Irina

          • Maria

            Irina,
            I just received the reply from the manufacturer. Here is their reply with my questions included. Please let me know what you think:

            Hello Maria,

            Thank you for your inquiry and I am happy to help! My answers to your questions are as follows:

            1. I would like to know if the system is NSF certified or if it has any other sort of certifications?

            The counter top RO systems are not certified. However, the Dow Filmtec membrane we use in the system is NSF 58 certified.
            http://www.freedrinkingwater.com/ww-fi-membrane90-water-filters.htm/

            2. I would also like to know if the system is BPA, BPS, Lead, Phthalate and PVC free?

            The counter top RO systems are BPA, BPS, Lead, Pthalate, and PVC free.

            3. How many contaminants does the system reduce or eliminate?

            The counter top RO systems are designed to remove 90% or more of contaminants from a water source.

            4. Where can I find a complete list with the percentages included of the contaminants that the system reduces?

            Below is a list of all the contaminants removed/reduced by the RO counter top system.
            http://www.freedrinkingwater.com/rejection-wqa.htm

            5. Are all of the parts in this system made in the USA.?

            All of the filters and the majority of the main components are made in the USA.

            6. What is the difference between the regular counter top RO system and the alkaline?

            The difference is that that the alkaline version replaces the post carbon filter to help raise pH, by adding calcium back in to the water after reverse osmosis filtration.

            7. How do I know if I need the UV protection?

            The primary usage for a UV light is to disinfect filtered water at a certain flow rate. Bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms are destroyed by the UV interfering with the DNA and RNA in the organisms’ reproductive cycles. In theory, the reverse osmosis membrane already removes bacteria and viruses from the water, therefore, if you are on a municipal water system (tap water) in the U.S., chances are that you should not need a UV light on top of our ULTIMATE RO System. But, if your water source is known to be unsafe with microorganisms and you want to have extra protection, then you can add an UV as an additional stage to disinfect water.

            8. Does this system remove chloramine?

            The counter top RO system reduces traces of chloramines by the standard granular activated carbon filters. However, if you are looking for a more efficient removal of that type of contaminant, you can upgrade the standard carbon filters to “chloramine filters” that use catalytic carbon for just $2.00 per filter extra when you buy the system directly through APEC.

            http://www.freedrinkingwater.com/fi-chloramin-1-4-qc.htm

            I have the representatives direct email and phone number. Please let me know if there are any other questions that I should ask.

          • Irina Webb

            Hi, Maria: you might want to ask them about whether the system removes VOCs and pharmaceuticals. ~Irina

          • Maria

            Irina,
            Thank your for your suggestion. I went ahead and contacted the manufacturer and asked the following two additional questions:
            1. Does the system remove VOC’s and pharmaceuticals?
            2. What materials are the filters and tubing made of?

            I already received a response and this is what the product specialist whom I have been communicating with told me:
            -Yes, the carbon filters on the system will help remove VOC’s and the reverse osmosis membrane filter will help remove pharmaceuticals. The filters are made of hard plastic polypropylene and the tubing used to connect the system is made of polyethylene.

            Irina please let me know what you think.

            Thank you,
            Maria

          • Irina Webb

            Hi, Maria: everything checks out. Sounds like a standard RO filtration system. Remind me if the filter media is certified to NSF 61 standard, which does not tell you if the filter does a great job filtering; instead, it is aimed to prevent leaching of toxic substances from the components of the filter itself, mainly lead. ~Irina

    • Maria

      Irina,

      I asked the product specialist if the carbon filters are NSF 53 certified and also asked about your inquiry regarding NSF 61 certification. I was told that the carbon filters are not NSF 53 certified and that the carbon filter are not NSF 61 certified but that the manufacturer of the carbon filters claims that ” from their experience in the water industry for 35+ years they do not think the filter will leach toxic substances so they have not performed any steps on assurance of leaching from the filter(s)”.

      This is not very reassuring for me but I am also aware of the shortcomings of NSF certifications.

      Please let me know what you think.

      Thank you

      • Irina Webb

        I agree that doesn’t sound very reassuring. At the very minumium, they should have NSF 42 and NSF 61. NSF 53 is more expensive to get and some manufacturers choose to test with less expensive labs. I am sorry. Otherwise, the filter sounded promising. ~Irina

      • Olga

        Maria,
        So did you end up going with the APEC RO countertop system after all? How is the flow? How do you like it? I saw on Amazon a number of people posting that their little hoses burst after 2-3 months – has that happened to you? Or did you go with another model/company? Thank you!!

        • Maria

          Olga,
          I apologize for the late reply. I decided to stay with my current water filter until I am able to to more research and make an investment. Sorry for not being of much help.

  9. Justin

    Just so you know, I have a pure effect filter, and the water absolutely sits in the plastic containers. You have to run the water through for awhile to get fresh water, which of course makes the filters not last as long. I know this because if you turn the faucet on the coldest setting it takes the water coming out of the filter about a minute or two to not be room temperature.

    • Irina Webb

      Hi, Justin: I was informed by the manufacturer that water sits inside the system itself where the majority of it is in contact with the filtration media which absorbs the contaminants including contaminants that might be leaching from plastic walls of the chamber. So it’s extra filtered because of the longer contact times the water has with the carbons and other media in the chambers. They do not recommend to flush the water. In reverse osmosis filters have reservoirs where the water sits in AFTER the filtration process is completed. Let me know if this helps. Thank you for your question. ~Irina

  10. Frank Delaware

    My wife and I have been thinking about getting a water filter for our house for years now, but we weren’t sure how to choose the right one. I really like the sound of the reverse osmosis filter because they are powerful. It would be nice to know that we are purchasing something that will last us a long time.

  11. Nessie

    Love this article. Have you looked into the Kangen water system? It’s supposed to have been approved as a medical device in Japan and removes chemicals from the water as well as making the water truly alkaline without chemicals like other waters.

    • Irina Webb

      Hi, Nessie: I haven’t had a chance to look into the Kangen water system. The functional medicine doctors I work with believe that alkaline water can be problematic for people because it decreases stomach acid, which may cause digestive issues. ~Irina

    • Irina Webb

      Hi, Ramya: I believe Jim and I both agree that normally RO filters demineralize water. He makes custom filters and is able to adjust his RO filters to make output water slightly alkaline. As for whether demineralized water is bad for us, Jim believes that it is not as we can get minerals from food. I agree that when cooking with RO water, water demineralization is absolutely irrelevant because food and sea salt will put minerals back. I do not recommend drinking a ton of demineralized water, especially in my health condition where I do not retain electrolytes well. You might add a little lemon or a tiny pinch of sea salt to it if you drink lots of water. Let me know what you decide. ~Irina

  12. Joan

    Wondering if anyone has come across any company that deals with the issue raised in this article.
    STUK-A169 January 2000 Treatment Techniques for Removing Natural Radionuclides from Drinking Water
    [Final Report of the TENAWA project
    […]When different kinds of treatment methods are used to remove natural radioactivity from drinking water, wastes containing natural radioactivity will be produced. It is recommended that the annual dose to inhabitants from external gamma radiation of a GAC filter should not exceed 0.1 mSv. It is also recommended that the dose rate at a distance of lm from the GAC filter should not exceed 1 uSv/h. To achieve these aims the GAC filter should be equipped with special shielding to attenuate gamma radiation. […] The entire article is in the link below.
    http://www.iaea.org/inis/collection/NCLCollectionStore/_Public/32/018/32018426.pdf

  13. mike roberts

    I read where whole house filters do not eliminate contaminants as well as filters at the point of use because they have to be larger. Any truth to that? And would it be enough to be concerned about? We are on city water.
    I am looking at the Pure Effect system currently.

    Thanks, Mike

  14. Irina Webb

    Hi, Mike: yes, you are right, the whole house water filters are not as powerful as kitchen filters. It is good to have both. ~Irina

  15. Kathrin Diaz

    I must say that this post is comprehensive. I have learned further about water filters. Now I have to be more keen in choosing the right water filters at home. Thanks a lot!

  16. Olga

    Hi, Irina!

    I am looking into Reverse Osmosis filters.

    You wrote the following: “many reverse osmosis filtration systems use activated carbon filtration making it more effective. This process pushes water through a semi-permeable membrane that traps particles larger than water molecules on the other side. Reverse osmosis can remove many contaminants not removed by activated carbon, including arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, nitrates, and perchlorate. However, reverse osmosis does not remove chlorine, trihalomethanes or volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). Fortunately, most reverse osmosis systems include an activated carbon filtration that removes these other contaminants.”

    The RO system I am considering has “coconut shell activated carbon filter”. Is this what you were talking about? I feel confused about the many types of different carbon filters I keep reading about on the internet (activated carbon, granular activated carbon, biological activated carbon, catalytic carbon, catalytic granular activated carbon (GAC), carbon BLOCK, etc.). What’s the difference between these and which one is the most effective to use in my RO system?
    TIA!
    Sincerely,
    Olga

    • Irina Webb

      Hi, Olga: Yes, RO water filtration systems normally contain a coconut shell activated carbon filter. I know buying a water filter is a big decision and requires lots of research. That’s why I tried to provide as much as free resources as possible. You might want to talk Jim McMahon from Clean Air Pure Water Filters. He will answer all your questions on the phone and can customize a water filter for the water in your area and your health needs. You can also order a water test of your water and get a water filter recommendation based on the test results: https://ireadlabelsforyou.com/receive-clean-water-home/ ~Irina

  17. Maria

    Irina,
    I just read today about a new water filtration system called AquaTru. I have not done any research on it but thought I would mention it in case you are interested in looking into it. I read about it through the Food Revolution Network.

    • Irina Webb

      Thank you, Maria, for letting me know. At a first glance, their filters look good to me. I have contacted them so we will see.

    • AquaHolic

      Maria,

      I have researched Aquatru and it’s essentially a countertop version of a reverse osmosis system which:

      1. Removes Minerals/Electrolytes from the water, this makes the water acidic and corrosive. This kind of water does not hydrate well and can pull minerals from the body.

      2. Stores the filtered water in a plastic reservoir which can leach plastic byproducts into the filtered water.

      3. Requires electricity to function (no clean water during power outage).

      4. Is probably Made in China based on the price-point, which is always a red flag for me as far as quality and cross contamination are concerned. This is evident by a short 1 year warranty.

  18. Kayleigh Soldo

    I’d love to know if you know anything about the Alexapure Pro? It’s a gravity filter that can sit on your counter top if you aren’t able to install anything where you live. It has a carbon block filter with “hybrid ceramic shell”. The filters are made in the USA and the stainless steel housing is made in India. They post test results for what it can remove in the info on this website: https://www.mypatriotsupply.com/Alexapure_Pro_Water_Filtration_System_p/zap-pro.htm

    • Irina Webb

      Hi, Kayleigh: I like the fact they have test reports. It all comes down to whether it will filter out chemicals that you need to be filter out. Have you looked at your municipal water test reports? Do you know if you have any heavy metals burden in your body? How strongly do you feel about fluoride? Do you want to have no fluoride in your water or 97% is good enough? ~Irina

      • Kayleigh Soldo

        Hi Irina,
        I live in Fresno and I do know that our water has added flouride. While it would be nice to remove 100% of it , 97% is still a pretty decent reduction and the only system that I know of that can remove 100% of flouride is a reverse osmosis system which I am not as inclined toward because a) they usually use twice as much water as they produce , b) they strip EVERYTHING from your water including beneficial minerals that most of us are already deficient in & I’ve heard doing this causes the water to become “thirsty” and absorb anything it can to restructure itself (e.g. any heavy metals present in your holding tank or faucet or even the minerals from your bones). c) they can be costly to install and if you live in an apt or rental you may not have the option of installing anything. If you go with reverse osmosis be sure to restructure/ re-mineralize it as soon as possible but definitely before you drink it. As far as flouride is concerned I do not agree with it being added to public water and I plan on writing a letter to the city to challenge them on this.

        As far as my own heavy metal burden goes I am not sure. I just had a blood test for lead this week but it took a lot of convincing my doctor to order the test. She is of the opinion that heavy metal toxicity is no longer an issue. Even after I told her I spent a decade sanding & refinishing antique furniture and spent a lot of time in older houses growing up that I know contained degrading lead paint (and lots of dust). I’d say its still a bigger issue than my doctor realizes given how many things can still be found to contain lead. I’ll be interested to see how the results come back.

        • Irina Webb

          Hi, Kayleigh: Thank you for the detailed answer. I understand your situation much better now. Unfortunately, most doctors do not have training on environmental exposure our bodies have to deal with on a daily basis. You probably know that the blood test will show you only your current exposure. For a body burden test, you need to see a doctor who practices functional medicine. Based on the information you provided about the filter and their test reports and certifications I think the Alexapure Pro filter is a good option for you. Please let us know how you like the filter if you decide to buy it. Thank you! ~Irina

    • Irina Webb

      We have a Reverse Osmosis filter that we bought at a local shop before I started this blog and doing the in-depth research. If I had to do it all over again, I would go for Pure Effect. ~Irina

  19. Elena

    Hi Irina,

    I talked to Jim a number of years ago when I was researching water filters. He recommended RO for me because of where I live. I just wanted to point out that the problem of wasting water is greatly diminished by the use of permeate pump. I have have an RO system with a permeate pump and have not noticed significant changes to our water bill. I have a Home Master RO system which also has a re-mineralizing cartridge. https://www.theperfectwater.com/Reverse-Osmosis/

  20. Chelsea

    Hi Irina,

    Have you looked into Clearly Filtered? It is a portable filter and the water does sit in the plastic pitcher reservoir (like a Brita) but the filter itself is supposed to be very effective. We have one filter left before I will need to re-order, so I guess it’s a good time to decide if we will stick with this water filter or switch to something new.

    Thank you!!

    • Irina Webb

      Hi, Chelsea: I have not researched Clearly Filtered. You might have to go over their test reports and compare their test results with Propur filter’s. ~Irina

  21. Jasmina

    Hi, Irina!
    Thank you for what you`re doing! Currently, I live in Switzerland, the country is said to have very clean tap water. However, I do not agree. What is more, it contains a fair amount of calc (not sure about the right word in English- limestone or..?). I`m researching the best option for water filtration. Would you have any recommendations for this part of Europe? Thank you in advance!

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