Finding the right water filter: Four things to consider

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According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Atlanta's drinking water is rated...

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Atlanta's drinking water is rated "fair to substandard." Having the right water filter is essential for your health and the well-being of your family. Don't know where to start? Here are four factors to consider when looking for a filter.

What are your needs?

Do you need safe drinking water, clean utility water or both? For drinking water, installing a reverse osmosis system is recommended. Reverse osmosis is a process where pressure drives water through a membrane that eliminates chemicals and metals.

In addition to reverse osmosis systems, filtration sources are also available. These are found in the form of faucet systems, bottles and pitchers. Using a combination filter and a whole house filtration system is your best bet to cover all your water issues.

What do you want to get rid of?

Contaminants found in your tap water can range from lead to cancer-causing arsenic and radon. If your home receives water from a public supply, a water quality report is readily available from the city's water department. You will find information concerning the source of your water and the levels of any contaminants. If you have well water, there are several companies that offer well testing.

Filter options

You should always base your purchase of a filter on your recommendations from previous water tests. Most whole-house filters rid the incoming water of more than two-thirds of soot, sediment and chlorine. Depending on the type, various filters reduce specific contaminants that ruin your water supply. If your supply is used from one or two primary faucets, look into a faucet filter that can be manually installed above the sink or purchase a pitcher filter. If water is used throughout the home, an under-the-sink faucet filter through the home's plumbing is your best and safest option.

In addition, a water softener lowers the hard minerals found in utility water. Purchasing a softener shields your plumbing and softens your laundry water. As softeners use salts to clean the water, the reverse osmosis system used for the drinking water removes the salts for safe consumption. To install a reverse osmosis or a whole-house water filter system, contact your local Atlanta plumbing or water service.

Look for a dependable filter

When shopping for a suitable water filter, you'll find a lot of manufacturers making claims about what contaminants their filters clean out. For an unbiased opinion, a great site to visit is NSF International, a nonprofit organization that certifies products and standards for food and water and consumer goods. Try searching its listings directory by inputting the manufacturer's name, brand and model. Also with a filtration system, you have to keep in mind the cost of replacement cartridges for some filters. If you purchase a pitcher filter, for instance, think about the price of maintaining a clean cartridge over a certain time. Although a pitcher may have been less expensive, the overall cost during a year could equal the cost of a whole-house filter.

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