Your Water is Clear, but is it Clean?
We all assume the water filter sitting in our fridge is working, but how do we know if we’re getting the safest and most delicious water? With water contamination in the forefront of many people’s minds, finding effective water filtration solutions is more important than ever.
If you have reason to be worried about lead, many common water filters can be effective. The team at Reviews.com, a site dedicated to investigating products and industries, spent six weeks analyzing 38 pitcher and faucet water filters to find which are the most successful at removing contaminants and enhancing flavor.
Water is supposed to be tasteless, right? Turns out it’s a little more complicated. Our saliva and our tongues’ taste receptors have various enzymes and minerals that combine with foods (and water) to affect how we perceive “taste” — it’s why some of us love cilantro and some of us think it tastes like soap.
THE PITCHER IS ONLY THE BEGINNING
A filter works just like a sponge: Once it’s full, it’s useless. Though most filters have an anti-bacterial treatment, it’s only so long before that wet carbon is a breeding ground for grossness.
The up-front costs of a pitcher or faucet filter pale in comparison to the long-term costs of replacing those filters over and over and over: While faucet filters can remain effective for 100 to 200 gallons of water, most pitcher filters only last 40 gallons before they need to be replaced — and that’s only if you believe the marketing claims.
If the owner of a typical water pitcher filter drank the recommended 12 cups of water per day and diligently replaced their pitcher filter every 40 gallons, they’d be buying about seven replacement filters per year. That number goes up the more people you have in your household, and up even more if you follow some water experts’ advice and replace filters twice as often as recommended.
DID YOU KNOW?
The carbon material in your filter is oftentimes the burnt charcoal remains of a natural substance, like coconut shells. Carbon looks like a big sponge if you look at it under a microscope, and that’s exactly how it functions during water filtration: It absorbs organic materials.
When water passes through this carbon material — either by gravity (pitcher filters) or through water pressure (faucet filters) — pollutants are bound to the carbon, thereby keeping them away from your water. Carbon in and of itself is not effective at taking out volatile organic compounds and heavy metals like mercury and lead. To accomplish this, some filters add a non-carbon layer to the filtering process: a plastic resin that works like a magnet.
At the end of the day, it’s easy to take water for granted — but it’s just as easy to use a filter and make sure your H2O is clean and tasty. Learn what contaminants are in your drinking water, and then find a filter with the right certifications to make sure it will do the job it claims to do.