Water Filters: How to Choose the Right One for Your Home

Hazardous contaminants are becoming increasingly common in tap water. They can be chemical elements like lead, arsenic, radon, nitrites, or organic, like E. Coli bacteria. An alternative to tap water is bottled water, which although advertised as “natural” and “safe” is actually less regulated by the Department of Water then the municipal tap water supply. What is more, some of the new pollutants are not regulated and can be “legally” present in your drinking water.

Countertop Filters

Sitting on a counter with a line connecting it to the faucet. Like faucet-mounted types, they allow for switching between filtered and non-filtered water, and are ideal for kitchen applications. They can filter large amount s of water without plumbing modifications and need relatively infrequent cartridge changes. These models use a wide array of filtering technologies, including activated carbon and reverse osmosis. However they can be much more expensive than pitchers and faucet-mounted filters.

Under-Sink Filters

Unlike countertop systems, these require fixed installation and sometimes plumbing modifications. The good sides are that they don’t cramp the counter area, being hidden under the sink, and like countertops, they can also filter large amounts of water and don’t require a lot of maintenance. These models use a wide array of filtering technologies, including activated carbon and reverse osmosis. They are ideal for kitchen use.


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Maybe you recently heard that the EPA found contaminants in our local water supply? With all recent bad news about water quality in major American cities, it is no surprise that people are looking for ways to ensure that the water in their homes is safe, free of toxins, great tasting, and most importantly healthy. A complete water filtration system will make the water in every sink, tub, and shower of your home contaminant free, safe and delicious.

Without a water test it is impossible to know whether the water in your home is free of lead, chlorine, chloramine and other harmful contaminants. These chemicals and contaminants pose a serious threat to the health of you and your family.  Additionally, over time they can corrode your pipes, leading to expensive repairs.

The Environmental Working Group recommends that all homes test their water, or at least educate themselves on the water provided by their state and local municipality. Knowledge is power. Knowing the quality of the water you bathe in, cook with, and drink is fundamental to living a healthy life.


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How Water Filters Save You Money

Buying water filters can feel like an expense, but it is actually an investment, and they end up paying off in a big way if you buy the right one. Buy the wrong one, and they probably still pay off, just slower. In sales they call this dollarization – what is the value of the product to the customer? 911water.com is comitted to selling products that provide more value than they cost, so this is really important to me.

In order to understand the value of a water filter, you have to look at the alternatives

1. Alternative #1: No filtration

Tap water in the city will usually not cause any short-term health consequences, but the chemicals in the water such as chlorine and fluoride can have obvious long-term health consequences such as cancer or bone density loss, and short-term health problems that are not so obvious to diagnose, such as a lack of energy, skin rashes and excema, and respiratory problems.


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Over 300 Pollutants in U.S. Tap Water

Since 2004, testing by water utilities has found pollutants in the tap water Americans drink, according to an Environmental Working Group (EWG) drinking water quality analysis of almost 20 million records obtained from state water officials.

More than half of the chemicals detected are not subject to health or safety regulations and can legally be present in any amount. The federal government does have health guidelines for others, but 49 of these contaminants have been found in one place or another at levels above those guidelines, polluting the tap water for 53.6 million Americans. The government has not set a single new drinking water standard since 2001.

Water utilities spend 19 times more on water treatment chemicals every year than the federal government invests in protecting lakes and rivers from pollution in the first place.

Based on these data, EWG believes the federal government has a responsibility to do a national assessment of drinking water quality. It should establish new safety standards, set priorities for pollution prevention projects, and tell consumers about the full range of pollutants in their water.

Because it has not, EWG launched a 3-year project to create the largest drinking water quality database in existence. This user-friendly, interactive resource covers 48,000 communities in -1 states and the District of Columbia.


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How Activated Carbon Treatment Works

These devices are commonly known as carbon filters. They actually absorb contaminants to an activated carbon medium. Activated carbon filters are used to remove unwanted tastes, odors, radon, and some man-made volatile organic contaminants from drinking water. The efficiency of the unit depends on the type of activated carbon installed, the filter bed depth, the type and concentration of contaminants in the water, and the contact time between the water and the carbon filter. Activated carbon filters are recommended for water without bacteria present.

Carbon filters are easy to install and maintain, and operating costs are usually limited to filter replacement. Depending on the type and concentration of the contaminant being removed, some carbon filters may require special hazardous waste handling and disposal, which can be costly. Other filter types are also available including charcoal and ceramic materials.

Activated carbon filters do not adsorb every type of contaminant equally. The solid material used in an activated carbon filter is a specialized carbon manufactured for these purposes. Contaminants adhere to the surface of these carbon granules or become trapped in the small pores of the filter. Generally, an activated carbon filter is used with a pre-treatment filter to remove sediment or iron particles that may be present and can clog the carbon filter.


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Types Of GAC Or Granulated Active Carbon Filtration Systems


There are two basic types of water filtration systems available to homeowners and GAC filters are used in both. A whole-house or “Point of Entry” system takes water from your well and treats it before it enters your home’s plumbing system. Typically a POE system treats all of the water outlets, faucets, washing machine, and dishwasher, but excludes outdoor faucets to help prolong the life of the GAC filter.  POE systems usually consist of 2 filtering cylinders that treat the water in sequence. The second filter designed to further clean the water of contaminants that may have passed through the first.


The second type of system is called “Point of Use.” Point of use systems are installed just before the faucet where people get their water. One common system consists of an independent faucet exclusively for treated water usually located next to the kitchen faucet for example. Another example of POU filters that use GAC are the pitcher filters commonly sold in grocery stores. GAC filters are also included in many refrigerators that dispense drinking water and ice.


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What Is A Granulated Active Carbon Filter?

GAC is made from organic materials which have a high carbon content like coconut shells or coal. The material is heated in an oxygen-free chamber to activate the surface of the carbon, which is why these filters are often referred to as “charcoal” filters. The activated carbon better removes certain chemicals that are dissolved in water by trapping the chemicals in the carbon.
When choosing to install GAC water filtration systems in your home, it’s important to have a thorough water analysis done. The types and levels of contaminants, as well as your family’s average water use are important factors to consider when sizing a system.

Like all water filtration systems, proper installation and regular maintenance is important to maintain the highest function. With GAC filters, the carbon becomes saturated and no longer effective after a certain length of service. How often filters must be changed is also determined by the level of contaminants present and amount of water used. Some filters last for several years if water use and contaminants levels are low. If levels and use are higher, more frequent filter changes are advised.


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A Point-of-Use Water Filter Provides Fresh, Clean Water for your Home

Point-of-Use (also called “undersink”) water filters can give you extra clean drinking water AND add value to your home.

As they name implies, the filter hooks up to the pipes under your sink and connects to a separate countertop tap.

Here are more benefits of a point-of-use filter.

  • Water filters provide better tasting and better smelling drinking water by removing chlorine and bacterial contaminants.
  • Point-of-use water filters remove lead from drinking water immediately prior to consumption, thus preventing this harmful substance from entering the body.
  • Filtered water from a tap costs much less than bottled water.
  • Water filters greatly reduce the risk of rectal cancer, colon cancer, and bladder cancer by removing chlorine and chlorine byproducts from drinking water.
  • A water filter provides clean, healthy water for cooking, as well as drinking, at the convenience of tap water.
  • Water filters reduce the risk of gastrointestinal disease by more than 33 percent.
  • Drinking pure water is especially important for children. Water filters provide the healthiest water for children’s developing immune systems.
  • Water filters offer the last line of defense between the body and the over 2,100 known toxins that may be present in drinking water.


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World Water Day!

What is World Water Day?

World Water Day is celebrated annually on March 22nd.  The United Nations General Assembly established World Water day in 1993 with the hopes of creating awareness about a natural resource that is crucial to every person’s life.  Often taken for granted, water access and purification create daily threats to the health, education system, and economic situation of communities throughout the world.  Every year, UN-Water – the entity responsible for the UN’s work on sanitation and water – creates an engagement campaign for World Water Day that relates to a specific global challenge.  This year, the International Labour Organization (ILO) is coordinating the campaign.  Therefore, World Water Day 2016 has focus on the issues surrounding labor and water related sectors.

World Water Day is an opportunity to take action, create awareness, and address areas of the world where water has never been taken for granted.  For those fortunate enough to have consistent access to clean water, we should also use this day as a reminder to seek out ways to limit water waste in our own daily lives.


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Point of Use (POU) or Point of Entry (POE)?

A Point-of-Entry water treatment system is installed on your side of the meter with the express purpose of treating all of the incoming water before it goes into the individual supply lines that feed your laundry, bathrooms (including toilets), dedicated outside faucets and others as well as your kitchen. POE systems often include softeners, large bed carbon filters, and some systems which are specifically designed to remove (or trap) sediment, foul tastes and odors. POE systems are sometimes considered pre-filters.

A Point-of-Use water treatment system is installed in an individual source line ahead of any or all of the building’s taps, faucets or other dedicated outlets used to dispense water for drinking, cooking or bathing. Good POU systems are often expected to capture whatever escapes the POE system.

So once you figure out if you want a POU system or a POE system, the next step is getting a water test done. We can help you with this! After we test your water and once we receive the test results back we then recommend a course of action and what water filtration would best benefit you.


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