Some home water treatment systems are not worth the investment, regardless of the price. There are wonderful water treatment products for today's homeowner. You just have to know what to look for.
The really inexpensive home water treatment systems provide little protection from common impurities. On the flip-side, the most expensive purifiers are not necessarily the most effective. In some cases, they include steps that are unnecessary.
Before I get to what you need to look for in water treatment products, let me take a moment to mention something that you probably do not need; reverse osmosis or RO.
Reverse osmosis water treatment products for home-use were originally designed for those people who live in rural areas that have highly polluted sources, such as a river or lake. Of course, reverse osmosis was only one step that they needed to take. They also needed effective disinfection, pre-filtration and sometimes, depending on their source, chemical removal.
Home water treatment systems that could do all of those things cost in excess of $10,000. But, today, we see companies like GE and Ever-Pure that include a reverse osmosis step for less than a thousand dollars. What's the difference?
Those less expensive designs are for people with pre-treated waters. In other words, their market includes those of us who are serviced by a public provider; a utility or a public treatment facility, not a rural homeowner with multiple purification needs.
The truth of the matter is that people who have publicly treated waters do not need RO. Now, here's what you do need.
The EPA warns that parasitic cysts may be present in any supply and even in some bottle water brands. A cyst infection can kill certain at-risk individuals, but any of us can become ill by ingesting them.
You should filter anything that you drink, brush your teeth with or wash fresh fruits and vegetables with. You need to look for water treatment products that are certified to filter down to “one micron". The best purifiers filter down to .5 micron, just to be safe.
The Environmental Working Group recommends that anyone with chlorinated water should have home water treatment systems that include granular carbon or a carbon block. Research suggests that chlorine byproducts are even more hazardous.
Most water treatment products (PUR and Brita, for example) do not remove the chlorine byproducts. They must contain specific filtering material to remove them. Look for certified performance data and the listing “THMS removal" to be sure.
Then, there's lead. The metal was used for many years to line pipes and solder joints together. Chlorine eats away at the lead, allowing it to enter the supply and the household.
The best step for lead removal is called ion exchange. It's a complicated process, but, simply put, it “exchanges" ions of lead and other metals for ions of sodium and potassium. This step improves the pH level and the taste, as well.
Home water treatment systems that combine ion exchange with dual stage granular carbon and carbon blocks with a submicron porous structure will remove the widest range of contaminants, practically anything you can think of, at a reasonable price. That's what you should look for.
Laurel Tevolitz is a dedicated researcher of critical issues that affect health and well-being. Visit her water purification blog now at http://www.safewaterpurifier.com to discover which water purification system she recommends after extensive research.