If you’re concerned about the safety of your household water supply, the best thing to do is to have your water tested. Certified independent laboratories can be found by calling your state Health and Human Services Department. You can also check your local consumer confidence report posted by your utility company every year in the newspaper or on your local government website. Companies that sell water filtration systems can also test your water for you, or you can purchase a low cost test kit.
Test results will show specific problems in your water supply that may need to be addressed, such as high levels of chemicals, bacteria, lead and other heavy metals. While most consumer confidence reports posted by large cities in the United States typically show no health violations, most have had some samples showing varying degrees of contamination. Keep in mind that these reports don’t tell you what’s coming out of your home taps. Only testing can do that.
Remember, too, that well water is not tested by utility companies and is not included in consumer confidence reports.
Types of Water Filtration Systems
The most basic function of a water filtration system is to remove impurities from your water. Filtration systems are made to fit most budgets and to handle jobs both big and small—from simple water tap filters to whole-house systems. There are even filters available for single water bottles.
Thankfully, the technology for water filtration systems has evolved over the years and water filter systems have become more economical and easier to install. Removing impurities from your water can be as easy as pouring yourself a glass of water. But it’s important to know what sort of contamination you have in your water first so you can buy the right filter for the right problem.
Reverse osmosis filters, under-sink filters and whole-house filters require professional plumbing but they’re all designed to filter greater quantities of water. Reverse osmosis systems are popular because they are the only filters that eliminate arsenic while removing a wide range of other contaminants. They work by forcing water through a semi-permeable membrane. Whole-house filters are best for removing sediment and rust.