Sunday, March 15, 2009

What water filteration system should I buy?

Photo by Snap

We've been thinking for a while about getting a water filtration system. And when I say thinking I mean, doing a bit of research, feeling overwhelmed with the number of options, and then not thinking about it for a month or so. This process has been going on for, oh, about a year.

Ever since we learned we had lead pipes.

We've had the water tested and it's within allowable levels. We are at 2.3ppb and the max allowed (here in Ottawa anyway) is 10ppb. However I don't feel too comfortable with that for two reasons:
1. The normal range is <0.5, and as far as I'm concerned anything higher than that is an issue and
2. The dude ran the water for like 2 mins before he took the sample. Which I am not doing. So I'm not sure if that means the water I drink would have more lead in than his sample or less? Either way, I don't like it.

So, here are the options I've been looking into:

  1. Charcoal filter jug - least effective filter from what I've read but also the cheapest. Jugs all seem to be plastic which, since I've switched to stainless for my travel bottle, I'm not too keen on. But the plus is that they can often be found used on Craigslist and Kijiji.

  2. Ceramic filter - more effective than charcoal, but fragile (break easily). But they are cleanable so last a long time.

  3. Reverse osmosis - removes more bad stuff than charcoal and ceramic but wastes a LOT of water. In fact they waste more water than they make.

  4. Distillation machines - removes all nasties but also takes out minerals as well. Requires electricity to run (although I have heard rumours about solar ones).

  5. Boiled water - removes all nasties, cheap, requires no special equipment, BUT is a bad choice for me because apparently boiling water actually concentrates lead in your water. AWESOME.

None of these really sound like the perfect option but perhaps there isn't one. In the interest of ending this cycle of indecision, I think I'm going to go with this.

It's a gravity fed system. Requires no electricity. Has filters that you can clean. Has a stainless steel container. Gets the lead out (ha ha), and also has additional filters that take out the flouride (which I don't feel like sucking back anymore)

Unless anyone has any other suggestions?

Oh and we are signed up to be part of the lead pipe replacement program but holy, long process.


Theresa said...

These look very useful - I really like that they are gravity fed. I've been looking into some of the Katadyn ones, but they are extremely expensive. I'm like you were - overwhelmed and just not deciding on anything. This may help me finally decide - thanks!

Amber said...

Gentle Descent in the UK is a fan of the Berky.

Green Grrl said...

Hey Theresa - I also looked at some v. expensive ones (one that looked good was seagull but at almost $1000 plus installation, I had to rule it out!). Happy to have helped a bit in your search. :)

Amber - thanks for that! I think that seals it.

Carrick said...

Hey Theresa, I've been researching this recently, too, so now my dream filter (i.e. what I'd get if I could afford it, even though in the general scheme of things it's not that expensive at $250 or something) is a Multi-Pure stainless steel counter-top filter. If you don't want one sitting on your counter, you can get a below the sink one for another 50 bucks.

But I'm probably going to end up going with the Pur faucet filter, solely because it's way cheaper at $35 or something (another $15 for the filter itself), even though it's plastic and apparently a piece of crap that breaks after a while. :P

Natalie said...

A friend of mine recently had a reverse osmosis unit installed, and she has commented that she is STUNNED by the wasted water it ``produces.``

Fortunately, at the same time, she had it plumbed to re-direct the wasted water so she is able to use it for washing and other purposes, but that is very labour intensive.

Good research you have done - thanks for sharing your list of options.