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What are the Different Types of Water Filters?

Filtered water.
A whole house water filter removes contaminants from all water in a home.
Contaminated tap water.
Article Details
  • Written By: Kris Roudebush
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 April 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Taste is an important sense, signaling when there could be a problem. While most tap water is well purified at local water treatment plants, some contaminants may still find their way into your glass. Different seasons may also leave water with an unpleasant odor that can affect taste. It is for this reason, and others, that you may choose to invest in some water filters. You'll find a wide selection available -- from pitcher water filters, filters that attach to your faucet, to water filters installed in your plumbing. It's important to understand how they work to choose the right one for your family.

Charcoal-based water filters might just be the most common. These filters are also known as granular activated carbon filters. They're dependable, economical, and, if they carry a micron level of 1 or smaller, will filter out the majority of deadly contaminants such as cryptosporidium and Guardia. They're also effective in deodorizing water. Carbon water filters are less effective over time. Since carbon filters can collect unwanted contaminants and debris, as the debris deteriorates the taste of the water may change. It's important to change the filter regularly to prevent the build up of unpleasant odors.

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Ceramic water filters work much like charcoal-based water filters. Instead of charcoal or carbon, ceramic filters use what is called diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is a fossilized substance that is made up of the microscopic silicon shells of an algae called diatoms. Because of the presence of nano-silver in the shells, some ceramic water filters are rated at .22 microns. It is for this reason that ceramic water filters are considered safe from bacteria.

Reverse osmosis was originally developed for submarines and is a highly effect water filter. The biggest drawback is it they can be very slow. It is basically a separation process that uses pressure to push the water through a membrane, with contaminants are not able to pass through the membrane. Although this process was created for desalination, or removing salt from salt water, it has been used for nearly four decades in filtering fresh water.

Portable water filters are also widely available. Most portable water filters, which may be built into a reusable water bottle, are ceramic water filters. This is helpful for travelers who may not have access to other sources of clean water. Portable water filters need to be changed on a regular basis to maintain their effectiveness.

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