How do water filters work? The truth is, different filters have different filtering processes, but there are some things that are common among water purifiers.
There are three types of filters that I am going to explain here for your consideration. Carbon block water filters, reverse osmosis, and distilled water purifiers are the three most commonly used filters.
Photo by Tim Norris
The first is a carbon water filter (or carbon block). Carbon water filters are probably the most common kind that people use in their homes.
You've probably seen the filter pitchers, the faucet attachments, the under the sink filters, the shower filter, portable filters and whole house filters.
The carbon (or charcoal) in the filter removes the various contaminants by a method called adsorption. Basically, that means that the molecules or particles from the chemicals, toxins, and bacteria in water bind themselves to the surface of the carbon filter allowing the water to pass through in a much purer state.
Once we realize that everything that goes down the drain,
on our lawns, on our agricultural fields or into the environment
by any means eventually winds up in the water we drink,
we begin to see just how vulnerable our water supply really is.
- Jon Barron
The more adsorbates attached to the surface of the filter the less room for binding of further contaminates. That's why you have to change the filter in your system periodically. Most filters need to be changed every six months.
The best water filters of this kind that I've found are those made by Aquasana. How do their filters work to make them even better? They have more of a dual action type filter that is made up of two separate cartridges.
The first cartridge is the carbon/charcoal filter section that removes the bad tastes, smells, and added chemicals, like chlorine and fluoride.
The second cartridge ionizes the water, and also filters out even more 'nasties' like sediment and cysts like Cryptosporidium and Giardia.
All of the precious minerals that we want to remain in our water are left in tact.
Aquasana has won the "Best Buy" award from Consumers Digest for the best value in quality water filters for the last 5 years in a row!
I'm not a scientist, so I'm going to explain this in terms that I can understand. I hope anyone more scientifically minded won't take offense reading this. ;-)
The process of Reverse Osmosis basically consists of using pressure to force the water through a very fine membrane or filter. Some of the water particles are able to fit through the membrane, but the minerals, some contaminants and some of the water does not.
It is important to understand that some particles are actually smaller than water and can fit through the pores of the membrane. These are things like herbicides and pesticides. So, you still need to run the water treated by reverse osmosis water purifiers through a carbon water filter to get the rest of the contaminants out.
In the reverse osmosis process, a lot of water is wasted and it is very time consuming. Also, your body needs the minerals that are removed by this procedure.
Water distillers work by causing the water to pass over a heated coil and evaporate. The steam rises and is transferred to a cooler chamber which causes it to return to the liquid form of water.
This process removes many minerals like calcium, magnesium, and lead. It also kills bacteria through the heating process.
Unfortunately, many organic chemicals are NOT removed because they vaporize at lower temperatures than water. They are then transferred along with the steam and stay in the water. Because of this, it is important to always run distilled water through a carbon water filter as well.
Many people, myself included, do not believe that distilled water is the healthiest choice. We don't find distilled water anywhere on the earth in a natural state. Again, our bodies need the minerals that God put in the water for us.
Demineralized water also tends to have a lower pH. It is important to keep our body in an alkaline state to help ward of illness and disease.
Summary: Distilled water and water treated by reverse osmosis have their purpose and particular uses, but it is not the best choice for healthy, good quality drinking water.
Does that answer your question about how do water filters work? I hope so. Now, take the next step and get yourself and your family a good quality water filter from Aquasana. You'll be glad you did.
To your good health!
If you have any questions about water purifiers and filters, feel free to ask them here.
You might have an experience of your own to share that will encourage and help others trying to make a decision about investing in a good quality water filter system.
Has drinking purified water changed your health in some way? Please take a couple of minutes to tell us about it.