Water filter systems remove minerals and all kinds of chemicals and other harmful contaminants from water. There are many types of filtration methods capable of providing potable water on an industrial scale, but in this article, we will concentrate on the ones specially fabricated for home use.
To be more precise, we will talk about the most common types of water filters for home use and their costs. We will also discuss some important facts about water sources and contaminants. In short, these subtopics will be covered:
- How Do Our Water Sources Currently Work?
- Home Water Filtration Systems and Their Prices
- How to Choose the Most Suitable Water Filter System for Your Home
How Do Our Water Sources Currently Work?
Nowadays, we have two types of water sources:
- Treated water from the city system
- Private wells or water sources (less common)
City water, or tap water, goes through thorough treatment before it’s distributed:
- First of all, larger particles are removed from the water in a screening phase.
- After that, the water passes through processes of coagulation and flocculation filtering positively charged chemicals and other residual particles.
- Sediment filtration gets rid of sediment, odor, bad tastes, etc.
- At last comes disinfection using chloramines or chlorine to kill bacteria, viruses, and other microbes.
Even with all this in place you might still need a water filter system at home. And houses in rural areas definitely need their own filtration. Well water often contains dangerous substances that might be natural or human-made.
Home Water Filter Systems
Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filtration Systems
Reverse osmosis uses a semipermeable membrane responsible for separating contaminants from clean water. The process is able to produce drinking water that is 99% pure.
One downside is that reverse osmosis water filtration is relatively slow.
The most important advantages are that reverse osmosis is effective at removing a broad range of contaminants from water. And the RO membrane can last for several years.
Water Filter Pitchers (and Other Point-of-Use Filter Systems)
Water filter pitchers are the most popular type of point-of-use water filters and make use of different types of filtering media. Most are based on activated carbon block (also known as ACB) filtration. On the one hand, the carbon works via absorption – think size exclusion. On the other hand, the carbon is also positively charged and thus attracts negatively charged impurities like chlorine. This last feature is especially important for improving the taste and odor of water.
Is ABC filtration effective overall?
Yes, it effectively removes many different contaminant groups such as volatile organic compounds, lead, and microscopic cyst.
Whole House Water Filters
Standard whole house water filters use either activated carbon block filtration or granular activated carbon filtration. The main difference: Granular carbon is loose.
It can also be used as a pre-filter stage before the carbon block improving, even more, the efficiency of the filter process.
We like granular carbon filtration because it’s inexpensive.
UV Disinfection Systems
UV light kills 99.99% microorganisms that are dangerous to human health. Examples are Giardia, E. coli, and Cryptosporidium. UV disinfection is key to prevent waterborne diseases.
Also, operational cost of UV disinfection is low and chemical-free.
Sediment filters are amongst the most commonly used filter types out there. That’s probably because they are low-cost.
Their purpose is to remove sediments down to a size of 1 micron – and sometimes even smaller. And they can do so over and over again! Normally, sediment filters are made with polypropylene or pleated polyester that is washable.
Furthermore, sediment filters are often combined with activated carbon filtration.
Now Let’s Talk Prices!
Now let’s discuss the cost of a water filtration system depending on its type:
- Whole house filter systems can cost less than $100. This is the case if all you need to install is a simple sediment filter. Whole house water filters specialized for removing certain contaminants that are much more stubborn, one example is organic iron, can cost up to $3,000.
- Under sink water filters can be really affordable, starting at around $50 for one-stage filtration with activated carbon or a sediment filter. Multi-stage setups are more expensive but shouldn’t exceed $500.
- The cost for most countertop water filters ranges from $50 to $150. Of course, the more stages the filtration process has, the more expensive it will be.
- Reverse osmosis systems can cost as little as $50, too, but that’s rare and we wouldn’t recommend those units. The ones we consider suitable in terms of water taste improvement and filtration effectiveness are priced at around $200. Some higher priced units might even contain UV light treatment as mentioned above.
- Gravity filters are a bit more costly. A quick and efficient filtration system for your home costs around $150 to $400.
- Pitcher water filters are the most affordable. For as little as $20 you can get yourself a model that’s really good at removing any bad tastes from your water. Pitchers capable of catching the full range of contaminants cost a little bit more, around $70.
How to Choose the Most Suitable Water Filter System for Your Home
In summary, there are different types of water filter systems to choose from. Each has its own pros and cons. Some are as cheap as $20, while others require a much higher investment, especially when you are looking for a filter system for your entire home.
Regardless of which type you prefer, choose a filter model suited for your goals and water conditions. Some people only care about better taste. Others want to make sure their drinking water is completely disinfected. And you might be trying to protect your home appliances from harm.
The best advice we can give you is that the more you know about these systems, the more likely you will be able to tell which suits you best.