When you turn on a faucet in your home, you expect clean, refreshing water to come out of it. However, depending on where your house’s water comes from, that may not always happen. Residential water supplies can have a variety of contaminants in them, even when they’re technically considered safe to drink. To remedy that, your home might need some water treatment equipment installed. The two main types of such equipment are water filtration and water purification systems. Here’s what each does and how to choose between the two.

What’s Water Filtration?

A water filtration system uses one of two methods to separate and remove contaminants from your water. The first method involves passing your water through physical media, which traps the contaminants within it. It’s similar to the way your HVAC system passes air through an air filter to remove dust and dirt before recycling the air back into your house. Physical water filters work well for removing things like sand, silt, and sediment from water.

The second method involves the use of chemicals. To clarify, it relies on chemically treated physical media that can alter the physical properties of certain contaminants that pass through it. The changes make it possible for the physical media to trap particles that would’ve otherwise passed through it. This process is sometimes called active filtration. Such filters work well for removing substances like chlorine, chloramines, iron, magnesium, and sulfur from your home’s water.

It’s worth pointing out, however, that water filters won’t do anything to remove PFAS—so-called forever chemicals—from your home’s water. So if that’s a concern in your home, you’ll need a water purification system either instead of a filter or in tandem with it.

What’s Water Purification?

Water purification systems, on the other hand, can do something that water filters can’t. They can kill biological contaminants and remove things like dissolved minerals from your water. To do that, water purifiers rely on a totally different set of technologies than water filters do. The most commonly used water purification technology is reverse osmosis. It’s quite a bit like filtration, except that it relies on a semi-permeable membrane that can trap contaminants that are far smaller than solid particles.

Another water purification technology is distillation. This refers to the process of boiling water and collecting the resulting condensation. When water changes state between its liquid and vapor form, it leaves behind any contaminants, resulting in clean, pure water.

The final common water purification technology is UV sterilization. This involves exposing your water to specific wavelengths of UV radiation. This kills any biological contaminants in the water, rendering them inert and harmless.

Choosing Between Water Filtration and Purification

Since water filtration and water purification technologies each have different uses, you won’t be choosing between the two for your home, strictly speaking. Instead, you’ll need to have your water tested first to figure out what substances you need to remove. The results of that test will inform your choice.

For example, if your water test reveals high levels of chlorine in your water, you may only need a water filter to solve your problem. However, if the test reveals bacterial content, you’ll need a purification system instead.

In some cases, a water test will turn up unwanted pollutants in your water that straddle the capabilities of water filtration and purification systems. Fortunately, water purification systems that use reverse osmosis technology can remove many of the pollutants that a standard filtration system would. Therefore, in such cases, it’s common to use a reverse-osmosis water purification system that also includes additional purification technology to address your water’s specific pollutants.

Water Filter and Purification System Types

Another choice you’ll need to make is what type of water filtration or purification system you want. They come in a variety of form factors, each designed for specific use cases. The common form factors include the following.

Shower Water Filters

If you’re primarily concerned with filtering the water you use when you shower, a shower water filter may be the perfect choice for you. Shower water filters attach directly between the pipe in your shower and your showerhead. Most of them remove substances like chlorine and other common chemicals from your water. They’re an excellent choice if the water in your house is causing you to suffer from dry skin or other physical discomfort.

Countertop Water Filters

A countertop water filter is a good option if you’re primarily concerned with having a single source of fresh, clean water for drinking. Countertop water filters are commonly installed in kitchens and have a built-in tap to dispense filtered water when you turn on the water to your sink. The only trade-off is that you’ll have to sacrifice a small amount of counter space to host the filtration apparatus.

Under-Sink Water Filters and Purifiers

Under-sink water filters connect to the cold-water supply line under a faucet to filter your water before the faucet dispenses it. Since they’re built to be out of the way, under-sink faucets often take up a bit more space but can handle a wider variety of pollutants in your water. Some under-sink filters and purifiers come with separate drinking water faucets that you can install next to your existing faucet. They may also include a small water storage tank to hold a few gallons of pre-filtered water so that you don’t have to wait when you want a glass of fresh water from the tap.

Whole-House Water Filters and Purifiers

The most comprehensive water filtration and purification systems can treat your household’s entire incoming water supply. That means any contaminants in your water get removed before the water reaches your sinks, fixtures, and appliances. They’re often used in tandem with water-softening systems to provide your home with water that’s clean and comfortable to use. This also means that whole-house water filtration systems are the most difficult to install. They require some limited changes to the plumbing in your home where your water supply enters.

Your Local Water Treatment Specialists

Huft Home Services is your go-to provider of residential water treatment solutions in and around Sacramento, CA. We sell and install high-quality whole-house filtration systems and can help you custom design the right solution for your household’s needs. We’ve served the local area for over 18 years, and we’re proud to be a Better Business Bureau-accredited firm with an A+ rating.

We also offer comprehensive HVAC services, including installation, repair, and maintenance. Plus, we provide complete plumbing and electrical services. We can even help you with your indoor air quality, insulation, and home energy performance needs. That means we’re the only home services company you’ll ever need. And when we wow you with our 5-star customer experience, we’re sure you’ll become another one of our loyal lifetime clients. You’ll also find out why we have so many glowing reviews from our long list of satisfied customers. For water filtration and purification for your Sacramento home, call the experts at Huft Home Services today!

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