We all know that drinking enough water is good for you, but it can be hard to stick with this habit if you’re not in love with the taste of tap or bottled water.
But what if your local tap water isn’t drinkable? If there’s a problem with your plumbing, or if you live near a factory or farm, then even the cleanest looking water might have contaminants lurking inside.
Water filters are a must for any household as you can’t trust your tap water these days, and while there is some debate over what do water filters remove and which ones remove the most contaminants, it’s best to be safe than sorry.
What type of filter do you need for your home or business? The answer depends on where the contamination is coming from; surface runoff and groundwater sources both require different filtration systems.
The solution is simple – get a water filter as they are affordable and easy to install. High-quality portable filters are available that will make any type of water safe for drinking. You’ll never run out of fresh filtered water again.
What Do Water Filters Remove?
Water filters are an affordable and easy way to make sure you’re getting the best tasting water possible.
They remove chlorine and other chemicals from your tap or bottled water so you can enjoy fresh, clean drinking every day. This will help keep you hydrated for better health and energy levels all day long.
In addition to removing these chemicals, water filters remove things like dirt, sediment, and other particulates that can make the water look cloudy.
More importantly, though these particles can be potentially harmful to our health if they are found in drinking water.
By using a high-quality filter system like you can get clean drinking water right at home or anywhere else without wasting money on bottled drinks or lugging heavy bottles around with you.
While not every water filter removes all possible contaminants, there are a few that nearly everyone can agree needs to be filtered out. The water filters remove the following contaminants:
The water filters generally remove chlorine from the water as they are capable of removing chemicals as well as other physical contaminations from the water.
Chlorine is a chemical that has been added to municipal tap waters to kill bacterial contaminants and thus protect us from diseases like cholera, typhoid, etc.
Since the introduction of treated tap water, the cases of these diseases have reduced immensely. However, it is also well known that chlorine in higher levels has many toxic effects like skin irritation, respiratory problems, etc.
So to have cleaner chlorinated water which does not cause any harm to us, we need high-quality carbon water filters which are capable of removing chlorine from tap water.
The carbon water filters have a huge surface area and they attract the chlorine from the water in an adsorptive manner.
Lead is a highly toxic and very dangerous element; if not removed properly it can damage our brain and kidneys permanently.
But now with the use of new kinds of water filters, we can remove this heavy metal from our drinking water easily.
Up to 99% of lead can be removed from water by using graphene-oxide membranes. Graphene is a very thin sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice structure. It makes strong bonds with other elements around it except H, B, C, and O.
As lead is also considered an element of this family it doesn’t have any affinity to bond with a graphene-oxide membrane so easily passes through the membrane without mixing with water or leaving any residue behind.
Mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal that is present naturally in the environment. Mercury can cause serious harmful effects on humans, animals, and also the environment when being released into the air or water.
Solid mercury changes to gaseous form very easily. Thus releases more hazardous mercury vapor into the atmosphere.
It enters our body through inhalation of contaminated air or dermal contact. Water filters that remove mercury from water are called activated carbon filters.
In these types of filters, a porous material with a large surface area is used for removing heavy metals along with other volatile organic compounds from water.
Water filters remove copper from water by adding another chemical to the filter which is inert and can not be dissolved in water.
The most common of these is a carbon block filter which uses activated charcoal that eliminates contaminants by adsorption.
This type of filter is often used with other types of filters such as sediment, bacterial, or chemical filters.
Water filters can remove benzene from water by adsorption. Benzene is a carcinogen and there is no safe level of exposure to it.
In some parts of the world, drinking water may contain levels as high as 100 micrograms per liter. However, recent studies have shown that even low doses of benzene can cause leukemia and other blood-related cancers.
Water filters remove benzene using activated carbon adsorption. This method is widely used due to its high capacity, fast rate of adsorption, easy regeneration, and low cost.
Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs)
Water filters use activated carbon to remove Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) from water. This is done by first passing the water through the filter and then aerating it which causes microbubbles of dissolved air to attach themselves to the surface of the carbon.
The surface area of activated carbon is very large, where some carbons can have over 500m² of surface area per gram.
The VOCs molecules are attracted to the carbon and bond with it which prevents them from passing any further through the water filter, trapping them inside.
One of the latest trends in water treatment is to provide water filters that can remove endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) like bisphenol and atrazine.
The notion that these chemicals are harmful has led to a lot of studies on their removal mechanisms from contaminated sources such as rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.
The presence of Endocrine Disruptors (EDCs), including Bisphenol A (BPA) has been detected in water resources worldwide.
Removal of these chemicals from water requires several treatments including chemical coagulation, Flocculation, Ozonation/Ozone treatment, Fenton’s reagent etc.
Radiation can harm living tissue by damaging DNA, resulting in cancer, cell death, and other health problems.
Drinking water can become contaminated by radioactive chemicals when they are absorbed from soil or dumped into lakes and rivers.
Water filters remove radiation from water using a reverse osmosis process to filter out contaminants from the source water before it is used to make the bottled water.
Water filters remove viruses from water by physically capturing them on some sort of medium. A virus is an infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of other organisms.
Water filtration systems that employ reverse osmosis likely remove more viruses than other devices because the physical size of a virus is larger than what it takes to filter out bacteria.
Dirt and Sediments
Water filters can be designed in different ways but all of them will contain some medium like carbon, ceramic or metallic mesh, etc., through which water is passed and dirt is removed.
These filters can be made small enough to be used in kitchens where tap water is used or can be made like a large drum into which water is filled and then passed through the filter.
As you can see, it’s not just the tap water that’s at risk, literally anything in your home plumbing system could end up in your drink.
Water filters remove different contaminants so they can provide you with clean water to drink. However, it is important to check what type of filter your home uses and which contaminants it removes because not all water filters are the same.
What Do Water Filters cannot Remove?
Following are some of the elements that cannot be removed by all the water filters and such elements are eliminated by specially designing the water filters:
While most water filters can remove all of the microbes from your drinking water, some do not. This is especially true of bacteriophages (viruses that attack bacteria), which may or may not be removed by a filter.
Some water filters are designed to screen out heavy metals but may not have the ability to remove radioactive particles. A special type of filtering system known as reverse osmosis must be used to remove radioactive particles.
If you live in a home that draws its water from a well and has a salt-based water softener, then it is very unlikely that your drinking water filter will be able to remove salt from your water. A reverse osmosis system is needed to eliminate salt from drinking water.
Some water filter manufacturers claim that their products can eliminate pharmaceutical residues from your drinking water, but most of them cannot.
This is because most of these compounds are not removed by water softeners or carbon filters. One possible chemical filter that can remove some pharmaceuticals, along with other contaminants, is activated alumina.
Ways Water Filters Work
There are a few different ways that water filters work to remove certain materials from your drinking supply:
1. One of the most common methods used in water filtration is called sedimentation. This type of filtration makes use of gravity to allow heavier particles in the water to settle at the bottom while lighter, more dangerous contaminants are caught in between layers of filter paper.
Sedimentation relies on time and gravity for this process to occur properly, so it can take a while for the water to filter through and become clean.
2. Another method used by many different types of filters is active carbon adsorption. In this process, carbon molecules are infused within the mesh of the filter to remove contaminants from your drinking supply.
The chemicals that make up these contaminants bond with the carbon molecules to form new compounds called ions, which are not safe for consumption.
The carbon filter is then able to trap these particles and release them from the water when it is run through an appropriate piping. This process happens in a matter of seconds rather than hours, making it faster for you to get clean water from your tap.
3. Distillation also makes use of extreme heat to filter out any type of particle larger than water molecules. Distillation heats the water so much that it is vaporized and then condensed into a clean supply of water.
This process does not rely on gravity or active carbon adsorption as sedimentation and reverses osmosis do, but it does effectively remove contaminants from your drinking supply.
There are two types of distillation processes: multiple-effect and single-effect. In multiple-effect distillation, steam can pass through the water filter multiple times to remove contaminants.
This method can be very time-consuming and requires large amounts of energy for it to work. Single-effect distillation is much more common because it only relies on the heat once when it passes through the filter, making it faster when it comes to cleaning your drinking supply.
Based upon the above discussion on water filters we need to make sure that the type of filter you have installed in your own home is dependent upon the contaminants that are common to your region. Occasional testing must be performed on local sources of drinking water for local officials to decide what types of filters are needed in any given area.
If you do notice strange material coming out of your faucet, however, it is a good idea to speak with local health and water authorities to ensure that your drinking supply is safe and clean.
One would have to first understand their water quality concerns and then identify the type of water purifying system that will provide them with clean drinking water.
One of the best brands for water filters that I would recommend is the Waterdrop Water Filter System as it is one of the cheapest systems available in the market with excellent quality. It comes with a separate storage tank so you need to find space for it.
Looking forward to hearing your opinions and experience on water filters in the comment section of this article.
Clare Smyth has an attraction towards the kitchen, and that’s clear. She is very passionate about writing reviews on kitchen products and working under Steve to research new advances in the kitchen.