What are water purification systems?

If you are concerned with the quality of the water that is entering your home and that you and your family are consuming every day, you may want to look into the different water purification systems that are available.  Water purification systems will not only improve the quality of the water in your home by reducing health hazards such as bacteria, chemical pollutants, and other toxic substances, it can also help remove nuisance problems, such as odors or hardness.   Before deciding if you home needs one of the many water purification systems on the market, you should have your water independently tested to find out if it contains bacteria or other contaminants.  This is especially true if you water smells, has an odd color, or leaves a film on everything it touches.  You may find out that you simply need to go through a water softener installation and do not need a water purification system.   There are several water purification systems to choose from if it is found that you do, in fact, need one.  First and foremost, there is disinfection.  This is done through chlorination, pasteurization, and ultraviolet light or boiling so that harmful bacteria, viruses, cysts, and worms are removed so that they do not make you or your family sick.  However, chlorination can be harmful if too much is used.  Pasteurization is expensive, ultraviolet light does not kill cysts or worms.  Boiling water makes it taste flat.  The only one of these disinfection methods that continues after the process has been completed is chlorination.  With the others, nothing is left behind to kill subsequent parasites that may enter the water. Another way a water purification system can help is through microfiltration which takes particles like sand, silt and clay out of the water.  They often do no catch tiny micro particles and must undergo maintenance periodically.  They can be set up for the whole house or to one single faucet.   Activated carbon filters absorb impurities from the water as it passes through a carbon cartridge. Activated carbon filters are generally used to eliminate odors and make the water taste better.  They also remove organic compounds and residual chlorine. The filters cannot remove most inorganic chemicals, metals, microorganisms or nitrates.  In addition, carbon filters also remove radon gas, many dissolved organic chemicals, and trihalomethanes.   A carbon filter can be used in conjunction with an oxidizing filter.  An oxidizing filter can also be used in place of a water softener because it removes iron, manganese and hydrogen sulfide which is what causes the water to smell like rotten eggs.  Neutralizing filters remove acids from the water, including limestone.   Last but not least is reverse osmosis and distillation.  Reverse osmosis removes over 90 percent of minerals and biological contaminants.  Distillation heats water until it becomes steam. Distillers remove bacteria, minerals, trace amounts of metals, many organic chemicals, and nitrate.  Distillation is a slow process and five gallons of water become only one gallon of distilled water.