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Quality Water Filters 4 You Archive Page
Friday, February 22, 2013
Most people think of airborne dust and pollen when contemplating the sources of allergies. Though it is true that airborne factors are the most common sources of allergy – such as hay fever – there are many waterborne substances that can cause allergic reactions, too. Using appropriate water filters can help guard you against these unpleasant effects, making you more comfortable and improving your health generally.
   
Chlorine is a major source of allergic reactions, and has several different routes by which it can enter the body. Chlorine particles are small enough to be absorbed through the skin, meaning that your entire body becomes a sponge for this irritating chemical in the shower, when almost your entire body surface is exposed to it. Dry or itchy skin, roughened hair, and even allergic rashes can result from washing regularly in chlorinated water.
   
Hot water releases chlorine in a gaseous form, too. Heat is rapid movement of the molecules within a substance, and when hot water is running in the shower, large amounts of chlorine billow out into the air. This chlorine gas is absorbed through the lungs and can often be a systemic irritant. This is especially true when it's trapped in the cramped space of a shower stall, but also lowers the general indoor air quality of your home as it spreads through the house.
   
A good shower filter removes the allergic effects of showering with chlorinated water, through the simple but effective method of causing a catalytic reaction in the chlorine. This transforms most of the chlorine into chloride, a much larger particle that cannot pass through the human skin, and is too heavy to become airborne as a cloud of gas in the same manner as chlorine. Of course, tap water, toilet water, and so on remain chlorinated, but a shower filter removes the primary source of allergenic chlorine on your skin and in your lungs.
   
Fluoride is another highly problematic contaminant in your water. Not all locations use fluoride, but many do, and you should ask your local utility company whether fluoridation is added to your water supply, assuming that you are not one of the lucky few to have your own private well. Fluoride can have strongly negative effects on people who have other allergies or who suffer from asthma, and is not particularly good for the teeth, even in people of pristine health.
   
If there is fluoridation in your water, you should definitely consider getting a water filter capable of removing this chemical, especially if you have allergies or asthma. The most certain way of doing this is to install a reverse osmosis filtration system on the faucet you use most frequently for drinking and cooking water. Reverse osmosis is usually installed as an undersink, inline filtration system due to its complexity, but it produces absolutely purified water that is free even of the highly elusive metal salts that other filters are incapable of removing, as well as the tiniest viruses. If you are seeking to reduce your allergies with cleaner water, there is no alternative more fruitful than installing both a shower filter and a reverse osmosis water filter.


by: Chris Tracey

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Water filters produce many undoubted benefits, freeing us from pollutants ranging from the unpleasant (silt that makes water taste or smell funny) to the dangerous (heavy metals or insecticide residues). Yet, one might also ask, is it possible to filter water too much – can there be too much of a good thing? The answer appears to be yes, though only in exceptional circumstances, and there are already water filters in existence designed to address the problem.
   
Most household water filters do not filter your water “too much” – even powerful filters like Berkey or Aquacera models leave all the necessary minerals in the water. It is only reverse osmosis systems, which force water through a membrane offering an astonishingly tiny pore size, that take minerals out of the water and leave it essentially empty and distilled.
   
Reverse osmosis filters are the ultimate in home water purification – they literally leave nothing but water in the water, as one might say. Every molecule of natural minerals, every virus, every bacterium, and every particle of dissolved metal salts is purged utterly from the fluid passed through one of these membranes.
   
Reverse osmosis filters definitely have their place. They are excellent for areas where the water is heavily contaminated, and are among the only filters that can remove the smallest virus particles and fully cleanse water of high arsenic levels. However, their use should be carefully considered because they also empty water of its natural mineral content.

Demineralized water

Putting water through a good reverse osmosis filter produces demineralized water – which is essentially the same as distilled water. Calcium, magnesium, and potassium are found in literally every water supply on Earth, and every water supply that has ever existed on Earth, for that matter. Our bodies are adapted to absorbing these trace amounts of minerals steadily, on a daily basis, over the course of our whole lives.
   
Drinking demineralized water is not directly dangerous to your health – it will still rehydrate you, and will cause no damage or adverse reactions in the human system. It is simply lacking – and drinking nothing but demineralized water will eventually cause mineral deficiencies. These, in turn, may cause damage to the teeth and bones as the body removes minerals from them to supply what it is no longer getting through water.
   
Again, this is a long-term problem – drinking demineralized water occasionally, or even for a few weeks (for example, during a water-contaminating emergency such as a hurricane's aftermath), will not do any damage. However, standard carbon block filters are probably better than reverse osmosis filters in most cases simply because they provide full protection in most situations while leaving potassium, calcium, and magnesium in the water.

The modern solution – ‘remineralizing’ filters

For those who need or want the powerful filtering offered by a reverse osmosis filter, a novel solution has been devised and is now being marketed in an affordable form by several water filter companies. These filters strip the water clean, and then remineralize it with the proper, healthy amounts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium found in drinking water. This is an interesting solution to a potential problem and offers you the best of both worlds – full filtration with reverse osmosis without the long-term problems of demineralized water.


by: Chris Tracey

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013
One of the safer places to drink the water is in a rural area, especially if you have your own well. Depending only on your own water supply ensures that you have a good idea of what is in it, and allows you to deal with problems as they arise.
   
Unless metropolitan water is piped out to the rural areas near a city, or water is drawn directly from a watercourse such as a river which is also polluted with sewage effluent and so on, then the main risks are from agricultural land runoff, mineral deposits, or both. There are a number of different ways you can form a clear idea of whether rural water filtration is needed.

  • Having your water tested periodically – perhaps once or twice a year – is the most certain indicator of what, if any, pollutants are present in it and what filter is best for your use.
  • Soil type has a strong bearing on whether pollutants can successfully penetrate to the water table and thus possibly affect your well. Loose, sandy soil provides only poor to moderate filtration of barnyard waste, fertilizer, pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides. By contrast, dense clay soil filters out all contaminants within a few inches in most cases, unless the quantity is truly overwhelming. If your soil is loose and sandy, filtration may be needed, while the denser the soil, the less likely chemicals are to leach through into your well water.
  • The frequency and amount of rain affects pollutant runoff. Frequent, heavy rains raise the chance of chemicals finding their way into your well water, while a drier climate lessens the risk. Those who live in a rainy, moist area are more apt to need a good water filter even for their own well water if the well is down slope from farmland. 
  • If you are using pesticides, herbicides, or insecticides on your own crops, spray only when clear, sunny weather is coming. Spraying before a rainstorm is likely to wash at least some of the chemical into the local groundwater, and thus, possibly, into your well. 
  • Pesticides used in greenhouses are more likely to persist – and pollute – than those used in the open air. This is due to the effect of ultraviolet light on pesticides and similar chemicals. Ultraviolet breaks these chemicals down quickly into harmless constituent compounds, but the glass of a greenhouse blocks most ultraviolet radiation. Plastic greenhouses do not have this effect, allowing most ultraviolet light through. If you have a greenhouse on your property, or there are greenhouses nearby, there is a higher chance your water is chemically contaminated and a good water filter is advisable.



by: Chris Tracey

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Friday, February 8, 2013
Arsenic is found everywhere on Earth in small quantities, and can also be introduced into the environment by industrial processes or poultry farming. However, there are some areas where naturally occurring arsenic is present in far greater quantities than average. At least 10%, and perhaps as many as 20%, of Americans live in areas where dangerous amounts of arsenic are present in the water supply. Using an arsenic water filter provides full protection against this risk.
   
Naturally occurring arsenic is almost never concentrated enough to cause outright poisoning. Its effects are more insidious than that – the nervous system is damaged and slowly degraded by drinking arsenic-filled water, while bladder and kidney cancer rates are far higher in arsenic-rich areas. Clearly, it is a good idea to determine if arsenic is present in higher than normal concentrations and, if it is, to prevent its effects with a dedicated filtration system.
   
Some resources you can use to discover whether or not elevated arsenic levels are present in your local water supply include:

  1. Water utilities are required by the EPA to test for contaminants and provide information on them to people who ask. Assuming that you don't have your own well, your utility company probably can confirm if your water is safe and arsenic-free.
  2. Asking your local health department, housing department, or other official metropolitan agency whether there is an arsenic risk is another of the fastest, cheapest, and most accurate methods of determining if you need an arsenic water filter. Of course, this information may not be readily available for all locations. Testing may be absent in small towns or outlying areas, for example. However, this is a logical first place to inquire.
  3. Internet searches for local water problem information may be fruitful in some locations. In this case, the closest you are likely to get to being assured there is no arsenic in your water is an absence of warnings.
  4. Hiring a company to test your water is an expensive option, but may be your only choice if you cannot find accurate information in any other way. The main advantage to this method is that it will be decisively determined whether or not your water is tainted with arsenic.

Reverse osmosis water filters are usually effective in removing arsenic from your water (and practically every other contaminant, too). In this arrangement, water is forced through a semi-permeable membrane which blocks nearly all chemicals and particles, flushing them away down the drain through an exit pipe. Since reverse osmosis filters are complex, they are usually permanently mounted as undersink filters, but the extra effort is well worth it to protect yourself and your family from the risks of naturally occurring arsenic being present in your drinking water.


by: Chris Tracey

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Lifting a sparkling, pure, clean glass of water to your lips and drinking deeply without fear of chemicals, microorganisms, or other contaminants is one of life's small but exquisite pleasures. People may reminisce about the “good old days”, but the truth is that technological advances have made our lives immensely safer, more comfortable, and healthier than has ever been the case before. Modern water filtration is one of these beneficial technologies.
   
One of the filtering technologies used to supply you and your family with clean, safe water is KDF filtration media. KDF stands for “kinetic degradation fluxion”, and refers to granules of copper-zinc alloy. These granules, or small grains, are produced at a high level of purity to ensure that they function as effectively as possible.
   
There are several different kinds of KDF media, of which KDF 55 and KDF 85 are the most commonly used in household drinking water filters. KDF media are approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Since the media function slightly differently, most water filters include separate layers of KDF 55 and KDF 85 media to accomplish different tasks.

What KDF media do for you

These copper-zinc granules clean pollutants out of your water by reacting with it in several different ways. Some of the most important effects include:

  1. KDF 55 catalyzes chlorine electrochemically to transform it into chloride, which dissolves in water. This makes the medium ideal for clearing out the unpleasant smell and taste of chlorine, and suits it to shower filtration systems, too. 99% of chlorine is removed. 
  2. KDF 85 takes about 90% of iron out of water, reducing it to safe levels regardless of whether its source is natural or manmade. 
  3. The process by which KDF media removes heavy metals from the water supply – including mercury, lead, copper, chromium, and nickel, among others – is rather intriguing. The copper and zinc in the KDF set up a constant, low level electrochemical reaction, generating a very weak electric field and altering chemical properties of metals that pass by them. The electrochemical reaction first reduces these metals to an insoluble form, and then actually electroplates them onto the surface of the granules, removing them totally and permanently from the water!
  4. The electrochemical kills bacteria, fungi, and algae, keeping the filter clean even though it is wet most of the time.

Limitations of KDF media
   
KDF media obviously help to make your water a lot safer and a lot more pleasant to drink, too. However, they cannot do everything, which is why they are usually accompanied by other filter media arranged in separate layers inside the cartridge.
   
KDF media do not offer mechanical filtration, so they cannot strain out particles such as Giardia and cryptosporidium cysts, which are strained out using filter pads or carbon blocks with 1 micron absolute pore size or smaller. Nor do they affect most volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which need activated carbon to remove them instead.
   
However, they perform the invaluable service of taking out heavy metals and other dangerous contaminants, meaning that every good water filter should include them


by: Chris Tracey

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