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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

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A complete guide to water filters for your organic living journey.

So, how much do you know about your water? Do you drink tap water? Filtered from the fridge? Bottled water only? I wanted to share with you a guide to water filter out there since there are so many different kinds. A couple weeks ago I began researching water. We learned a bit about the public water treatment process: dirty water goes in, clean water comes out. The purification process removes a lot of the contaminants including bacteria, parasites, dirt, lead, etc…but it doesn’t get everything out. In fact, tap water comes out with some leftover contaminants, extra fluoride, and a good bit of added chlorine. What comes out of your tap is pretty good (and compared to some parts of the world is down-right fabulous), but it is not 100% clean.

To clean your tap water even more, there are dozens of home filtration options. You can buy cheap ones for $10-20 or expensive purification systems for $500+. What are the differences between cheap and expensive filters? What kind of filter do you really need? Here is a quick-start guide to deciphering water filters.

Types of Water Filters

Filter

Removes

Doesn’t Remove

Notes

Activated Carbon or Carbon Filter

Chlorine, improves taste. Some carbon filters may also remove lead, asbestos, mercury, and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), check your filter for specific details.

Inorganic contaminants including arsenic, fluoride, chromium, perchlorate. Bacteria and cysts.

Two types: granulated carbon or carbon block. Granulated has less surface area and will be less effective than carbon block filters. The slower the filter, the more it’s working.

Ceramic

Cysts and dirt

Chemical contaminants such as chlorine, arsenic, fluoride, lead, mercury, VOC’s, etc.

Ion Exchange Resin

Various metals and other minerals, depends on type of resin used. May remove lead, cadmium, copper, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and mercury.

Chlorine, fluoride, VOC’s, arsenic, cysts, bacteria

Replace as recommended. Resin surfaces may encourage bacterial growth.

Reverse Osmosis

Removes arsenic and fluoride plus all contaminants other than chlorine.

Chlorine is not removed by reverse osmosis. However, most reverse osmosis filters also include a carbon block filter for removing chlorine. Check the filter specifications for details.

This filter uses 3 – 5 gallons of water to create one gallon of filtered water.

There are dozens of other water filtration options out there, and most will use some combination of these main technologies. This is by no means an exhaustive listing of every filtration option available, just a handy summary of the most common water filtration options.

What’s in My Refrigerator?

I get most of my drinking water from my refrigerator. Most refrigerators have built-in water filtration systems with cartridges that you replace (or are supposed to replace) every few months. What type of filter(s) are in your fridge? I looked up my built-in filter (Puresource2, $35 per refill) online and found that it:

“reduces cysts by 99.99%, particulates (class 1) by 98.5%, turbidity by 99.70%, lead by 99.30% particulates (class III) by 98.6%, mercury by 91%, reduces herbicides 1,4-D by 96%, alachlor by 98%, atraxine by 98%, pesticides lindane by 92%, toxaphene by 87.5%. Reduces chlorine taste and order as well as sediment.”

I couldn’t find any description about the type of filter technology it used. Since it removes chlorine, I can assume it has some type of carbon filter. I also assume it has some ion exchange filtration and some ceramic filtration. What’s in your fridge?

What type of filter do you need?

It depends what you want to filter out of your water and how much you want to invest.

BEST: Want totally pure, clean water? Reverse osmosis filters are as good as it gets. They will get everything out and also remove fluoride. The drawbacks? Reverse Osmosis filters are pricey (about $200-400), take up a lot of space, and must be professionally installed under the sink. However, replacement filters are comparable to fridge filter refills ($39) and are only replaced about once a year. A larger investment up front, but it is the best filtration option available.

BETTER: Want purified, clean water without professional installation? Look for a countertop or under the sink filtration system; they won’t purify as thoroughly as a reverse osmosis system but still remove a lot of contaminants.

-Some countertop systems are large capacity containers that you refill 1-2 times a day. Aided by gravity, they slowly filter your water through many different filters. The good? No plumbing changes and relatively portable for extended vacations or outdoor events. Drawbacks? A good system like the Berkey is a little pricey, about $260, and you will lose some countertop space.

-Other countertop systems connect to your plumbing, intercept the water, filter it, and dispense it through a separate faucet. The good? A relatively small footprint will fit in most kitchens. Drawbacks? The countertop placement may be an aesthetic and/or space issue. They will not attach to sprayer-style faucets. ($70-180)

Want to keep your sprayer-style faucet? Opt for an under the counter product, though these may require professional installation.

GOOD: Middle of the road? If you want better tasting, clean water but can’t commit to a more expensive system right now, try a faucet mounted carbon block filter ($20-50). The good? It attaches directly to your faucet, filtering any water before you use it. No wasted space. The drawbacks? Your faucet may run a little slower than before. The filter will not install onto sprayer-style faucets. Some customer reviews mentioned issues with leaks.

-Like the idea of a carbon block filter but don’t want to install a filter on your faucet? There are two carbon block filter pitchers on the market made by Clear2O ($25) or Shaklee ($60).

GOOD ENOUGH: Want a better tasting water and an affordable option? A granulated activated carbon filter will do the trick. You can buy granulated carbon filters like the Brita pitcher for less than $30. The drawbacks? Cartridges should be replaced every two months, and you’re only removing chlorine and a few other contaminants. The granulated carbon doesn’t clean as well as carbon block filters. Cartridges may encourage bacterial growth and must be replaced on time.

Shopping for Water Filters: My Thoughts

Personally, I like my water as clean as I can get it, and I’d love to get the fluoride out of my water. I want to install a reverse osmosis filter, but I don’t think its the right decision for us. The high cost, space concerns, and professional installation are all considerations. We’ll probably install one someday, but since a move is probably a few years away, it is not a good choice for us today. What are your thoughts?

During my research, I was really intrigued by the countertop systems like the Berkey. I like that it removes fluoride and many other contaminants and has no wasted water like the reverse osmosis systems. We could even pack it up to take camping if we wanted to. The price is still a little higher than I would like to spend, but I’ll continue to look into it.

Are you happy with your current water filtration system? Are you going to look into anything new? What is your biggest concern about your water? Any praises to sing about water filters you’ve tried?

Next week, we’re going to talk about the most marked up product around…bottled water! What are you paying for? Is it worth the price tag? Are some waters better than others?

This is part of an Organic Living Journey Guest Post Series now written by Mariana who has a mother’s heart and scientist’s brain.