Water Filters

By Amy Winter

March 25, 2011 5 min read

Water filtration is important to provide clean drinking water, but the process also can be considered eco-friendly. Consumers will reduce their need for bottled water while decreasing their discharge of detergents, soaps and other cleaning products. You can choose a water filtration system based on your needs, which depend on your home's location and source of water.

"People want to control their quality of water," says Eric Rosenthal, senior vice president of marketing at Culligan International. "They can do this with a drinking water system."

A whole-house filter is a filtration system designed to eliminate impurities in the different water entry points. If your water is supplied by a well, no water treatment occurs before water enters your home. Therefore, a whole-house filter is strongly recommended. This filtration system reduces the sediment, chlorine, iron, acid, sulfur and other contaminates that alter the taste, smell, look and feel of your water, according to Rosenthal. At every tap in the house, you will have clean and filtered water.

Seeing as whole-house filters can be expensive and aren't always necessary, consider purchasing a point-of-use filtration system. If your water is treated at a municipal water facility, point-of-use filters are probably more appropriate for your home water usage, according to FilterWater.com. Faucet filters, countertop water filters, refrigerator filters and shower filters are placed at a water's point of use, such as the kitchen sink, in order to supply clean drinking and cooking water.

Point-of-use filters utilize different purification methods. Built to screw onto a faucet, faucet filters contain a carbon filter that catches impurities, such as chlorine, as they exit the water faucet. FilterWater.com says that countertop filters, which connect by a hose to your faucet, use both a carbon filter and a reverse osmosis filter. A reverse osmosis water system gets rid of more impurities than a carbon filter because it dries pure water molecules as they travel through a semipermeable membrane, according to Rosenthal.

Water softeners are another option for going green in your home. When in the ground, water absorbs calcium and magnesium, which then dissolves into the water entering your house. Containing rock, "hard" water makes a home's water less efficient; soap and cleaning products don't clean as well, and shampoo doesn't work as effectively. Therefore, more detergent is needed when doing laundry, which leads to more money spent at the store, as well as an increased amount of detergent entering the environment.

With a medium that attracts the rock, a water softener eliminates the rock before it comes into contact with your home's appliances and devices. A white powder will collect around faucets, leaving water stains in tubs and sinks and buildup in pipes. According to Rosenthal, heating systems will become less effective by needing more energy to heat the hard water. The buildup and residue also can take a toll on appliances and decrease their durability. Rosenthal says shower heads will need to be replaced more often, and the hard water will leave scratches on dishes and glasses.

Water filtration systems also decrease the amount of water bottle waste. Water bottles not only become expensive for grocery shoppers because of transportation costs but also are environmentally unfriendly. The waste builds up in landfills. Monica Teague, senior public relations manager at Whirlpool Corp., cites a report by The Daily Green that says refrigerator water filters aid in preventing the disposal of up to 3,000 plastic water bottles per year, and on average, you can save more than $600. Usually, filters cost cents on each dollar of bottled water, according to Alex Lysov, a sales employee for FilterWater.com.

"When you treat your water, you can reduce dependence on bottled water, reduce discharge of soaps, detergents and cleaning products into the environment, and reduce the cost to heat water," Rosenthal says.

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