Advice on Buying and Installing a Home Drinking Water Filter or Water Treatment Device
Does your water look, taste, or smell funny? Does it leave greenish stains
in your toilet or sink? If so, you may want to consider a home water-treatment system. There are many types of devices available, so you must know a few things before making that investment.
1. First have your water tested by professionals, home testing kits are not very reliable. Do
not rely on companies that sell water-treatment units to do the testing, their results may be biased. Ask your water company, health department, or local cooperative extension to run the tests for you.
The type of system you choose depends on the problem you\’re having. The most common device
is a carbon filtration unit. Carbon filters are best for alleviating bad odors or taste from drinking water. They also remove small amounts of chlorine, pesticides, solvents, chloroform, and other organic compounds that are hazardous to your health.
Distillers are effective if you experience rust stains on your plumbing or your water is “salty”
tasting. They are also very effective in removing lead and inorganic salts. The draw back is that they are expensive to operate, they use a lot of electricity. However, they are cheaper to purchase than a reverse osmosis system.
Reverse osmosis is excellent at removing inorganic compounds such as dissolved salts, iron,
fluoride, nitrates, and heavy metals. This basically does the same thing as distillers, but they are slow and waste too much water. For every gallon of clean water you get, several gallons are wasted.
If you have problems with hard water, a water softener is what you may need. Water softeners
remove minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and dissolved iron. These are the culprits that are responsible for greenish stains on your porcelain or that slimy, soapy feeling when taking a shower. Water softeners consist of one or more tanks near the main water supply to your home. The cost is about $1000, installed.
Be wary of water softeners. They work by replacing the calcium or magnesium ions from the
hard water with sodium ions. So what you now have is sodium in your water which causes other problems that may be worst than calcium or magnesium. Too much sodium in your water can cause your pipes to rust prematurely and if you are on a low sodium diet, you won’t be able to drink this water. High sodium content can also severely dry out your skin. Think twice before spending $1000 on a water softening system. You may be better off just living
with hard water.