How to Find the Water Filtration System that Works Best for You | Ann Shippy MD
Lucas Rockwood Podcast
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water filtration systems water purifiers buying guide

Clean, pure water is absolutely fundamental to better health and detoxification. No one would consciously drink water with heavy metals, arsenic, disinfection byproducts (DBPs) or other contaminants, but chances are that you have unwittingly had your fair share. 

Many people have asked me what water filter to use, and it can be overwhelming to find the right water filter– especially if you’re not feeling your best. So, I’ve put together some guidelines for you.

Given the numerous factors involved in narrowing down this solution, my goal here is to provide you with a reliable approach to choosing a water filter for your home that meets all of your criteria. The decision is yours, but here is a 3-step guide to lead you to make a great choice:

  1. TESTING: I would advise that everyone filter water from any city utility tap or a well, but if you do wish to test your water first, there are home kits you can buy, or you can have your water tested by a state-certified laboratory. You can find one in your area by calling the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791 or visiting here. An easier solution would be to find the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) from your local water treatment facility, which is required annually by the EPA, or refer to the tap water database at Environmental Working Group (EWG). But really thorough water testing can get very expensive and even then just a small fraction of toxins are tested for… so testing often underestimates the number of contaminants.
  2. TYPE: Second, determine what type of system works best for your budget and household needs. If you are renting or moving soon, you will want to have a more portable option like a countertop unit or a pitcher. If you are a homeowner, a more permanent, installed system would likely be a better fit, such as a reverse osmosis unit under the sink with its own installed tap, or a whole house system.
  3. TOXINS: Lastly, you will want to consider which water filter removes the most contaminants. According to Consumer Reports, it’s best to rely on third-party labs that certify products to NSF standards, which include the CSA Group, Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and the Water Quality Association (WQA), so look for these certification seals as you shop.

Here are some other features and considerations to examine:

  • Does this option provide a large enough capacity for the filtered water you’ll need? Pitchers may not meet your family’s volume needs, while reverse osmosis systems may be over the top. The flow rate is a factor as well as the storage tank capacity.
  • Carbon, reverse osmosis, or ion exchange? The Environmental Working Group has a handy explanation of these technologies here
  • How often do you need to change the filters and maintain the unit, and how expensive are the replaceable components? Look for a filter change indicator feature to help you remember to maintain your system.
  • How long is the product’s warranty? 90 days may be long enough for a pitcher, but you might prefer a more extended warranty for a whole house filtration system.

Since so many variables factor into your household’s decision, you will be the best suited to choose, especially for the larger investment options for undersink and whole house systems. Ideally we would all have the best whole house filter possible using multiple stages of filtering so that we have the cleanest water for bathing, drinking and cooking… but this isn’t always feasible. For those who need a quick recommendation, here are my personal picks:

  • Pitchers: Zero Water. I prefer that we not store beverages in or drink from plastic, but their filtration appears to be superior to other pitcher options. One lab found it removed glyphosate entirely, which other more expensive filters did not achieve.
  • Countertop Units: Zero Water’s 40-cup (glass!) dispenser and AquaTru, a reverse osmosis unit that is endorsed by activist Erin Brockovich. (I have a special deal for you for $100 off on AquaTru through December 7, 2019 with this link!) Some people also swear by Berkey purifiers, which does not use independent lab verification, but I have seen some research on these that gives me confidence they are also worth investigating.
  • Undersink Reverse Osmosis Systems: APEC Water Systems RO-90 is WQA certified and reasonably priced, with a 2-year warranty. (PLEASE NOTE: yet another factor to consider is the faucet finish– this one is chrome.)
  • Whole House Filtration Systems: I like the well-reviewed Aquasana EQ-1000, a mid-range carbon “10-year” system. However, the price point for whole house systems necessitates your own research for your situation, whether you choose reverse osmosis, water softening, and other features. These systems have great variability and can be customized for your area and needs by a water treatment professional. Given the broad range of options, they can range from $1000-$30,000.

For an impressively researched guide with even more information, EWG’s water filter guide will provide plenty of additional helpful data.

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