a person is holding the water filter

What is a Water Filter Made of: Some Essential Facts

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What is a Water Filter Made of and why? The way that filters work is something that is pretty much standard. It’s mainly because they all are based on one basic principle. And that is to filter out a certain contaminant.

The differences in  filters used to rid contaminates from a water supply basically comes down to how many  different contaminants there are. And that is what determines how many different filter stages the water  must undergo before it’s free from contaminants.

Each filter in each different stage have been constructed differently in-order to filter a certain substance. The material that is used in the filter will determine the filter’s efficiency and durability.


Nowadays, water filter manufacturers are using a wide range of materials. Nonetheless, we will briefly discuss the most common materials that are used to give you a better understanding of whether or not your municipal and home water is  protected and safe for drinking.

This will also help you understand why you might need a water filter for your home.

What is a Water Filter Made of?

These water filters, are made up of different materials and are also used in different situations. Hence, we will look into the filters used for homes, water-filtering plants, and portable filtration systems.

Home Filters

There still may be a need to add a filter even though the water is treated by your local municipality plants.

Water may pick up contaminants through pipes, faucets, elbows, and valves. In most cases its a good idea to use some type of filter even when you are on municipal water to trap any impurity before it reach’s your faucett.

The faucet-mounted and under-the-sink water filters, you can use at home come in different shapes and sizes.  Most of them are made of meshed  paper or activated carbon . Hence, one of the most common components, found in many small water filters is  paper or activated carbon.

The filters center part is filled with paper or activated carbon, and usually, have an external and internal plastic shell.


Other activated carbon filter models are more sophisticated. They have an outer alloy layer that can remove chemical elements such as mercury, lead, copper, nickel, and aluminum. Also, this added protective layer inhibits the growth of bacteria or algae.

Benefits of Activated Carbon

Why activated carbon? Activated carbon is not overly expensive. Moreover, it is capable of filtering out a lot of impurities, contaminants, and even some germs out of the water. That is possible, because of the fact that activated carbon has a very high surface area.

Meaning, it has the ability to bond with large contaminants. Hence, solidify them before blocking them as the water passes through and comes out of the faucet.

drink drinking female

Also, filters made of activated carbon have more pores and area for the absorption of compounds.  This is why they usually have a longer filtration life. Yes, you do have to replace activated charcoal filters. Especially once they have exhausted their ability to absorb these contaminants and compounds.

This is because these filters remove pollutants by simply absorbing impurities. Hence, once they have reached their limit, they become less able to absorb any forms of impurities.

Another reason why activated carbon is used in filters is because they do not filter out potentially healthy organic mineral ions.

This includes calcium and magnesium, which are also considered to be quite beneficial for your health. This means  that activated charcoal filters target only the harmful metal ions, which may be detrimental to your health over the long run.

Also, activated charcoal filters can make water tastier and even smell better in comparison to other kinds of filtration systems. In some cases, activated charcoal is even used to diminish the smell of sulphur which can be quite pungent.

Industrial Filters

Industrial water filtration systems are designed to filter out large quantities of water. The method of filtration may differ from one plant to another, and several layers of filtration aim to remove different pollutants or contaminants. Some filters have mesh materials for the first stage of the process. This will help them eliminate huge items like leaves, branches, or debris.

After that, the contaminants pass through other layers of filters, that are a form of different materials. Some may be biological in nature while others may have sand in them. Nonetheless, the principles are the same, but the execution and the size of the system are pretty different.

Filtration systems for industrial use usually follow a pattern which is:

  • 1, Mesh filter or sand filter
  • 2, Antibacterial filter
  • 3, Activated carbon filter
  • 4, lastly, another antibacterial filter

As can be denoted, there are more rigorous standards at these water plants. Thus, the filters are created from stronger materials. Therefore, the actual filtration and purification are more efficient in comparison to the smaller filters we use at home.

Nevertheless, those filters that are formed from small activated carbon layers are still very important. Since they serve as the final layer of filtration before you drink. They are often referring thas a “polishing filter”.

 

Portable Filter Straws

As the world becomes more technologically advanced, many manufacturers and experts started developing smaller versions of every useful product. That is why today, you can find water filtration bottles or straws that have filters in them. They are designed for outdoor adventurers to have safe and healthy water where it is otherwise not plentiful

Likewise, some organizations buy these products and donate them to countries or places that still do not have access to clean water.

woman drinking at blue sports bottle outdoors

These portable straws are usually integrated with filters, which are made with halogenated resin materials. These are capable of filtering out 99.99% of waterborne bacteria and parasites. Some can even remove 99% of viruses. However, these filters cannot filter out harmful and heavy metals. Also, these filters have a limited lifespan.

Once they have reached the total amount of water that they can filter, they need to be replaced. Some of these portable water bottles or straws, require regular cleaning, either manually or using an integrated backwasher system.

Summary

Since water is such an important commodity, knowing the type of filter your municipality is using is important. Also, when buying a filter for your home, make sure to buy from a certified company that meets all the health standards kept by NSF International.

In addition, if you intend to buy portable filters knowing what a filter is made of, is even more critical. You may be drinking from springs, ponds, and taps from an area that you are not really familiar.

The other body components of the filter are usually formed of plastic. You should make sure that it is BPA-free and strong enough to last a long time. Filter replacement time is mentioned in the user guide, or the packaging and varies from model to model.

Finally, once the filter reaches its replacement date, make sure to be prompt in changing the filter as it may no longer be able to serve its purpose. Nonetheless, water filter bottles, straw, and home filters are not really very expensive to replace. In fact, you can easily find them online.

Last update on 2020-11-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the Author Jack Wilson

Jack Wilson is a water treatment consultant as well as a topic researcher and post editor for all posts on bestpurifiation.com.

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