The Most Economical Home Water Filtration Systems

​Today, more and more consumers are concerned with the quality of the water that is delivered to their homes. Although federal and local governments set quality standards that are meant to ensure safe drinking water for everyone, informed consumers know that these safeguards are far from fool-proof: sadly, contaminants are found in municipal water supplies and wells every day.

In response to this concern, many Americans are opting to use some type of home water filtration system. Ranging from small pitchers that you store in your refrigerator to elaborate systems for the entire home, filtration systems are an economical alternative to bottled water and have the significant environmental advantage of generating virtually no waste.

Take a look at this brief overview and learn how a water filtration system can help you and your family enjoy safe, pleasant-tasting water with much less mess, bother and expense than you might think.

Pitchers with disposable filters

The most basic and most economical in terms of up-front costs, these pitchers use replaceable carbon filters to remove contaminants from the water when it comes out of the tap. Look for the blue National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) mark on the label, which indicates that the product meets minimum standards for the removal of contaminants such as chlorine, microbial cysts (for instance, giardia and cryptosporidium) and heavy metals such as arsenic and lead. Pitchers generally range in size from 2 cups to 12 cups and sell for about $12 to $50, which includes a filter. Filter life varies: most manufacturers recommend replacing them after 40 to 50 gallons of water or once every two to three months. Some models are equipped with an electronic sensor that warns you when a replacement is due.

Typically a good option for families who plan to filter only their drinking water, pitchers are easy-to-use, portable, and store easily in your refrigerator, so your drinking water is always cold. Bear in mind, however, that filters are somewhat costly, so estimate your family’s water use and consider life-time replacement costs before you buy.

Faucet-mount systems

Attached to the end of a standard water faucet, faucet-mount systems use carbon filtration to remove contaminants such as lead, chlorine and microbial cysts. Some brands remove trace amounts of pharmaceutical contaminants and industrial waste, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as well. Check the NSF label to see exactly what substances the model that you are considering removes.

Like pitchers, faucet-mount systems are economical, easy to use and easy to install. Each unit typically costs about $40 to $50, and the filter requires replacement only every four months. Unfortunately, most of these units are one-size-fits-all, so they do not work well on very old fixtures or customized faucets such as those with sprayers attached.

Faucet-mount systems work well for families who are concerned about the quality of their cooking water as well as the water they drink. They are also available for the shower, where they can be very helpful in decreasing skin irritation due to chlorine in people with skin issues such as eczema and psoriasis, young children or adults with sensitive skin.

Under-sink filtration

Although more expensive than faucet-mount systems, under-sink filtration is typically the best permanent solution for filtering drinking and cooking water in your home. Most models attach to your existing plumbing and include a separate faucet, so installation is a bit involved. On the other hand, the system is unobtrusive and nearly maintenance-free once installed. Most models only require a filter change every 600 to 1000 gallons, or about every 6 months.

Under-sink systems typically contain one or more high-quality filters that employ different technologies: the best models are between 97 percent and 99 percent effective in removing chlorine, mercury, arsenic and lead as well as VOCs and microbial cysts. (Note: Reverse osmosis systems do not remove VOCs) Ranging in cost from about $175 to $500, they are an economical choice for families who have significant issues with water quality and require high-quality filtration for their drinking and cooking water every day.

Refrigerator add-ons

Many modern refrigerators are equipped with an ice maker and water dispenser, but if yours is not, this is another easy and economical way to add filtered water to your home. Kits are available for about $100; they come with easy-to-follow directions and are very simple to install. What’s more, once in the appliance they provide you with ice and cold, filtered water on demand for many years to come.

Kinetico provides water filtration systems, water softeners, and more to residences and commercial properties.

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