BerkeyFiltersUSA - Authorized Berkey Dealer
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Water Filters. What's Your Goal?
Customers come to us daily asking about water filters, "does it remove this or that or something else?". They are all in search of "the best". The truthful answer is "the best" water filter depends on what you're concerned about. Let's look at water purification in all its glory.
Let's first state that pure water is H2O with as close to 0% impurities by volume, by weight, or by any other physical mass or space measure you might want to choose (you get the idea). This state is pretty difficult to achieve for any length of time in an everyday setting.
So what about us mere mortals? Well, it boils down to (no pun intended) what you're willing to expend (in real dollars, in physical, emotional, and mental effort). Let's take a look at the top methods of achieving this wonderful state of purity.
At the top of the pyramid are two methods that on their own can produce water pure enough to satisfy the requirements of most consumers: distilled water and deionized water.
Distilled water is produced by boiling water then trapping and condensing the steam which is probably pure enough for most uses, it removes most impurities including nearly all minerals, many chemicals, and most bacteria. As a bonus, it also removes ions (technically called charged non-organic particles). You should be aware that Volatile Organic Compounds and certain other contaminants generally will also turn to steam with the water and so will merrily get condensed and reclaimed along with the pure H2O that you were hoping to extract. The distillation process is often thought of as slow, clumsy, and expensive. When distilled water is exposed to air over time, it attracts and absorbs gases from the air and turns into deionized water.
This brings us to deionized water (DI). DI water is typically produced by passing water through resin beds which essentially give up hydrogen and hydroxide ions for minerals dissolved in water and then recombines the hydrogen and hydroxide to form H20. The resin beds get "dirty with these minerals over time and have to be "washed" periodically, a process know as regenerating the resin bed. Because most dissolved impurities are salts/minerals, the DI water provides similar but not exactly equal results to distillation in that DI typically does not affect organic molecules, viruses or bacteria.
Both distillation and deionization will provide a level of purity beyond what consumers may need. However, neither will remove everything and both provide output quality that is dependent on the water originally being used. Distillation edges DI simply because it removes ions and the boiling process takes care of fragile bacteria and viruses. DI on the other hand is faster, easier, and much more cost-effective to use regularly.
You may get the overall best results (although not necessarily the best taste, a topic of another section "Water Taste") by using either of these methods with a pre-filtration stage: Some type of carbon and barrier type filters or reverse osmosis. Carbon and reverse osmosis are particularly effective at removing VOC and dissolved minerals and gases. They do as a matter of course, also reduce bacteria and somewhat less effectively reduce virus count.
As with anything, you should exercise caution and always try to use potable water (or boil before use unless you're distilling which incorporates boiling).
One of the more popular methods of pre-filters is the Berkey water filter which uses a carbon block filter and was once tested to indicate very high levels of contaminant reduction. The actual test conditions are unknown so we can't vouch for the 3000-gallon lifespan nor the efficacy of the filters over time. However, we do know that customers seem to like them and to continue to use them.
Pros of the Berkey: large installed base, some test results showing the performance (although dated), available in an attractive stainless steel finish, easy to use once you've learned how to clean and prime the filters, great customer support from the manufacturer New Millennium Concepts Ltd in Grapevine TX.
Cons of the Berkey: expensive, steep set-up learning curve, can be frustrating to maintain, expensive, replacement filter costs, large untrained dealer network who are sometimes unresponsive, confusion on who the actual manufacturer is (hint: only https://berkeywater.com is the true manufacturer, anyone else who leads you to think that they are is probably a company you want to stay away from)
Here are the most popular Berkey water filter system and other brands of accessories that are extremely popular. They are available on Amazon from dealers who pay an annual fee to the manufacturer to be authorized Amazon Sellers. Be sure to ask at berkeywater.com before buying on Amazon to be sure that you're covered by warranty.Berkey Water Filters and Popular Accessories