- What is your source water?
- Describe the problems that you want to address.
- How many gallons of water pass through your shower head per day?
There are four main filtration media used in the various commercially available shower water filters. All the media are safe, sound, universally known and accepted media, however what makes sense for one customer may not make sense for another.
Let’s look at what each media is and what it does
- Activated Carbon (AC) – Removes chlorine, chloramine, organics such as pesticides, solvents, esters, ethers and other carbon-based chemicals. Unless you have a physical aversion or sensitivity to chlorine compounds, or have organic chemicals in your water, an AC-based shower filter is not likely to make your life better and in fact you probably won’t notice much difference with these type of filters. However, if you do purchase one, make sure it has the NSF certification and seek AC that is impregnated with silver for bacterial control.
- Some filters offer substances called zeolites which can remove metals such as iron, copper and others. Unless one is drinking a lot of their shower water there really is no good reason to remove these kinds of metals. It is highly improbable that there are enough of these metals to ever be absorbed into your body. Metal removal is a great thing, but not so much when the metals don’t present a health risk.
- Cation exchange resin (CER), also known as water-softening resin is an effective tool for reducing and removing hardness, that is to say, calcium and magnesium from water. Hardness is what causes scale build up and can narrow the opening in your shower nozzles, thereby slowing down the flow coming out of your shower head. The downside of filters that have softening resin is that depending on how hard your water is, the limited amount of resin that can be put into such a filter can be exhausted with as little as 15 or 20 gallons; far less than the total volume of water used in a complete shower.
- Filter sand and/or mechanical filter barriers can be engaged help to remove sediment; that would be dirt, mud, micro particles and anything else floating around in your water. If your shower head is plugging up with muck all the time, a shower filter that offers a filtration step might be just what the doctor ordered for you.
If your shower head seems to scale up a lot, instead of a shower filter, try removing the head, soaking it for a few hours in cold, industrial strength (5%) vinegar. It will dissolve the scale nicely, easily, and inexpensively.
If after reading this you still absolutely must have a filter for your shower head, there is some good news, the units made by companies such as Aquasana, 15-step, Water Chef, and others are all safe, well made filters. I just happen to advocate that save for very problematic waters, a filter on your shower head is not likely to make much difference in your water experience.