Choosing a home water treatment system
Area tap water is well within the standards set by the Safe Drinking Water Act, so it's not necessary to buy a home water treatment system to ensure the safety of your drinking water.
If you want to improve aesthetic qualities of your water such as taste and hardness, you may want to purchase a home treatment system.
Our drinking water is treated through a process that includes chlorination. The chlorine helps protect the water until it reaches your tap. There are a variety of inexpensive filter systems to remove chlorine from your drinking water. If you do not like the hardness of the water supply, you can invest in a softening system.
Types of home water treatment systems
Home treatment systems vary from inexpensive carafe styles to models that require much more maintenance. Review the pros and cons below to choose one that's right for you:
ACTIVATED CARBON FILTERS
Activated carbon filters attract and hold certain chemicals as water passes through them.
Available in carafe units, faucet-mounted filters and models mounted beneath the sink.
- Pros: Reduces chlorine odor and taste; can be inexpensive
- Cons: Doesn't remove minerals associated with hardness; can require frequent filter changes; does not remove microbes
These systems use both a traditional (usually carbon) filter and a cellophane-like membrane to remove most organic and inorganic compounds. This is the only type of filter that will remove calcium and magnesium, the minerals that cause hard water.
- Pros: Removes minerals that cause hardness; highly effective
- Cons: More expensive; may require a plumber; requires more storage space; many units waste water
Devices used to exchange calcium and magnesium for "softer" minerals; usually sodium or potassium.
- Pros: Eliminates chalky residue; may enhance dishwasher and washing machine performance; reduces water spots
- Cons: Very expensive; higher maintenance; adds salt to drinking water; can be harmful to health and the environment