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Quality Water Filters 4 You Archive Page
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Many types of water filter, including carbon blocks and ceramic cartridges, have a rating known as “pore size”, which indicates how large the pores are that penetrate the solid mass of the filter. The water passes along these channels on its way through the filter, either pulled gently by gravity in the case of passive feed water filters or shoved through by water pressure. Since the water must pass through this part of the filter, the pores remove anything of their size or larger through the simple but effective process of physical sieving.
   
The pore size of a filter therefore determines what kinds of solid contaminants it can strain out of the water stream. Large pores provide quick filtration but only remove hefty particulate matter such as rust particles or grains of sand. Small pores can strain parasites from the water, and very fine pores are able to remove bacteria and in some cases viruses from the liquid also.
   
Filter pore size can be rated as absolute or nominal. Absolute pore size is the more important measurement because this is the actual size of the pores. Nominal pore size is based on the idea of the pore “acting like” a pore of that size, even though it is actually larger. The best measure of what filtration a carbon block or ceramic cartridge offers is absolute pore size.
   
The most crucial threshold in water filter pore size is 1 micron. This is the size at which cryptosporidium and giardia cysts are removed from the water. Larger pores allow the cysts to pass through and may allow these tiny intestinal parasites to infest those who drink the poorly-filtered water. Though neither infestation is deadly, both are unpleasant and best avoided – hence only filters with an absolute pore size of 1 micron or less should be used where there is any risk of either of these parasites being found in the water supply.
   
Absolute pores of 1 micron or less remove all or practically all cysts, while nominal 1 micron pores may allow up to 30% of parasitic cysts through. Bacteria are mostly removed by pores of this size, too, though some of the smaller types may occasionally slip through.
   
“Ultrafiltration” occurs when pore size falls in the 0.1 micron to 0.01 micron range. This is enough to remove viruses, especially at the finer end of the scale. Colloidal silica, gelatin, milk proteins, and endotoxin pyrogen can also be removed by pores of this size. Nanofiltration involves pore sizes of 0.001 microns, and takes out sugars, synthetic dyes, and aqueous salts. Reverse osmosis is actually filtration with an even smaller pore size than nanofiltration filters – it removes even the extremely fine metal ions that can be found in solution and leaves literally nothing but water, the only substance able to pass through the filtration membrane.
   
Ultimately, filter pore size is what determines whether or not a water filter can protect you from bacteria, viruses, parasitic cysts, and other particulate contaminants in your drinking water. Knowing generally what pore sizes defeat which threats helps you judge better whether a filter is insufficient, just right, or “overkill” for your particular filtration needs.


by: Chris Tracey

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Questions abound when you are contemplating adding a water filtration system to your home, and one important one that needs answering is whether you really need two water filter types for your abode. For the most comfortable, safe, and thoroughgoing treatment of water, several different filtration systems are often needed, unless your water source is exceptionally pure (for example, your own well in the middle of a wilderness, with no farms or factories upstream in the local watershed).
   
At a minimum, safety and comfort are achieved with a drinking water filter and a shower filter. The drinking water filter is installed at the point of use – typically the kitchen faucet – and can take a variety of forms. Undersink filters of various kinds, including reverse osmosis filters for truly heavy-duty purification, are one possibility. Countertop filters with diverter valves that hook up to the faucet are another option.
   
In both cases, the goal is to provide clean, safe drinking water free of dangerous contaminants. However, though these filters are perfectly suited to cleaning cool or cold water for drinking and cooking purposes, they are poorly matched to the task of removing chlorine from shower water. The volume of water used in a shower is much higher, so chlorine removal requires different media in different quantities, and the heat of bathing water would destroy the innards of most drinking water filters outright.
   
Shower filters use catalyzing media to change chlorine, chemically and electrically, into chloride. Since chloride particles are larger, they cannot be absorbed through the skin like chlorine particles can. They also do not become airborne as easily, greatly lessening inhalation risks. Shower filters contain media that catalyze chlorine into chloride, and may perform some additional basic filtering, but which are generally not suitable for creating potable water of the quality needed for drinking and cooking.
   
Thus, since shower filters can't produce good drinking water, and drinking water filters are useless for removing chlorine from shower water, you probably need two water filters for your home if you live in an area with mild to moderately contaminated water.
   
If there is heavy overall contamination of your water supply, a third water filter – a whole-house filtration system that cleans all water that enters the home, regardless of its final destination – may also be needed. Some of these filters are suited to clearing out chemicals if you live in an industrial zone or near to a factory farm that fills the water with fertilizer and insecticide on a regular basis. Others can help “soften” hard water that has excessive minerals in it before the liquid is redirected to faucets, showerheads, and so on. Shower filters and drinking water filters are still likely to be needed at the point of use to create more refined, better-filtered water after the initial “bulk decontamination”. This goes to show, however, that in some cases no less than three water filter types may be needed to remove all contaminants from the water properly.


by: Chris Tracey

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Monday, June 3, 2013
A good deal of attention is now being paid to the potential harm to water quality caused by hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’. As most easily accessible sources of natural gas and oil have become scarcer, energy companies are now using fracking to extract gas and oil from rock formations far under the ground. Most fracking operations require the drilling of vertical wells up to depths of thousands of feet, and then the drilling of horizontal wells from the original one. A solution of water, sand, and up to 700 chemicals is forced down the wells under high pressure to cause the rock to fracture and release the gas or oil.

The average fracking well requires about 5 million gallons of water, a considerable amount in itself. While industry points to the fact that the chemicals in the water are only a tiny percentage of the total, because of the sheer volume of water used, most of these wells require approximately 50,000 gallons of chemicals.

Fracking Chemicals

At least 600 different substances are used, along with the millions of gallons of water, for fracking. Many of these have not been tested for toxicity to humans or animals, and in 2005, the Bush administration exempted fracking companies from having to comply with EPA clean water regulations. If you live near a fracking operation, there may be a good chance that your water is already contaminated. Among the chemicals used in fracking are:

  • Benzene - carcinogen
  • Toluene – neurological damage
  • Diesel fuel – carcinogen, skin irritant
  • Sulfuric acid – powerful corrosive
  • Formaldehyde – reproductive issues, especially in women
  • Lead – neurological and reproductive system problems

In addition to these and a witch’s brew of other dangerous substances, fracking companies also have a list of chemicals that they have never disclosed publically, claiming that they were in the realm of company secrets. Fracking is currently being done in 32 states, so the possibility that you and your family can be impacted by this dangerous process definitely exists.
What You Can Do

Although there have been lawsuits instituted against fracking companies for the damage they have done, there is little hope for a quick resolution of the problem. And while you may not be able to prevent fracking near your property, you can take steps to keep your water safe.

Water filters can help to provide clean, safe water to your household. When you decide to use a water filtering system, make sure that the one you are considering has been designed to handle these contaminants. Some filters will only remove bad odors or bacteria; what you will be looking for is a high quality filter that will basically remove every bit of chemical pollution from your water supply. Because chemicals can also be absorbed through the skin and inhaled from shower or bath water, a whole house filtration system is the ideal solution to the problem. State of the art water filters can be your assurance that your family is safe from potentially dangerous chemicals whether they are drinking a glass of water or taking a shower.

If a whole house water filter is not what you are interested in, there are also excellent countertop or under the sink filters that will remove fracking contaminants from your drinking and cooking water.


by: Chris Tracey

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