Whole Life Magazine

December 2013/January 2014

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Page 9 of 43

city of angels ELIXIR OF THE GODS Pure water is rare to find, but a good filter can get you closer to what nature intended I t's no secret that there are contaminants in tap water, so to what lengths do we need to go to have safe, clean water? The Environmental Protection Agency lists six categories of contaminants that might show up in your tap water: seven microorganisms, four disinfection byproducts, three disinfectants, 15 inorganic chemicals, 52 organic chemicals and four radionuclides. Convinced yet that you might want to invest in a filter? Because there is no guarantee as to what's in grocery market bottled water either. The number of available water treatment products can be overwhelming, but for starters, look for certification by one of these organizations: NSF Certification. NSF is an independent organization that tests, audits and certifies products and systems to a public safety standard. WQA Gold Seal. The Water Quality Association gold seal certification program is the oldest, third-party testing and certification program in the water treatment industry. Within the wide range of available watercleaning options you have choices in the level of cleaning you'd like to do. Estimated prices below are what you can expect to spend for your initial investment, including installation. Replacement filters and combined functions will, of course, increase your cost, so factor into your buying decision how much the filters will cost and how long they will last. • A gravity-fed pitcher filter, such as Brita, is the most affordable option at less than $100. This kind of filter, as well as the large cartridge filter, works with the process of adsorption (the adhesion of atoms or ions to a surface). The adsorption capacity of any of these will vary greatly depending on surface area, type of carbon, quality of manufacturing and so on. You can expect a gravity-fed pitcher to reduce chlorine, remove sediment, reduce some contaminant metals and improve taste. • An under-the-sink reverse osmosis (RO) unit is a multistage system of sediment absorption, carbon adsorption and forcing water through a membrane that acts like an extremely fine sieve; it will remove 98 percent of all impurities and contaminants, including fluoride (± $600). RO water can also be remineralized (putting back the good minerals) with an additional installed cartridge. 10 By Darryl Cobb • For chlorine chloramine removal, a cartridge-type unit or a backwashing carbon filter is recommended. This is a pointof-entry system for an entire house, meaning it filters not only your drinking water, but all the water you use to shower, and wash clothes and dishes, and the steam you inhale. Correctly sizing the system to the number of fixtures in the house is critical; it would be very frustrating to go to all that trouble and expense and end up with weak water pressure. (± $1,000) This system is smaller (though you can stack several cartridges for a larger house) and has tighter filtration than a backwashing unit (thus more thorough), but requires a cartridge change about every six months. • A backwashing unit with catalytic carbon will service your entire residence with price varying depending on the size ($1,500 and up; $5,000 or more for large houses). It is lower maintenance, as the cartridges do not have to be changed regularly. • Conventional ion exchange water softeners are the good ol' standard because they actually work. In involves two tanks, and their size varies depending on the size of the house ($1200 and up). • Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) is another good method of mitigating hard water issues without salt or backwashing (TAC unit $1,200 and up) It involves a special media in a tank that requires no backwashing. The media physically changes the structure and behavior of hardness minerals, converting them into tiny microspheres that won't stick to glass, tile, fixtures or the inside of your water heater. Removing contaminants and improving the aesthetics of your tap water does not have to be prohibitively expensive or confusing, but do your shopping because the quality of the products you purchase is critical. Visit the Water Quality Association website, www.WQA.org, and click "Find a Water Treatment Professional" to find a knowledgeable specialist who can not only tell you the full range of options, but also install your system. —Darryl Cobb, owner of Aquarius systems, is a licensed water conditioning contractor and WQA certified water specialist. www.aquariuswaterfiltration.com wholelifetimesmagazine.com WLT-DEC-JAN-11-24-10pm.indd 10 11/25/13 11:28 AM

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