Water Filtration is the act or process of filtering, especially the process of passing a liquid or gas, such as air, through a filter in order to remove solid particles. In other words, water filtration removes unwanted impurities from water such as sediment, taste and odor, hardness and bacteria.
A water filter removes impurities by lowering contamination of water using a fine physical barrier, a chemical process, or a biological process. Filters cleanse water to different extents and excel at removing contaminants. The finer the filter, the more particulates are removed.
Filtration methods can help with the removal of hard water ions, particulates, chlorine, TDS (total dissolved solids), alkalinity and pH.
Types of Water Filters
Mechanical filters physically remove impurities in water using a barrier made from a basic mesh that filters large particles to a ceramic filter with a complex pore structure that provides ultra-fine filtration.
Mechanical filters are given a micron rating which indicates how effective the filters are in terms of the size of the particles it can remove.
- 5 micron – removes most particles visible to the naked eye.
- 1 micron – removes particles that can be seen only with a microscope
- 0.5 micron – removes cysts like giardiasis and cryptosporidium.
Absorption filters usually contain granular activated carbon which is highly effective at capturing water-borne contaminants because it’s internal surface is covered in nooks and crannies that trap chemical impurities such as chlorine. Some filters use carbon block elements which are more effective and carry a micron rating for particle removal.
Sequestration is the act of chemically isolating a substance. Food grade polyphosphate is often used in scale inhibiting filters to sequester the calcium and magnesium minerals which cause limescale and corrosion. This only inhibits scale but does not soften the water, keeping the minerals within the solution while preventing them from forming scale.
Ion exchange softens hard water by exchanging the magnesium and calcium ions found in water with other ions like sodium or hydrogen. Because ion exchange physically removes the hard minerals it is suitable for applications where water is kept at a constant high temperature such as commercial coffee machines.
Reverse osmosis (RO) removes dissolved inorganic solids, such as magnesium and calcium ions, from water by forcing it through a semipermeable membrane under pressure so that water passes but most of the contaminants are left behind. Reverse osmosis is usually combined with other filters, such as mechanical and absorption, in order to offer the finest level of filtration available when 99.9% pure water is required.
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