Water Filters: A Quick Rundown

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Woman drinking water

Most of us have experienced occasions where we have filled a glass with treated tap water and noticed that it appeared cloudy. We are assured by the health authorities that this is a perfectly normal part of the water treatment process, and occurs when air gets trapped in the water. This can happen during the pumping process or when cold water meets warmer water in the system. Because the water pipes are pressurised, the air is trapped and not released until the tap is turned on. A quick way to check is to wait for a few seconds and if the glass clears from the bottom up, this is the cause and is perfectly harmless.

However it raises doubts in some people’s minds about their water quality and whether they should have an additional level of protection at the point of consumption. This is not a difficult process and requires the purchase and installation of a suitable water filter. Filtered office water is already a fairly standard amenity in most office environments.

How water filters work

So just how do water filters work, and what will they filter out of a supply that is already treated to remove contaminants, bacteria and other impurities? There are several different types of filters each used for specific purposes. Filters either trap pollutants and contaminants like a sieve or a strainer or use an absorption process which keeps the contaminants in the tiny pores of the filter medium. Water filters are rated in microns which indicate what size particles the particular filter remove. A micron is one millionth of a metre and a human hair is 70 microns in thickness, to give a comparison. The lower the rating, the more pollutants the filter can keep out.

Sediment filters reduce dirt and contaminants and are useful as pre-filters that trap larger pollutants and prolong the life of the main filter. Activated carbon filters are fast acting and improve the taste, appearance and odour of water while at the same time removing pesticides, herbicides and chemical pollutants. Ceramic filters block parasites, bacteria and sediments, and the hollow ceramic core can be cleaned by scrubbing and can also be used as sediment pre-filter.

The filter systems available are generally either self-fill systems or mains-connected. The mains connected are more convenient, since as the name suggests, they are fitted directly to the water mains and don’t require manual filling, as do the self-fill systems. The water filters available today are quite sophisticated and can be supplied to provide “cool and cold” and “hot and cold” water. Both types are available in stand-alone and bench-top models.

Filtered water systems supplied by specialists are a very convenient way of keeping a healthy water supply available for staff and customers at a reasonable cost. The supplier will install the system the client chooses, arrange the regular maintenance and even provide disposable cups and cup dispensers.