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Quality Water Filters 4 You Archive Page
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
The closer you get to the equator, the warmer waters are, and the more microbes, protozoans, bacteria, viruses, amoebae, and other small but hazardous creatures can thrive in them, raising a need for water filters and other robust water treatment measures. The tropics holds many treasures, both natural and man-made, but a wise inhabitant or visitor will also take precautions to ensure that the most vital physical resource, water, doesn't do them harm.
   
Whether you are on an exciting safari in Africa, perhaps wielding a camera rather than a gun, in South America to attend an important business conference, or live in one of the warmer countries, drinking unfiltered water puts you at serious risk. Bacteria, viruses, parasites, and chemical pollutants abound in the warm soup of many warm equatorial fresh waters.
   
The best approach to water safety in the tropics is to process your drinking water several times, in different ways, before you set it your lips. Using a purifying tablet or liquid treatment kills all organisms reliably, as does bringing all water to a rolling boil before using it. However, neither of these approaches removes poisonous industrial chemicals from the water. On the flip side, filters take out chemicals and larger organisms, but are less effective against viruses.
   
The first step in making tropical water potable is to put it through a good quality filter, with a 1 micron or finer structure of pores or channels. This takes out cysts, parasites, protozoans, and a large portion of the bacteria. It also filters out debris, silt, colors, odors, heavy metals, and most industrial chemicals that might have found their way into the local water supply.
   
After the water has been filtered, treat it with iodine tablets or with the specially formulated chlorine additives designed for hikers. This chlorine has a very different structure from bleach, which has been used as a cleansing water additive but is fairly unpleasant in its own right. This wipes out any surviving organisms, including those that might have been in the container the water is filtered into.
   
Portable Reverse osmosis water filters are among the best for dealing with water in Africa and other regions where practically every drop of water is possibly teeming with dangerous microorganisms. If you live in one of these countries, you will have little problem installing a reverse osmosis filter in your home's water system. However, if you are traveling there, matters are a little trickier.
   
For serious water safety while traveling in the tropics, you can make use of a reverse osmosis water filter. Pressure can be supplied to drive the water through the osmosis membrane with a hand pump if necessary – which can also be the basis of a homemade custom pump. With the proper water filters and Chlorox or iodine tablets, you can navigate the tropics without experiencing a single twinge in your gut – and spare yourself a variety of ailments, including the notorious Moctezuma's Revenge.


by: Chris Tracey

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Industrial zones present special problems of water cleanliness for those living in or near them. Contaminants can find their way into the water supply in a variety of ways – due to leakage of storage tanks or pipes, runoff from manufacturing areas during rainstorms, or out and out dumping of hazardous chemicals by unscrupulous companies. In these situations, a whole house water filter may be the best choice for keeping your water supply clean and fresh.
   
The reason why a whole house water filter is a good idea for a home located near heavy industry is that there are so many possible routes of waterborne contamination. Though filtering your drinking and cooking water will help, this means that you are still exposed to all the unseen chemicals in the water supply every time you bathe or brush your teeth.
   
Human skin is fairly porous to many dangerous chemicals, unfortunately, and since bathing exposes most of your body surface to warmth and moisture – both of which tend to soften the skin and dilate pores – you are most vulnerable to absorption precisely at the moment when large amounts of potentially contaminated water are flowing over your body.
   
Industrial contaminants can also be absorbed when you brush your teeth or wash your hands. Some chemicals may even emerge from the standing water in your toilet as a gas, subtly affecting your health. In short, any unfiltered water that enters your home in the vicinity of chemical-intensive industrial process is a potential source of problems.
   
The solution is to ensure that no water enters your house without being filtered completely on its way in. Whole house water filters provide a somewhat expensive, but highly effective and reliable way of accomplishing this goal. The typical whole house water filter is a pitcher-sized cylinder containing a large capacity filtration cartridge. The filter is attached inline to the water supply pipe carrying water into the home. A section of pipe is cut out and the filter is placed permanently into the space, connected up with short lengths of pipe. The filter cartridge must be replaced every quarter, six months, or year depending on the specific model you buy and how much water you use.
   
Some whole house filters are much bigger, and cost thousands of dollars. These filters are large upright metal cylinders four or five feet high with huge beds of filtration media stacked one above another. In this case, filtration is usually so complete that no additional point of use filters are needed elsewhere in the building – there is no need for drinking water filters on the sinks, for example, or for shower filters in the shower stall.
   
These are extremely serious filters and cost far more than the $80 to $200 that a smaller inline whole house filter costs, but are worth it for those who can afford them and live in an area where intensive filtration of every drop of water is a “must” dictated by industrial-grade contamination.


by: Chris Tracey

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Thursday, December 13, 2012
Today's world is one where travel can be set up in a few minutes using online ticketing agencies. With a loaded credit or debit card and a dash of work, flights, hotels, and car rentals can be arranged for a trip to anywhere from the next major city in your state to the remotest corners of the world, and everywhere in between. One of the least predictable factors, however, is water quality at your destination – though you can arrange safer travel with water filters.
   
Even if you are traveling a short distance and staying in your own country, bringing a water filter is a prudent idea – in fact, just a little less important than bringing your identification papers and money. The human digestion is probably the species' weakest point, and combining this with the facts that drinking water is crucially necessary to staying alive and that this fluid easily carried microorganisms and contaminants, securing a supply of clean, potable water is urgent.
   
Local contamination is often well known to the inhabitants of an area, but is not advertised on billboards at every street corner. “Better safe than sorry” is a proverb that rings especially true with water filtration, considering how becoming violently ill away from home will ruin your trip and, in some remote locations, can even threaten your life if you become dehydrated in a place where medical help is not readily available.
   
Passive, gravity feed water filters are your best option for travel, especially to developing countries. Water pressure may be very low in some locations – for example, in Central Asian nations such as Kazakhstan, water often slows to a trickle for days on end as repairs are made to the city system.
   
Low water pressure is a strong sign that you should be filtering every drop of H2O before you set it to your lips, whether directly as drinking water or as part of your cooking efforts. If water pressure is low in the water supply system, this allows sewage, chemicals, and other contaminants to leak in through any compromised areas of piping. High water pressure tends to keep these contaminants out through “overpressure”, the same principle that is used, with air rather than water, to protect soldiers in modern armored fighting vehicles from chemical attacks.
   
Water filter bottles and water filter straws are extremely useful while you are actually on the road and have not yet settled in at your destination. They are light, compact, and highly portable, and can be placed in carry-on luggage such as backpacks, purses, or light wheeled luggage. This means you can use them in airports during stopovers, at hotels when you stop somewhere overnight before flying on the next day, and so on.
   
The well-prepared traveler should have a portable filtration system for the journey itself and a passive gravity feed system such as a pitcher or canister (Berkey-style) filter to use in their hotel room, apartment, or vacation bungalow when they reach the place they are going to be staying. If a long stay is planned, a spare filter cartridge is a wise addition to your filtration kit. Taking these simple but prudent steps is the best way to assure yourself of clean, fresh, safe drinking water on any journey away from home.


by: Chris Tracey

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Professional water testing is fairly expensive, so it should not be undertaken lightly, but it is also important for determining what kind of water filter you need to keep yourself and your family safe, healthy, and drinking clean, pure water. Casual, light duty filters are appropriate for water that is already clean or nearly so. On the other hand, heavy duty filters may be needed for highly contaminated water, or specialized filters can help if unusual pollutants such as arsenic are present in higher than normal quantities.   
   
There is no point in buying a water filter system that is more complex than you need. Overkill is usually expensive. However, buying too weak a water filter is equally problematic, if not more so, since the harm will then be done to your body rather than just to your wallet. Money is ultimately replaceable, but, unfortunately, health is not.

    Situations where having your water tested professionally is a good idea include:

  • If your tap water smells bad, tastes bad, or is visibly cloudy, then you should have it tested posthaste. These conditions all indicate that some contaminant is present in your water, and while it may be no more than a bit of bad-tasting silt, it could also be sewage, overflow from a factory, pesticides or fertilizers from nearby farms, or any of a host of other perils.
  • If you have your own well, you should have the water tested annually. Having it tested more often is recommended if your well is shallow or particularly exposed to runoff.
  • If your well is located somewhere that exposes it to contamination, such as near a large barn full of livestock, have your water tested quarterly if possible.
  • If any information you receive leads you to believe that dangerous compounds such as arsenic, industrial solvents, or lead from old piping systems is present in your water, a good test is mandatory for safety.
  • If you notice health effects from drinking your water, such as a burning sensation in the mouth, diarrhea or loose stools after consuming it, upset stomach, or rashes on your skin after bathing in the water, an immediate test is certainly appropriate.
  • Water testing is also appropriate if a new business enterprise is opened nearby. For example, if a company starts “fracking” for natural gas near your home, a large factory farm or power plant opens nearby, or any other activity that might affect the long-standing balance of the local water table begins, test immediately and in 2 to 3 months to see whether water quality is being significantly affected.

Water testing by a professional serves several important purposes, in short. It eases your mind about potential dangers in your water if they turn out not to be there, alerts you to actual hazards so that you can take proper steps to protect yourself, and it enables you to pinpoint exactly the water filter that you need to clean your water properly for consumption.


by: Chris Tracey

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Friday, December 7, 2012
Heavy metals are present in many drinking water supplies across the United States, often finding their way into the water from the pipes themselves. Even if your home has no lead pipes, for example, the odds are high that this metal has been used somewhere in the municipal water system, and that traces will therefore find their way into your tap water. Using a good water filter that can remove heavy metals in addition to other pollutants helps you maintain good health
   
Lead is far from the only heavy metal that might contaminate your water supply, too. Many other metals are used in modern industrial processes and in manufactured objects that can break down and release the chemicals they contain. Batteries, light bulbs, and paint may leak mercury into the ground water if they are improperly disposed of. Arsenic, aluminum, cadmium, nickel, copper, chromium, and many other substances are used frequently in manufacturing.
   
The effects of heavy metals and similar substances, if not removed by a good water filter, can be harmful to the health, especially over the long term. These problems are rather insidious because they are often very gradual, and the affected individual may never realize that they are being harmed by their water supply until they have developed very serious health problems. Though there are many other sources of heavy metals – dust, occupational exposure, food, and so on – water is one of the most direct because the substances are swallowed already in solution, ready to be absorbed into the body's tissues.

    A partial list of possible health consequences includes:

  • Arsenic can cause gastric and skin problems, as well as increasing cancer risk.
  • Lead affects the nervous system as well as the kidneys, liver, and digestive system.
  • Mercury causes chronic fatigue syndrome, many other ailments, and may even contribute to the eventual development of Parkinson's.
  • Copper, though beneficial in small amounts, can cause liver and kidney damage in larger quantities, as well as such unpleasant symptoms as vomiting blood.
  • Chromium is an allergen and can produce kidney and liver damage in high concentrations.

Clearly, using a water filter to clean heavy metals out of your drinking and cooking water supply is a prudent step for anyone interested in maintaining good health both currently and in the future. The media needed to accomplish this task are different from those used to filter out volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, and so forth, which is why most filters include several different stages to remove varied contaminants.
   
Absorption is the usual method for dealing with heavy metals, since the dissolved particles are too small for simple capture by carbon block or ceramic block pores. Ion exchange resins and activated carbon granules can both be used to good effect for metal removal. Reverse osmosis filtration is also highly effective, as it is at cleaning out practicality every other contamination, too. You should ensure that any water filter you buy for your drinking water supply is able to take heavy metals out of the liquid, since this is one of the crucial functions of a good filtration system.


by: Chris Tracey

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Hard and soft water differ in their mineral content, which can have a strong effect in several different ways. Hard water is rich in calcium and magnesium, while soft water lacks these minerals. Though beneficial for the human metabolism in reasonable quantities, “hard water” is often “too much of a good thing” – if you have hard water, it will cause plenty of problems, including:

  • Building up incrustations inside your pipes, reducing water flow.
  • Encrusting the inside of teapots and other vessels, making it harder to heat the contents and thus raising your energy bills.
  • Interfering with the action of soap, making it hard to work up suds, and possibly causing sticky, dull, “cruddy-feeling” hair.
  • Creating unpleasant crusts and stains on bathtubs, sinks, dishes, and so forth.

Hard water isn't all bad, however – it does help to improve cardiovascular health, and brings some necessary minerals into your system. However, vitamins with magnesium, and some calcium-containing foods such as cheese or milk, can substitute quite well for this, allowing you to soften your water without losing the positive effects of calcium and magnesium intake.
   
The Water Quality Association of the United States defines hard water as any which has more than one grain per gallon (1 GPG) of dissolved minerals in it. Moderately hard water is defined as that with 3.5 to 7 GPG of minerals, and is probably the lowest threshold at which a water filter to remove excess mineralization becomes necessary. You can probably obtain local mineralization information from your water utility company or local health department.
   
The surest way to remove minerals from your water is to use a reverse osmosis system. This removes practically everything from water except the water itself. Some systems even feature a special cartridge that adds a reasonable amount of calcium and magnesium back into your water, ensuring that it is healthy and tastes good!
   
Though this might appear paradoxical at first glance – removing all calcium and magnesium, and then putting a certain amount of those minerals back in – it is actually logical from the viewpoint of control. The naturally occurring minerals are in uncontrolled quantities, and it is often easier to remove them wholly rather than partially filtering them out. Then, a carefully chosen amount of mineralization is added back in.
   
Water softening filters need not be quite this rigorous or involved to achieve the desired effect, however. Ion exchange resin media achieve partial softening of water, and can be used at the inlet to the home as a whole house filtration system if necessary. Molecules of calcium, magnesium, and iron attach to the resin, and thus are removed from the water stream. Some filters include a brine tank to refresh the resin and prolong the filter cartridge's effective life.
   
Whatever the precise solution, you have plenty of water filter options to help combat excessively hard water in today's advanced home water purification market.


by: Chris Tracey

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