Choosing a water filter for your home is no easy task. There are a lot of things that need to be present in the filter you choose in order to get of of all the unwanted nasties mentioned in 5 Important Reasons to Filter Your Water Part 1.
The top 5 things you should look for when purchasing a water filter:
- Reverse Osmosis: this is a water purification technology that uses a semi-permeable membrane to remove large, harmful molecules from your drinking water. It will remove nitrates, pesticides, sulfates, arsenic, chlorine, fluoride, some bacteria, and pharmaceuticals from the drinking water. Usually, the rate at which a filter will remove these particles will vary depending on the quality of the filter that you choose. You want to look for a filter that will remove at least 95% of these nasties from your water.
- Activated and Catalytic Carbon Filters: These filters, will filter out organic chemicals like herbicides, pesticides, volatile organic compounds, and methyl tert-butyl ether – this last one is a doosie of a chemical added to gasoline (and unfortunately it makes it to our drinking water supply).
- Sub-Micron Filtration: if you have a filter that has this feature, you will no longer be drinking harmful, disease-causing cystic organisms such as giardia and cryptosporidium, nor will you be drinking asbestos, which is a harmful, toxic mold that is a well-known cancer-causing agent.
- Ion Exchange: This is a process that removes heavy metals such as lead and mercury. It will also make the reverse osmosis process easier and more effective.
- Re-mineralization: because the filtration process in any good quality filter is going to be extensive, it will remove some of the good things in the water that we need for good health, like calcium, magnesium and potassium. If your filter has a remineralization feature, this means that it adds back some of the good guys that were removed during the cleansing process. This will make the water more alkaline too, which in itself has a host of health benefits.
Additionally, you should make sure that the unit doesn’t use harmful chemicals (like bleach) to filter the water.
Where else in the home should your water be filtered?
The answer: everywhere! Except maybe the toilet…
The next most important place to filter your water, other than what you drink, is your shower. Here’s why:
The truth is that our skin is extremely absorbant. Pretty much anything that goes on your skin is absorbed – from the flame retardant chemicals and dyes in your clothes, to the cancer causing parabens in your beauty products, to whatever is in the water that touches your skin.
We additionally breathe in anything that is present in our shower water via our lungs. Harmful chemicals are very easily breathed in, especially in a hot and steamy environment like a shower.
Shower filters are much less complicated than drinking water filters. A good quality shower filter should remove at least 90% of the chlorine present in water. Filtering out chlorine is the most important thing to consider here.
As an added bonus to improving your health, when you filter chlorine out of your shower water, your skin should feel smoother and less dry, your scalp will be healthier, and your hair will be stronger, softer, shinier, and will hold its colour more easily!
In a perfect world, all of the water that enters your home would be filtered. There are filters available for purchase that can be installed in your home at the street level. This way, it’s all is filtered – from the water used to wash your dishes and vegetables, to the water that you brush your teeth with and the water that you wash your clothes in. These units usually cost upwards of $1000, but are well worth the investment, and are referred to as point-of-entry units.
The products I use in my home to keep my family safe and healthy:
Drinking water: When I purchased my home last year, one of the first things that I did was install a point – of – use filter for my drinking water at my kitchen sink. The unit that I chose met all of the criteria that I outlined above, and the replacement filters were reasonably priced. Additionally, the filters only need to be changed twice per year, and the company that I purchased from will automatically ship them to me when it’s time.
Unfortunately, in all my searching I was not able to find a small fridge unit (like a Brita Filter that you fill up using the tap and put in the fridge) that met all of the above listed requirements. Going with an under-the-sink model was definitely the best choice. The only major drawback of this filter is the space that it takes up under the sink – it uses approximately ¼ of the space that I have under there. You can check it out here: Aquasana OPTIMH20
The shower: My shower filter is pretty straightforward! You can see it here: Aquasana Shower Filter