Water filters are available in a huge and sometimes confusing range of types and prices. The technical terms used are sometimes confusing and before making a major purchase you should satisfy yourself that the water filter has a large enough capacity to handle all your drinking water needs.
Residential Water Filters vary from simple jug or bottle filters with a basic charcoal filter up to serious water processing filters that will produce crystal clear water of far higher quality than municipal tap water.
Cost is a major factor of course but there are some outstanding bargains in residential water filters.
Remembering your budget, think about how much you spend every week on bottled water. Bottled water comes in either 2 litre or 5 litre plastic bottles and according to which plastic the bottler uses can have a strong taste from the plastic material. Many brands of bottled water are just bottled tap water. Municipal tap water normally contains various chemicals and possibly micro-organisms
The average family drinks from 30 to 40 litres of water every week and that works out at over $1500 a year! That is for basic supermarket bottled water â?" Fancy imported water would double or treble that cost. That would buy a pretty fancy tapwater filter.
Jug type water filters - commonly the Brita is the most popular and is a good choice as it comes with a good filter cartridge. It is possible to use cheaper supermarket cartridges but these often leave an after taste and do not last as long. There is a counter top model which uses the same Brita filter and has a larger reservoir for filtered water/Filters last around 2 months. Most jug type filters are designed to fit into a refrigerator door. Lids on this type of filter are sometimes fragile.
Cartridges are widely available.
Refrigerator Filters - these are plumbed into a refrigerator.This is an easy to use filter that needs to be change every 6 months. Main advantage is that cold drinking water is always available on tap
Under sink water filters. These are plumbed in to your kitchen faucet and provide clean water on tap. They have the disadvantage of not removing micro-organisms. Should be changed every 2 or 3 months, Cost around $30 for new cartridge. Some units have a charcoal and a ceramic cartridge and the charcoal cartridge needs changing regularly. The Ceramic cartridge needs cleaning and can normally be reused.
Multi stage filters. These are usually a multi part filter system which may have three different filters. These are usually pumped systems so they need an electricity supply. First is a sand or gravel filter that removes organic matter (peat etc) next is a charcoal filter which cleans larger particles and is followed by a ceramic filter that filters out many micro-organisms. A refinement to this type of filter is a UV (Ultra Violet) filter that kills microbiological creatures like Giardia and Cryptosporidium which are the two main causes of stomach upsets from the water supply. Multi stage filters are basically similar to the filters used to filter water in aquariums for tropical fish but are on a larger scale. They can also be fitted as under counter units.
A further advanced filter is called the reverse osmosis filter. Although this filter produces excellent quality water, but the process is rather slow and can take a time to process enough for a large family.