Archive for April, 2010

Basic Functions of a Water Filter Cartridge

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

 A water filter cartridge is the central part of the water filtration system which controls the type of water which the system will produce. The water filtration unit houses this cartridge and connects the water filter cartridges with each other.

 A water filter cartridge is central to the smooth operation of the water filtration system. It is that part of the system where the purification actually takes place. Thus, it is crucial to understand how this works in order to determine the effectiveness of the filter you would choose to use. Although there is no perfect water filter which can totally remove all the contaminants in your water, a combination of several types of water filter cartridges may be able to come up only short with this.

 One type of water filter cartridge is the sediment cartridge. It has the ability to remove fine particle such as sand, mud, asbestos, silt, and turbidity from the water. Because of this, these products are normally rated based on the type and size of the particles they can remove. The smaller the micron (a thousandth of a millimeter), the smaller the size of the particle it can filter out.

 Sediment water filter cartridge are normally made up of pleated polyesters, cellulose fibers or other porous ceramic materials. These materials are very cheap compared to the materials used with other cartridges and it is where sediment cartridges got its other name of low-cost infiltration cartridges. Usually, care for these cartridges involves washing them often. But this is not possible in some brands, that is why replacement is the only option.

 Another type of water filter cartridge is the carbon cartridges. They are generally composed of activated carbon or carbon fiber block which are used to de-chlorinate water and remove trihalomethanes, lead, endrin, herbicides/pesticides, radon and toluene in the water. Compared to the sediment cartridges, carbon cartridges remove finer particles and helps clarify the water and removes the accumulated taste in it. Unfortunately, there is no way to clean this type of cartridges. Thus, replacement is the sole option but it can last longer than sediment ones.

 Carbon cartridges are also generally more expensive than sediment water filter cartridges. However, they are tried and tested to be more effective in water purification. This is because of the more porous materials used on them and the more recent technology they employ.

 Since the best water filtration systems involve two stages of purification, a combination of these two water filter cartridge would work best. The first step usually involves the use of the sediment cartridge wherein slightly larger particles are removed. The second step, meanwhile, is the use of activated carbon cartridges which removes the finer particles.

 Water filter cartridges are available in a large number of hardware stores and water supplies store. Their cost varies according to the model of the filter you are using and the capacity. They may seem costly. But the benefits and the advantages that go with it are priceless.


5 Ugly Lies About Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Systems, Uncovered

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

If you’re like me, you’re probably pretty weary of salesmen.  They would lie and cheat just to get you to purchase their products.  People that sell home water purifiers are one in the same.  The example that really comes to mind here are companies that sell reverse osmosis systems.  Sure, having a reverse osmosis water treatment system is better than having no water treatment system at all but there are far better options out there.  Here are 5 ugly lies to watch out for so you understand why reverse osmosis systems are mediocre at best.

   1. Reverse osmosis water treatment systems are inexpensive.   Using a reverse osmosis system may be cheaper than drinking bottled water but it is by no means inexpensive.  Reverse osmosis costs 18 to 24 cents per gallon.  In contrast, carbon filtration systems cost less than 10 cents per gallon.  Which would you choose?

   2. A reverse osmosis water treatment system removes all contaminants.  Reverse osmosis systems are not capable of removing synthetic chemicals.  It helps to understand how they work in order to see why that is.  During reverse osmosis, water is exposed to a porous membrane under pressure.  Contaminants such as minerals and organic chemicals, which are molecularly larger than water, are caught by the membrane.  Synthetic chemicals are molecularly smaller than the membrane so they pass through.  For that reason, reverse osmosis systems must be used in conjunction with a carbon filter.  Why not just use a carbon filter in the first place?  Carbon filters remove both organic and synthetic chemicals.

   3. Reverse osmosis water treatment systems are convenient and easy to use.  In comparison to other water treatment systems like carbon filtration, reverse osmosis systems are high-maintenance and complicated.  Reverse osmosis systems require adequate water pressure and a diaphragmed storage tank and as such as very high-maintenance.  They are also difficult to install.  Carbon filters on the other hand can be installed in a matter of minutes without the help of a plumber.

   4. A reverse osmosis water treatment system produces healthy, pure water.  Having a reverse osmosis system is better than having no water treatment system at all but the water it produces actually isn’t that healthy.  The problem with reverse osmosis systems is that they produce de-mineralized water.  Studies show that in order to maintain good health, we must drink water that contains natural trace minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium.  Drinking de-mineralized water can lead to multiple mineral deficiencies and an increased risk for cancer.  Comparatively, carbon filtration systems remove all the bad stuff while leaving in the good stuff.

   5. Reverse osmosis water treatment systems are efficient.  The truth is that reverse osmosis systems are wasteful.  They waste 2 to 3 gallons for every gallon of clean water they produce.  They are also notorious for being slow because they produce less than a gallon of water per hour.  Carbon filtration systems can produce up to 30 gallons of water per hour without wasting a single drop.

Now that you are armed with this information, make your decision wisely and carefully.  There are many water filters out there to choose from but when you consider cost, effectiveness, efficiency, and convenience, a reverse osmosis water treatment system simply isn’t a good choice.  Carbon filtration systems are the best option available when it comes to home water filters.  So get out there and find a carbon filtration system for your home if you want the best water filter money can buy. 


Your Old Water Filter May Be Making You Sick!

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

If you can’t remember the last time you put in a new water filter, chances are it’s time for a new one. Most manufacturers recommend that you change the water filter in your refrigerator every six months, but it really does depend on how frequently it is used and what it is filtering out of your water.

Most water filtration systems use some type of carbon substance because carbon has the potential to absorb many of the chemicals found in water. With the recent development of solid carbon block filter, the water takes longer to strain and provides more time for the carbon to absorb bacteria, pesticides and other contaminating substances that can cause illness. Failure to change these carbon block filters at the manufacturers recommendations can compromise the absorption of harmful substances and forcing them into your drinking water.

Your refrigerator may have a fiber filter. Fiber water filters are made of tightly wrapped fibers of rayon or spun cellulose which trap rust, lead and other sediments found in water. Replacing your filter every six months will avoid a build-up of sediments that slow the filter and stop it from filtering effectively.

Changing your water filter is very easy and all filters come with easy to install instructions. Most filters can be removed by making a 1/4 turn to the left to unlock the filter and then pulling it out of the housing. Replacing the filter simply requires you to insert a new filter into the housing and make a 1/4 turn to the right.

Most replacement filters are inexpensive, shop around online for the best deals. Put a sticker with the next replacement date right on the water filter before replacing it and you won’t forget when it need s to be done. Replacing your water filter will ensure that it properly filters your water and keeps it safe for you and your family to drink.

Tommy Thompson

Camping Water Filters…a Vital Necessity!

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Imagine you are hiking through some of the lushest and most beautiful virgin forests in the middle of nowhere. The air is fresh and everything feels so pristine and perfect. You are thirsty and a small stream with clear fresh water is running in front of you. Naturally you feel the need to drink from that water source; however doing so will be ill advised. Most people think that just because water is from a natural source, is clear and tastes “natural” that means that drinking it will be fine. This is a terrible mistake and would expose you to unnecessary risk. Don’t drink untreated water in the wilderness!

For most people, getting a drink of water is just a matter of walking a few feet, turning on the faucet and drinking up. However in the camping or hiking scenario the normally simple task becomes a bit more laborious. Usually the safest option when you are out in the wilderness is to simply bring your own treated water. However, if you are going for an overnight hike or camp-out this simply won’t be an option as you can’t bring the amount required, the only option will be to treat water that you can source from the hiking or trekking area.

Potential Contaminants
Water taken from natural sources such as lakes, river, streams and ponds may look clean and have no undesirable odor or taste. However pathogens found in water are not only harmful, but are also invisible to the naked eye and may be odorless or tasteless. The pathogens in question are bacteria, viruses and protozoa which can cause mild nausea and fever or can develop into more serious illnesses such as severe diarrhea, hepatitis or typhoid fever. Water from lakes, rivers, streams and ponds should always be disinfected and treated before being used of cooking or drinking.

These pathogens may seem out of place in such pristine environments but rotting or fecal matter in the water harbors these pathogens. This means that there is a chance that some animal has either died or excreted body wastes in the natural water source or there could be some contaminated water run-off from a source upstream which would render the water source unknowingly unusable.

Besides pathogens, sediments from mud, soil or sand may also render natural sources of water unusable. The general practice before the advent of portable water filters is to collect the water and let it sit in a bowl of some sort to let the sediments collect at the bottom then pour the remaining water on the top to another receptacle for consumption. This can normally be a very time consuming process and in emergency situation might not be very practical, especially since the water still isn’t fit for consumption, pathogens as discussed earlier may still reside in the water and thus still has to be treated before consumption.

On a more alarming note, the U.S Geological Survey reports that in North American wilderness waters, there are trace amounts of organic chemicals, pesticides, solvents, gasoline compounds, refrigerant and fumigants in the supposedly pristine wilderness waters. The good news is that the levels of chemical concentrations are very low but is an early warning that human activity is having an effect on regional surface-water quality even in remote areas.

Water Treatment Devices for Campers/Hikers
Water treatment devices can generally be divided into two groups following their functions. The first group are water treatment devices to improve the overall taste, smell and appearance of water or to remove undesirable chemicals or minerals, these types of water filters are not as essential to the camper/hiker thus we will not discuss them there. The next group is water treatment devices designed to disinfect water which we will discuss here since the biggest risk for hikers or campers is ingesting water with active pathogens which will cause illness.

Chlorinators, Iodinators and Ultraviolet Light (UV)
These are generally the most practical mean to disinfect larger volumes of water that might be needed for drinking purposes of a large camp site. Chlorine and iodine kills most disease-causing organisms and require short to moderate contact times with the water before taking effect. Chlorine is used widely in municipally treated water and has virtually eliminated waterborne infectious diseases such as typhoid and cholera in urban areas.

However, chlorine and iodine treatment alone will not eliminate all pathogens, protozoa such as Giardia Lamblia and Cryptosporidium Parvum will not be killed with just chlorination. If protozoa are present or suspected, then it is recommended that the water be passed through a water filter with a 0.1 micro-meters or smaller pore size to remove these harmful parasites then treated with chlorine or iodine before consumption.

Iodine is another alternative to disinfecting water, however should be reserved for occasional or emergency use only. Iodine should not be used as a long term solution for disinfection because iodine is physiologically active thus ingesting large amounts over a long period can also be harmful.

Both chlorine and iodine are effective at killing pathogens however research has indicated that long term chlorine usage is dangerous and can be linked to cancer and also brain damage, it is thus advised that these treatment agents be used as a last resort where other water treatment options have been exhausted.

Ultra-violet devices are also effective against bacteria, viruses and protozoa. You don’t have to add anything to the water thus the treated water has no taste or odor, additionally only a few seconds of expose is necessary if the water is clear. This system however is rather expensive compared to the other types of water filters and also doesn’t guarantee the quality of the water beyond the point of use. Basically, once you apply the UV light, you should drink it immediately, it isn’t a long-term solution where you can store the water in a receptacle for future consumption.

Ceramic or Glass Fiber Filters
These types of filters normally come in a canister form for use in camping or hiking situations. They treat smaller amounts of water, suitable for camping with few people or when the water needs aren’t very high. These types of filters can remove most bacteria and protozoa from mildly contaminated water and are normally sufficient for the average camper/hiker’s needs. When presented with heavily contaminated waters, it is recommended that these filters be used in conjunction with the above mentioned chlorinators, iodinators and ultraviolet lights to get a broad spectrum of disinfection and treatment.

There are also portable glass fiber/ceramic filters with iodine-releasing resins designed specifically for campers or travelers to countries where drinking water quality is questionable. Some of these iodine-releasing portable filters also have activated carbon filters to remove excess iodine from the water.

Generally, these types of filters are the most practical when it comes to hiking or camping because of their easy of use and portability. If the camper of hiker is looking to clean the natural water that isn’t overly contaminated, using these types of filters is recommended above the rest of the treatment options.

Distillers and Ozonators
These are point-of-use devices that are suitable where electric power isn’t available such as during a hiking or camping trip. The distillation water filters are effective for the removal of inorganic chemicals including heavy metals and selected organic chemicals. They are often combined with activated carbon for the removal of certain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) such as trihalomethanes and tetrachloroethylene. It should be noted that distilled water is demineralized, there have been quarters that say drinking demineralized water for extended periods will cause illness however there has been no research to prove or disprove this theory.

Ozonators produce small quantities of ozone which is a very strong oxidizing agent that is effective in killing pathogens over a short period of time. Ozonation produces no taste or odor in the water. Unlike chlorine and iodine, ozone does not protect water after the application (however is safer based on research) and is normally combined with activated carbon filtration to achieve a more complete water treatment solution.

These type of filters are normally used in conjunction with ceramic or glass fiber filters when a much broader spectrum of contaminants is present in the water. Generally these types of filters are bulkier, take longer to filter and should only be used where water is known to be contaminated with these toxic chemicals. Under normal circumstances, such a high level of filtrations isn’t necessary.

To conclude, the main objective of campers when it comes to their water needs is to ensure that water consumed is free from harmful pathogens, chemicals and toxins so that they don’t get ill on their trip. As such, water filters which provide the most balanced filtration needs for the camper/hiker would be ceramic or glass fiber water filters, again assuming that the water isn’t overly contaminated.

Ryan Parker

When To Use Replacement Water Filter Cartridges

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Many under the sink water purification systems have replacement water filter cartridges which need to be changed every 600 to 1200 gallons; unless there is a gallon-o-meter attached to the average person’s faucet, the number of gallons used could be somewhat difficult to determine.

One simple way to decide if it is time to use a replacement water filter is if the sink begins to loose water pressure; the sink will loose water pressure because the filter is clogged with dirt or other sediments. Depending on the microns the filter is able to keep out of the water some units may be washed out and reused for a time; usually if a filter stops less than 5 microns from escaping the filter, rinsing out the filter is useless.

A good rule of thumb is that an average household will use about 600 gallons of water per month from their kitchen sink for drinking, cooking, and cleaning; using the replacement water filter before the water actually starts to taste or smell bad is a good idea, however waiting until there are signs that the filter is loosing effectiveness is a good idea to prevent waste.

Whole House Units

Whole house water purification systems are the most practical for homes with hard water or contaminates which irritate the skin because impurities such as lead take a time to dispel with most whole house units and are treated more effectively using point of use or under the sink units.

Using replacement filters for whole house units is very similar to using replacement water filters for countertop/ under the sink units; the difference will usually lie in the amount of microns it filters. Whole house units in general allow more contaminates to pass to provide adequate water pressure for the entire home; as a result many of these replacement water filters can be rinsed out to prolong their usefulness.

Lessening water pressure is a good sign that the whole house water filer cartridge needs to be replaced; though these types can be rinsed out, it is a good idea to only rinse them one time before using a replacement water filter cartridge.

Also if a peculiar smell or taste returns to the water a replacement water filter cartridge is also necessary; most water filter cartridges will last for three or four months in whole house water filtration units.

Ann Marier

Is a Reverse Osmosis System for Your Home?

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Companies that sell reverse osmosis systems (RO) make some pretty far out claims.  Some say that RO will remove almost 100% of the bad elements (contaminants) from tap water.

The  fact of truth is that reverse osmosis can not remove chemicals such as chlorine, drugs and other chemicals from your home water system.

What reverse osmosis systems can do is remove, actually block, particles that are heavier than water.  What this means is things that are composed of molecules that are bigger than in water. Sticks, stones, dirt, tree brances, etc.

Blocking large objects or particles that come from a river, lake or stream is what RO can do.  That is good but that step by itself leaves the water still contaminated with other dangerous things.  Things like bacteria, chlorine and drugs.

Logically, then some sort of disinfection method must be in the water filtration process.  If it isn’t, then illnesses such as gastrointestinal upset can occur.  Did we really have the flu or was it something we drank?

In a nutshell, home reverse osmosis systems are incomplete and lack adequate protection from water contaminants that can cause dangerous sicknesses that are sometimes even fatal.

Not only is reverse osmois systems not the answer for home water purification, they are expensive and very wasteful.  The real good units produce one gallon of filtered water and waste 5 gallons doing it.

In addition the wasted water usually ends up back in the environment which may be a pollutant to groundwater.

Another reason not to use reverse osmosis in your home is that it removes beneficial minerals that we need for good health.  We don’t need the chemicals it leaves in.

Removing minerals from water is fine if you use the water for film processing and printing applications.  Also it is good for desalinizing  ocean water  but not for home tap water.

So if reverse osmosis systems are not good for home use then what is?

Here’s what every home should have

A water filtration system that removes chlorine and all dangerous contaminants found in public water systems. 

We all should have a filter on our shower. Because your skin absorbs the chlorine and you breathe the chlorine vapor when you use hot water.  (Who takes a cold shower?)

Your kitchen faucet needs a filter that removes chlorine,  bacteria, drugs and many other health threatening contaminants found in our water supply.

The best advice is to have a whole house water filtration installed.  The whole house water filter will not only benefit you in the shower and in the kitchen , it will remove the bad water particles from your clothes.

My advice is: “Don’t drink the Water” unless it has been properly filtered.  – Larry L. Taylor


Larry L. Taylor

Essential Tips About Your Refrigerator Water Filter

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Refrigerators preserves our food fresh and crisp until we are ready to consume it as well as it provides us with ice and cold water which is essential in the summer but not only. The water that flows freely from the tap is contaminated with different types of bacteria, chemicals, minerals and pesticides due to which reason all refrigerators that produce ice and provide cold water will also have a refrigerator water filter system.

The Life Span Of the Refrigerator Water Filter

The life span of your refrigerator water filter depends mostly on how much it is used and in the amount of contaminants found in the water. Most refrigerators that have these features will also have guide lines on when you should change the refrigerator water filter, which should not be more then six months at a time even if the use is minimal.

Most refrigerator water filters use the charcoal systems because they are the most powerful and guarantee to remove approximately 95% of the contaminants found in water at all time; the filter wears out in approximately six months with the amount o bacteria present in the water and can leak if not replaced.

Shopping For Refrigerator Water Filters

Every fridge brand is designed differently therefore it is suggested you look for refrigerator water filters at designated authorized dealers for the brand of your fridge. Always read the instruction carefully on how to change the filters and if you have heavy usage of water and ice keep an eye on the filter and change it as often as required.

Clean Water Ensured A Healthy Lifestyle

A variety of diseases can derive from water some of which can be fatal to weaker immune systems such as are those of infants or elderly folks therefore water filters should be considered not only for the refrigerator but also for the tap that you use otherwise for drinking purposes. Cooking usually does not need filtered water as through the boiling process it kills all available bacteria.

Water filters are also used for showering to ensure healthy skin and you can attach them locally at the shower head or you can get water filters for the entire house and then use it whenever you need. Releasing clan water back in the environment will be yet another in build benefit that you can take credit and enjoy when you are using water filter system.

Ann Marier

Choosing A Water Filter For Travel

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

When people travel abroad whether it is for a holiday or for business, many will pack the usual items such as toiletries and clothing. Some even purchase travel insurance. Most, though, never plan what they’ll be eating or drinking when they travel. Knowing what you’ll be eating or drinking, however, is probably more important than the clothes you’ll be bringing along. If you have ever gotten food poisoning, you’ll know what an inconvenience it is and how costly it can be. No one would enjoy being hospitalized in a foreign country during their holiday or business trip.

You may be able to avoid food poisoning by ensuring that the establishment you patronize is clean and hygienic. To further guard against it, avoid uncooked or partially cooked meals altogether. So that covers the food. What about the drink? Do you know what is in the water you drink? Many people incorrectly assume that tap water is safe to drink and is clean, clear, pure, and safe. Scientific and environmental studies have shown otherwise. Even if the water from a water source appears to be clear, clean, and safe to drink, consuming water from unknown sources or in countries where potable water cannot be taken for granted could be hazardous to your health.

The potential for harmful chemicals (mercury, lead, arsenic, etc), bacteria, fungi, parasites, rust and other contaminants residing in water is growing worldwide. The kind of fresh uncontaminated water available a hundred years ago is harder and more expensive to obtain due to industrialization and a growing population. If the proper precautions aren’t taken to treat the water, drinking contaminated water can cause severe illness or disease, even death.

That’s where water filters come in. Water filters and water filtration systems have become a popular solution lately for tap water. The right filter will not only treat bad tasting tap water but will also treat contaminated water.

People take a variety of actions to treat the water they drink at home. They may:

- Install faucet filters, sink filters or a complete home water filtration system
- Pour the water through pitchers with a canister filtration systems such as Brita before drinking

All these may work well for drinkable water in developed countries where water from the tap is for the most part, safe to drink. Depending on where you go, whether you are camping or in a foreign country, taking the necessary precautions to treat your water prior to drinking is highly recommended. Boiling water does not remove the contaminants within. A portable water filter comes in very handy for such cases. For the mobile warrior, a water bottle with a built in water filtration system may do just the trick.

Not all water filters, however, are created equal. Would you trust your life as well as your loved ones with just any water filter to get the emergency water you need? Consider this, if you had to go so far as to obtain water from an unknown river or source, would the water be drinkable after water treatment? With so many water filters available, how do you know what’s best? Here are some things to consider:

- What companies or organizations endorse or use the product
- What independent studies or tests has the water company done to demonstrate the ability of their water purifier to remove contaminants
- What government bodies have approved the treatment methods
- What strict quality guidelines do they follow in the manufacture of these water purifiers
- How does the purified water taste after treatment
- How many specific contaminants does it remove
- What bacteria or fungi can it remove

All these are important questions to answer. Be sure to look closely at their product specifications. So, before you go on any trip to a foreign country, remember to pack along with you a proven water treatment system all contained within the convenience of a water bottle.

Arlen Fisher