Round the clock access to clear, tasteless, and odorless water. Aren't we lucky to have this facility?
Our municipalities work hard daily to make sure that any natural pollutants, as well as man-made pollutants, are filtered from our groundwater before reaching our glass.
At the same time, though, awareness about water quality is a necessity for everyone – adults and children. For children, especially, clean water is a must because of their higher sensitivity to chemicals and fragile immune systems.
In this article, we will discuss how you can filter water by yourself and make it safe right at home.
So, let’s take a quick look!
The Five Common Methods Used for Water Purification
Previously, people stored their water in wells, containers, and barrels.
Today, we are lucky to have more sophisticated means of water filtration and softening methods that not only save floor space but are also very effective to make sure you get a safe supply of water.
Let’s take a look at the method that is commonly used for water purification in general below.
Boiling water is a sure-shot way to purify it and instantly make it safer to drink. However, it is not a very preferable method since it involves a lot of work and uses a large amount of energy.
You see, this method effectively kills microorganisms, such as viruses, bacteria, and protozoans – each of which can cause serious diseases. So when you boil the water, it becomes microbiologically safe.
All you need to do is bring the tap water to a full boil and leave it for about a minute. Finally, you have to let it cool before using it.
You can have a water supply from wells, streams – or you might also collect rainwater.
Whatever be the case, you can use chlorine for purification purposes since it helps kill bacteria and other pathogens commonly found in the water.
The problem with this method, though, is that people don’t like drinking water that contains any form of chemicals – chlorine included. If that’s the case with you as well, you can consider other purification methods.
Using ultraviolet light is the more modernized way to purify water. In fact, it’s been increasingly utilized by water authorities and can also be used at home to make water safe for use, whether it’s for drinking, cooking, or bathing.
Ultraviolet light is also useful for treating swimming pool water to get rid of harmful pathogens and other forms of bacteria.
Iodine Tablets or Crystallized Iodine
We will be completely transparent here: using iodine in a tablet or crystallized form is a less energy reliant method when it comes to cleaning water at home, but it's a method nevertheless.
While it's okay to use the purified water for washing or showering and other household chores, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for drinking.
You will find many portable water filters that can remove disease-causing parasites, such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium.
If you do plan to buy yourself a portable filtration system, make sure you choose one that has a filter pore size that is small enough to remove tiny parasites. That being said, keep in mind that most portable water filters do not remove viruses and bacteria.
In addition to this, carefully read through the manufacturer's instructions and follow them step-by-step for the best results.
After you filter the water, you can add a disinfectant like chlorine, iodine, or chlorine dioxide to kill any remaining bacteria and viruses – provided you don’t mind the addition of disinfectants.
Distillation is also an alternative to make water safer by either distilling it or by boiling water and collecting the steam in a clean container until it turns back into the water.
FEMA/American Red Cross has also issued guidelines for using distillation as a means to purify water in case of emergencies.
What Is the Best Way to Filter Water?
Reverse osmosis (RO) can be an effective way to filter water at home.
This filtration system employs the use of a membrane that removes many contaminants from water and is usually paired with a granulated activated charcoal filter.
The filter is also used to remove chlorine, but you can use it to filter your drinking water exclusively too by using an under sink mounted unit – just remember to get a tank installed to hold the filtered water for drinking.
A much better alternative is to install an efficient system that can effortlessly filter all the water that comes to your home.
This will then extract most of the heavy chemicals and metals you usually detect when drinking it. Some of these contaminants include lead, pesticides, mercury, and so on.
Rust, sediment, industrial solvents, herbicides, water-soluble metals, and VOCs are other undesirable additions.
Understanding Filter Certifications
There is no doubt that investing in water softeners and filtration systems is the best way to make sure you get clean water that is safe for your family and you.
Whether it’s a simple drinking water system or the more complicated whole-house system, installing water filters can be a reliable way to help you drink and cook with clean, healthy water.
Having said that, we would also like to emphasize the need to educate yourself about independent certifications to determine the credibility of a specific water filter model.
You see, you will find there are several manufacturers who claim how their respective systems can remove up to 99.99 percent of fluoride. But if they don’t have the necessary certifications to back their claims, you might end up getting a product that will only leave you unsatisfied.
The most reliable water filters have a certification seal from NSF International or IAPMO. These are both third-party, non-profit water filter testing organizations that set safety standards for consumers.
The Bottom Line
Many of us take access to safe drinking water for granted. We think that all the water comes pre-treated and is hence, clean and safe to drink.
However, that need not be the case always.
All over the world, water infrastructures are very different from each other, which is why not everyone has access to clean water. You should always keep the above-mentioned purification methods in mind so that even if you don’t get access to safe and clean water, you can always purify them and make it good for use.