Water is a "universal solvent" and can dissolve almost anything. One cannot say by just looking, what's in it. The water that comes to the taps in our houses contains small quantities of many substances, either due to corrosion of pipes in the city distribution system or from private wells. While some of these substances like chlorine and fluoride are beneficial in small quantities, some such as lead and germs are harmful. Even small quantity of chlorine in drinking water can be unpleasant. Water filters can be used to remove the contaminants that we don't want. But selecting the right filter can be a long and confusing process.
The steps below are outlined as a guide to help you select the right filter for your needs. Please note, these are only a guide, not a recommendation.
Step 1: Find Out What Is In Your Water
If you have a local water utility supply and want to find out contaminants in the water, you can request a copy of your water quality report (called a CCR or Consumer Confidence Report) from your local authority. Start here: Find your local CCR
If you are unable to get the report, try searching EWG's Tap Water Database using your area zip code to find the contaminants.
If you have a private/community well, you may want to consider having your water independently tested.
Step 2: Decide What Contaminants You Want to Reduce
Depending on the water condition and based on the report or your knowledge, you can decide what contaminants you want to get rid of from your drinking/supply water. It’s important to understand that different water filters have different functions, not all filters can reduce all contaminants. For maximum efficiency, a combination can be used.
Step 3: Compare Options for Water Treatment
There are two things to take into consideration here:
- Filtering Media
- Point of Use/Entry
Point of Use/Entry
1. Point of Use (POU) water treatment systems is used to treat water at the point of consumption, for example, kitchen sink faucet or an auxiliary faucet. There are several types of filters that can be used to achieve this:
Countertop Water Filter - These filters are also easy to install and usually screw onto the faucet, and do not require plumbing modifications.
- Read here why Countertops are better than pitcher filters
- Check all Anchor Countertop Water Filters
Reverse Osmosis Water Filter - RO filters can remove a wider range of contaminants. But these require installation under the sink, plumbing modifications and drilling a hole through the sink or countertop for the dispenser/faucet. They are also slower and also tend to waste water, almost 3-4 times as much as they filter.
- Read why RO filters are more cost effective than bottled water
- Check all Anchor Reverse Osmosis Water Filters
Under sink Water Filter - Instead of taking up space on the counter, they can be placed in the cabinet beneath the sink. They can also require plumbing modifications and drilling a hole through the sink or countertop for the dispenser/faucet. These are mostly carbon filters and not as effective as but faster than RO filters.
- Check all Anchor Under Sink Water Filters
2. Point of Entry (POE) water treatment systems are usually whole-house systems that treat water entering a residence. Whole house filters are designed to meet large capacity filtration needs, and are ideal for high-flow applications. These also come in different configurations and can be chosen based
- contaminants that need to be removed
- amount of water that needs filtered