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Does It Matter Which Water Filtration System Method My Home Uses? | Arlington, TX

Does It Matter Which Water Filtration System Method My Home Uses? | Arlington, TX

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It is no secret that contaminants in water supplies are a concern, and Arlington, TX, is no exception. Homes with water provided from a water treatment plant and homes with well water can benefit from a whole house water filtration system.

Water treatment plants do not remove every possible contaminant, and tap water contains molecules, such as chlorine, heavy metals, and fluoride. Public opinion on fluoride is divided, so viewing fluoride as a benefit or a problem is a choice for individual households.

Sources of Impurities and Contamination

Rain water stored in plastic barrels or tanks may contain BPA that leeches into the water. Glyphosate, a component of many pesticides, has been found in 74%-87% of rainwater samples throughout the United States, depending on
location, type of testing, and the time of year.

Spring or well water may contain pesticides, nitrates, heavy metals, slightly radioactive elements, and petroleum byproducts. Animal waste and pathogenic microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses are also a concern for households with spring or well water. These contaminants can be a concern for those with tap water from a treatment plant as well.

Benefits of a Whole House Water Filtration System

A whole housewater filtration system gives you access to clean water with no foul odors or minerals that may eventually discolor clothing, dishes, or other possessions. Sometimes extended exposure to water with a high copper content gives hair a greenish tint. The white residue that builds up in bathtubs and other porcelain or metal fixtures comes from hard water deposits.

Filtration systems with softening components reduce salt and other minerals in your water. The biggest advantage of a whole house water filtration system is that clear, filtered water is available from every tap in the home, not just the kitchen faucet.

A wide range of filtration systems and products are available on the market, but your local plumbing professionals in Arlington, TX, can recommend and install the best system for your household. Most manufacturers of filtration systems and supplies are also verified through third party organizations, such as the NSF International or Water Quality Association.

Filtered water almost always tastes better than unfiltered tap water. It also improves the taste of coffee and tea without using expensive bottled water or expensive coffee makers. The family doesn’t have to worry about keeping a supply of bottled water around when a whole house water filtration system ensures clean, sweet water is available from every tap.

Importance of Maintenance

Filters in a water filtration system are just like car air filters and filters in ventilation ducts. A clogged, dirty filter cannot function properly. Water filters become overloaded with rust, sediment, and silt over time.

A sediment pre-filter is the first part of the filtration process. It picks up large particles that can wear out shower heads, appliances, pipes, faucets, and other water-using appliances faster than they otherwise would.

Simply using a pre-sediment filter extends the lifetime of your plumbing fixtures and removes a significant amount of particulates from your home’s water. The filters must be changed regularly to continuously remove contaminants.

Leaving filters in place too long can lead to unpleasant tastes and odors because the filters become too overloaded to remove any more particulates. Cloudy water may also carry microorganisms in households that use well, spring, or rain water. The number of replaceable filters in a whole house water filtration system depends on how many plumbing fixtures exist in the
home and the desired level of filtration.

Sediment pre-filters and sub-micron post filters are usually the only two types of filters on a regular maintenance schedule. Pre-filters are generally replaced every 3 to 6 months, while sub-micron post-filters are replaced every 9 to
12 months.

Others filters, including activated carbon, copper-zinc, salt-free water softeners, and and mineral stone filters are not easily replaced. It is best to consult a professional to maintain these parts of a water filtration system.

It is important to keep filtration systems in good working order. Salt-free water softener tanks generally need to be replaced every six years, although this varies with the amount of minerals in the water supply and individual household use. Water filtration systems do not provide optimal benefits if they are not kept in good working order. Maintenance and knowledge of the system are necessary to let all components function properly.

Reverse Osmosis Filtration Systems

Reverse osmosis water filtration systems use the natural process of osmosis that influences movement of molecules in a liquid or gas. The system utilizes high pressure to counteract and complement osmotic pressure that naturally occurs between two liquids with varying concentrations of impurities.

Increased pressure forces water through a semi-permeable membrane. This membrane filters impurities as water molecules move from the side with a higher concentration of contaminant molecules to the side with a lower concentration. The water diffuses through the semi-permeable membrane, but contaminant molecules are left behind. Your home is left with clear, clean water.

Osmosis water filtration systems are used for a wide range of water purification needs, such as aquarium water, park irrigation, drinking water, and food processing. Reserves osmosis removes up to 99% of contaminants, including lead, magnesium, asbestos, calcium, fluoride, iron, arsenic, chloride, and copper. It can also remove contamination from nitrates found in chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and sulfates, as well as bacteria and other microorganisms.

Many water filtration systems combine reverse osmosis with carbon, sediment, and UV filters. This is called a four-stage RO system. Reverse osmosis water filtration systems may not be the best choice for homes where water is scarce or expensive because they produce much more waste water than other filtration methods.

Another downside of RO filtration is the lack of beneficial minerals left in drinking water. Sometimes RO filtration systems include a remineralizer to inject some beneficial minerals into the clean, filtered water. Membranes in RO systems are replaced annually, although more frequent replacements are necessary in certain circumstances. Frequency depends on contaminant levels, level of use, and types of contaminants.

Softeners

Water softeners do not actually filter water. Softeners work by removing dissolved minerals and exchanging them with other minerals. The most common exchange is calcium carbonate removed and replaced with potassium or sodium. Water softeners reduce mineral build-up in a home’s plumbing pipes and fixtures. They are also used in industrial machinery, food production, and even some air filtration systems with water components.

UV Filters

Ultraviolet, or UV, filters use an ultraviolet lamp light to kill bacteria, protozoa, viruses, cysts, and other microorganisms. They are sometimes called water sterilizer units, and they are very effective against common water-
borne pathogens, such as giardia.

UV filters need a source of electricity to power the UV bulb. Bulbs are generally replaced every 6 to 18 months, depending on use. It is important to note that turbid, or cloudy, water can lessen the effectiveness of UV lamps. The molecules in extremely cloudy water could absorb or block UV light and allow some pathogenic microorganisms to make it through the filtration process alive.

UV filters are usually paced at the end of whole house water filtration systems to avoid this problem. The water is clear by the time it reaches the ultraviolet lamp. UV water filters are especially useful for households using rain or ground water sources that may be contaminated with animal waste or decomposing organic material.

Distilled Water Filtration

The distillation process involves boiling water to produce water vapor. The water vapor cools and becomes a liquid again. The vaporization removes contaminants and impurities because most molecules do not vaporize at the same temperature as water.

An advantage of distillation water filtration systems is the lack of filters or light bulbs to replace, however, distillation is a slow process. It may not remove certain organic chemicals that change to gaseous form at or near the same temperature as water.

The biggest drawback of distilled water is that it removes almost all minerals. Human bodies need certain minerals, often referred to as electrolytes or trace minerals, to be healthy. People that drink distilled water on a regular basis must be careful to replace vital minerals, including potassium, magnesium, and calcium, through another source.

An electrolyte deficiency can lead to dehydration, muscle cramps, cardiac health problems, and many other health issues. Homes using distilled water must also be cautious of the type of pipes in the plumbing system. Demineralised water absorbs lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals easily because it does not contain any other minerals.


Carbon Water Filters

Carbon water filters are a very common water filtration method, and they have a long history. There is evidence that some ancient civilizations used carbon to filter drinking water. Carbon filters vary by the type of technology and filter
material. The two main types are granular activated carbon and carbon block.

Granular filters contain thousands of tiny activated carbon particles, while carbon blocks are simply a chunk of activated carbon. Granular activated carbon, or GAC, filters have a fine consistency similar to coffee grounds. These filters sometimes allow carbon granules to escape the filter and spread through the entire filtration system. Carbon blocks keep the carbon confined into one large piece that cannot wash away or spread elsewhere.

Carbon molecules inside filters attract molecules in the water flowing over them. The filters eventually become ‘full’ when every carbon molecule is bonded to a contaminant molecule, so it is important to change carbon filters regularly.

Carbon is very, very good at removing chlorine, but carbon filters are
not a good choice for water supplies contaminated with large amounts of heavy metals, fluoride, nitrates, or arsenic. Most reverse osmosis water filtration systems include a carbon filter because chlorine can damage the semi-permeable RO membranes, and osmosis removes many contaminants that carbon filters may leave behind.

Ceramic Filters

Ceramic water filters are a simple, effective, and long-lasting filtration method. The filters have extremely tiny pores that filter molecules from flowing water. Many ceramic filters also contain silver, which has antimicrobial properties that kill bacteria. They are available as ceramic pot filters and ceramic candle filters.

The pot filter has two chambers. Water in the top chamber filters through the ceramic into a lower chamber. The candle filters are installed in metal or plastic containers, and they often combined with other types of filtration. Ceramic filters are a good choice for camping and traveling, especially when they are used with a carbon filter as well.

Disadvantages of ceramic filters include an inability to remove chemicals and viruses that are small enough to flow through the pores. Ceramic must be handled carefully to avoid cracks or hairline fractures. Ceramic filters never need to be replaced unless they are cracked or damaged.

REDOX Copper and Zinc Filters

REDOX filtration technology has many names. It is referred to as oxidation/reduction or simply copper and zinc filtration. The copper and zinc filters work through kinetic degradation fluxion media. This is a mouthful, but it essentially means that copper and zinc produce an electro-chemical reaction. Electrons are exchanged between molecules to create new elements.

Harmful contaminants are turned into harmless substances. For example, copper and zinc filters turn potentially harmful chlorine molecules harmless chloride molecules. REDOX filtration also reacts with heavy metals, including mercury, lead, and free copper molecules. Water flows through the filters and heavy metal molecules are left behind when they attach themselves to the filter itself.

REDOX filters are usually placed at the beginning of a water filtration system because they are not able to remove microorganisms, and they cannot remove every type of inorganic molecule.

The wide array of water filtration systems, and the advantages or disadvantages of each method, can seem overwhelming. Call the professionals at Benjamin Franklin Plumbingin the Arlington, TXarea, to install the best type of water filtration system for your household. Their courteous, knowledgeable staff will explain available options and provide guidance to help you make the best choice to ensure clean, healthy water for your family.