Home Health & Fitness Everything you need to know about home water filters

Everything you need to know about home water filters

There are different technologies to improve the quality of the water that comes out of the tap. In this guide, we make a comparison of the four types of filters.

There is widespread concern about the quality of drinking water. In the last 10 years, the consumption of bottled water has doubled in Spain. Meanwhile, the health authorities repeat over and over again that the water that reaches homes is completely safe as it complies with current regulations.

The message of calm also comes from academic experts, water distribution companies, and the main media, which tend to grant credibility to the aforementioned sources of information. It seems that citizens buy bottled water because they are victims of urban legends or because they are foodies who can’t stand a light and “harmless” aftertaste of chlorine.

Trihalomethanes, pesticides, and heavy metals contaminate drinking water 

However, from time to time news appears that warrants caution. Analyzes carried out by the Organization of Consumers and Users have repeatedly denounced that the water in important Spanish cities is not drinkable due to excess trihalomethanes, some volatile organic compounds that appear as a consequence of the reaction of the organic matter carried by the water with the Chlorine used in sewage treatment plants and which, as suspected, can promote bladder cancer and cause liver and kidney damage.

Trihalomethanes are not the only problem. The liquid that comes out of the treatment plants is not pure as it contains traces of pesticides (lindane, atrazine…), nitrates (a frequent problem in towns surrounded by pig or chicken farms, or intensive agriculture), heavy metals (aluminum, cadmium, arsenic, mercury…), antibiotics and even microorganisms such as cryptosporidium, which can cause illness in people with a weakened immune system, or the Helicobacter pylori bacterium, related to ulcers and stomach cancer.

Other contaminants are added as they pass through the distribution pipes. Those made of lead, a material used until 1980, release a metal that is poisonous to the central nervous system and can affect the intellectual development of children. People know or sense it and turn to bottled natural mineral waters. But these are not without problems. They can also suffer contamination from aquifers and can harbor substances released by plastic bottles. In addition, once they are empty, they are a major environmental problem.

On the other hand, bottled water is not cheap. That is why more and more people are considering the possibility of purifying the water that comes into their homes so that they can drink or at least cook with it. The problem is that there is no perfect filter, without drawbacks, and recommended for all types of water and needs.

It is convenient to know the type of water that arrives at home and know what we want to do with it

All the experts insist that when choosing a domestic system it is necessary to take into account at least three variables. One is the type of water that comes home. It is not the same to filter hard water, very rich in minerals, as soft water, or with more or fewer nitrates or chlorine. If you want to know approximately the characteristics of the water that is distributed in the area of ​​residence, you can request the results of the last control analysis carried out at the town hall. The law requires that these data be public.

Another variable is the consumer’s desire: do they want water to drink, wash, cook, or protect electrical appliances? And how much money are you willing to invest? The third factor to take into account is the purification system itself: each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore making a decision can be complex, and considering that all effective filters need maintenance, it is often a good idea to put yourself in the hands of a company specialized in domestic water treatment.

Some advice

 A very simple measure to remove chlorine is to leave the water in a wide-mouthed container uncovered overnight. It will evaporate. To make an infusion you can boil the water and wait for the chlorine to evaporate for about five minutes. 

 To prevent the consumption of bacteria and metals as far as possible, the water should be allowed to run in the morning and at night for five minutes before cooking and drinking. 

 For the same reason it is convenient not to use hot water for drinking or cooking, since it has a greater capacity to dissolve metals from the pipes.

 Spent filters contain contaminants. They must be returned to the supplier.

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