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Quality Water Filters 4 You Archive Page
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Not only is bottled water potentially bad for you (with its hidden dangers of BPA and other estrogen mimicking plastics), and bad for the environment (due to its massive use of fossil fuels to move the water across the planet's surface, the polluting effects of the plastic after it is discarded, etc.), but it costs an arm and a leg also. Using a water filter to get fresh water is extremely cheap in the long run; in fact, the device usually pays for itself within a few weeks.
   
The initial purchase price of a water filter is the main cost of obtaining clean, high quality water through this means. A good water filter can cost anywhere from a few tens to a hundred or so dollars, depending on its size, capacity, and construction.
   
The filter case, tubing, spigots (if present), and other features typically last for years, since they are not subjected to a lot of stress. They will wear out eventually, but if treated carefully should endure well beyond the manufacturer's limited warranty date. When considered from this perspective, the filter itself will end up costing only a few cents a day, or week, when its initial purchase price is divided up over the full lifespan of the item.
   
The internal cartridges, which do the actual “heavy lifting” of filtration, need to be replaced more frequently – every three months, six months, yearly, and so on, depending on their design. This does represent something of an ongoing expense, but it is still far cheaper than buying bottled water continually on a daily or weekly basis.
   
Using a water filter saves you money in other, less immediately visible ways, too. You will generate a lot less garbage, lessening the amount of time you need to spend sorting out recyclables and also cutting down on the size of your garbage pickups. Bottled water is heavy, so it increases your car's fuel consumption somewhat when you are bringing large or numerous bottles home on a regular basis. You may need to make many less trips to the store if you aren't using bottled water, too.
   
Though this is far too abstract to be properly measured, having access to clean, fresh, safe water to drink may ultimately save you a lot of money on medical bills. Unfiltered or bottled water may cause subtle problems over time, degrading your health and making you more likely to suffer from various ailments.
   
Eliminating the risk of immediate hospital bills from illnesses inflicted by unfiltered water – such as diarrhea or vomiting – is another way that water filters can save you money in the short run, particularly while traveling in areas where water quality is shaky at best.


by: Chris Tracey

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Though not as important as safety and cleanliness, the aesthetic qualities of drinking water are significant, too. After all, there is no reason to suffer through consuming water that tastes or smells unpleasant if there is an alternative easily available. Water that is cloudy or discolored, even if ‘officially safe’, is off-putting to say the least, and you will undoubtedly be reluctant to drink it at all. Removing aesthetic contaminants is actually one of the easier tasks that modern water filters can accomplish, performing this function almost as a byproduct of their other filtration effects.
   
Filtered water tastes much better than tap water in many cases – fresh, clean, pure, and refreshing. It may also exhibit superior flavor to bottled water. Bottled water, which has been sealed up in a cheap plastic envelope that leaches chemicals into its liquid contents, often has a slight but rather disgusting sickly sweet taste, or may have a stale, “papery” flavor. A good many brands of bottled water simply come from someone else’s municipal water supply, so you’re essentially exchanging one kind of tap water for another. Remember too that there are actually no regulations governing the safety of bottled water, you have to drink it on faith.
   
Filtering water used for cooking produces better, cleaner flavors in the kitchen, too. Used in culinary preparation, filtered water does not alter the taste of liquid or semi-liquid foods to which it is added. Broths, soups, and stews benefit the most from this effect. The absence of unwanted tastes makes beverages made with water, including coffee, tea, espresso, cocoa, and various juice drinks more palatable, too. Even strong-tasting sauces will be improved by using clean filtered water rather than liquid that brings its own baggage of tastes and smells along with it.

    Some of the pollutants that even modestly engineered home water filters remove for better taste include:

  1. Sand usually doesn't affect taste much, but it can give water a gritty texture or make it look cloudy and impure. 
  2. Silt and sediment, which are finer than sand, are the chief culprits of low aesthetic quality in drinking water. Their effects are quite varied, depending on what their composition is and whether they have absorbed organic compounds or chemicals before finding their way into the water stream. At times you will not even be able to detect the presence of silt until you begin using a filter and discover the elements covered after a week or two.
  3. Some silts and sediments do no more than give the water a color – usually yellowish or faintly brown – but they often make it smell bad or taste bad, also, or both. These odors and tastes are not dangerous in themselves, but they certainly make the water undesirable from the viewpoint of the drinker. 
  4. Rust is a major problem in some areas. This makes reddish brown water, which can cause diarrhea in some vulnerable people if it is thickly concentrated enough. In any case, rust gives the water a foul metallic taste and smell, but a good water filter removes this and many other contaminants to produce a much more pleasing beverage and culinary ingredient.


by: Chris Tracey

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Thursday, January 17, 2013
Drinking water filters are a good addition to any household that wants safe, clean, good-tasting water to drink and to use in cooking. People and pets alike benefit from having a cleaner water supply. Among humans, children need well-filtered water even more than adults, but all ages gain improved health from drinking this fresher liquid. Assuming that you use a point of use filter, your choice is between countertop or an under-sink water filtration system.
   
Each type of filter has its own pros and cons. Which you choose ultimately depends on what you expect out of a filter, how large your filter budget is, and your personal tastes, including your idea of aesthetics.

Countertop water filters
   
Countertop water filters stand next to the sink on the counter, and have several different configurations. Most make use of a diverter valve, which attaches to the faucet in place of the usual aerator. A simple mechanical switch is then used to either direct water from the faucet through the filter – providing clean drinking or cooking water – or to bypass the filter and come out unfiltered, as for example for washing hands or dishes.

    Some of the pros of countertop water filters include:

  • Countertop water filters are usually cheaper than under-sink filters, so they are better for those on a limited budget.
  • They are readily accessible for maintenance, such as changing the filter cartridge.
  • They can be attached in a few seconds, using no tools other than the hands. 
  • Water can be diverted through the filter or can come out unfiltered to your option.
        Cons of countertop water filters are:
  • The filter is out in plain sight, and some may find this aesthetically displeasing. 
  • They are sometimes not as sturdy as under-sink filters, though this varies greatly depending on the specific model of filter.
  • Countertop water filters cannot be used with pull-out faucets.

Under-sink water filters

An under-sink water filter, by contrast, mounts to the side of the cabinet underneath the sink, carrying out its functions out of sight. The pros of under-sink water filters include:
  • The water filter is kept neatly out of sight, creating a less crowded look on your counter and freeing up room for other work also. 
  • These filters are usually very sturdily made out of metal, and last for many years, and sometimes decades or a lifetime. 
  • Under-sink filters are often a bit larger and more complex than countertop versions, making their filtration even more thoroughgoing.

This type of water filter does have some disadvantages also, though:
  • Under-sink filters are often quite a bit more expensive than countertop filters. They are also more difficult to install and may require professional help for installation. 
  • You cannot easily move the filter to a new location, and it cannot be used conveniently in temporary lodgings, such as a hotel room or an apartment rented for a vacation trip.



by: Chris Tracey

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Coconuts are one of the more distinctive nuts found on Earth, and an emblem of the tropics. The mere mention of them is enough to conjure up images of coconut palm fronds fluttering over white sand beaches with a deep blue tropical ocean stretching to the horizon. Coconuts are a source of white flesh tasty enough to be used as candy filling, and various oils, waters, and “milks” that may have therapeutic benefits. Today, however, they have yet another role to fulfill in the world – supplying carbon for high quality water filters.
   
Carbon of various kinds has been used in water filters, and other types of filters, for a long time, because it is a substance well adapted to absorbing large amounts of contaminants. Carbon is highly absorbent in its own right, but its structure also helps make it a better filtration medium. Each piece of carbon is riddled with passages and pores, even more so than the proverbial Swiss cheese, which increases its surface area hugely.
   
The bigger the surface area of a filtration medium, the more pollutants it can absorb from a given amount of water in contact with it at any one time. Since water can flow into the pores of carbon and pollutants are therefore exposed to much more absorbent surface, carbon removes hazardous substances quickly and effectively from our drinking water supply.

                                                       Activated coconut shell carbon
   
Coconut shell is burned to make carbon for water filters due to several properties that it has. These properties make it superior to carbon derived from most other sources known at this time. Some of the traits that put coconut shell carbon ahead of the pack include:

  • Hardness. Coconut shell carbon is very hard, meaning that it lasts for a long time with pressurized water flowing through it, and filter cartridges using it need to be replaced much less frequently than those using other carbons. 
  • Lack of dust. Coconut shell carbon isn't dusty, meaning that it does not introduce particulate matter into the water stream. 
  • Taste. Water filtered through coconut shell carbon does not pick up any unpleasant tastes from the media, and has a characteristically clean, fresh taste. 
  • Effectiveness. Coconut shell carbon includes many micropores that are good for absorbing dangerous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals.

Up until recently, coconut shells were burned in open pits to produce carbon. This led to many greenhouse gases being released, and made additional processing necessary since sand and grit needed to be removed from the carbon. Now, however, a “coconut reactor” has been developed which traps the greenhouse gases and burns them at a high enough temperature to reduce the CO2 to harmless component molecules. Energy is generated at the same time, making the reactor that much more efficient.
   
Coconut shell carbon is one of the most effective water filtration media, and is now in the process of becoming more ecologically sound through use of futuristic, reactor-based carbonizing processes. Thus the tale of the world's largest nut continues to expand into the space and environmental age as one of humanity's valuable resources.


by: Chris Tracey

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Thursday, January 10, 2013
Today's agriculture makes heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides, which represent an invisible danger that may be hidden in any water supply, both in farming regions and areas downstream from them. Using a water filter that is rated to remove the majority of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) will help to forestall the long term health effects of these pervasive chemicals.
   
Huge megafarms and monoculture crops are responsible for the contemporary overabundance of fertilizers and pesticides. Though organic crops are becoming more popular and farmers' markets are, fortunately, thriving, the trend will take a long time to reverse itself, and in the meantime, the agricultural regions of most countries remain dangerously saturated in insecticides, fertilizers, and other chemical solutions to essentially artificial problems.
   
Growing endless square miles of the same crop greatly increases the risk of insect plagues and widespread plant diseases, since pests can find a vast supply of similar food covering the landscape, allowing their population to explode. Diversified crops lessen the risks of large scale pest infestations, but are scorned by large agribusinesses thanks to the drive to maximize profits. Pesticides are an easy solution that is used all too frequently today.
   
The fertilizer runoff from these huge industrial farms pollutes most rivers, large and small, and even flows out into the ocean, causing oxygen-consuming algae blooms that kill off huge numbers of fish. On an individual scale, fertilizers and pesticides are rarely present in concentrations that cause outright poisoning, but they may erode your health over the long term and raise the risk of certain types of cancers many times over.
   
Using water filters to remove pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers from your water is a highly effective way to safeguard your health long-term. Since the same media also remove a slew of dangerous manufacturing chemicals – including benzene, solvents, and similar contaminants – passing your drinking water through one of these filters protects you from these risks, also.
   
Water filter descriptions usually indicate if the specific filter is designed to remove VOCs and solvents. Most are, but it is always worthwhile to check before purchasing, if you suspect or know that fertilizers, pesticides, or insecticides are present in your water. Note that it is possible to have your water tested for VOCs, which may cost several hundred dollars. However, if farmland is nearby or upstream of your location, it is probably safe to assume that these contaminants are present.
   
Granulated activated carbon is the type of media most often used to remove fertilizers and pesticides from drinking water. The granules provide a large surface area for the water to come in contact with, while the activated carbon absorbs the volatile organics in order to remove them from the stream. Other media are usually present to quash bacterial growth in the filter, such as a small amount of silver, though there are many different methods of doing this. The filter should be changed regularly, since an “overloaded” filter may “dump” some or all of the absorbed chemicals back into the allegedly filtered water. Using a good granulated activated carbon filter is an excellent way to ensure your water is free of volatile organic hazards, lessening everything from short-term mucous membrane irritation to lifetime cancer risk.


by: Chris Tracey

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Monday, January 7, 2013
Water chlorination is carried out in most municipalities around the planet today, as a cheap and effective way to prevent the spread of disease. Overall, the effect is positive – our cities are crowded as never before in history, yet they are no longer swept by cholera, dysentery, and typhoid fever which killed millions of our ancestors.
   
In fact, the use of chlorine as a city water disinfectant leads to the question of whether it is necessary to filter your water at all in metropolises where it is present in the water supply. After all, someone might reason, if the utility company is putting chlorine in to make the water safe to drink, what more is needed to keep me safe?
   
To some degree, this is true. Chlorine does effectively kill a whole range of extremely nasty bacteria which would otherwise be very dangerous to anyone drinking the water. It does so thoroughly and reliably, making the water far safer than the drinking water available to humans through most of time. If you smell chlorine in the water, you know that you're not going to come down with cholera or any of the other deadly digestive bacteria mentioned above.
   
However, there is also a lot that chlorination can't do. Just because it kills a wide range of microorganisms doesn't mean that the water is completely clean after that. It can't actually remove anything from the water, such as chemicals or even particles of sand. All of these can degrade water quality, even if they are far less immediately hazardous than bacteria, so depending on local water conditions, a filter may still be needed.

  1. Chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are present in many water supplies, especially near industrial and manufacturing centers. Benzene, solvents, and petroleum products all find their way into water and can degrade health or raise the long-term risk of cancers. The same is true of herbicides, pesticides, and insecticides in farming regions. Carbon block filters or activated carbon media are usually used to absorb these chemicals.
  2. Giardia and cryptosporidium are two protozoan parasites that can survive chlorination by hiding inside a cyst. When this cyst is swallowed, it opens and the parasite infects the intestines, quickly making more of its kind by splitting. These cysts need to be mechanically filtered out by a filter element that has an absolute pore size of 1 micron or less. The risk of Giardia varies from place to place, so some areas may not need this filter.
  3. Arsenic can be an industrial byproduct, result from runoff from chicken farming (where it is used to give meat a pink tinge), or from natural deposits eroding into the water. A special arsenic filter, or a reverse osmosis filter (which removes just about everything from the water), is the answer to arsenic in the local water supply.
  4. Sand, silt, and sediment are unaffected by chlorination and can make water cloudy, give it a noticeable color, or an unpleasant taste or odor (or any combination of the above). 
  5. The chlorine itself is rather unpleasant tasting and may be removed from drinking water with an appropriate filter. Other filters are used to catalyze it into chloride, removing it from shower water for healthier skin, hair, and lungs.



by: Chris Tracey

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