Home Water Filtration – What You Need To Know

I am constantly inundated with inquiries as to what the best home water filtration system is. Soon, our company, Glanris will actually produce and make available the ultimate water system. Until then, the best thing I can do is to offer some technical highlights to help you make the best possible choice for your own water filtration needs. So here we go.

  • Avoid equipment that utilizes clear plastic filter housings. Clear housings allow sunlight to pass. Sunlight accelerates the growth of many bacteria, algae, fungi and other organisms.
  • If you have hard water you need a salt-based regenerating water softener. These systems actually remove Calcium, magnesium, and iron and replace it with sodium. If you are sensitive to dietary sodium you will need to make a scientific estimate about how much sodium your newly softened drinking water will contain. Essentially a water softener will exchange 2 parts of Sodium for every one part of Calcium in your source water. So, as an example, great lakes water typically has about 170 mg/l (ppm) of hardness. If you soften this water, it will then contain 340 mg/l (ppm of sodium). The American Heart Association recommends 2,300 mg/l maximum sodium per day. So, if you drink softened Lake Erie water you would need to drink 7 liters of water today to reach that limit. Do you drink 2 gallons of soft water per day? The point here is that drinking soft water is not as dangerous to your health as others might tell you. Just use this formula, do the arithmetic and figure out for yourself if you are safe with your hard water or not.
  • If you do install a softener and are still concerned about sodium, you could have your installer include a shower type valve and blend both untreated hard water, with treated soft water. So, for instance, a 50/50 blend of the great lakes water mentioned above would deliver water with only 85 mg/l hardness. Your technician could adjust the blend to give you both a non-scaling water that is lower in sodium.
  • Reverse osmosis removes 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, and also 90 – 98% of all the organic minerals and chemicals in the water. Metals like lead, aluminum, chromium, and arsenic are removed almost completely. While RO sounds great, and it is, remember the RO membrane requires softened feed water, low concentration of debris, no chlorine or iron. Your RO will need pretreatment.
  • RO water has no chlorine in it. As such, it is prone to quick degradation and bacterial contamination once it has been made and stored. Seek a system that offers technology to keep your clean water clean.
  • Refrigerator, faucet and pitcher filters all utilize Granular Activated Carbon, with the better filters being impregnated with silver to prevent bacterial growth. However, once water is passed through carbon, chlorine is absent and bacteria will grow. If you put such water into a pitcher make sure you refrigerate it to slow contamination. Also, don’t keep water stored for more than 24 hours.
  • If your water is cursed with excessive iron and sulfur (egg smell), you will need some type of oxidation components in your water system. This can consist of aeration, chlorine injection or the use of an oxidizing media like KDF® or Green Sand, which in turn will require regeneration with nasty chemicals such as chlorine or potassium permanganate.

Before you enter into the purchase of a whole-house purification system, think about why it is you want such a thing. Remember, water for your dishes, shower, car, laundry and hot water tank does not have to be as pure, or as filtered as water that you drink. THink about how much or how little water you actually drink. Sometimes it makes great sense to just clean your water up enough to protect your fixtures and clothes and then obtain a bottle service for your drinking water.

If I can teach just one thing about residential water is that there is no perfect choice for everyone. Ask questions, and don’t be cornered into thinking that any single vendor has all the answers. Consider combinations of solutions and technologies.



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