Water is essential for all life. To ensure proper hydration, and adult should drink about 11 to 15 cups of water per day. What if the water that you’re drinking is actually harmful to your health? Even in countries like the US, where water is tested and treated, contaminants can be a health issue.
Local authorities are tasked with responsibility of providing clean, safe drinking water to the communities that they serve. However, there are instances where this is not possible. Sometimes municipalities neglect to their duty to provide this essential basic service. It could be that the very chemicals used to purify the water (like chlorine) may have undesirable effects.
With all the regulations that exist, we still see disturbing reports of water contamination in the news. Lead, dangerous chemicals (like PFAS), and even pathogens that can cause fatal illnesses have been found in water supplies throughout the US.
Not only do you want water that is safe, you also want it to taste good and look appealing. Elements, like Sulphur have a nasty odor, making the water unpleasant to drink. Sediment and minerals can discolor the water and leave stains on your dishes, tiles, and bathroom fixtures. It can even damage your plumbing, leading to costly repairs.
Potential Risks in the Water Supply
Poor water quality can lead to health problems, reduce the efficacy of detergents, and cause damage. Let’s investigate which contaminants are common in city and well water supplies.
Sediments like dirt and rust are quite common in many areas. Aging infrastructure and damage to water pipes can cause dirt to find its way into the water supply system. This can make the water look cloudy, making it unappealing to drink.
Excessive sediment can affect the functioning of appliances like dishwashers, coffee machines, and washing machines. It can also accumulate in water heaters, making them less efficient, ultimately costing you money through higher electricity bills.
A basic sediment filter is usually the first stage of any home water filtration system. These filters remove dirt and rust from the water. This protects all other filters and your pipes from blockages, as well as improve the appearance of your water.
Lead is highly toxic and can be found in old water pipes.
Thanks to rigorous water testing, waterborne pathogens are not common in the US. However, the possibility exists that harmful bacteria like E-Coli can find their way into any water supply. If you rely on water from a well or stream, it is not monitored or treated by a local authority, increasing the risk of bacteria and viruses in the water.
Toxic chemicals used in factories, mining, and agriculture often end up in ground and surface water supplies. Throughout the world, there is a growing concern that chemicals, like pesticides, herbicides, industrial solvents, and PFAS are causing serious health conditions. Common health problems associated with chemical contamination of water supplies include:
Fluoride and Chlorine
Many municipal authorities use chlorine to kill bacteria in order to ensure that the water is safe to drink. It has a strong odor and will also affect the taste of your water. While the amount of chlorine used to sanitize water is monitored, too much of it can be a health risk.
In the early 20th century, medical scientists discovered the value of fluoride in ensuring healthy teeth. As a result, adding fluoride to city water became a common practice. Since all modern toothpastes now contain fluoride, this practice is no longer necessary. However, some water authorities still add fluoride to the water they supply. Too much fluoride in the human body causes unwanted health complications.
Is a Water Filter Essential in Your Home?
Most of us would have noticed some of the contaminants that have mentioned above in the water supplied to our homes. It is likely that you could have contaminants in your water that you are unaware of.
Considering the extent of water contamination in the US, whole house and under sink water filters have become common. Countertop and pitcher filters are also popular, especially in apartments and rented homes. In many areas, this is a necessity as there is a genuine risk that contaminated water could be detrimental to your health. For others, filters could simply be used to improve the taste and color of the water.
Large parts of the US are hard water areas, making a water softener an essential part of the water filtration for homes in these areas. A home water filtration system can be customized to meet the requirements of the user. A whole house descaler or water softener can be installed independently or as part of a comprehensive water filtration system.
Generally, a reverse osmosis (RO) water filtration system is considered the most effective way of supplying clean, safe water to your home. An RO membrane removes particles as small as 0.5 microns, which is effective for more than 90% of all contaminants found in tap water.
Additional filters can used to remove sediment, chemicals, and bacteria. The amount of filtration stages can range from a basic three stage system (sediment, RO, and carbon filter) to a highly advance system with as many as 10-stages which would include multiple types of active carbon filters, ion exchange filters, water softeners, remineralizers, and UV or silver filters to kill bacteria and viruses.
If you are unsure about the safety of the water in your home, having it tested will set your mind at ease. This way, you can accurately determine which contaminants are a danger to you and what type of filtration system would be the best solution for your home. In the end, the right water filter will improve the health of your family and offer wonderful peace of mind.