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Quality Water Filters 4 You Archive Page
Friday, April 30, 2010
It is no secret that there are many different contaminants that can be found in our drinking water. Many of these are well known and include such materials as lead and copper. But there are other types of material that often find their way into water as well, and these are nitrates.

In simple terms, nitrates are forms of nitrogen. As you may know, nitrogen is important for all organic matter, and it can be found in the air, the soil, and in water. In small amounts, nitrogen is useful for all living organisms. But if too much is ingested, especially through water, health problems can occur.

The most vulnerable populace to nitrate overload are babies. When babies are given water-based formula or drinking water that is high in nitrate content health problems can arise. The most common health problem is called methemoglobinema. Many of you will also know this as blue baby syndrome. This occurs when the blood is not able to carry enough oxygen and the baby, in essence, suffocates.

So how prevalent is this problem? The Environmental Protection Agency suggests that as many as 600,000 household have some form of nitrate level that is above the safe drinking water standard of 10 milligram per liter.

Nitrates can be especially prevalent in rural areas and in well water. The reason for this becomes clear once we understand where much of this material comes from.

Rural areas that have been fertilized improperly or excessively over the years will often have high level of nitrates. Inadequate or improper drainage systems for storm water can also lead to higher levels of nitrates in ground water and well water. Of particular importance to some homeowners is the high level of nitrates sometimes found near septic tank systems. This can lead to the material finding its way into the ground water system or well water.

The best way to treat nitrate contamination is through prevention. This might include better maintenance of well water systems, less use of fertilizers, proper storage of manure, and periodic checks for nitrate levels.

The next level of protection is through the use of water filters, often in the form of point of use devices, or in some cases, point of entry water filter systems. The usual water filter treatment devices that are used for nitrate removal include ion exchange resins, water distillation, and reverse osmosis devices.

If you feel your water may be contaminated with nitrates, have it checked by a reputable laboratory. The cost of this test is very reasonable and well worth every cent you spend on it. They can tell you if you have a problem or not and how severe the problem is. If you discover that you have a problem with nitrates in your water, contact a reliable water filter vendor and discuss your needs with a professional.

by: Chris Tracey

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Thursday, April 29, 2010
More and more people are becoming aware of the fact that their drinking water may not be as pure as they would like. In general, contaminants in drinking water can be either organic or inorganic. This article details some facts about inorganic compounds that can be found in water.

The US Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for establishing maximum contaminant levels for drinking water. These standards are expressed as MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level). In most cases, this measurement is expressed as milligrams per liter of water (mg/l) or as parts per million (ppm).

In general terms, inorganic compounds are those materials that do not contain carbon. These compounds are often able to be dissolved in water. For example, dissolved gases such as nitrogen, oxygen, radon, and methane can be classified as inorganic compounds.

In addition to dissolved gases, some metals may be present in water as well. Some of these metals can be hazardous to human health, and may be introduced into water either naturally or through man-made activities.

Some of the more common metals include arsenic and aluminum which the EPA has established a MCL of no more than .05. Lead with a MCL of .015. Mercury MCL of .002. In addition, zinc, calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium, and copper, all with a 1.3 MCL.

Lead, mercury, and arsenic can be dangerous to human health even at low concentrations, and as mentioned above can be introduced to our water from a variety of sources, including old pipes and lead solder. Conversely, some of the other inorganic compounds such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium are important to our overall health and well being.

Another class of inorganic compounds are known as negative ions. These include substances such as fluoride: MCL 4.0 PPM (parts per million). Chloride and nitrate: MCL 10.0 ppm. Nitrite MCL 1.0. Sulfate, phosphate, carbonate, and cyanide: MCL 0.2

You will notice that in this class of negative ions is the substance fluoride. Fluoride can appear naturally in water but in very low amounts. Many water treatment systems add fluoride to their treated water to bring its level up to an amount that can be beneficial for healthy teeth. Some individuals, however, prefer to not have fluoride in their drinking water, especially if they use toothpaste that contains fluoride. It is possible to get too much fluoride into the human body and this can actually lead to dental decay.

The good news is many of these compounds can be treated with water filters. A good all purpose point of use water filter can help you decrease your exposure to many water contaminants and help protect your family from any potential health issues associated with water contaminants. The best way to get the best results is to contact an experienced water filter company and discuss your particular needs with an expert.

by: Chris Tracey

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010
As more and more consumers are becoming aware of the health hazards associated with unfiltered tap water, technology is rising to the occasion and offering consumers more protection throughout the home and office. One such advance is in in-line refrigerator water filters.

Modern refrigerators often come with built-in water dispensers and ice cube dispensers. For this reason, it just as imperative that you filter your refrigerator water as it is to filter your tap water. The exact same contaminants that you find in your tap water will also be present in your refrigerator water.

A good quality in-line refrigerator water filter will also help extend the life of your appliance. It is very common for lines inside a frig to become clogged with sediment and mineral deposits over time. By eliminating those contaminants before they reach the inner workings of your appliance, you help your refrigerator work more efficiently and for a longer period of time.

Generally speaking, in-line refrigerator water filters make use of carbon filters which can improve smell and taste of water, as well as remove several types of contaminants from the water. Some models will also include a fiber filter for trapping sediment. Fiber filters are often composed of strands of spun cellulose or rayon. They are especially useful in trapping rust and lead.

Most major appliance manufacturers offer water filters for their refrigerators. You can also find filters for less popular brands. Depending on your own handyman skills and the model of filter that you choose, you may or may not need to have it plumbed in by a professional plumber.

As is the case with all water filters, in-line refrigerator water filters have to be changed from time to time. Many consumers find they get about six months of use from each filter. If you have a large family that uses a lot of ice or drinks a lot of dispensed water, you may have to change the filter more often. Finding replacement filters, however, is not a problem for most brands.

Some of the best news about in-line refrigerator water filters is that they are very affordable. With their prices being so low, there is really no excuse for any home to go without one. Filtering your tap water solves one-half of the dangers posed by water contaminants if you do not also filter your ice and dispensed water. Why take a chance with your family's health when protecting them is such an affordable and easy option?

by: Chris Tracey

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Point of Use (POU) water filters have become very popular over the last decade or so. There are some very good reasons for this increased demand by the general public. This article looks at some of those reasons.

As more people become aware of possible health issues associated with municipally treated water, they want options for cleaner, safer drinking water. These options have to fulfill several requirements. First, these options need to be affordable. Most consumers want cleaner drinking water but they want it at a price that is not too extravagant. Point of Use water filters fulfill that need. When compared to constantly having to buy bottled water, POU water filters will actually pay for themselves in a very short amount of time.

The second consideration that consumers want addressed falls under the category of effectiveness. Consumers want to feel confident that the water filtering system they are using is doing what it is suppose to do. High-quality Point of Use water filters are very effective at removing contaminants from drinking water. From organic to inorganic material, POU water filters are an affordable, effective means to delivering clean, safe water to homes and offices.

Another issue that consumers want addressed is ease of use and ease of installation. Point of Use water filters are very easy to install. Many models can be hooked up in a matter of minutes. Homeowners can find models that are installed out-of-sight under countertops, or they can find models that are kept on top of the counter. Both styles are ease to use as well, and POU water filters are simple to maintain and recharge.

Over the last few years, many consumers have become more aware of the possible health hazards associated with chlorine that is in municipally treated water. These concerns go beyond drinking water and include hazards associated with bathing and showering. A simple, affordable remedy to this problem is to install a shower head Point of Use water filter. These devices can be installed in minutes, and they are very effective in removing chlorine and chlorine by-products from the shower water.

Point of Use water filters also offer consumers a wide amount of flexibility. You can purchase higher quality, more expensive filters for the faucets that you use most often for drinking and cooking water, and purchase less expensive filters for other faucets. Faucet filters, in-line filters, refrigerator/ice maker filters, and countertop filters are available from most reputable filter vendors.

If you are not sure which type of water filters to use in your home, contact a water filter vendor to discuss your situation.

by: Chris Tracey

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Monday, April 26, 2010
How would you know if the public water that reaches your home has been contaminated? This is a question that many consumers have asked. This is also a question that Federal and State authorities have finally addressed. Well, sort of.

You may be wondering how your public water can become contaminated in the first place. There are actually many ways contamination can get inside an otherwise sealed system. For example, if a water main breaks, which is more common than many people realize, organisms and other contaminants can easily get inside the water pipe. Normally, crews will flush a system once they make their repairs to the break, but…

Another avenue for contamination can occur if the chlorine injection systems along the distribution path run out of chlorine. A simple mistake, a simple oversight, but one that does happen from time to time.

In the event your water is contaminated, your water supplier is required to notify you. If the contamination poses a significant risk to health, they have 24 hours to notify you. This is usually done through radio and television announcements. These public announcements must include what the hazard is to your health, what they are doing to correct the problem, and warnings that you not use your tap water.

If the contamination does not pose a significant and immediate risk to your health, the water supplier may inform you of what happened in writing. This is normally a fact sheet delivered with your next water bill. However, they have up to one year to actually complete this notification if they wish to take that long.

Whether or not you feel the above measures are good enough for you, is up to you. Many consumers simply do not. For them, there is an alternative.

In-home water filters can provide your family with excellent added protection against waterborne contaminants. Whole house water filters and point of use water filters work around the clock, seven days a week, regardless of what is happening in the distribution system.

While water filters that are commonly used in households are not designed to withstand long periods of heavy contamination, they can provide you with a protective buffer for that amount of time between when the contamination in the system takes place and you are notified by the water authorities that a problem is present.
Quality water filters offer consumers an affordable, reliable way to protect their families in good times as well as in bad. They are certainly one of the best investments you can make in your family's overall health.

by: Chris Tracey

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Friday, April 23, 2010
There has been a lot of press and buzz about the safety and purity of drinking water as it comes out of the tap in the average home. This article looks at some of the benefits associated with filtering your drinking water.

1. Many consumers who use high-quality water filters often report that their drinking water tastes better than their unfiltered tap water. Along with better taste, they also report fewer odors due to the removal of chlorine from their tap water.

2. Water filters are excellent options for those who need to remove lead from their drinking water. A high-quality point-of-use water filter will effectively remove lead from drinking water, thus protecting your family from lead's harmful effects on the body.

3. When compared to the repeated cost of buying bottled water, a good countertop water filter pays for itself in less time than one might imagine.

4. Drinking water that has been properly filtered can help reduce the chances of colon cancer, rectal cancer, and bladder cancer as water filters remove harmful chlorine and chlorine byproducts from municipal tap water.

5. Not all minerals found in drinking water are harmful. Some minerals are needed by the body. A quality, solid-block, carbon water filter can be used to remove dangerous minerals and contaminants from drinking water while allowing healthy minerals to remain.

6. Ingesting clean, pure, filtered water can help you stay healthy and properly hydrated. Because it tastes better than tap water, your family may be more inclined to drink more water.

7. Water filters can be used to provide you with clean, fresh cooking water. It is important to remember that your cooking water is ingested into the body just as drinking water is.

8. Tap water that has been filtered properly can lead to a reduction of gastrointestinal diseases. It does this by removing harmful Giardia and Cryptosporidium parasites and cysts from your family's drinking water.

9. Young children are especially vulnerable to water contaminants and organisms. Filtered water is the best option family's have in protecting kids from these health risks.

10. Water filters can remove fluoride from municipal drinking water. Most city water contains fluoride that is added to the water at the treatment plant. Some people prefer to not have this added chemical in their drinking water for health reasons. Quality water filters can effective remove fluoride.

These are just a few of many benefits you get when you use quality water filters for your drinking water. To learn more about water filters and how they can help your family, contact a reliable vendor.

by: Chris Tracey

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Thursday, April 22, 2010
Many people have heard of The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) but may not be entirely sure what it is and how it works to protect them. Prior to the Act being created, drinking water from just about any source was a gamble. You would have no idea what was in the water, or if it was safe to drink. In the old days, before the Industrial Revolution and the onset of widespread use of pesticides, most water was actually fairly clean. This was especially true for water that came from underground sources such as wells and aquifers.

Then, of course, humans got their hands on industrial chemicals, insecticides, synthetic fertilizers, and as the population grew, raw sewage also began to contaminant much of our water source. Waterborne diseases, such as cholera, began to break out, and it became apparent that something had to be done.

In the US, the SDWA was created to help protect consumers from a variety of waterborne contaminants. It is, today, the foundation of our drinking water standards. While it is not perfect, it has created one of the safest drinking water programs in the world.

The Act authorizes the EPA to set enforceable health standards
for certain contaminants found in drinking water. In addition, it also requires that the public be notified of any water system violations within a set amount of time. The Act also requires that the public have access to annual reports, called Consumer Confidence Reports, which allow customers to review the systems overall performance levels. For more information on Consumer Confidence Reports you can visit: www.epa.gov/safewater/ccr

One of the major advances that the Act took up and passed was the establishment between Federal and State regulations. The importance of this provision is that it mandates contaminant levels that are the same across the country. States can no longer set their own standard limits if those limits are above what the EPA has set forth. This may not seem like a big deal unless you live in a highly industrialized region where discharging industrial waste into the water was once considered "good business practice". Prior to the Act, some businesses in these areas would try to increase the levels of permissible discharge (for contaminants such as lead, mercury, and arsenic) in order to circumvent having to find new methods of handling their waste materials.

In addition to regulating surface water practices, the Act also includes specific provisions designed to help protect underground water sources. This became an important issue for those living in highly agricultural areas where farming chemicals were being used, en masse, on the ground and leeching down into aquifers.

These are just a very few of the provisions contained within the Act. But even with all these protections, our tap water still contains contaminants. The use of in-home water filters is an excellent option for those who wish to further protect their tap water.

by: Chris Tracey

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Are you sure your tap water is pure and safe to drink? Many consumers are answering that question with a resounding "NO" these days, and for good reason. There are well over two thousand contaminants that can be found in both groundwater and surface water. More are being identified every year. Water treatment plants do a good job of removing most of these contaminants but they simply cannot remove all of them. In addition, water treat plants actually add some ingredients to our water that we may not want to ingest. Fluoride and chlorine are two of the most well known chemicals added to drinking water.

With all of this being said, many consumers are looking for alternatives or options to treat their own water at home. The good news is there are many good options available today, most of which are also very affordable.

When it comes to Point of Entry (also known as whole house) water treatment systems, you have several options. It is important to remember that different units will remove different types of water contaminants. The more sophisticated models use multiple technologies which are designed to eliminate several types of water contaminants and some will even provide backup protection should one treatment phase fail.

Other POE water treatment systems use single or double filtration to provide safe, clean water to the whole house. These systems cost more than Point of Use water filters but they also fulfill the need many consumers have to provide clean water to all outlets within the structure with one system.

For many consumers, the optimum choice for them is the Point of Use water filters that are currently available. A POU water filter will remove contaminants and odors just like the larger POE system, but at a fraction of the cost.

Point of Use filters can be free-standing, attached to a single faucet tap, permanently plumbed in to a dedicated tap, connected to refrigerator ice and water dispensing system, and installed to shower heads. Many of these systems can be installed by the homeowner, using a few simple hand tools.

Anyone who is concerned about their drinking water should invest a few minutes to look into the various types of water filters that are currently being offered. If you find you have questions, consult a professional water filter vendor. Most of these experts will be more than happy to help you find the right filter for your home, water, and budget.

by: Chris Tracey

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010
It has been suggested by many organizations that there are over 2000 known toxins and contaminants found in water. Not all areas have all of these contaminants in their water, but virtually no area on planet Earth has totally pure water either. This article looks at a few of the more common contaminants and how those can be removed from water.

Two of the most common parasitic contaminants often found in water around the world are Giardia and Cryptosporidium. These are mentioned first in this list as they are known to have caused outbreaks in recent years and are considered two of the most dangerous contaminants found in both surface and ground water. To remove or kill Giardia or Cryptosporidium, you can use any of the following: distillation, reverse osmosis, ceramic filters, absolute one micron water filters, ultraviolet light, and water filters that have been certified for cyst removal.

For other types of bacteria and viruses, you can use water distillation, reverse osmosis, ultraviolet light, and chemical disinfection such as chlorine.

Arsenic is normally removed from drinking water though the use of adsorptive media filters.

Disinfection byproducts (often caused by the use of chlorine) can be removed from drinking water through the use of point-of-entry water filters, adsorptive media, water distillation, aeration, carbon filtration, and reverse osmosis.

Lead is most often removed from drinking water through reverse osmosis, distillation, and some carbon filters (you must check on this before you purchase your filter if you have lead in your water).

Nitrates can be removed from drinking water through the use of: water distillation, reverse osmosis, and the ion exchange process.

Pesticides can present health issues for millions of people, especially for those who live in rural areas or who live downstream from agricultural regions. Pesticides can be found in both surface water and ground water. Carbon filters can be used to remove pesticides but you must check with the water filter vendor in order to get the proper filter. Not all carbon filters will remove pesticides, so make sure you get the right type.

Radium can be isolated or removed from water through the use of water distillation, ion exchange, or reverse osmosis.

Radon is most often found in ground water, but it can also be found in surface water as well. Activated carbon filters and aeration have both been proven to be effective in removing radon from water.

In the event of a water emergency, one can always boil water to remove many contaminants. Generally, you want to boil water for at least one minute. If you are above sea level, boil for three minutes.

by: Chris Tracey

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Monday, April 19, 2010
As more and more consumers become aware of the possible health effects of ingesting or bathing in tap water, they also often wonder where these contaminants come from. There is no easy or single answer to that question. Contaminants find their way into both groundwater and surface water sources, and very few water sources are actually pristine and pure in their natural state.

One unfortunate fact associated with water contamination is that humans are responsible for much of it. The simple truth is that there are an ever-increasing number of activities that lead to water pollution and water contamination. Some of these activities include: improper disposal of chemicals, pesticide run off into surface water or seepage into groundwater sources, untreated waste from both humans and animals, improper disposal of household products and pharmaceuticals, industrial discharge, accidental spills, and deliberate discharge or spilling of dangerous products into surface water or onto the ground.

Contaminants that affect our water supply also come from nature. There are many naturally-occurring processes that lead to unhealthy water. For example, radon is a naturally occurring source of possible contamination. Most of the mineral content we find in water comes from natural processes as water flows over or through rock.

Some products we find in our tap water are actually deliberately added to the water supply by the treatment plant. These might include chlorine and fluoride.

The Environmental Protection Agency suggests that there are over 2000 known contaminants that can end up in water. This does not include the emerging contaminants which are, to date, still being discovered and researched.

It would be wonderful if we could say that all tap water is free of all contaminants, but that is simply not the case. Even the best treated water in the US will almost certainly still contain chlorine and fluoride. It is true that chlorine is vital to keeping water disinfected but once the water exits your faucet it is no longer needed. The ingestion of chlorine and its by-products can cause health issues and must be removed from the water prior to drinking it or showering in it. Fluoride is important for healthy teeth, but with modern toothpaste and mouthwash, most consumers do not need this added ingredient in their drinking water.

You have options. One such option is to install a quality water filter or to install a whole house treatment system. Point of Use water filters are very affordable and they are very effective in removing many contaminants from your tap water. Shower head water filters can remove dangerous chlorine from your bathing water and do so at a price that might surprise you.
If you are concerned about the water that enters your home, do yourself a favor and look into either Point of Use water filters or Point of Entry water treatment systems. The sooner you protect your family from contaminated water the better.

by: Chris Tracey

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Friday, April 16, 2010
Some of us might think that filtering water is a relatively modern technology. The truth is people have been filtering water for nearly 4,000 years. It began in Egypt around 2000 B.C. and has continued to this day. Over the years, many techniques have evolved from filtering water through a common piece of cloth to using high-tech multi-media sand filters. One thing is sure: water filtering is a very good way of removing contaminants from our drinking water.

In very simple terms, water filters remove contaminants by trapping that material in some type of media. Depending on the type of water filter being used, this might be a physical media such as paper, carbon, or sand.

As technology advances in water purification techniques, more and more homeowners are turning to water filters as a way of providing their families with the purest water possible. Just a few decades ago, the process of in-home water filtering could take hours but today's modern point-of-use and point-of-entry water filters have solved that problem.

A point-of-use water filter is one that is installed at or near the faucet (tap) or other outsourcing point (for example, the water line that feeds into an ice maker). These devices come in a variety of configurations, including models that stand alone on countertops as well as those that are installed below the counter and out of sight. A point-of-use water filter only filters the water that flows at that one specific point. They do not filter the entire water supply of the home or building.

Some of the advantages to a POU water filter include: they are inexpensive; they come in a wide array of models to fit just about any personal décor issue; they are fairly easy to install, and they are easy to recharge (all water filter media has to be recharged, cleaned, or changed at some point in time).

Point-of-entry (POE) water filters are installed where the main water line comes into the home or building. These are usually high-capacity filters and they filter water for the whole building, thus allowing homeowners to buy one system rather than several POU systems.

A major benefit to using water filters in the home is that water filters are not restricted or limited by the size or type of contaminant they can safely remove. Water filtration is also the only purification method that can reliably remove chlorine, chlorine byproducts, and VOC's (Volatile Organic Compound) from your drinking water.

Studies suggest that chlorine and VOCs are some of the most dangerous contaminants found in public, municipally-treated drinking water. In addition, high-quality water filters can remove chlorine-resistant parasite cysts such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium.
All in all, high-quality water filters can provide homes and offices with outstanding results and clean, safe drinking water. To learn more about which types of water filters best fit your individual needs, contact a reliable vendor and discuss your needs with an expert.

by: Chris Tracey

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Thursday, April 15, 2010
As more people explore ways of purifying their drinking water at home, reverse osmosis often comes into the dialog. Technically speaking, reverse osmosis is not the same as water filtering, but it does accomplish the same goal: cleaner water.

Reverse osmosis has been around for about four decades. It was first developed as a means of taking salt out of seawater. It was actually something of an accident that it was also noticed to be a very good way to remove contaminants from water as well as removing the salt. In-home systems that use reverse osmosis started becoming popular in the mid-1970's. Since then, they have only grown in popularity around the world.

Reverse osmosis may sound like a complicated matter, but it is fairly easy to understand the basic principle behind it. The process starts with a semi-permeable film or membrane; pressurized water is forced through this membrane. Reverse osmosis is the opposite of natural osmosis which is the tendency of water to naturally move from a weaker saline solution to a stronger saline solution, resulting in each solution gradually equalizing.

In reverse osmosis, the untreated water is forced to move in the opposite direction, ie; from a stronger saline solution to a weaker solution. It must still travel through the semi-permeable membrane which blocks the passage of many drinking water contaminants. By blocking or trapping these contaminants, reverse osmosis can be used as an effective drinking water purification method.

Reverse osmosis is very good option for those who have high mineral content in their water. Most mineral particles found in water are physically larger than water molecules, which makes them easy to catch by the semi-permeable membrane. Some of the more common minerals include salt, lead, manganese, iron, and calcium. In addition, reverse osmosis can also remove some chemical components often found in drinking water, including fluoride.

It should be noted that reverse osmosis systems do have some drawbacks that may be important to certain people. For instance, reverse osmosis systems cannot remove chlorine and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from water that is delivered from water treatment plants (ie, municipal water). These contaminants are smaller in size than water which means the semi-permeable membrane cannot trap them or stop them from passing through the membrane.

Reverse osmosis can also lead to acidic water. This happens because the process removes any alkaline mineral constituents that may be in the water.

When considering installing a reverse osmosis system in your home or office it is always best to consult with an expert first. You can find professional water purification advice easily online, and their advice can help you select the best option for your drinking water and household water needs.

by: Chris Tracey

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How would you like to give your family a nice dose of lead for breakfast? Sound crazy? Well, it may not be as crazy as you think. Here is why:

Most of us already know that ingesting lead (from any source) can lead to health problems, especially in small children. This is the main reason lead paint was banned in 1978. But there are other ways lead can get into our bodies, and one of them is through our household plumbing systems.

The amount of possible lead in your drinking water is dependent, in many ways, on the age of your home. Older homes were often plumbed with copper pipes. In order to join these pipes, lead solder was often used. Homes that were built before 1930 or so often had pipes that were made of lead! In both cases, lead pipes and lead solder increase your risk of lead associated health issues.

One of the most important considerations families should keep in mind if they have lead solder or lead pipes in the home is that lead will actually leech into standing water. What this means for most homeowners with lead piping or solder is that water that is left standing overnight (in the water pipes) will often have very high levels of lead in it first thing in the morning. If you get up in the morning and fill your coffee pot or make your baby formula without first allowing the water to flow into the drain, you may be giving your family a very high dose of lead. By allowing the water to flow to waste for a minute or so, you can help flush out the lead that has accumulated overnight. It is important to do this with all faucets that provide water that might be ingested ie, kitchen and bathrooms.

Another good tip to keep in mind is that you often find higher levels of lead in hot water systems than in cold water systems. For this reason, you should never use hot water from the tap to mix your baby formula or for cooking in general.

An excellent way to protect your family from unsafe lead levels is to install a point-of-use water filter system on each faucet that is used for drinking water. This would include the kitchen as well as bathrooms where people brush their teeth or rinse their mouths.

If you suspect you have lead in your household drinking water, have the water tested. You should collect two samples. One sample should be collected first thing in the morning, without any flushing of the system. And the second sample taken in the afternoon after water has been used in a normal manner throughout the house. Lead testing is the only reliable way to know if you have a problem or not.

Should you discover you have a problem with lead in your home, consider having your pipes replaced, if that is the cause of the problem, and consult with a reputable water filter vendor to discuss the options you have for point-of-use water filtration devices.

by: Chris Tracey

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In order to understand the importance of shower head water filters, it is important to first understand what is in the water prior to filtering.

Most city water systems add chlorine to their post-treatment water in order to keep the water in the distribution system disinfected. By Federal regulation they have to do this. They have no choice. This residual chlorine is crucial to keeping your water free of many harmful organisms as well as other nuisance issues such as odors, slime bacteria, etc as it travels through the system (water pipes). Once the water reaches your home, however, this added chlorine is no longer needed and should be removed before drinking the water or showering in the water. Here is why:

The basic chemical Chlorine changes as it comes into contact with materials that it disinfects. As these changes take place, new forms of the base chemical are formed. These are often called chlorine by-products. There is no way to stop this reaction from happening. It is the natural process for chlorine, and that is that.

Two of the by-products that consumers should be aware of are THM's (Trihalomethanes) and VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds). Of these two, THM's can be especially worrisome as they fall under the Cancer Group B category. This means that they have already be shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals.

Well-run water treatment plants will try to minimize the levels of THM's and VOC's by monitoring the system and using only as much chlorine as is needed or required by law in the distribution system. Still, it is important to remember that their best efforts cannot eliminate all of the THM's and VOC's that come into your home via your tap water.

Quality shower head water filters will catch these harmful compounds before they are forced out through the shower head. It has been suggested by many experts that consumers get as much exposure to THM's and VOC's from showering as they do from drinking unfiltered water. One very important difference to keep in mind, however, is that shower head THM's and VOC's are normally inhaled into the lungs, while drinking them is a matter of ingestion into the stomach. Either way, the less of these contaminants you are exposed to, the healthier you and your family will be.
When shopping for a shower head water filter, try to find those that do the best job. You can find filters that are effective in removing 90 percent of chlorine, 90 percent of VOC's and THM's as well as other contaminants not mentioned in this piece. For best results look for shower head filters that deliver around 2.5 gallons per minute.

by: Chris Tracey

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Monday, April 12, 2010
Millions of dollars are spent every year on bottled water. The reason so many people are spending so much money on bottled water is simple: they do not feel safe drinking their tap water. What many people do not realize is that bottled water is often just tap water that has been filtered. With this often being the case, why pay 10-30 times more for a glass of water than you have to? You can filter your own water, and it is far easier than you might imagine.

It is no secret that municipally treated tap water has some issues. Chlorine, fluoride, and undesired minerals are just a few of the many issues associated with tap water these days, and many consumers want a better choice when it comes to their drinking, cooking, and bathing water. This is where water filters come into play.

For a fraction of the cost of paying for bottled water over time, you can purchase water filters that often do a better job of cleaning your water than what you get from outrageously expensive pre-bottled water. Depending on your location, quality of water, and budget you can select from a wide variety of water filters that are highly effective and very economical. For many homes, water filters provide the healthiest solution to the problems associated with both tap water and bottled water.

You may not know this, but quality water filters can remove more contaminants from your tap water than any other purification method. Best of all, modern water filters have been designed to work with virtually all types of municipally treated water. Water filters can remove Giardia and Cryptosporidium cysts from drinking water, and provide a better tasting and smelling water to boot. They can remove the added fluoride that treatment plants inject into water, and they can also eliminate chlorine and chorine by-products from both drinking water and water that is used for showering and bathing.

In addition to providing safer, cleaner drinking water, water filters are much more environmentally friendly than bottled water products. Let's face it, the end result of a bottle of water is an empty bottle that more often than not ends up in a landfill. Water filters are also incredibly energy efficient. Many models require virtually no power at all. And for those on a budget, water filters come in a wide range of prices.

A few decades ago, consumers had good cause to shy away from in-home water filters. They were bulky, expensive, ugly, and slow. But that has all changed. Today, you can find both point of use water filters and point of entry water filtration systems that can meet just about any need, budget, and décor style.

Do yourself a favor. Calculate how much you spend on bottled water per month or per year, and then go online and see what type of water filter you can purchase for that same amount. You might be completely surprised at how much you can get for your money when it comes to high-efficiency, in-home water filters.

by: Chris Tracey

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Friday, April 9, 2010
Our previous articles in this series, What is Hard Water and How to Test for Hard Water, gave readers a general background on hard water. Now, let's look at some ways to solve your hard water issues.

When it comes to treating hard water, you have two broad options. You can use some form of pre-packaged water softener or you can install a mechanical water softening device.

Pre-packaged water softeners are chemicals that you pour into your sink water or washing machine water. If used properly, they can help control hardness in most cases. There are some drawbacks to using these products.

The first drawback is that these products only soften the water that they are applied to. They cannot be used for showering or bathing. Some water softening products must increase the alkalinity of the water in order to work and this can cause skin irritation or even skin damage to those working with the treated water. Another drawback to using these softening products is that some hard water will require the use of a lot of product in order to get the job done properly. This can be expensive after a while.

The other option you have for treating hard water is to install mechanical water softening devices. These cost-effective units can be installed permanently into the home's plumbing system. Once installed, they can continuously remove calcium, magnesium and other minerals.

Installed water softeners use the ion exchange process to rid the water of mineral content. In simple terms, the untreated water passes through a media bed. This bed is often composed of sulfonated polystyrene beads. These media beads are supersaturated with sodium. As hard water flows through the media, minerals stick to the resin beads. Sodium that is on the resin beads is released into the water. Once the media becomes saturated with mineral content, it must be recharged, and this is done by simply running a salt solution through the media resin. The collected mineral content is sent to waste water for removal.

It has been reported by the Water Quality Association (WQA), that the ion exchange water softening process normally adds sodium to the delivered water at a rate of about 8 mg/liter for every grain of hardness that is removed in each gallon of water.

In other words, if the untreated water contains a hardness level of 10 grains per gallon, that same water will contain approximately 80 mg/liter of sodium once it has passed through the system.

For those people who are on a sodium restricted diet, or for those who simply wish to avoid ingesting more sodium, water softening devices should be installed so that they only treat hot water, or they can install another faucet to the sink that bypasses the system and use this untreated water for drinking and cooking or you can also purchase a saltless water softener.

Homeowners who wish to install a water softening device should first have their water tested for both hardness and iron content. This information will be very helpful when selecting the proper unit for your needs. You should also have some clear idea of how much water you need to soften per day. This will help you decide on the right capacity needed for your home.

by: Chris Tracey

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Thursday, April 8, 2010
If you suspect that you have a hard water problem with your household water, you can have the water tested yourself or you can get information from your water supplier. For those who get their water from city or county water systems, the water authority can supply information on the water hardness to you. By law, they are required to test for hardness and to offer the results to their customers upon request.

If you get your water from a private water supply, such as a well, it advisable that you have the water tested for hardness by a certified lab. You can locate local water testing facilities by doing a quick online search for your area. There is generally a fee for this testing but it is normally reasonable and the results you get back will be very helpful when it comes time to obtain a softening device or system for your household water.

A third option you have for checking the hardness level of your water is by using a water hardness testing kit. These kits are available through water testing supply companies, both online and offline. These do-it-yourself kits are inexpensive and are a good way for most homeowners to get a general idea of how hard their water may be. For the most accurate results, however, work with a certified water testing laboratory.

Test Results: What do they mean?

In almost all cases, the hardness levels of your household water will be reported in either grains per gallon, milligrams per liter (mg/l), or as Parts Per Million (PPM). One grain of hardness equals 17.1 mg/l or PPM of hardness. As you might imagine, the higher these levels are the harder the water is.

It is important to know that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established standards for drinking water. These standards fall into two categories: Primary Standards and Secondary Standards.

Primary Standards: These are the standards that must be adhered to as they are based on health considerations. For example, while ingesting a higher level of calcium is not considered a health risk, ingesting a high level of lead is.

Secondary Standards: These are the general standards the EPA has established for such issues as color, odor, taste, etc. These standards are primarily associated with the aesthetic quality of the water rather than any health issues.

Water hardness results, as outlined by the U.S. Department of Interior and the Water Quality Association, are as follows:

Classification --------- mg/l or ppm ------- grains/gal
Soft------------------------17.1--------------------0 - 1
Slightly hard ------------17.1 - 60--------------1 - 3.5
Moderate-----------------60 - 120---------------3.5 - 7.0
Hard ----------------------120 - 180--------------7.0 - 10.5
Very Hard----------------180 & over------------10.5 & over

Please note: Depending on who does the testing for you, other values may be used. Always read the test data information in order to understand what your results mean.

Please go to our next article in this series, "How to Treat Hard Water" to learn how you can solve your hard water problems.

by: Chris Tracey

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Most people have heard the term "hard water". But many people do not actually know what it means. In simple terms, hard water refers to the amount of dissolved minerals that may be in your water. While virtually any type of mineral may be present in water, it is usually the minerals of magnesium and calcium that people think of when they think of household hard water.

It should be noted that hard water does not pose a health risk to those who ingest it. Yes, it may taste bad, but it is not poisonous. It is, however, very troublesome when it comes to buildup on your plumbing fixtures. Hard water can also cause soap and laundry detergent to behave poorly. Hard water can also affect human hair after shampooing, with the results being less than acceptable to many people.

So how does water become hard?

Water may look neutral but is in fact an excellent solvent. Water can and does absorb impurities with relative ease. In scientific circles, pure water is often referred to as the "universal solvent". Whenever water flows through, or over, soil and rock, it will begin to dissolve small amounts of the minerals that are present and it will then hold them in solution until they are removed by some means.

As mentioned above, magnesium and calcium are two of the most common minerals found in hard water. As the amount of these minerals increases in the water, the overall hardness of the water increases as well.

How can you tell if your water is hard?

Those who have hard water will readily attest that it affects virtually all household cleaning tasks. From dishwashing to laundering clothes detergents often do not work as well as they should. Often clothing that has been washed in hard water will come out looking dingy and will not feel soft or fluffy. Hard water almost always causes white film on shower doors, walls, sinks, bathtubs, and faucets. Shampooing with hard water may cause the hair to look dull and lackluster and not have body. After years of use, hard water can actually reduce the flow of water from faucets due to mineral buildup in the pipes.

The good news is hard water can be treated fairly easily these days. Homeowners have a variety of options when it comes to getting rid of hard water and some of the best options fall under the category of water softeners. To learn more on how you can defeat the problems associated with hard water, read our articles "How to Test for Hard Water" and "How to Treat Hard Water".

by: Chris Tracey

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Consumers all over the world are turning to affordable water filters to provide clean, safe water for their homes and offices. For these individuals, the use of a quality water filter is a smart choice, a smart option. But there are others who need quality water filters in order to stay alive. We are speaking of individuals who have compromised immune systems.

The human immune system can become weakened or compromised in a variety of ways. Some of these maladies include: those taking chemotherapy, those with AIDS or who may be HIV positive, those who are on transplant medications.

The major concerns for those with weakened immune systems are the microbial contaminants. Of particular interest is Cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite that is often found in tap water. Most healthy individuals can tolerate certain levels of this water contaminant with no problems at all. Those with compromised immune systems cannot.
Organisms such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia live inside a hard shell or cyst. This shell allows these organisms to live for weeks or months in the environment. These hard shells also make these organisms more resistant to chlorine disinfecting efforts. For this reason, it is nearly impossible to remove them entirely from tap water. As mentioned above, for most health individuals, tolerating a small amount of these organisms is possible with no ill effects. But for those with immune systems issues, these organisms pose a severe health risk.

So, what can you do if you or someone in your family has a weakened immune system? Some people might think that buying bottled water is the answer. That is not true. Many brands of bottled water are produced with care and integrity and would be good options. The problem, of course, is how can you tell which brands are taking that extra step to protect their product from exposure to harmful contaminants?

Another option you have, and one that you can control yourself, is to use in-home water filters. A quality point-of-use water filter will trap organisms and prevent them from flowing out of the tap. These water filters are very cost effective when compared to buying bottled water, and they are also very effective in removing a variety of waterborne contaminants. Point of use water filters come in all price ranges and are relative easy to install. When selecting an in-home water filter, spend some time reading their literature and make sure you get one that is rated to remove particles one micrometer or less in diameter. Keep in mind that filters vary, and you need to ensure you get the right type for this important job. For best results, look for filters that have been certified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for Standard 53 for cyst removal. This standard provides the greatest level of protection.

If you are not sure which water filter is best for your needs, contact a reputable water filter vendor. These professionals can assist you in finding the best option for your needs.

by: Chris Tracey

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Monday, April 5, 2010
Many homeowners and business owners are turning to whole house water filters over the smaller Point of Use water filter. Whole house water filters are often referred to as Point of Entry filters or systems. There are many reasons why a POE system is a better choice for some individuals, but these larger, more expensive units must be purchased only after consumers do their research. Here are some issues to keep in mind when you are shopping for a Point of Entry water treatment system.

One of the first things to look at is the warranty. Some whole house filters only come with a one year warranty. Whenever possible, try to purchase a system that has a longer warranty term.

If you have an issue with bad tasting water, make sure that the brand and model you are considering can remove the contaminants that cause bad taste in water. Not all of them do, and the time to learn whether or not they can is before you buy.

One issue that consumers often forget to consider when shopping for a POE water system is filter changes. Virtually all water filter media needs to be replaced at some point in time. As they collect contaminants and sediment, they begin to clog up. Like any filter, you have to replace them or recharge them. If you know you will need a lot of water (say you have a large family) and you buy a small capacity system, you will have to change the filter more often. In a case such as this, you will save money over time if you buy a larger capacity system that will require less frequent filter changes.

Before you choose a reverse osmosis system understand that this process uses nearly five gallons of water for every one gallon it filters. This can result in some high water bills each month. Also, while reverse osmosis is the perfect choice for some individuals (those with a high mineral content in their water), it is not the best option for all homeowners.Be careful before you choose a salt-based water softening system. These systems will put sodium into your water as they process the untreated water. This can present a severe problem for those who are on sodium-restricted diets. Water that is treated with this process should not be used to water plants or flowers.

On the upside, whole house water filters can be set up so that every tap in your house is delivering clean, safe water. This means you do not have to buy several Point of Use filters. While installing whole house filters often requires a licensed plumber, the overall cost is actually quite affordable for many homeowners.
Deciding to install a Point of Entry water filter system is an investment and should be treated as such. Do your research, contact a reputable water filter vendor, and ask questions. Once you know the facts, you will be in a much better position to choose the right system for your home and for your family.

by: Chris Tracey

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Friday, April 2, 2010
Color, taste, and odor are often the first clues consumers have that their tap water may not be as clean as they would like. What may surprise some people is that these issues may pop up at any time. It is incorrect to assume that any one of these problems must have been "there in the first place". Here are some points to consider when you find you have any of these problems with your tap water.

For Taste Problems:

If your tap water has a salty or brackish taste to it, it may be caused by high sodium levels in the water. If it has a alkali taste it may be due high levels of hardness, high levels of total dissolved solids, or a high alkalinity level. Metallic taste is often caused by low pH, high content of metal in the water or even corrosive water. Also, metallic taste can be caused by inorganic chemicals. For example, iron, copper, and zinc are all capable of producing metallic taste in tap water.

For Odor Problems:

If you have odor issues with your tap water, you may detect smells similar to rotten eggs or musty odors. You may also detect smells that resemble turned earth, grassy or fishy odors, and even odors that mimic vegetables.

Hydrogen sulfide is often the culprit in many odor-prone waters. Algae and bacteria are also known to cause odors as they are processed in the disinfection cycle. Hot water heaters may contain high levels of algae by-products as well.

Oily smells are most often caused by gasoline or oil in the water. This odor may present a high level of hazard and should be investigated at once.

For some groundwater sources, the odor of methane is common as the gas decomposes in the aquifer.

Any type of industrial chemical smell should be investigated at once and the water should not be used until the cause of those particular odors has been found.

Issues with Water Color:

Clean, safe water should be crystal clear. If you notice that your tap water has a milky look to it, it may be due to excessive air in the system, carbonate precipitation (that white scale you see on the walls of metal pipes coming loose), or it may be due to suspended solids coming in from either the distribution water pipes or pipes from within your home.

A blackish tint almost always results when reactions take place with manganese and iron. Slime bacteria may also be responsible for a blackish look to your tap water.

A yellow tint in your tap water may be caused by the presence of either humic or fluvic compounds, iron, and certain types of bacteria.

The common red tint is most often caused by dissolved iron or precipitated iron in the water. Some forms of bacteria can also cause red tinting to tap water.

The best ways to treat problems of taste, odor, or color is through water filtration, filtration through a carbon filter, water softening processes, chlorination, reverse osmosis, and in some cases, distillation. The type of water filter or filter process that will work best for you depends on the particular problem you have and the concentration and type of contamination that is in your tap water.

by: Chris Tracey

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Every now and then, it is good to remind the general population why it is a good idea to filter water before using it for drinking, cooking, or bathing purposes. This article looks at a few of the more important issues associated with why we need to filter our water.

1. Healthy bodies require water, also known as hydration. But this water must be free of contaminants in order to provide us with the health benefits we desire from it.

2. Ingesting water that is contaminated with micro-organisms is the leading cause of epidemic disease in developing countries and has also caused outbreaks in modern times, right here in the United States.

3. Studies suggest that there are more than 2100 known toxins and contaminants that may be present in tap water. This includes several known poisons such as arsenic, lead, and mercury.

4. Claims that bottled water is safer to drink are not always true. Some bottled water is nothing more than filtered tap water, selling at outrageous prices.

5. Water treatment plants work hard to produce clean, safe water, but mistakes can happen. Filtering your tap water can help minimize or eliminate the effects of those mistakes.

6. The best option for ensuring contaminant-free drinking water is to use a quality point-of-use water filtration system.

7. Studies suggest that many types of cancer can be linked to the presence of certain toxic contaminants found in drinking water. Water filters can remove these harmful contaminants.

8. Children simply must have safe, clean, and healthy drinking water in order to develop to their highest levels, mentally and physically.

9. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) reports that lead in drinking water will contribute to over 400,000 cases of learning disorders in American children each year. Quality water filters can easily remove lead from tap water.

The above are just a few of the many reasons more consumers are turning to water filters. Point of Use water filters are the most popular as they are both very effective in removing the dangers of tap water as well as being very affordable to buy and maintain.

If you want to provide your family with the cleanest and safest drinking water possible, consider installing a water filter that meets your needs and budget. You might be surprised at just how affordable quality models are these days, and you can find filtering units to meet just about any décor you have in your home, including out-of-sight under-countertop models.

For those who are not sure what they need, contact a reliable water filter vendor who will be happy to discuss your particular issues and offer sound advice on which products best suit your needs.

by: Chris Tracey

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