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Most of you will know I’m currently up to my eyeballs in kitchen renovations and am living with jib dust and wood shavings under my feet…likely for the next 6 weeks 🙂

One of the things that I’ve taken initiative on is researching a new water filter system for our new space. 

I thought I’d share some of my research on specific types on the blog for anyone who is interested but also share some insights on here about WHY filtration is important right here, because the water we drink also has the potential to provide us with a number of both beneficial and harmful minerals and contaminants.

The basics:

There’s quite a few compelling reasons to filter our water, PARTICULARLY if you’re on mains supply. The benefits revolve around the removal of potentially harmful compounds in the filtering process.

  • better tasting and better smelling dribking water (duh!)
  • by removing chlorine, chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals and bacterial components from the water we reduce the risk of certain health concerns such as:
  • removing chlorine and chlorine byproducts such as Trihalomethanes, reduces the risk of rectal cancer, colon cancer, and bladder cancer.
  • the removal of arsenic (a natural component of the earth’s crust) therefore found in water, can help reduce the risk of bladder cancer and skin cancer.
  • removal of aluminum (used in water treatment in order to remove microorganisms and impurities which can cause disease) which in high quantities can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, learning disabilities in children, skin problems and liver disease.
  • filtered water can also increase the rate at which water molecules and nutrients are absorbed by our cells, improving metabolism and overall health.

There are a number of different ways water is filtered including:

Activated Alumina: These filters contains a packed bed of activated alumina granules. As water passes through the device, certain contaminants are adsorbed to the activated alumina granules. It can remove fluoride, arsenic and selenium from tap water but require monitoring of water quality so not recommended for in home filtration. 

Activated Carbon: Carbon filters for water filtration are produced by grinding up a carbon source in order to maximise the pores available to trap potential contaminants. This carbon source could be: bituminous coal, peat or most commonly coconut shells. Coconut shells and also highly renewable.

Reverse osmosis filter: RO water purifiers work by forcing water through a semipermeable membrane which filters out any harmful chemicals. They are the optimum system for removal of contaminants from water as they filter down to an ionic level of 0.001 microns! This makes them effective at moving 99 percent of contaminants, including chlorine, heavy metals, pesticides, and herbicides. They do need a separate holding tank for filtered water as well as a connection to your water waste line. These systems can either be installed by a confident handy man, or by a plumber.

UV water purifier: uses high frequency light, all living microorganisms are destroyed as water passes through a glass element. This is typically used in combination with another filter eg. RO to actually remove contaminants in the water in addition to the bacteria and viruses. 

Water distillation: one of the oldest methods, distillation involves boiling, cooling and condensing water in order to remove contaminants and bacteria. This is not often used in home but is sometimes used by dentists, vets and medical facilities.

Types of water filters:

Pitchers/Containers: The simplest, most common and cost effective filters are essentially a jug with a carbon filter which water is passed through. You’ll have seen these everywhere, even the Wharehouse and Kmart sell the common Brita Filter. If this is as far as your budget stretches, start here! They remove chlorine, zinc, copper, cadmium and mercury and the only downsides are they only filter small amounts at a time as they have small capacity and take time to filter.

Faucet Filters: Attached directly to your tap, they make use of activated carbon. Another inexpensive solution, removing contaminants such as chlorine as well as heavy metals such as lead and mercury. Easy to install, simply attached to the spout of your faucet and lock in place. They filter similarly to faucet filters but don’t work with pull-out spray type taps. 

Counter top filters A device that connects to your tap and simply sits on top of your kitchen counter. These tend to make use of activated carbon or ceramic filters and are particularly handy because they are portable if you want to take them between holiday homes or to events. A brand I like and have used is Berkey. These are a great option if you want to filter your tap water without having to constantly fill a pitcher. 

Under Counter Filters These are plumbed-in systems that connect to your cold water line under your sink and dispense filtered water through a second small faucet rather than the main faucet. Cartridges are a type of water filter shaped like cylinders that you install under the kitchen sink. Super convenient and space-efficient, the cartridges do have to be replaced yearly. We have a Mountain Fresh under bench purifier which I’ve found to be great. It does require space under the kitchen sink and requires a plumber or someone with basic plumbing skills to install. 

Entire house system: A whole house system connects directly to your incoming water line and filters all the water to your home. Full system water filters are suitable for permanent use at home. Each is designed with a cleaning process that separates bacteria, protozoa, sediments, lead, and asbestos. You’ll need a licensed plumber to install and is can be expensive (upwards from $500) but incredibly effective. 

 

Kangen Water (or ionised alkaline water).

There is a huge buzz right now about Kangen water. Kangen means “return to origin” in Japanese and is “electrolytically reduced, hydrogen-rich water that works to restore your body to a more alkaline state.” Companies selling this technology make claims that it is beneficial for detoxification (also heavy metals), elimination of excess body acidity, rejuvenation of blood cells, stimulation of organ functioning and deep-tissue hydration. Alkaline water is commonly produced by an “ionizer,” a device that changes the chemical composition of water. The idea is that an ionizer changes the pH level of water. This makes the water more alkaline and less acidic. There is a lot of mixed reviews online by health professionals about whether these claims are actually true or not and if these types of water filters are actually worth the pricey ($5k upwards) investment. More research needs to be done to solidify these claims.

My recommendation:

It’s completely based on budget! As with all things low tox living, start where you can! New to water filtration, grab a Brita and start with some cold water in the door of your fridge. Not keen on constant refilling and want something that the whole family can enjoy? Consider a bench top filter such as a Berkey or the Waters Bio 500 in terms of efficiency, cost and portability it is undoubtably the best option.

If you’re not keen on the huge bulky filter on your bench top, go for an underbench filter like a Mountain Fresh. If I recall correctly, hubby even installed it himself. This APEC 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis system was voted best overall winner by Top Reviews for under the bench. I’m hoping to twist hubby’s arm and get this whole home water filter here from KpWater. Watch this space!