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Can a Water Filter Improve Your Pipe Experience?
The first and most important benefit of water filters is cleaner, safer, and healthier drinking water. However, not many people know that water filters are also meant to preserve and reduce any potential damages to your plumbing network as well.
In a nutshell, most filters can improve your pipe experience – some excel at it while some can barely get the job done. The main factor is the type of the water filter, or more precisely speaking, what kind of elements is it capable of filtering/removing. Let’s dive a bit deeper into the topic before we draw any conclusions:
What contaminants glossary
Different filter types exist to battle different types of contaminants, although a perfect all-around solution that can eliminate them all has still not been invented.
The main four contaminant types include physical contaminants, chemical contaminants, biological contaminants, and radiological contaminants.
Physical contaminants affect the water’s physical properties. Organic materials may have a biological structure but are treated as ‘physical’ contaminants; they partially dissolve in water and change their molecular structure.
Chemicals, such as compounds and various elements (nitrogen, metals, and such), can be natural or man-made.
Biological contaminants, or living organisms, dwell in water and can reproduce under certain circumstances. Bacteria and viruses are the most typical biological contaminants.
Radiological contaminants essentially share a lot in common with chemical elements while the main difference that sets them apart is their imbalance of protons and neutrons. Their volatility often results in ionizing radiation.
Water filter types and their efficiency at removing particular types of contaminants
Each water filter type operates in a different way and is supplied with different features. The main types of water filters are Ion Exchange filters, Reverse Osmosis filters, Mechanical filters, and UV filters.
Ion Exchange Filters
IO filters exchange ions in flowing water, or more precisely speaking, they’re designed to swap potentially harmful ions with harmless or beneficial ones. For instance, calcium tends to ‘harden’ the water and can be perceived as a harmful element for both human health and plumbing pipes.
Ion Exchange method will in this case substitute calcium ions with harmless ions, such as sodium, which is meant to make the water softer.
This particular filter type can prolong your plumbing pipes, as elements that harden the water typically form layers around pipes.
On the downside, IO filters aren’t particularly efficient at removing viruses, bacteria, and most kinds of organic material. They are generally suitable for eliminating radioactive and chemical contaminants while struggling to remove biological and physical contaminants.
Reverse Osmosis Filters
Osmosis is a spontaneous, natural movement of solvent molecules passing through a semipermeable membrane, which allows less concentrated solutions into more concentrated solutions. Since the natural direction of osmosis helps spread the contaminants evenly, RO filters were designed to split the equation more favorably.
Basically, reverse Osmosis filters control the direction of the flowing water and push the contaminants against their natural path, leaving clean water intact for as long as the process is continuous.
RO filters can enhance the overall health of plumbing pipes, as they can remove the vast majority of contaminants, such as chromium, arsenic, copper, salt, radium, fluoride, and nitrates.
Although they’re superior to most filter types in terms of effective contaminant removal solutions, they are costly to maintain and typically waste huge amounts of water. They’re also removing beneficial minerals, leaving water with a very acidic pH value.
Mechanical filters were designed as an effective solution of removing physical water contaminants. They operate in such a way that they put up barriers between the flowing water that are meant to trap organic compounds, as well as physical particles.
This filter type can somewhat help prolong the lifespan of plumbing pipes, but it’s ideally used with fish tanks and aquariums where waste matter is more common.
Ultra-Violet filters are specifically designed to eliminate biological contaminants (bacteria, viruses). They work in an environmentally-friendly manner and are often used by water purification plants.
UV filters sanitize the water, making it clean from any potential microbial contaminants, but they’re completely ineffective at combating any other type of contaminants. Chemical and radiological contaminants are not affected by ultra-violet lights in a sufficient capacity while physical contaminants are not affected at all.
Hybrid filters are based on two (or more) filter types in terms of features and method of operation. For instance, a mechanical filter may be upgraded with an UV lamp so as to enhance its ability to remove bacteria or viruses.
On another hand, a filter that doesn’t fit into any of the main four categories can be treated as a ‘hybrid’, as its features can be borrowed from other types.
Water filter pitchers, for instance, can fit in any of the aforementioned categories – these pitchers are meant to deliver instant results while making them easier to use. They can be either of the four or hybrid features as long as they’re convenient and easy to use.
Can a Water Filter Improve Your Pipe Experience?
Using a filter is certainly a better option than not using one at all. All filters are meant to make drinking water healthier, and regardless of what their target group of contaminants is, eliminating any hazardous materials consequentially makes the pipes healthier in turn.
However, contaminants that present a health hazard to humans may not be harmful to the pipes at all, and vice versa. The vast majority of radiological contaminants will not affect pipes (not to be confused with radioactive contaminants, which can corrode almost anything if left unchecked).
Biological contaminants are particularly dangerous to humans, but they’re completely harmless to steel, copper, or plastic pipes.
Some chemical contaminants are extremely dangerous to both pipes and humans, especially if the pipes are old and rusted; corroded pipes tend to react with other chemicals, which can lead to a series of disasters.
Finally, physical contaminants call for a (mechanical) filter, as these contaminants hurt the pipes the most. If you want to ensure the longevity of your plumbing system, combine mechanical and RO filters for best effects.
We hope that this brief rundown was useful to you and that you have learned something new today on whether a water filter can improve your pipe experience. Make sure you are staying safe in these times we are all going through and have a good one, guys!
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