A drinking water filter is an appliance used to alter the composition of water to improve its acceptability for drinking and cooking purposes - mainly with respect to its aesthetic quality: taste, odour, appearance. They are most commonly supplied as:
There are a range of different drinking water filter technologies used individually or in combination. The most common are:
Mains tap water in the UK is supplied and regulated to a very high standard, but because of concerns about taste, odour, cloudiness and, occasionally, adverse press publicity, people look to improve the quality to make it more appealing to drink. The most common complaints about tap water relate to chlorine which is often used by the water supplier to disinfect the water. Residual chlorine may result in a “bleach” type taste and some of the by-products of this disinfection (e.g. TCP) can also leave unpleasant taste or odour.
In hard water areas, scale deposits in the kettle or coffee maker and on hot drinks such as tea are a common complaint.
The quality of the water at the tap depends to some extent on the plumbing within premises which is usually the responsibility of the consumer. Some older properties still contain lead pipework which may contaminate the water supply. An appropriately selected water filter can significantly reduce lead contamination.
The benefits of water filtration include:
In simple terms, water is essential for health and maintaining a good hydration level is increasingly being recognised as important for mental and physical performance. Good hydration can help prevent headaches, constipation, kidney stones, heart disease and certain cancers. If filtering tap water makes you feel more positive about drinking it, which in turn leads you to consume more, then it is considered beneficial.
This depends entirely on the particular quality of water you want to achieve. To improve taste, an activated carbon filter should be considered. To prevent lime-scale build-up in a kettle, an ion exchange filter would be suitable.
Work with a reputable supplier! They will advise which unit is appropriate to your specific requirements – begin by consulting the list of UKWTA members.
As you might expect, for plumbed-in devices, there are regulatory requirements to be complied with: the connection to the water supply must be fitted with a non-return valve and the drain connection for a reverse osmosis unit must have an air-break. UKWTA members will be able to help you understand the requirements. Remember that water filters do need regular attention (for example, periodic cartridge change) for optimum performance. Consult the manufacturer's instructions.