Thursday, December 29, 2016

The water you drink

Finding the Filter For You

In many homes, there is an unsung hero lurking in your fridge or on your faucet: the mighty water filter. We all assume these filters are doing their jobs and keeping our water clean, but are they? The team at recently spent six weeks analyzing 38 pitcher and faucet water filters to find which are most successful at removing contaminants and enhancing flavor. According to /, the best water filters are certified by a third party to remove most common pollutants, and are designed to make water safe — and satisfying — to drink.

They focused only on carbon pitcher and faucet-mounted filters since they are effective, have low up-front costs, and require little to no installation. In addition, each recommended filter is certified by third-party organizations to ensure that they really do what they claim on the packaging. Most brands have different models of their pitchers and faucet filters. With some brands, like Brita, the filters are exactly the same, but the pitcher is a different size, shape, or color. With other brands, like PUR, fancier products have fancier filters: an extra layer of minerals to add an even crisper taste. The evaluating team picked each brand’s flagship filter so they could compare the best against the best.

Ideally, a great water filter is one with long-lasting parts, that doesn’t leak from its top reservoir, and doesn’t feel flimsy or fragile. For faucet filters, sturdiness and signs of leakage are important, but they also took into account how easy they were to install and if they’d get in the way when washing a stack of dishes.

It’s also important to note that the up-front costs of a pitcher or faucet filter pale in comparison to the long-term costs of replacing those filters over and over and over: While faucet filters can remain effective for 100 to 200 gallons of water, most pitcher filters only last 40 gallons before they need to be replaced — and that’s only if you believe the marketing. If the owner of a typical water pitcher filter drank the recommended 12 cups of water per day and diligently replaced their pitcher filter every 40 gallons, they’d be buying about seven replacement filters per year. That number goes up the more people you have in your household, and up even more if you replace the filters more often than recommended.

Ultimately, the team at chose the Mavea Elemaris as their top pick for pitcher filter. It stood out for its thoughtful design, as well as Mavea’s filter recycling program. This pitcher has a plastic resin filter that works in conjunction with carbon, so it’s effective (without pre-soaking!) but not as eco-friendly. To compensate, you can drop your used filters off at a store, or stock up a sack of six, request a pre-paid shipping label, and mail them off to their second life.

For faucet filters, the PUR Ultimate Horizonal Water Filter was their top design. It has “one-click” installation technology — all you have to do is hold down a couple buttons on the side of the unit, press it up to your faucet, let go, and the faucet mounts nice and tight. It’s definitely bulky, but they offer a metal adapter attachment for customers who have any issues. As well as a 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee. It’s easy to install and filters out pretty much everything you’d want gone, so it’s worth a shot.

Here’s a fun fact for you: your carbon filter might very well be burnt coconut shells. The carbon material in your filter is oftentimes the burnt charcoal remains of a natural substance, like coconut shells. Carbon under a microscope looks like a big sponge, and that’s exactly how it functions during water filtration: It absorbs organic materials. When water passes through this carbon material — either by gravity (pitcher filters) or through water pressure (faucet filters) — pollutants are bound to the carbon, thereby keeping them away from your water.

At the end of the day, it’s easy to take water for granted — but it’s just as easy to use a filter and make sure your H2O is clean and tasty. Learn what contaminants are in your drinking water, and then find a filter with certifications to make sure it will do the job it claims to do.

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