We often associate water with good health and hydration. Sometimes though, tap water can still contain unhealthy components, like pharmaceutical debris, pesticides, and heavy metals. Fortunately, there are very many varieties of water filters to choose from and clean your water from harmful contaminants. Investing in any kind of filtration system will bring about installation and maintenance requirements, though, some easier than others.
Non-installation water filters
The simplest to install and maintain water filters come in a faucet mount or jug form.
A water filter jug has a few interconnected elements on the inside. The main body of the jug that collects the water, a reservoir on top that holds the filter cartridge, and a lid with an electrical indicator that displays when it is time to change the filter cartridge. All these elements need to be properly cleaned at the time the cartridge will be changed, usually once a month. Since it regularly comes into contact with water, limescale and watermarks can deposit themselves after a time. Using some food-grade white vinegar to scrub the jug with a brush will easily do the trick and leave it spotless, once rinsed and dry.
As far as installation goes there is not much to it besides the pieces already mentioned. It looks like a typical water jug but with a few extra parts on the inside. It may already come installed at purchase or simply need the pieces connected once out of the box.
Faucet-mounted water filters need some kind of adaptor placed on the faucet. This is to be able to actually affix the filter itself. No tools are needed and with only a little preparation beforehand as to the type and size of faucet you have, the installation will be a breeze. The filter cartridge might already be inside the filter body and be wrapped with a plastic film, so taking that out is necessary. When it is time to replace the filter cartridge after some use, cleaning it can be done with some vinegar as with a jug. Some people opt to replace the actual faucet filter completely, but that is up to consumer choice.
There are even shower head filters that function much the same as a faucet-mounted filter. They reduce chlorine to help counter dry hair and skin issues. They are very easy to install and maintain, mainly requiring some Teflon tape and replacement gaskets. They can simply be twisted on the shower pipe and last for several months.
For limited counter space, under the sink water filters are available. Specifically designed to be fitted on the water source, a filter such as this may require some DIY skills or a plumber, to make sure there won’t be any leaks.
An under-the-sink water filter could be either with activated charcoal or a reverse osmosis filter. Once installed the filter will work for a time until the cartridges will have to be changed. This bit of maintenance is a simple one, albeit a more involved one. The water supply under the sink has to be shut off, and the water from the filter tap drained, by switching the tap on and waiting for the water to stop flowing out.
Releasing the cartridge housing from there might require a key, which has most likely been provided with the filter upon purchase. Some water may still be present inside, so a small amount of leakage is possible. Once loose the housings are then emptied of residual water and filters are taken out. Some housing will have developed some grime inside them, especially after long periods of usage. Cleaning them with some hot water should suffice. Once cleaned a small quantity of food-grade Vaseline is needed to lubricate the O rings before reinstallation. With new filters added in and the housing screwed back on, maintenance is complete.
Having water filters with only one element of filtration means it will be very easy to remember when to replace their cartridges. Reverse osmosis water filter systems contain multiple layers of filtration, highly desired for the quality of water they produce. This kind of water filter employs pre and post-filtration methods and not all of them need to be changed at the same time, and even then it depends on the hardness of your water. For example, the membrane needs to be changed after 2-3 years if your water is hard, but it can last between 5 to 7 years with softer water, and this if every other filter before it has been maintained. The water storage tank should be drained out regularly, maybe every two weeks, so that the water gets completely replenished and does not remain stagnant. Also when the membrane is changed the tank should be sanitized as it will become dirty after a while.
Maintaining a filter like this can pose some difficulties, and a few reminders on your phone should help alert you as to when to change the cartridges. Maybe even have an extra set of cartridges ready at home. Some more in-depth resources can be found here:
With a reverse osmosis filter, it is even possible to use washable ceramic cartridges. An option like this, prolongs cartridge life and continues to offer high-tier filtered water for longer periods before replacements are needed.
Whole house water filter
Filtering out all the water that comes into the home is ideal for many. This can be achieved with a whole house water filtration system that cleans your water at the point of entry into the house. Installing a filter like this will require a plumber, but after the initial installation process, maintenance is fairly easy.
A whole house water filtration system can be maintained much like a reverse osmosis filter, but with fewer layers. Once more, a reverse osmosis filter or an ultraviolet filter can be added to a whole house system, creating more barriers against harmful components in water. Layering more filter stages like this depends on the water quality you have.
To change the water filter for a whole house system, the water main needs to be closed. After that turn on a faucet to release the pressure from the system. A second valve should be after the filter which should be closed so that the water from the whole house does not release out once the filter is separated. The casing with the filter can now be twisted open with a wrench, usually included at purchase. Taking out the old water filter and washing the inside of the casing is the next step before placing the new filter in. Then some plumber silicone grease, food-grade grease will be necessary to lubricate the O ring.
Once everything is back into place and the water is turned back on, a few minutes of running the water by a faucet or outlet should clear any residual sediment that might have remained in the plumbing.
Operating a whole house water filter system might sound like a hassle but this kind of maintenance only happens once a year, and the advantages of it are very high with great quality water.