I am trying to find a good home water filter/treatment system, but there are so many choices! Do you have any recommendations?
It depends on what your trying to filter out. Basically there are two major types of filters: Sediment & contaminate. Sediment filters are like engine oil filters that remove solids from your water. If your water is discolored or gritty when you drink then you need s Sediment filter. The other major type a contaminate filter to removed soluble or semi-soluble contaminates that make your water taste fowl or cause scaling issues.
There are two types of sediment filters: woven or string wound that are designed to trap sub 20 micron contaminates and screen mesh filters that are designed to remove 100 to 50 microns. Screen mesh filters typically have a washdown valve that you can open to flush out contaminates without having to change the filter. Typically you put a screen mesh filter before a woven or string wound filter to increase the filter life. You can also buy a screen mesh filter valve timer that automatically cycles the washdown valve once or twice a week.
There are two types of contaminate filters: Cabonactivated carbon and Reverse osmosis. Carbon based filters remove contaminates by trapping them in the porous carbon material. Reverse Osmosis filters block contaminates using a membrane. The Carbon filter needs to be replace periodically but the Reverse Osmosis filter uses a washdown process to remove contaminates. I believe Reverse Osmosis system wastes between 5% to 20% of the water it filters, it also has a very slow filtering rate. Contaminates like salt need very high pressure rates to function. Reverse Osmosis is considerable more expensive.I don’t believe Revese osmosis filters will work with low water pressure. Carbon filters will typically not remove soluble contaminates like salts.
For my set up I am using a triple filter system: Screen Mesh Filter (iSpring) and two geekpure large filters: small sediment and a final activated carbon filter.
Note for wovenwound & carbon filters vendors sell both transparent and opaque filter canisters. ideally the transparent is better since you can see if they need to be changed. be sure to install the filter so you can place a bucket below the filter, since when you change it, its going to full of water. Look for a filter that has a pressure relief valve so you release the pressure before you replace the filter to avoid getting sprayed. The bigger the filter the heaver it will be to change the filter, unless it has a bottom drain value. That said I have not been able to find an large filters with a transparent canister. Hopefully own day this will become available.
Second note. The iSpring mesh filters do not include a mounting bracket. I had to machine and weld my own.
Addendum: if you have a bacteria issue (you can test with a off-the-shelf testing kit from LowesHomeDepotAce) You can get a UV water treatment system. Basically your water flows through a tube luminated with UV light to kill bacteria. But I a not sure how effective they are. I don’t believe sediment or carbon filters will remove bacteria.
Ideallly it would be a good idea to get your water tested by a lab. A lab will do a full analysis and tell you if there are an heavy metals (lead, mercury), arsenic, Sulphur, Nitrates, dioxins, etc, if your water is contaminate with a soluble toxin you may need a special anion filter to remove it.
Let us know how it goes, please. Be sure to follow the instructions and be sure to use artificial reds FD&C 40 and/or 3, such as McCormick red food coloring.
Ran the test on my 2x black Berkey filters. TLDR version: I’d call it a 50% pass rate.
While these filters are old (2.5 years), based on my calculations of my approximate water use vs the capacity of the filters, I should be good for over 3 years. So they’re coming up on the end of the manufacturer’s stated life, but shouldn’t be beyond it.
Used Kroger brand red dye (Propylene glycol, Red 40, citric acid, sodium benzoate). Scrubbed the filters as they had been slowing down anyways, and then re-primed them before the test. During priming I noticed one filter “blowing bubbles” at the glue joint where the charcoal/ceramic meets the plastic base. Not good. That filter also would not screw on as tight as I would have liked – the wing nut/threading had been ever so slightly stripped, likely from overtightening, so I wasn’t confident that the O-ring would have a solid seal with the Berkey upper chamber. I noted which filter this was when I reinstalled it.
Sure enough, that filter was the one that turned the water a decent pink within ~5 min. The other one came out clear, although depending on what background I hold it up against, I may be able to convince myself it has a super-slight pink tinge to it. I call that one a questionable pass.
Conclusion: will replace the filters and test the new ones more carefully, as well as watch out for other brands to try.