Disposable Filters vs. Professional grade Water Refiner Technology


A Brief History on Water Treatment 

Throughout history, water has been recognized as having the potential to carry illnesses. Even before the discovery of bacteria, many cultures treated their water to reduce the risk of epidemics or illness. However, as municipal water treatment systems were established, the introduction of chemicals such as chlorine has compromised the taste and texture of drinking water.Disposable Filters vs. Professional grade Water Refiner Technology

In the late 20th Century, consumers started becoming concerned about the potential contaminants contained in their drinking water. This led to two new product categories: disposable water filter jugs and installed water refiner technology. Those interested in purifying their drinking water, may  be somewhat confused as to the merits of each technology and which is best suited for their home.

The Filter Jug:

In 1966 the German company Brita, was founded by Heinz Hankammer. The name Brita has become synonymous with the water filter jug around the world and this product is sold across thousands of stores in the US. The original Hankammer invention was designed to desalinize water, but Brita quickly recognized the huge economic potential of allowing consumers to improve the taste of their water supply at home. In 1970 the company released their first model of filter jug to allow individual consumers to have control over the quality of their drinking water.  The jug was specifically marketed for domestic household consumers.

Over the past three decades, a great many marketers and manufacturers’ have taken their cues from Brita, jumping on the Filter Jug bandwagon and allowing drinking water to be filtered at the kitchen tap.

This option is seen by many consumers as the most economical. It provides them the convenience of filtered water chilled in their refrigerator, however this technology, does restrict the volume of filterable water at any given time.  Most standard filter jugs, in fact,  can only hold up to half a gallon, which for an average household of two adults and two children is not sufficient for a single day. This means waiting for the jug to be refilled and then filtered through. Additionally, the seeming economy of the disposable jug is not all that accurate. Although the jug itself is reasonably priced, the filters need to be replaced every 40 gallons or roughly every two months or so.  And that’s the catch, like razor blades or printer cartridges, the replacement filters are more expensive that the jug and can be quite costly, which dramatically increases the cost of using the filter jug.  Moreover most of the filtration in these jugs is simple carbon which does not truly offer complete filtration.

Water Refiners: 

This type of system can clean the water supply, removing the taste and smell of chlorine, but it is also capable of removing other contaminants such as iron, barium and radium.  Water refiner technology allows whole home water filtration without the expense of replacing filters every couple of months. This cannot only improve drinking water quality, but allows for better results in laundry and cleaning, with a reduction the damage to fixtures, faucets and drains from hard water deposits.

R.O.  Reverse Osmosis: 

Reverse osmosis systems, much like the commercial versions which are used to make every bottle of Desani pr Aquafina, filter water through a semi permeable membrane. This allows for contaminants to be removed with just about everything else.  In fact this technology was originally invented for commercial desalinization  R.O. can eliminate nitrates, arsenic and other chemical contaminants from your drinking water, eliminating also bad tastes or odors.

How clean do you want your water? 

If short-term price alone is the main consideration, then water jugs are the way to go.  If getting your drinking water, truly clean of all trace impurities is the main goal, then nothing beat R.O.  NOTHING.  Prices for this technology range from a few hundred dollars to a little over $1,000.  Water refiners, offer a WHOLE HOME solution that will also soften your water, which is ideal if you are living in a high hardness area.  This system is typically more expensive, but they are designed, as the name suggests, to handle your entire home.  R.O. systems are specifically designed for point of usage, typically a kitchen sink or a refrigerator ice maker.  This, at the end of the day, is where most of you water drinking occurs to begin with.

About The Author, Terry Reeh, Partner EcoWater Systems of Nebraska:

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.  In addition to running the day-to-day operations of EcoWater Systems of Nebraska, one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery enterprises in the state, 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.

Back to top