A basic breakdown of different types of water filtration
Some types of water filtration media strain out particles. The amount of filtration depends upon the micron rating of the filter media. The smaller the number, the smaller the particles it will filter out. These filters are generally called sediment filters since they filter out undissolved particles. Another type of filtration is a process that changes the chemical makeup of the water.
An example of this is when you filter water that has chlorine in it. The chlorine goes through activated carbon, and the electrons change the water. This happens as it passes through the carbon filter media and becomes a harmless chloride.
Most dual or multi-stage basic filter systems use a sediment filter followed by an activated carbon filter. Most whole-house water filters use a process of layering filter media in a single tank to filter many things out all at once. Single, dual, & multi-stage systems can be installed under your sink to improve the water’s taste and odor. A faucet can be installed in-line on a refrigerator and as a whole house system at the water service entrance to the house to filter everything.
Reverse osmosis water filtration
Reverse osmosis uses a combination of different stages to filter your water. A basic RO system will have a carbon pre-filter. This is followed by a membrane filter (the actual reverse osmosis stage) and then a carbon post filter. The precise reverse osmosis stage filters the water with dissolved impurities. This stage works much like a sediment filter, except the way this system is designed. It allows water with dissolved solids to pass through to a drain, and the “pure” water can pass through to a storage tank. These units are usually installed under a kitchen sink with a separate spout mounted on the sink or countertop. This is the most effective way of getting purified water.
Whole House Reverse Osmosis
Though purified water may not necessarily be the best thing for you, water with valuable minerals is better in most cases. Reverse osmosis wastes some water, but it is very effective. Remember, if you are buying bottled water, most of the brands use reverse osmosis to clean the water. Plus, you end up with plastic waste.
There are also extensive reverse osmosis systems available. It is possible to have reverse osmosis water for your whole house, but it would be pretty costly, starting at about $5,000.00 just for a small full-house reverse osmosis filter system.
Installing these types of systems requires that you have special piping in your home. You will want to separate the toilets, sprinklers, and hose bibbs onto unfiltered water to conserve the filtered water. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, but I thought it was interesting knowing these types of systems are available.
Lastly, there is water softening, which is a whole subject. Living in southern California, we nearly all have hard water. It leaves crusty deposits on our faucets, shower heads, and other plumbing fixtures. Hard water leaves your skin dry and makes it so that you need to use more soap to clean laundry than you would if you had soft water.
Hard water also builds up in your water heater. Suppose you have a tankless water heater unit. In that case, it probably has a warranty stipulation that requires you to have some scale inhibitor to keep the hard water buildup from getting into the heat exchanger. You likely hear a rumbling sound if you have a traditional tanked water heater. This is caused by the water buildup in the bottom of the tank. There are many approaches to dealing with hard water. The only way to eliminate hard water is to “soften” the water.
What Type of Water Systems Do We Install?
We are happy to announce that we use Performance Water Products
- Known for technical expertise, quality service and reliable products.
- 100 years combined experience in the field of Water Treatment and Purification.
- Specializing in both Commercial and Residential applications.
- Custom water treatment equipment created for both the Domestic and International market.
- Committed to service, quality and reliability, while continuing to be an innovator in the water treatment industry.
- Link to their website
Traditional Water Softeners
A traditional water softener uses an ionic exchange process to remove the water’s complex water ions (typically calcium and magnesium) and replace them with either sodium or potassium ions (I recommend using potassium). Some scale reduction filters use this same principle but do minor softening. Other types of scale inhibitors include pass-through filters and electronic units. They isolate the hard water molecules and then pass through your plumbing system without attaching to anything.
I’ve found that most of these types of systems are only marginally effective. In addition, a water softener requires it to be connected to the inlet water supply to your house. A plumbing drain and an electrical connection are two things that are needed.
As a side note, most municipally supplied water is tested regularly and must pass specific safety regulations set by the government to ensure it is safe to drink.
If you have more questions about water filtration, call Mitch today at (562) 242-3218