Why do so many people love their water filters? What is the purpose of using Pur, Zero Water, or Brita filters if you can easily buy bottled water or get water from the tap? These are legitimate questions, but it’s easy to see why once you start looking into the reality of water. Bottled water might be tasty, but it’s fraught with waste and excess use of plastic. Tap water is easily available and is clean enough to drink, but it tastes weird because of all the sediment and dissolved solids.
This will explore why people love water filters and why you’ll love using one as well. They’re simple devices that make your water drinking much more enjoyable and better for the planet.
What’s in Tap Water?
Access to clean water is simple for most people. Just go to your sink and turn the tap. Yes, you can drink this water and use it for other purposes. Most people don’t get immediately sick from tap water, but most people would also agree that tap water has an odd taste to it. That’s why the water bottle industry is booming (which we’ll cover later).
The Safe Water Drinking Act established water treatment plants to ensure that we all have clean, drinkable water. However, the aging pipes that deliver water from house to house cause problems. Water will pick up minerals, sediment, and heavy metals like lead and mercury. These are in microscopic amounts, but those small amounts can build up in your system. This is why many are moving away from standard tap water and using a filter.
The Problem with Water Bottles
OK, well if tap water tastes weird, then you’ll do what everyone else is doing and drink from water bottles. They taste good, but are they good for the planet? Not by a long shot. Currently about 50% of people in the United States regularly drink from water bottles. That produces millions of pounds of waste. Don’t think that recycling is going to offset that because recycling requires lots of energy and still hurts the environment on this scale.
It currently takes 1.5 million barrels of oil to produce enough water bottles for a year. There are 26 billion bottles made each year and many of them end up in the dump. Aside from producing literal tons of waste, wildlife can get trapped in the bottles or confuse them for food sources, which leads to many problems.
The Best of Both Worlds: Water Filters
Water filters take the best of tap water and water bottles and combines them. You get the easy and affordable access to water because they are made to filter tap water. They have been made to remove the minerals, heavy metals, parasites, and sediment commonly found in tap water, making it tastier and safer.
Many people compare filtered water to bottled water. They both have a similar crisp taste that is nice and refreshing. However, water filters require far fewer materials. Most filters are made with a pitcher or bottle, but that’s all the plastic you’ll need. A common water filter can clean 40 gallons of water, or about two months worth of water. Most water bottles are 16.9 ounces and it takes 7.57 bottles to equal a gallon. That’s over 302 water bottles you don’t have to buy and throw away.
Water filters are better for you, better for the planet, and even better for your wallet. If you’re buying those 302 water bottles, then a filter is going to cost dramatically less.
How do Water Filters Work?
Each brand, like Pur, Brita, and Zero Water, use slightly different processes with their filters. We’ll be covering this in general, so keep in mind that some brands might use a different process than the one described here.
Almost every water filter uses activated carbon. This amazing mineral has a tremendous surface area, but can be packed together very tightly within the filter body. This process creates many tiny holes and sections that water can travel through, but solids and other minerals will become trapped in the carbon. The pores within the carbon are so small that only water can pass through. Everything else is removed because it simply cannot pass through these tiny pores.
There are also ion exchange filters. These start with a sheet covered in activated carbon, but then there are a few additional steps. The water will then pass through a foam layer that removes more contaminants, and then a layer of carbon and oxidation reduce metals and alloys. Then, an ion exchange resin attracts ions and removes them from your water, giving you a pure, clean water that is even safer to drink.
What Happens When Water Filters are Full?
As stated above, most water filters can clean up about 40 gallons of water. So, what happens when the filters are full? You might be worried that the filter will start dumping all those trapped minerals and heavy metals into your water. Thankfully that doesn’t happen, but that doesn’t mean you can infinitely use an old filter.
An old filter simply won’t be able to remove more solids and minerals. Your tap water will taste exactly the same because the filter is unable to remove anything. That’s why it’s important to change the filter as needed. Many filter brands use a monitor or sensor to tell you when it’s time to change the filter.
Different Types of Water Filters
Water filters come in many shapes and sizes. This section will cover the vessels more than the filters themselves. One of the most popular types is the oversink model. This filter fits right on your sink and allows you to get clean water right from the tap. Plus, there’s usually a button or switch that allows you to use regular tap water for cleaning dishes.
Dispensers and pitchers are also very common. Both of these hold a good amount of water and can be placed anywhere, like a counter or table. It’s a good way to get clean water if a sink isn’t available. Most pitchers hold around 10 cups of water while dispensers hold closer to 16 to 18 cups. Just be ready to carry the full weight of the dispenser or pitcher because they can be fairly heavy when full.
Lastly there are bottles. These are usually around the same size or larger than a regular water bottle, but they have a personal filter inside made to clean tap water with ease. You get the convenience of a standard water bottle but all the benefits of a water filter.
Water Filter Downsides
We want to be honest and tell you there are some downsides to using a water filter. Everything’s not sunshine and rainbows, but most people will consider these problems very minor.
If you get a pitcher, dispenser, or bottle, then you’ll notice the filter is a little slow. You pour the tap water in and wait for it to go through the filter. Depending on the size of your unit, this could take several minutes. That’s fine if you’re prepared for it, but it can feel like an eternity if you’re thirsty.
The other problem is that the filter must be changed, often every two months (depending on usage). This costs money and time, especially if you don’t have a spare filter on hand. However, compared to the 302 water bottles, this should be a bargain.
Lastly, a potential downside is not having enough water on hand. This mostly happens with pitchers and dispensers. For example, a 10-cup pitcher should be good enough for 5 to 7 people. If you have 20 or 30 thirsty people expecting water, then this pitcher won’t be enough. However, there are vessels of many shapes and sizes, so you should be able to find the right one for your needs.
Buying a Water Filter
Buying a water filter is simple. Be sure to check reviews and consider how much water you need. Another important consideration is what type of filter do you want. Would you like a sink model for the whole family, a pitcher that can satiate several people, or a bottle you can carry anywhere with you?
While each brand uses a different process and filters out solids and minerals to varying degrees, all of them deliver crisp, delicious water that is safer than from the tap alone. You’ll find out exactly why so many people love water filters.
Water filters are very popular and it’s easy to see why. While most people have easy access to drinkable tap water, it has a weird taste and has very contaminants like lead, mercury, sediment, and more. That makes the water less safe to drink, and besides, who wants to drink heavy metals and dissolved solids?
Water filters easily remove these contaminants and are more eco-friendly than water bottles. Buy one today and you’ll see why water filters are the best option if you want to improve your drinking water.