Choosing a Water Filter
How do we protect ourselves from exposure to harmful chemicals like PFAS, Trihalomethanes (THMs), lead, perchlorate, fluoride, radioactive substances, and chemicals that aren't regulated? Fight for Zero believes that stopping the sources of pollution by holding polluters accountable for their role in contaminating air, soil, and water should be a priority for lawmakers.
As the quality of drinking water in the US continues to worsen, you must explore different avenues to keep you and your family safe from the adverse health effects of these pollutants. Installing a quality water filtering system is possibly the best way to achieve this.
Various filters have different purposes. We want to help you to be fully informed so you can make the correct decision for your needs.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my drinking water taste bad? Chlorine, chloramine, Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) , and Sulfur could be the culprit. Luckily the right filter can remove those chemicals.
Why does my water smell and taste like a pool? This bleach smell usually occurs when your water is over-chlorinated. In the 70s, scientists discovered that chlorine (a disinfectant) could react with naturally occurring materials in the water and create what are called disinfection byproducts (DBPs). Many of these DBPs have been shown to cause cancer, including trihalomethanes (THMs). Sometimes this smell occurs because the water treatment plant is doing a "chlorine burnout" in order to "flush" the system and meet EPA standards.
Does boiling water purify it? Boiling water does not remove chemicals like lead, arsenic, mercury, chromium 6, PFAS, or barium. The only way to remove these chemicals is by using a quality water filtration system.
Why only use cold water for cooking and drinking? Lead and zinc (commonly found in water pipes) are more soluble in hot water than in cold water. Hot water tanks can also grow bacteria. Legionella, which is the bacteria that causes Legionnaires Disease, thrives in warm water environments and is commonly found in hot water heaters. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap. Hot water can dissolve lead more quickly than cold water
What is NSF? The NSF is an independent testing laboratory that performs comprehensive testing and certification of filtration products. In order for a product to earn "certification" for the reduction of a contaminant, it must be able to reduce a specific amount of that contaminant. The NSF mark can be found on the packaging of products that have been tested and certified by the organization. Please be aware that some companies use marketing such as "certified to NSF standards," but that doesn't mean they used the lab for testing.
Search certified systems: https://www.nsf.org/certified-products-systems
What Bottled Water is Good? Stop using bottled water entirely. Get yourself a filter and a sturdy reusable water bottle. Billions of plastic bottles are thrown away each year; it is costly to the consumer and environment, leaches harmful chemicals, negatively impacts wildlife, depletes water, and may also contain unregulated chemicals similar to tap water.
Why does my water smell and taste like dirt? Some water departments use surface water, such as lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, as their source. These have naturally-occurring bacteria and algae (including blue-green algae or Cyanobacteria) and often, in the early fall when the water levels are low, or during an algae bloom, the water will taste and smell of “dirt."
What is the white residue on my faucet? The white residue is from calcium and magnesium-containing (hard water) minerals that are found in tap water. The minerals build up on cookware and faucets.
Why is there pink and black slime in my shower and sink? Black gunk around your faucet could be from the manganese and/or iron in your water supply. Use a soft scrub brush with 50-50 warm water and white vinegar to remove the residue, and let the solution soak for 10 minutes before scrubbing. Try to keep the area as dry as possible moving forward.
What are the orange stains on the outside walls of my house? Typically the orange, rust-reddish staining is caused by high contents of iron. Lemon juice or vinegar works well to remove iron stains.
What is a Reverse Osmosis System (RO)? This is a type of filtration technology that is effective at removing nitrates, dirt, particles, and chemicals like chlorine through different stages. The disadvantage is that these systems strip minerals, have excessive water usage, are a slow process, and must be maintained.
What is a Granular Activated Carbon filter? Commonly referred to as GAC, this type of filter is best for absorbing contaminants and will remove any unwanted tastes or odors. The disadvantage is that these filters must be maintained and may not be efficient for any pathogenic bacteria or viruses.
Is my water safe? Check out the resources below to learn more about your city's water quality.
Under the Sink Filters
Under the sink, water filters are attached directly to your water line in the cabinet underneath your sink. These filters remove contaminants at the point of use. These filters can be tailored to remove contaminants in your tap water and filter out contaminants that may be picked up as water flows through the pipes to your faucet. The installation is relatively simple. You may need a separate faucet and drill a hold in your countertop if you don't already have one for installing the second faucet.
Counter and Pitcher Water filters
Pitcher filters are affordable, portable, and require no installation. Many of these filters do a good job at removing chlorine but may not filter things like lead, chromium 6, PFAS, and other harmful contaminants. Check the manufacturer or contaminant removal information.
Whole Home Systems
Whole house filters are installed where water enters the house and are usually located outside the home or inside the garage. These systems filter all water coming into the house and are used by owners who use wells as their drinking water source. These systems are good for filtering out sulfur and chlorine, but bacteria can build up in the pipes and water tanks. The drawbacks of whole-home filters are that it has limited contaminant removal and require installation by a licensed plumber. These systems filter all water coming into the house, including water used in the toilet, sprinklers, and laundry. Good for hard water and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Fridge and Ice Maker Filter
Most fridge filters are built into the refrigerator and filter the water for ice as well as the water coming out of the dispenser. Most filters for refrigerators are designed to improve the taste of water and mostly remove chlorine. Changing the filter cartridge is extremely important because it can over-saturate and put harmful contaminants back into the filtered water. Change every six months at a minimum.