Your water filtration needs depend on your access to potable water. If you live in an area that provides potable water, you don’t technically need any filtration system. (Although you might still want one. Read more here.) However, if you are in an area using well water, you will need a complex system of filtration. Unfiltered or improperly filtered well water can make you sick. It can be contaminated with both natural toxins like lead and arsenic as well as manufactured toxins such as pesticides. As long as you’re armed with the right knowledge, you can safely purify water from any source.
- Sediment. This type of filtration system is one of the most widely used and is typically the first used in a given system. It removes the heaviest materials in your water, such as rust and silt.
- Granular Activated Carbon. This reduces the amount of sediment and chlorine that are commonly found in even potable water. Generally, this type of filter helps to make your water taste better and reduce unwanted odors. However, it doesn’t filter many of the most harmful contaminants or soften your water.
- Activated Carbon Block. This is a more sophisticated type of carbon filter that reduces more contaminants than the granular filter, such as lead and some bacteria and cysts. However, it does not remove viruses or minerals to soften water.
- Reverse Osmosis. These filter out more contaminants than does activated carbon, including many natural and manufactured contaminants. However, these systems do not filter out bacteria or viruses, so you will need another layer of filtration if you use this system for well water.
- Distillation. This process requires collecting the evaporated particles of boiled water, and allowing this evaporated water to collect in a clean space. This is an ancient method of filtration, and filters water of almost all contaminants. However, this method produces small amounts of filtered water given the time it takes. It’s also more expensive and less eco-friendly than most other modern systems.
- UV. A filter using a UV wavelength of light is used to eliminate bacteria, viruses, and cysts by keeping them from reproducing. This filtration system rids water of harmful contaminants like microorganisms, but not other kinds of contaminants.
Please note that alkaline and infrared filters are also very popular. These filters raise the pH level of your water, which many believe to have health and beauty benefits. However, these benefits are not scientifically verified. These filters do not remove any of the known harmful contaminants from well water, and if you choose to use them, you will need to pair them with other types of filters.
Many home systems for purchase combine several different methods to filter well water. You can find a detailed review of some of these systems here. Many companies also offer consultation and installation services. Whether you take a direct or indirect role in your home filtration system, remember to have your drinking water tested by a professional once per year to ensure your water is safe. With just a few precautions, you won’t have to worry about your water—you can just enjoy it!