In Brief: Methods of Water Filteration
The different methods to make filtered water includes the use of carbon filters, the process of distillation, boiling water, reverse osmosis, and mechanical filtration. You should select a method depending upon the type of contaminants your water has.
The deterioration in the quality of drinking water has become a matter of grave concern. Water these days is ridden with a large number of contaminants and impurities.
According to WHO, more than 2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water.
Factors like industrial waste, agricultural runoff, and general deforestation among others, are responsible for the increased amount of impurities in water. These impurities, which range from bacteria to heavy metals to pesticides, can be extremely harmful to health.
As such, filtered water has become a necessity that can no longer be ignored.
What is Filtered Water
Filtered water refers to water that has been taken from natural sources and then processed for the removal of impurities and contaminants.
The process cleans the water by removing biological, mechanical, and chemical impurities like bacteria, pesticides, pharmaceutical residue, heavy and toxic metals, sediments, sand, and dirt among other impurities.
Depending upon what method has been used, filtered water generally has a lower or reduced number of contaminants. Methods like Reverse Osmosis may be able to remove almost 95% of all contaminants present in water.
Filtered water also tastes and smells better. This is because the process of filtration removes any chlorine from the water.
Most Popular Methods of Making Filtered Water
There are many different ways of making filtered water.
1. Carbon filters
Carbon filters are one of the most widely used methods for making filtered water.
It makes use of activated carbon which can be used in the form of charcoal, carbon block, or even granulated carbon.
Activated carbon molecules attract and bind minerals as well as some toxic chemicals and chlorine, thereby preventing them from passing through the filter.
The contaminants remain on the filter while water is screened through them.
This is one of the most effective ways of making filtered water. However, it will not be able to filter out some heavy metals like fluoride, and other small organic and chemical contaminants.
At some point, the carbon filters clog up due to the contaminants it has collected. It, therefore, requires regular maintenance and replacement.
A carbon filter is one of the more inexpensive methods of making filtered water.
Check out this video to see how activated carbon filters work:
2. Reverse Osmosis
Reverse Osmosis is a filtration process that makes use of a semi-permeable membrane.
The pores of this membrane are extremely small, and it allows only water molecules to pass through. Anything bigger than the water molecules are left behind.
Reverse osmosis is the most effective way of making filtered water. They can remove almost all the bacteria and toxic metals and other contaminants present in water.
However, in the process it also removes minerals and salts present in water, thereby increasing the acidic content of water. This is also extremely expensive.
One of the other drawbacks of the reverse osmosis system is that it leads to massive wastage of water, as only some of the water that is sourced inside the system, comes out after being filtered.
Watch this quick video to see how reverse osmosis filters water:
Distillation is an age-old technique used for water filtering. It uses heat to collect pure water by forming water vapors. Water is heated till it reaches its boiling point, at which, it is left to form vapors.
This vapor is collected in a cold condenser which changes it to water.
The boiling point of water is lower than that of other contaminants, chemicals, and toxic metals.
This allows the vapor that is collected to be free of all contaminants.distillation is extremely effective in the removal of germs, bacteria, salts, and metals like lead, mercury, and arsenic.
Distillation is a very slow process and is best suited for filtering small amounts of water. It is also one of the most expensive methods for making filtered water.
4. Boiling water
Boiling is the cheapest and most sure-shot way of making filtered water. You can do it as a home without the use of any filters or equipment.
All you have to do is put water to boil and leave it at the boiling stage for about 1-15 minutes and then take it off the stove.
Then let the water cool down. If your water is heavily contaminated you may be able to see white residue settled at the bottom of the pan. These are the compounds that need to be removed from the water before you consume it.
Boiling water will kill most of the germs, parasites, and bacteria in water.
However, it may not be able to remove some of the heavier contaminants like toxic metals, etc. if you live at a higher altitude, let your water boil for longer as the water boils at a lower temperature at higher altitudes.
5. Mechanical filtration
Mechanical filtration is a convenient option for making filtered water. It usually consists of a filter or mesh that has small holes in it.
When you pass water through it, the small holes prevents the passing of sediments and dirt. It is usually used alongside other filtration mechanisms.
This filtration method is only suitable for the removal of sediment, dirt, and other bigger particles, and cannot remove chemical and biological contaminants.
If your water contains a large amount of dirt and particulate matter, you may want to consider buying a mechanical filter.
Benefits of filtered water
Filtered water has many benefits ranging from being better for your health to being eco-friendly and cost-effective.
Water, these days, contains different types of contaminants that can have various adverse health effects on our bodies.
The filtered body ensures that the water we are consuming does not pose any danger to our health by removing not only bacteria and parasites but also by removing chemicals and toxic metals.
Filtered water has also been known to boost our immune systems.
Filtered water is also an eco-friendly option when pitched against bottled water. The bottled water industry is one of the primary contributors of synthetic pollutants in the world.
By choosing filtered water, you reduce the usage of plastic bottles. Additionally, it becomes more cost-effective as you do not have to waste money on bottled water anymore.
The removal of chemicals from filtered water also goes a long way in improving the taste and smell of water. Since water becomes more palatable, the chances of you drinking it and being hydrated increases.
Filtered water also reduces the probability of birth defects in infants, and is considered safer for growing kids as well.
This is because many birth defects have been linked to the consumption of water contaminated with toxic metals and chemicals.
Filtered vs Bottled water – What is the Difference?
It is a widely held belief that bottled water is just filtered water packed in a bottle. However, there are some differences between the two.
When filtered water is packed in bottles, it undergoes certain changes.
Bottled water, after being filtered and before being packed, is stored in large tanks that may or may not be cleaned regularly. This may result in further contamination of the water, even after being filtered.
Additionally, they are stored in humid conditions and are often exposed to sunlight during transportation. This can lead to the development of bacteria or germs in bottled water.
On the other hand, water that is filtered at home through a home filtration system does not face any such complications.
It has also been considered that bottled water can be 300 times more expensive than filtered water in terms of consumption every year.
While the initial cost may seem high for filtered water, it is often a one time cost with periodic replacement of filter and maintenance and the lifetime cost is often cheaper than bottled water.
Bottled water also poses a threat to the environment because of their dependency on plastic bottles. Filtered water does not have any such adverse impact on the environment.
In the case of buying water filtration products, you should always look for certification from the relevant agency.
In the US, three organizations are accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to provide these certifications –
Always go for water filter products that have been certified by one of the above agencies.
Cotton balls can be used for filtering water. It offers a type of mechanical filtration. So while it can effectively remove sediments, dirt, and other bigger particles, it will not rid your water of chemical or biological contamination. To use cotton balls for mechanical filtration, place the cotton balls in a tube and flow water through it. They will trap all the floating particles.
You can undertake mechanical filtration with the help of fabric or cloth as well. To do this, you will need two containers and a piece of cloth. One container will hold the source of water. Cover the other container with the fabric you have chosen, and pour water through it. You can then lift the cloth slightly and let water pass through it to the next container. The fabric will trap all sediments and particles present in water.
The water coming out of your filter may appear cloudy sometimes. This may result from air being trapped inside your filter housing. This usually clears up after two to three weeks. Ih\n order to make sure that it is trapped air, pour a glass of water and see if bubbles rise inside the filter. Those bubbles are trapped air.
If you are trying to dechlorinate a small batch of water, boiling it is a good method. Boiling water creates heat and aeration which is sufficient to remove volatile chlorine. You have to boil the water for about 20 minutes to rid it of chlorine. But, it is only suitable for small batches of water.
In the end…
Filtered water is a necessity these days because of the massive rise in water pollution. It is extremely necessary for a healthy life.
We hope that this article helps you in finding a suitable method to make filtered water as well as in realizing the significance of consuming filtered water.
And always remember, just because your water looks clean does not mean it is not contaminated. Most of the contaminants in water are not visible to the naked eyes.