What are the Different Types of Tap Water Filtration?

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  • Written By: Jeri Sullivan
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 04 August 2019
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Tap water filtration is the process of removing impurities from drinking water. The methods for removing impurities can vary, but all types use a filter as part of the base process. The different types include carbon water filtration, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet radiation. Usage of each type depends upon the condition of the water that needs to be filtered and whether or not minerals are expected to remain in the filtered water.

Carbon water filtration is the most common form of tap water filtration process and uses carbon filters that are usually made from the husks of coconuts. It works by absorbing the impurities from the water as it goes through the filter and out the tap. Some carbon filters also have the added protection of nano-silver, which can kill over 600 different organisms. Carbon filters do not absorb minerals nor do they affect pH balances, so the taste of the water is not changed by using a carbon filter.

Another type of carbon filtration involves using activated charcoal in addition to the carbon in the filter. This form of filter is also called Chlorgon®, and includes the ability to kill many types of bacteria. This tap water filtration comes either as a block or loose, and usually requires filter changes about twice per year. Since the impurities gather in the filter, mold can build up, so checking the filter regularly reduces the potential for changes in the water's taste.


Reverse osmosis is the process of converting contaminated water, such as salt water, into drinking water. It works by pulling the water through a mesh filter where the contaminants remain on one side of the filter and the water moves to the other. The result is distilled water, which means there is nothing in the water, including minerals. Since minerals are needed to maintain a healthy balance in the body, this type of tap water filtration is not often used for everyday drinking. It is more commonly used for temporary use, such as on boats or submarines.

Ultraviolet radiation filtration uses a process where the water flows through a glass element. The water is exposed to a high frequency ultraviolet light, which kills any impurities. This sterilization is most often used in underdeveloped countries for areas were tourists are likely to visit such as hotels or restaurants. Sterilization is not common, so tap water filtration is required to prevent disease.



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