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Faucet Filters - How effective are they really?

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Many people opt in to buying faucet filters, but do they really work? Well let’s look at the science of how faucet filters work.

Two of the most confusing aspects of water filtration systems are the terms filter and purifier. Many people interchangeably use these words, when they mean totally different things. Filters take out larger contaminants, and purifiers take out everything else out of the water. Faucet filters do not purify your water. Filters are designed to eliminate specific contaminants. So in order to know the right filter for you, you will need to get your water tested.

So how faucet filters work is the water will pass through a non-woven screen that is around the filter. The screen will trap sediment like sand and dirt. The filter permits water to pass while retaining most solid matters. The process of filtration is typically done repeatedly to ensure that unwanted particles are removed from the water. The method of filtering water through a granular bed is called a slow sand filtration. Once it goes through this screen the water then flows through a compressed block of activated carbon and zeolite. Activated carbon is popular because just a very small amount covers a very large surface area. For example a single gram of activated carbon can cover the surface area of four tennis courts. Activated carbon by itself is not designed to remove all disease-causing organisms. Something with that much surface coverage in a compact area allows all the granule carbons that have millions of little pores on the surface to absorb organic compounds and pollutants. These pores act like a sponge and remove, heavy metals and other organic compounds that give water a bad taste and odor.

For these systems, the slower the water flows through the activated carbon, the more contact time carbon has with water and the more chemicals can be removed. Consider your level of patience and how much your water usage is for a day. These faucet filters remove contaminants over 5-10 microns in size, so these are more of particle filters if anything. Unfortunately these systems are quick flows so they usually only improve water quality by 10 -20%.


Since the faucet filters are so small, they can treat only 100 gallons of water before they have to be replaced. So for example if a household uses 3 gallons of water a day for anything from coffee to ice you would need a filter every month, maybe even sooner! All filtering systems work the same way. Filters can become clogged and no longer are effective. The cost of replacing these filters varies by filter type and model. Filters can range from $32 to around $180.

For any additional questions please feel free to give 602abcWater a call!

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