Frequently Asked Questions
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There are too many choices in water filters on the market. Where do I start?
Start by reading about the various technologies that are available by clicking on Treatment Technologies in our main menu. This will familiarize you with the different technologies available to treat your water. Next, go to our products page and view your options. We will make some recommendations to you based on your water supply and personal preferences. Of course, you can always call us for assistance toll free at 1-866-376-2690.
How do your products compare to Brita-style pitcher filters and faucet-mounted water filters?
Pitcher and faucet-mounted filters generally rely solely on activated carbon filtration. While activated carbon is very effective at removing a wide range of contaminants, the problem with this type of filters is that they contain a very small amount of activated carbon. Further, the time the water spends in contact with the carbon, particularly with faucet mounted units, is too little to provide full absorption. While counter top and under sink activated carbon filters generally have removal rates for relevant contaminants in excess of 90-99%, the removal rates for faucet mounted and pitcher style units is generally 30-60%.
I am specifically concerned about removing parasitic cysts like cryptosporidium and giardia from my water. Can you suggest a filtration or purification method?
You have a few choices. You can select any counter top or under counter water filter that features a 0.5 micron carbon block filter. These cysts generally range from about 4-10 microns in size and can be eliminated by these fine filters. Reverse osmosis will also remove these contaminants as an RO membrane's pores measure only about 0.005 microns. While ultraviolet purification is ideal for other microbiological contaminants such as bacteria and viruses, it is not always effective against cysts as they require a longer exposure time than is sometimes possible in a home UV system. Don't forget, E.coli is too small to be removed by any existing activated carbon (GAC or carbon block) filter available anywhere. Reverse osmosis is generally effective at removing bacteria, however a secondary ultraviolet system is recommended for optimum security against E.coli and other bacteria.
My community frequently issues boil advisories to deal with short-term water problems. If I boil my drinking water, am I safe?
Yes and no. A rolling boil for at least two minutes is effective in killing harmful organisms such as E.coli, giardia and cryptosporidium. However, boiling does not remove many other contaminants such as heavy metals; in fact, it concentrates them. While these contaminants do not often cause immediate acute sickness, long-term exposure to them is certainly unhealthy, especially at concentrated levels.
Are National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certified water filters better than non-NSF certified water filters?
Not necessarily. To become certified by NSF, water filter manufacturers have to pay NSF various fees on an ongoing basis. A large number of manufacturers choose not to pay these fees and therefore not to have their products endorsed by NSF. Many of these manufacturers produce filters that are more effective than those produced by companies that have opted for NSF certification. You should evaluate a water filter based on the materials it is composed of and the reputation of the company that stands behind it.
Do your systems come with all necessary parts for installation and are they difficult to install?
For each product, we list all components that are included with your system. The vast majority of our systems are very easily installed by the homeowner. Detailed installation instructions are provided with your product. Whole house systems require some mechanical aptitude, so we generally recommend that you request the assistance of a good handyman, plumber, or water treatment technician.
I have seen water filters at my local home center retail store that are cheaper than yours. Are they the same thing? What is the difference?
The quality of water filters on the market varies dramatically. In most cases, but not all, it is a "you get what you pay for" situation. When comparing different filters, you should look at the following:
- Quality Materials - look at the materials that were used to make the filters. For example, TFC membranes are better than cellulose triacetate (CTA) membranes in reverse osmosis systems, and coconut shell activated carbon is generally better than all other forms. (Note: all of our activated carbon filter products use coconut shell carbon, and all reverse osmosis systems use TFC membranes.)
- Micron Rating - most filters have a specified micron rating which indicates the nominal size of particles they are able to remove. The smaller the micron rating the better - this means that your filter will remove smaller particles. A 20 micron filter is not necessarily "worse" than a 5 micron filter; it depends on what the filter is for. If it is a whole-house sediment filter which serves as the first filter before your activated carbon filters, then a 20 micron filter would be preferred to 5 microns because the 5 micron filter would clog too quickly. However, when looking at a reverse osmosis system for example, micron ratings of the various component filters (and the number of pre-filters in the system itself) can be compared to give you a relative indication of quality and effectiveness. Be very wary of manufacturers and retailers who do not indicate micron ratings for their filters - there is a good chance their products are of inferior quality.
- Manufacturer Reputation - how long has the manufacturer been in business and do they have a good reputation in the marketplace?
- Replacement Filters Included? - Don't forget that many of our systems and packages come with enough replacement filters to last a complete year under normal usage and average water conditions. Traditional retail chains and most online retailers of water filters generally include only the first set of filters. When you add on the cost of the additional filters, they might not look so cheap after all.
I have another brand of water filter in my home. Will your replacement filters fit in my unit?
Most likely yes, as long as the housing is not tapered. Our replacement filters are designed to be universal and to fit most other point-of-use and whole-house filter housings on the market. If in doubt, email a photo of your existing filter together with its physical measurements (diameter and length) to us and we will confirm for you.
|Activated Carbon Filtration (GAC / Carbon Block) FAQ|
What is Activated Carbon?
Carbon is an extremely porous material that attracts and holds a wide range of harmful contaminants. Activated carbon is carbon which has a slight electro-positive charge added to it, making it even more attractive to chemicals and impurities. As the water passes over the positively charged carbon surface, the negative ions of the contaminants are drawn to the surface of the carbon granules.
What forms does it come in?
Activated carbon filters used for home water treatment typically contain either granular activated carbon (GAC) or powdered block carbon (carbon block).
Which is generally better, GAC or carbon block?
Although both are effective, carbon block filters generally have a larger contaminant removal capacity (longer life) and are more resistant to channeling. However, GAC filters often have a longer contact time which can provide for very high contaminant removal ratios.
Are all carbon filters equally effective?
No. Activated carbon filters are usually rated by the size of particles they are able to remove, measured in microns, and generally range from 20 microns (least effective) down to 0.5 microns (most effective). The two most important factors affecting the efficiency of activated carbon filtration are the amount of activated carbon in the unit and the amount of time the contaminant spends in contact with it. The more carbon a filter contains the better. Particle size also affects contaminant removal rates. The most common carbon types used in water filtration are bituminous, wood, and coconut shell carbons. While the coconut shell carbon typically costs 20% more, it is by far the best of the three for the removal of certain types of contaminants such as VOCs.
Can I use taste and flow rate to determine when to change the filter?
No. These are very poor methods of monitoring your water filter for maintenance. Once the bad tastes have returned, it is already far too late - contaminants have passed through the filter and into your drinking water. A carbon cartridge may be able to control taste and odors long after the carbon has lost its ability to effectively reduce other toxic contaminants. You should always follow the manufacturer's filter replacement schedule to ensure optimal filtration.
What is backwashing and do you recommend it?
Backwashing is the process of forcing water through a filter in the wrong direction to unclog the dirt and sediment which has blocked the filter. Backwashing is a common practice for certain whole house and commercial units which are treating large volumes of water for utility purposes but it is not a recognized practice for small point-of-use drinking water systems.
What is KDF?
Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (KDF) is a high-purity copper-zinc formulation that uses a basic chemical process known as redox (oxidation/reduction) to remove chlorine, lead, mercury, iron, and hydrogen sulfide from water supplies.
How does KDF Work?
In short, the KDF redox process works by exchanging electrons with contaminants. This "give and take" of electrons converts many contaminants into harmless components. During this reaction, electrons are transferred between molecules and new elements are created. Some harmful contaminants are changed into harmless components. Others are electrochemically bound to the KDF media.
What contaminants does KDF remove?
KDF process media works to reduce or remove chlorine, iron, hydrogen sulfide, lead, mercury, calcium carbonate, magnesium, chromium, bacteria, algae, and fungi. Redox media removes up to 98% of water-soluble cations (positively-charged ions) of lead, mercury, copper, nickel, chromium, and other dissolved metals. In most cases, more than 98% of chlorine is removed if operated within recommended flow rates.
Why is KDF used in shower water filters?
KDF is frequently found in home shower water filters because of its effectiveness at higher operating temperatures and flow rates.
|Ultraviolet (UV) FAQ|
What is UV?
Ultraviolet (UV) light is at the invisible, violet end of the light spectrum. Even though we can't see UV light, we are exposed to UV rays from all light sources, including the sun.
How does ultraviolet light purify water?
UV-C rays penetrate the cells of harmful bacteria and viruses in our drinking water, destroying their ability to reproduce. Without this ability, these organisms die and no longer pose a health threat. It is a simple but very effective process, with a properly designed system generally inactivating greater than 99% of harmful microorganisms.
Why not use chlorine instead?
Chlorine changes the tastes and odor of water. Chlorination can also produce harmful by-products called Trihalomethanes (THMs) which are linked to incidence of cancer.
Does a UV system use a lot of energy?
No, a typical whole-house UV unit will use about the same amount of energy as a 60 watt light bulb. It is a cost effective, natural way to increase water quality where microbiological contamination is present and to provide peace of mind where microbiological contamination is a greater risk.
Why do UV sterilizers require sediment pre-filtration?
UV systems require pre-filtration to maintain effectiveness as sediment and other contaminants in the water can create a "shadow" which prevents the UV rays from reaching and disinfecting the harmful microorganisms.
How often does the UV light bulb (lamp) need to be replaced?
It is essential that you change your UV lamp annually (2 years for some models). The ability of the lamp to emit UV light decreases over time. Remember - UV light is invisible! Even though the lamp is still glowing after one year, there might not be enough UV light reaching your water to be effective.
How often do your need to replace the sleeve?
The sleeve doesn't need to be replaced unless it is broken or fouled (can no longer be effectively cleaned), but it will need to be cleaned several times a year in order to keep the bulb effective in delivering a high UV dose.
|Reverse Osmosis FAQ|
What is Reverse Osmosis?
Reverse osmosis, also known as hyperfiltration, is the finest means of filtration available today. It is the most common treatment technology used by premium bottled water companies. Reverse osmosis refers to the process of forcing water through a semi-permeable membrane under pressure.
How does Reverse Osmosis work?
Reverse osmosis uses a semi-permeable membrane, allowing pure water to pass through it, while rejecting the contaminants that are too large to pass through the tiny pores in the membrane.
Can Reverse Osmosis be used on well water or water from other untreated sources (lake or river)?
Yes, RO is generally an excellent choice for homeowners with well water. However, it is important to note that reverse osmosis does not provide foolproof protection against all microorganisms. You should have your water tested for bacteria and virus contamination before relying solely on reverse osmosis. If microbiological contamination is present or suspected, you should combine reverse osmosis with an ultraviolet system for maximum effectiveness and protection against bacteria and viruses. A water softener or whole-house iron filter may also be advisable (depending on the level of relevant contaminants in your well water) to prevent membrane fouling, thereby ensuring maximum membrane life and effectiveness.
How often does the reverse osmosis membrane need to be replaced?
With proper maintenance of your sediment and activated carbon pre-filters, your reverse osmosis membrane should last 2-3 years.
Why are reverse osmosis systems always combined with carbon and sediment pre-filters?
The only major category of contaminants that reverse osmosis is not highly effective in removing (organic compounds) is specifically targeted by activated carbon filters. Pre-filters also prevent the reverse osmosis membrane from being fouled or clogged by sediment, chlorine, and other contaminants, thereby enhancing its effectiveness and lifespan.
Are all reverse osmosis systems equally effective?
Absolutely not. Like all water filters, the effectiveness of a reverse osmosis system depends greatly on the quality of its components - especially its pre-filter cartridges (quantity and quality) and the membrane itself. Lower quality pre-filters will suffer from premature membrane fouling, as well as reduced performance, purified water output, and membrane life.
I notice that a reverse osmosis system will remove just about everything from my water, including some nutrients that are good for the body. Should I take a supplement to counteract the nutrients that I will no longer get through my water?
No, this is not necessary. You should already be getting all of the nutrients, such as essential salts, vitamins, and other trace minerals, from the food you eat and the other beverages you drink.
What is "crossflow"?
Quality reverse osmosis systems use a process known as crossflow to allow the membrane to continually clean itself. As some of the fluid passes through the membrane the rest continues downstream, sweeping the rejected contaminants away from the membrane and down the drain. This prevents contaminants from backing up against the membrane and clogging it.
How much purified water can a home RO system produce?
Our RO systems come standard with a membrane that produces about 25-50 gallons of purified water per day. An upgrade is available at a relatively low cost which allows you to boost production to up to 100 gallons per day. The upgrade kit includes a larger membrane and housing and a larger storage tank. The actual amount of water produced in your home will depend on your household water pressure, water temperature, contaminants present, and other factors. Because reverse osmosis water purification occurs slowly (it is a very fine filter!), a storage tank is used to hold 3 gallons of purified water at all times so pure water is always at your fingertips.
|Online Ordering FAQ|
Is my credit card number safe?
Secure order processing is of paramount importance to us at. Security is provided by industry standard Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology (128 bit encryption). All sensitive personal and financial information entered during the checkout process, including your credit card number, is encrypted while traveling over the Internet.
How do I know if my order went through?
Once your order is placed, you will be taken to an order confirmation screen that will provide you with an order tracking / reference number. You should receive a confirmation e-mail within a few hours, or in the morning of the next business day. This email indicates that your payment was successfully approved and that your order has been processed. If you have any questions about your order, please call us toll free at 1-866-376-2690 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am having problems adding items to my shopping cart or using the checkout - what should I do?
Your browser settings or a firewall may be conflicting with our order system software. You can place your order by phone by calling us toll free at 1-866-376-2690.
What are your shipping, satisfaction, warranty, and return policies?
Please refer to our policies page: CLICK HERE