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Water quality: tips on choosing a water filtration system

Every July, Americans receive a Consumer Confidence Report, a.k.a. water quality report, that reveals the level of contaminants in the water of your municipality. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires a test from all community water supplies annually, and while these tests do not necessarily explain what is coming out of the tap in your kitchen, they do shed some light on the elements around your area that may or may not be thriving in your drinking water. Once you have these test results, then what? How do you decide which kind of water filter will fit your needs? A simple carafe water filter? A reverse-osmosis system? An under sink water system? Our simple guide will get you thinking about how you can introduce fresh, great tasting water into your home. Waterstone Faucets in Murrieta, California, provided one of our kitchen design projects in Colorado with a traditional pull down faucet, and being that Waterstone also specializes in water filtration systems, we thought production planner for Waterstone, Kyler Torres, would be the perfect reference to shed some light on choosing a filtration system. [caption id="attachment_3946" align="alignleft" width="1024"]Colorado High Country luxury rustic kitchen design featuring Waterstone pull down faucet. Colorado High Country kitchen design featuring Waterstone's Traditional reach pull down faucet.[/caption] Kyler's first suggestion? Start by doing your research.
"Find out what you are filtering first," Kyler encourages homeowners.
Not all systems filter out all the contaminants you might want to omit from your daily drinking water, so being educated about what is currently in your water source is key to making a quality decision. If a member of your family has auto immune concerns, this could shed some light on the type of filtration system you need for your home. The technology behind water filtration is to reduce levels of organic contaminants and improve the water aesthetically (taste, odor, and/or color).
"When you're purchasing bottled water from a store, there's no qualifying information that tells you exactly what the company is using to filter the water," Klyer explained.
So, if you opt for bottled water, "bottled at the source" could literally mean the manufacturer is drawing water from a tap into a plastic bottle, rather than if you lived in the mountains of Colorado and the water is actually purely “from the source.”

But where do you need to install a water filtration system?

There are a variety of places where you can introduce filtration: free-standing devices, systems attached to a tap, point-of-use, and point-of-entry.

Point-of–use systems

Point-of-use (POU) systems can be located on your counter top, attached to a faucet, or they can be installed under a sink. This approach to filtration works to provide small amounts of drinking water at a time. Free-standing filtration includes a carafe or pitcher styled filter, which is not as invasive in terms of installation, but tends to have a low capacity for producing an abundance of water and has short lived filters. Upright coolers can also be equipped with filtration systems. Examples of POU systems: Reverse-osmosis, carbon filters, ion exchange, and basic filters. Maintenance involved: The Minnesota Department of Health reminds consumers that whenever you are using a treatment device, regular maintenance will be involved to ensure that you do not introduce bacteria into your water source, making the water quality worse. Maintenance could include – changing filters, cleaning buildup, and taking steps to disinfect your unit. See your manufacturer’s instructions for maintaining a workable filtration system.

Point-of-entry

Point-of-entry (POE) means the chosen filtration system is installed on the main water line as it enters the home and treats all the water in the building. The most common system used is the water softener. If you choose to treat your drinking water using a POE system, not only will your consumable water be treated, anything else that uses water in its function (like appliances) will benefit and increase longevity. Examples of POE systems: Air stripping and UV light. Maintenance involved: POE systems do need monitoring programs to analyze the water source and samples should be taken regularly. Follow the manufacturer’s suggestions for maintenance.

Realize the benefits.

Kyler Torres says while some systems require a bigger investment up front, your cost over time is significantly lower. "Homeowners also want to make sure they install low lead faucets with 100% lead-free components to their kitchens, so after the water goes through (for example) the reverse-osmosis process, their efforts will not be in vain."
article about water filtration and child drinking water

Make sure the system you are looking at is certified.

If the system you are looking at makes various claims and is not accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), make sure you contact the company to verify actual studies that their approach to filtration reduces contaminants. Organizations that are approved by the ANSI are certified in a series of performance evaluations to ensure home water treatment systems not only reduce unwanted elements in the water coming into your home, they additionally meet the ANSI and EPA drinking water standard. As you are researching filtration systems, look for the following organizations seal of approval: NSF International: NSF has a certification program that tests products, but also springs unannounced audits of company production facilities to make sure the entire process meets national standards. Water Quality Association: Focusing in on the water treatment equipment, the Water Quality Association tests for systems that meet or exceed national standards for the reduction of water contaminants. Underwriters Laboratories: An independent testing and certification organization, Underwriters Laboratories makes sure national standards are met and addresses aesthetic concerns in regards to clarity and the taste of the water. We hope this guide has served as a tool while considering a water filtration system for your next kitchen remodel or home improvement project. For a more in depth look on how the United States Environmental Protection Agency views and monitors POU and POE systems, we encourage you to view their Small Drinking Water Systems Guide. Save