Ultimate Guide on How to Filter Tap Water
Water is very essential for human survival. Access to clean tap water is very useful for human consumption. While bottled water is the best choice for drinking, tap water is the most accessible in homes and other places. It is also very affordable and suitable to the environment. Taking great precaution in preparing your water for consumption is recommended. Filtering water is a primary method that is easily accessible by many. Various options of water filters are available for camping or home uses.
Here are some methods to filter water
Countertop Filter Pitcher
It’s one of the commonly used methods. Tap water is poured over activated charcoal and some filters which remove impurities and solid elements. The pitcher removes 97% choline and 99% lead compounds from water.
Whole-House Carbon Block Filter
Getting a carbon block filter for the entire house is inexpensive. The blocks can be installed in faucets and showers. It is easy to install the carbon blocks into the water supply for the whole house. All water flowing from the will be lead and choline free. The compound also removes pesticides and other chemicals in the water. Purchase and installation costs range is $300-$400.
Faucet Carbon Filter
The faucet goes for about $50. It is very efficient in removing choline and lead from tap water.
Reverse Osmosis Filters
The filter process is very efficient since it removes nearly all damaging impurities in your water hence, its gold-rated standard. Wouldn’t you need such an efficient filter process?
The demerit of this process is that it results in massive water wastage. It is only 25% efficient for your water storage. For every 4 gallons of water filtered, only one is produced and deemed safe for consumption.
You can get an under-sink reverse osmosis filter ($300-$400) or the Whole-house osmosis filter ($1500) based on water availability in your location.
Countertop Water Filters
Filters can be installed on your tap or can be free-standing. Benefits of using them include;
- Easy maintenance and replacements
- No need for a separate tap since filters are put in the existing one.
- No need for a plumber to install
- Easy to remove your filters when moving out.
- Filters are cheap and very efficient.
- Installation takes a few minutes.
Any demerits? Countertop water filters are not discrete, unlike under-sink models.
Under Sink Water Filters
- Easy maintenance
- Offer multi-stage filtration which is more efficient
- Saves your kitchen space.
- Use different filtering technologies
- Cost-efficient; low maintenance and installation costs
The disadvantage of using this filter system is that you need a second tap for filtered water in your kitchen sink.
Water Filters When Camping
- Chemical Disinfection
Iodine tablets- iodine helps in killing microorganisms in water. Water prepared using iodine is not recommendable to pregnant women or thyroid patients.
Chlorine Dioxide tablets- works within 30 minutes to kill bacteria in water. The period may be increased if the water source is very contaminated.
- Physical Filters
Gravity filters – these are water filter bags which have hoses. Water is filled in the bag, hanged on a branch and it’s allowed to drain in a clean bag or jar.
Pump fillers – they are cheap and efficient for small amounts of water.
While these filtration processes are useful, they do not remove some bacteria or compounds form your water. Boiling or chemical treatment is advisable before consumption.
Boiling water is the cheapest and easiest filtration method. Water is allowed to boil for at least one minute to kill all pathogens. Once the water boils, it can be out in clean storage. No further boiling is needed when drinking it.
UV Light Treatment
Ultraviolet light is used in killing bacteria and other microorganisms in water. Different UV lamps and pens are available for water treatment.
- Drinking Water from a Spring
Some springs originate from safe points with no contamination. Water from such sources is pure.
- Use of Stainless Steel Bottles
Stainless steel does not harbor bacteria. Unlike plastic water bottles, using steel bottles keeps filtered water safe longer.
Filtering Water in Wilderness Emergencies
- Use a quick filter
You only need a piece of cloth, towel, or a coffee filter. The water passes through the filter into a collection container. Boiling the water removes pathogens and chemicals.
- Use Two Containers
When you have two jars or bottles, filtering water is straightforward.
Make a hole on one container/bottle and raise it over the other.
You can fit a plant stem in the hole and allow it to drain clean water into the collecting container.
- Use of Charcoal
Charcoal is the main ingredient used in commercial filters. While in the wilderness, you can gather some dry wood and light a fire. Allow the wood to burn out completely. Cool the hot charcoal by covering it with some sand. The resulting charcoal is ground into small and finer particles for water filtering. While it is not same as activated charcoal, it works very well.
- Use of Cloth and Charcoal
Wrap some charcoal with a cloth and place it in a bucket with a hole at the bottom. Add the unfiltered water into the bucket for filtration.
- Tightly Pack Charcoal over Cloth
Put some fine charcoal particle sin neat cloth and allow water to pass through slowly. An underneath collecting jar gets filled with clean water.
- Pebble Filters
Collect some pebbles and put them in a cloth. Place the pebbles in a container with a hole for filtration. A bottom collection container gets clear water.
- Use Charcoal, Pebbles, and Sand
The mixture with fine particles is put in a cloth. Put the bag in a holed container and add water. The water passes through the cloth, and the mixture is thoroughly filtered.
In the wilderness, you can light a fire and boil your water.
- Repeated Filtering
Regardless of the method used, if the water is colored, repeat the process until clear water is collected.
- Change Filter Materials
Change the pebbles, crucial, or filters occasionally to improve efficiency.
Choosing the Best Water Filters for Your Home
- Identify Contaminants in your Water/Area
Varies types of commercial water filters have been manufactured. Before buying any model, it is advisable to request for water testing in your home. You can also check for chemicals found in your location on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) database.
- Choose a Filter
Once you identify contaminants in your water, you can narrow down on the types of filters. The EWG also gives suggestions of compounds needed to deal with certain pollutants.
Carbon/charcoal filters – are efficient in removing organic compounds, lead, chlorine, and asbestos.
De-ionizing filters – used for water softening but do no remove contaminants.
Reverse osmosis filters – remove inorganic compounds and nitrates.
- Choose the Type of Installation
Faucet-mounted filters are installed in taps.
Pitcher filler filter – convenient for households with low water utility.
Whole-house water filter – recommended for areas with highly contaminated water sources.
Countertop or under sink filters- very efficient but needs a plumber for installation and maintenance.
- Set up according to instruction
Every filter system comes with special instructions on installation and use form manufacturers.
- Run water through the filter
Add cold water into the filter for the mechanism to take place. Avoid passing hot water since it may cause damages to the filter. Water left in the filter is not suitable for use.
- Replace Your Filters
Carbon filters have different life-spans. Always examine the efficiency of your filters. Replace the cartridges within the recommended period as instructed by the manufacturer.
Making a Ceramic Filter for Your Home
- Get Supplies
It’s easy to design a homemade ceramic filter. The porous nature of ceramics allows water to pass through the tiny holes while filtering out contaminants. To design one, you need the following;
Ceramic filter elements-filter elements are amiable in stores and hardware. Candle and pot filters are best recommended because of their efficiency in the filtration process.
Two food-grade buckets-one bucket holds the impure water whole the other collects the purified water.
A spigot- allows the access of filtered water in the bottom bucket.
- Make Holes in the Buckets
Start by making hole in the bottom of the top bucket.
Drill a second hole on the lid of the bottom bucket. The hole must be in alignment with the top bucket for smooth water flow.
A third hole: the spigot is made on the side of the lower bucket. The hole is used for installing a tap for fetching clean water.
- Install the Spigot
Fit the spigot tightly on the hole of the top bucket and the hole on the lid.
- Set Up the Filter
Add the filter compound in the top bucket and allow the porous ceramic nipple to drain into the lower bucket.
- Add Impure Water
Add the dirty water on the top bucket and let filtration to take place. When a substantial amount is collected, empty it to your storage, and repeat the process.
- Replace the Water Filter
After several filtrations, it is advisable to change the ceramic. Also, clean the top bucket since most contaminants settle at the bottom.