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How Home Water Purification Works

May 23, 2008
Your home's water is almost certainly contaminated. That's because municipalities add chemicals to all water in their systems to kill germs and eliminate other toxins. But the same things that kill germs can make you sick as well. For this reason, it's a good idea to investigate buying a home water purifier.

There are three primary types of water purification systems: the reverse osmosis water filter, the activated carbon or ceramic water filter, and the ultraviolet purifier. Each of these acts in a very different way, and any one may be adequate to clean your water, depending on your local impurities. They are often used together as well to make an extremely good complex water purifier that addresses every water purification problem.

The activated carbon or ceramic water filter is the simplest and cheapest home water purifier. A granulated chemical (activated charcoal or diatomaceous earth, depending on the filter) filters out impurities in tepid to cold water. These filters don't work well in higher temperatures, so similarly-designed shower filters use different chemicals to filter out impurities. Sediments and chemicals are left behind in the filter, while cleaner, softer water comes out for your drinking or showering pleasure.

Ultraviolet home water purifiers work on a completely different concept. They don't use a physical filter; instead, concentrated ultraviolet light is radiated through your water system, killing any bacteria and amoeba in it to sterilize your water. It won't remove sediments or heavy metals, but a UV home water purifier will keep all biological contaminants out of your water supply. These purifiers are often included as part of a more complex purification system, and are also used heavily by hospitals.

Reverse osmosis home water purifiers are based on technology developed by the military to supply submarines with fresh, pure drinking water. In these high-tech filters, passive osmotic filtration lets pure water pass through, with chemicals and impurities staying on the other side. All sediments, most dissolved chemicals, and most biological contaminants are removed from your drinking water. The only drawback: good minerals like fluoride are also eliminated from your drinking water. To eliminate the tiny bit of impurity that can slip through in these filters, an activated carbon and a UV filter are often added to a standard reverse osmosis home water purifier, resulting in drinking water more pure than you can get out of a bottle.

In the most complex systems, an activated carbon or ceramic filter are at the water intake, leading to a reverse osmosis water filter, with a UV home water purifier shining through the water in the reservoir at the end. This eliminates virtually anything in your water besides water, giving you the purest water possible and potentially saving you hundreds of dollars a year in bottled water.
About the Author
Trent Barrett is a consultant who writes for Home water purifiers. You can visit their homepage to learn more about home water purification systems
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