Mother Earth Living

Five Home Water Filtration Systems to Consider

Once you know what you need to filter, choose the system that stops those toxins.
By Alli Kingfisher and Kelly Lerner
September/October 2010
Add to My MSN

Absorptive media (include carbon filters)
Slideshow


Content Tools

Related Content

Greenwashing in Green Marketing: A Rising Trend

Audi’s “green police” Super Bowl commercial reflects a growing trend in marketing as companies targe...

Cash for Caulkers Part 2: Home Star Rebates for Water Heaters, Heating and Cooling Systems

When the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 passes (as expected) this summer, be prepared by lear...

Mom and Son in a 650-Square-Foot Cabin: “It Exudes Cozy and a Whole Lotta Love”

Victoria Gazely considers her revitalized 650-square-foot homesteader’s cabin on 7 acres of fertile ...

Win a Solar Hot Water System!

Enter Natural Home’s Go Solar Giveaway to win a solar hot water heating system from Sunward.

Filter type
1. Absorptive media (includes carbon filters)

How it works
Solid, porous, highly absorbent material such as charcoal traps liquids, solids, and dissolved or suspended matter

What it removes
■ Foul taste and odor
■ Some cleaning solvents
■ Some pesticides, parasites and radon
■ Heavy metals such as lead, copper and mercury
■ Some types remove chlorination byproducts
■ Some volatile organic chemicals
■ Arsenic and protozoan cysts

Limitations
■ Does not remove nitrates, bacteria or dissolved minerals
■ Carbon filters must be replaced regularly

Filter type
2. Water softeners (cation exchange)

How it works
Uses sodium (either sodium chloride or potassium chloride) to replace calcium and magnesium ions

What it removes
■ Minerals that cause hardness, such as calcium and magnesium
■ Some types remove radium, barium and nitrates

Limitations
■ Does not remove bacteria

Filter type
3. Reverse osmosis

How it works
Forces water through a semi-permeable membrane under pressure, leaving contaminants behind (most systems incorporate pre- and post-filters)

What it removes
■ Nitrates, sodium
■ Disease-causing organisms
■ Many dissolved inorganic and organic solids
■ Many heavy metals, such as cadmium, copper, lead and mercury
■ Foul taste, smell or color
■ Arsenic, barium, perchlorate and selenium

Limitations
■ Does not remove all inorganic and organic contaminants
■ Units use approximately three times as much water as they treat

Filter type
4. Distillation

How it works
Heats water to boiling point and collects the vapor as it condenses, killing disease-causing microbes and leaving most contaminants (particularly heavy metals) behind

What it removes
■ Some bacteria, viruses and parasites
■ Nitrates, sodium, hardness, dissolved solids, most organic compounds and radionuclides
■ Arsenic, barium, fluoride and selenium
■ Heavy metals, such as cadmium, chromium, copper, lead and mercury

Limitations
■ Does not remove some volatile organic compounds, certain pesticides and volatile solvents
■ Contaminants that easily turn into gases, such as radon, may remain in the water
■ Bacteria may accumulate on coils during inactive periods
■ Water may taste flat

Filter type
5. Ultraviolet Disinfection

How it works
Ultraviolet light kills bacteria and other microorganisms

What it removes
■ Bacteria, parasites and some viruses

Limitations
■ Only kills microorganisms; does not remove anything from water








Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.