A few months ago, we sang the praises of “whole house filter systems,” and we still believe this to be a worthwhile endeavor. Whole house filtering cleans up water before it gets to your water-using appliances like dish washers, water heaters, furnaces, and washing machines. Adding such a filter will add years to the lives of these big ticket items.
Many homeowners and apartment dwellers alike, however, want a dedicated filter just for drinking water. There are several ways to go about this. You can buy pitchers or jugs with filters installed, and there are filters that attach to your faucets. All refrigerators that have drinking water dispensers and ice makers in them also have filters installed. There’s also the many forms of bottled water. You will see these large dispensers mostly in commercial settings, but some people have them in homes as well.
Any kind of filter, including whole house filters, will require the owner to keep up with the element or cartridge changes to ensure that flow and efficiency are both maintained.
There are several filtered water pitchers or jugs to choose from. They usually hold anywhere from a quart of water to a few gallons. The size you buy hinges on four main factors: the weight of the container when it’s full, how much space you’re willing to surrender in the refrigerator, what the thing actually looks like, and how often you want to refill it.
There are many well-known brands to choose from including Brita and Pur, and there’s a newer brand that actually takes pitcher aesthetics into consideration, called Soma.
I don’t believe there to be many real drawbacks to such systems; however, you do need to stay on top of cleaning so that mold and bacteria don’t start to grow on some of the surfaces.
Filters Installed At The Faucet
Filters installed at faucets can be further broken down into two categories: filters installed on the end of the faucet stem, and filters installed under the counter before the water reaches the faucet.
Filters installed onto the faucet stem may be the easiest filters to install and maintain. They are light weight, thread right onto the stem, and will let you know when they need changing (some have indicators and a slow flow is a pretty good hint, as well). Another selling point to stem-installed filters is that they filter both hot and cold water.
There are a few well-known brands manufacturing these types of filters as well, and the only real draw-back might be the look. People who have spent a large amount of time and money to get a specific design in their kitchen probably don’t want to spoil “the look” by adding a filter to the end of it.
That’s where under the cabinet filters come in. They look similar to many whole house filters but are smaller, because they only service one fixture and need to be able to fit in a tight space. Installing one is fairly easy and can usually be done with mechanical fittings like compression fittings or Shark-bite type fittings. You just want to make sure you get the water shut off before you start. You’ll know when it’s time to change the filter element when the water coming out at the stem begins to show low pressure and flow.
Filters In Refrigerators
Some people may not have considered that their refrigerator water dispenser has a filter installed. When the water starts coming out slowly, they may figure that something is broken inside, when it’s actually an indication that the filter is getting clogged and the element needs a change. If you’ve got a water dispenser on your refrigerator, then you can probably forego having a pitcher in your refrigerator or having one installed on your faucet. This is part of what makes them so convenient.
The only drawback to this type of system is the lengths you may have to go to in replacing the element. Mine is located inside the refrigerator way in the back, and changing the cartridge involves removing most items from the top shelf area just to reach it. That is, however, a small price to pay for the benefits and convenience provided.
No matter which option you choose, you’ll find that having cold, filtered drinking water right at your fingertips will encourage you and your whole family to drink more water. Because when it taste this fresh and clean, how can you resist?