The average person drinks approximately one gallon of water every day. While this water may come from other sources (like juice or soda), all humans require water on a daily basis for survival. Humans can survive for weeks without food. However, even a few days without water can be deadly. Since water is integral to human health, it’s important to make sure we drink enough clean, pure water every day.
However, that can be hard in some situations. Whether you use a municipal water source or a home well, there can be contaminants in tap water that are harmful to human health. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that homeowners can ensure they have clean water. The following guide provides simple tips and tricks on how to use a water filtration system at home.
Common Contaminants in Water Supplies
There are a variety of contaminants that can affect the quality of a water supply. Some of the most common contaminants include lead and other heavy metals. In many cases, municipal water supplies have trace levels of lead due to the way that water is transported through a public water system.
Many cities have public water systems that are more than 70 years old. In some cases, pipes can be over 100 years old. In the past, many groundwater pipes were manufactured with trace levels of lead. When water passes through these pipes, lead ions can be transferred from the interior of the pipe to the stream of water.
Lead is associated with a wide variety of health problems, ranging from an increased risk of cancer to neurological defects. It can be extremely serious for pregnant women to consume water contaminated with lead.
Another common source of contaminants is agricultural runoff. Pesticides and fertilizers can enter a water supply, where they eventually end up in tap water. Some types of pesticides, like Roundup, can be extremely hazardous to human health. Many pesticides are linked to an increased risk of cancer.
Particulate filters are designed to remove debris from a water supply. These types of filters are often the first filter used in a home. Most particulate filters aren’t able to remove heavy metals or other contaminants. However, they are able to remove dirt, rust, and other large particles from a water supply. While a particulate filter isn’t enough on its own, it can extend the life of other types of filters. In most cases, a particulate pre-filter is a cheap way to keep the other filters in a water system working properly.
Carbon filters are often the second stage of filters in a home filter system. A carbon filter is often made of a specialized type of coconut that has been heat treated. When coconut fiber is treated with heat, it creates a porous substance that is very effective at absorbing heavy metals, chemicals, and a variety of other contaminants. In many cases, homes will just have a combination of a particulate and carbon filter. However, water that has bacteria or other pathogens in it may require additional filtering.
A UV filter is designed to kill any potential pathogens in a water source. A UV filter isn’t an actual filter. Instead, it’s a series of tubes that pass a water supply through a chamber containing a bright UV light. When pathogens like bacteria are exposed to the bright UV light, their DNA sequences are disrupted. This process neutralizes all the pathogens, ensuring that they won’t be a threat to human health.
Reverse Osmosis Filters
A reverse osmosis filter is the gold standard when it comes to home water filtration. A reverse osmosis filter works by forcing water through a specialized membrane that only allows water to pass through. This membrane helps to remove all substances that aren’t water. While reverse osmosis filters are expensive, they are very effective. Some ocean communities can treat seawater through the use of reverse osmosis filters, making it potable.
While the guide above provides a basic overview of different filters for your home, it’s important to verify that you have the right filter setup for your property. If you have any questions or concerns about home water filtration, contact a professional.