What are water filters? That is a good question with a couple of different answers. If you get your water from a municipal water source (water company), that water has gone through a filtering process before it leaves the treatment plant. The specific type of water filter your treatment plant uses will vary, but they all remove contaminants from the source water. On a much smaller scale, home water filters also work to remove contaminants from water.
What are water filters? Let’s focus on the smaller, in-home filters. For those wishing to learn more about how water is treated at the water treatment plant, see our articles on that subject.
In-home filters use a variety of media to filter out contaminants. The type of media that is used will determine what type of contaminant is removed as well as the size of the contaminants it will filter out. For instance, a ceramic filter will remove particles as small as bacteria and cysts. Others types of media that you commonly find are charcoal and carbon.
They can be installed in a variety of ways, too. Consumers can find high-quality systems that are easily attached to the tap itself. These filters work as the water flows out the tap. For other consumers, an under-counter systems is a better option. These are attached to the incoming water line under the sink and will filter water faster and a higher volume. These types of filters are often classified as point-of-use filters.
Also, whole-house filter systems are available that filter aquasana vs berkey water as the water enters the house and allows clean water to flow to all of the taps inside the house.
Point-of-use filters often use media such as granular-activated carbon filters (GAC), ceramic cartridge filters, carbon block resin and ultra-filtration disks or membranes. Whole-house systems can incorporate reverse osmosis processes as well as other types of filtering processes, depending on the type of unit selected. Whole-house units are also very popular for those consumers who are looking for ways to treat hard water.
Lastly, there are water filters that can be used outside the home. These are popular with campers and those who spend time away from safe, potable water sources. These types of water filters are lightweight and easy to carry.