Water Filtration & Purification Buying Guide
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Water Purifiers and Water Filters
Water purification is the process of removing contaminants from a raw water source. It is important to understand the different methods and devices available so that you can decide which device will be most beneficial for you in each situation. Because clean drinking water is a necessity for all people, having the right water cleaning product is crucial.
When to use a water filter and when to use a water purifierIn order to decide whether use a water filter or a water purifier you need to understand the difference between the two. Both purifiers and filters are devices that force water through a filtering element or “medium” that traps many elements like microorganisms or fine sediments. It is also important to understand that many water filters contain water purifying agents within the filtering device.
Water Filter - A microbiological device that removes bacteria and protozoan cysts from contaminated water.
Water Purifier - A microbiological device that removes bacteria, protozoan cysts and viruses (e.g., hepatitis A) from contaminated water. Water purifiers are known for removing odors and bad tastes from water as well.
Outdoor water purificationMany outdoor water sources are contaminated, even clean running spring water may contain contaminants, a quality water filter can remove most if not all of these viruses, bacteria, and other such contaminates. Water sources found outside include; lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, ponds, even swimming pools can be classified as a source of outdoor water. During a hiking trip or any other outdoor adventure, it is imperative that you have a reliable source of drinking water. A water filter should be included alongside your survival kit. When a water filter is your main source of providing clean water during an adventure or an emergency, understanding the many varieties of water filters and the vast methods of purifying water can help in providing a reliable source of drinking water. Water purification systems are also a must have when traveling out of the country, especially if your trip will take you to areas that do not have clean drinking water sources.
Portable filtersPortable water filtering devices are used primarily by recreational hikers, aid organizations during humanitarian emergencies and by the military. There are several types of water filters, some of these include hand pump filters, gravity fed filters, siphon drip systems and some are even built directly into water bottles. Some portable filters are small enough to fit into a coat pocket and the weight of these devices range from 8oz to 22oz.
PurifiersWater purifying devices are usually included within some filters and add an extra defense against bacteria because they also can kill viruses which normal water filters cannot do. Purifying agents are available in the form of tablets or powders as well and by placing them into the water and waiting several minutes contaminated water is made drinkable. However, since these types of purifiers only cause a reaction to the substance in water, it is more effective to add these tablets to semi-clean water, such as tap-water or filtered water that may still have viruses present.
Steps to water purificationAccording to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention the steps that are recommended for proper water purification intended for drinking are as follows; 1) mechanically filtering the water, 2) treating it with a halogen (chlorine or an iodine solution), 3) letting it sit 15 to 60 minutes, and 4) then drinking.
Choosing water filters/purifiersThere are several questions to ask yourself before making the decision as to which water purification and filtration device is best for you.
- Is the filter or purifier simple to use?
- Is there assembly required?
- Is the action easy to perform? (hand pump)
- Is there a generous flow of cleansed water?
- What contaminants are present in the water?
- Does the “medium” clog easily?
- Is the “medium” easily cleaned?
- How often does it need to be replaced?
- For how many people will the unit provide water for?
The answer to these questions will help in discovering which filtering device is appropriate for you.