Drinking and enjoying the benefits of clean water is one of the essential needs we have as humans. Many people are unaware that water filtration in one form or another has been used since ancient times to improve the quality or domestic water. Today we have modern water filtration systems that are far more effective and can even be tailored to suit specific needs. In this basic primer on water filters, we will look at the different kinds of modern filtration systems and how they work. DSC08750

An Introduction to Water Filters: 

Certain types of water filtration systems, rely on the relationship between different technologies and others are more effective when used in isolation. Each method is effective at removing different kinds of contaminants, so it’s important to understand your individual needs to ensure that you get the right system. In fact, even filters using the same technology may vary in the kinds of contaminants they can remove, as an example: some carbon filter systems can remove chlorine and others cannot. If a filter is backed by third party certification, it ensures that it can remove a specific contaminant. Let’s take a closer look at some of the common water filter types that are available. 

Carbon Filters: 

There is some evidence to suggest that carbon was even used for water filtration in ancient Egypt. This is because carbon filtration can improve the taste of water and remove or reduce the level of contaminants, including pesticides and chlorine. Water is filtered through the carbon filter media to remove impurities through a chemical adsorption process. Adsorption is where a contaminant adheres to a solid and doesn’t permeate it. The contaminants are trapped on the surface of the activated carbon, and the now cleaned water is allowed to pass through. Activated carbon has been treated to give it a large surface area and make it highly porous. The two most common types of activated carbon are granular activated filters (GAC) and the even more effective block filters. 

Mechanical Filters: 

These filters remove particulates from the water by mechanical means. There are small holes in the surface of the filter, the water passes in, and any particles are trapped in a synthetic material. This material is usually nylon, and the cleaner water is then passed back out of the filter. The mechanical filter cannot remove any chemical contaminants when used alone, and it’s commonly used in aquariums to remove solid fish waste. 

Ion Exchange: 

In this system, the water passes over a resin composed of tiny beads, and the unwanted ions are trapped on the surface of the resin. The other ions are released, and this is where the ion exchange takes place. As an example: water rich in copper particles could have the copper ions replaced with sodium ions, thus removing the copper. 

Reverse Osmosis: 

This system uses pressure to force water through a semi permeable membrane. The surface of the membrane traps particles and then allows the cleaned water through. This could even be used to turn seawater into potable water by removing the salt. This system is often used in conjunction with other methods to create a more complex water filtration solution. 

If you are concerned about the quality of your water, contact a local water professional. They can advise you on the latest water treatment/water filtration and water softener systems that are available to improve your water quality. Always ensure that your chosen water specialist is fully WQA certified and they will meet or even exceed industry standards.

With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative.  Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices. EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery businesses in the state.