If it is safe to drink, why should I filter the tap water?
In the US, municipalities are required by law to deliver safe public water to your home or business. Therefore, the EPA sets drinking water standards focused on contaminates that are known to cause health problems. Unfortunately, the EPA requirements can be met without removing all contaminants that may be present in the water. Recent research shows there are many new emerging contaminates that may pose a health risk but are not yet regulated by the EPA. Public water must also be treated for disinfection (e.g., chlorine or chloramine), but these chemicals can often leave a noticeable taste/odor and may create unhealthy by-products. Additionally, once the water leaves the treatment plant there are many opportunities for the water to pick up contaminates, like lead, from the pipes underground and inside buildings.
A water filtration system provides peace of mind by giving you the ability to ensure your drinking water is healthy. A point-of-use system attached to your kitchen sink can provide your home or office with clean, fresh-tasting water for a reasonable cost. Easy to install and maintain, these filtration systems are available in many options to meet the specific needs of any household. Activated Carbon filters can remove chemicals like chlorine and chloramine, as well as rust particles, dirt, lead, asbestos, VOCs, pesticides, herbicides, and even microorganism. A Reverse Osmosis System (which includes a membrane) can further remove total dissolved solids including salts and minerals, heavy metals, fluoride, arsenic, nitrates, and most other inorganic contaminates.
How do I decide which water filtration system to purchase?
Water quality is affected by natural deposits and environmental factors, and water contaminants can be different depending on where you live. The Safe Drinking Water Act requires all municipalities to annually test the water delivered through their systems and publish reports about the quality. Before choosing a filtration system, you should review a copy of your city's Annual Water Quality Report. This report explains where the source water comes from, what contaminants are present, and what your water department is adding to the water (chlorine, chloramine, fluoride, etc). You can then choose a filtration system that addresses your individual water needs.
You can obtain a copy of the Annual Water Quality Report from your local water authority or your city/county website. You can also obtain more information about water regulations through the following websites below:
Environmental Working Group
Water Quality Association
If you have a private well system you should have the water tested by a trusted, local source who is familiar with the water in your area. Well systems can have specific contamination issues, such as iron bacteria, that may require special treatment or filtration media. You can get information about testing and maintaining well systems by visiting the National Ground Water Association here: www.wellowner.org
Which type of water filter installation set-up should I choose?
Countertop Systems are easy to attach to any standard kitchen faucet, and do not require any special tools or professional assistance. Countertop Systems are a good choice for people who may be looking for portability of use including apartments, dorms, RVs, and travelers. However, Countertop Systems do take up sink space and are always visible.
Undercounter Systems are mounted below the sink and attach directly into the cold water line. These systems require some tools and plumbing skills to install. Undercounter Systems are a semi-permanent installation designed for homeowners. The system is hidden out of sight, but does require a separate faucet mounted and visible at the sink. Undercounter Systems can also be connected to inline applications like an ice maker, refrigerator, or hot water dispenser.