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How does water filtration work?

Apr 21, 2020

A woman turning of a gray kitchen sink that is running water in a clear glass.

The purpose of a home water filtration system is to ensure the water supplied to your home is safe for drinking, cooking, cleaning and bathing. While water treatment plants work to clean the water supply for entire cities, using chemicals and filters while they do so, many homes have their own filtration system as an extra precaution. But how does water filtration work? Let’s walk through the process. 

How Does Water Filtration Work?

There are many different types of home water filtration systems and they all come in different shapes and sizes. The most common types use both physical and chemical filtration methods to purify your home’s water supply by removing particles of debris and microscopic contaminants.

The first step in the process is physical filtration. During this step, a barrier is used to remove large particles from your water. As the water passes through this filter, it catches debris and allows clean water to pass through. This filter needs to be changed out regularly to ensure the water is properly cleansed.

The next step in the process is chemical filtration. This step works by creating a chemical reaction as water passes through an activated material, such as charcoal. Chemical filtration helps to remove smaller, microscopic impurities in the water that sneak through the filter during physical filtration. 

Both of these filtering processes work together to purify water and make it safe for daily use. 

Different Types of Water Filters

If you’re wondering how to purify water at home or what the benefits of a home filtration system are, then you need to know about the four primary methods used to filter water: ion exchange, reverse osmosis, steam distillation, and activated carbon filters. All of these filtration systems can help you purify water at home. Consult a plumbing professional to find out which system would be best for your home:

Ion Exchange

These filters are best used for softening hard water. If you live in an area with a lot of heavy metals, this filter works to soften and filter them out of your water supply by releasing ions like sodium. This process improves the taste and quality of your water, but is a poor choice for anyone with a low-sodium diet since it raises the level of sodium in your water.\

Reverse Osmosis

This type of filter removes contaminants by passing tap water through a semipermeable membrane, catching and flushing away harmful contaminants like lead, iron, and mercury. However, it is unable to remove certain pesticides, metals, or solvents such as chlorine. 

Steam Distillation

This filtration system purifies water through a natural process of heating water and then cooling steam to remove contaminants. Since many contaminants have a boiling point higher than water, these are left behind as the water is exchanged to steam, collected, and then condensed back to its liquid form. Unfortunately, this method also removes many beneficial minerals from your water supply as well. 

Activated Carbon

This is the most widely used household water filtration system. Charcoal is a very porous form of carbon with a large internal surface to trap contaminants as water passes through it. This process also helps reduce the amount of chlorine in your water supply through the chemical reaction that occurs when the carbon makes contact with the water.

Is Water Filtration Important?

We are very fortunate to live in a country where water filtration is common and there is plenty of safe, drinkable water available. However, that doesn’t mean your water is as safe as it could be. Your tap water likely only meets the minimal water quality standards set by the EPA, and many experts are in agreement that these minimums are far too lenient. Having a home water filtration system provides extra protection for your home, ridding your water of many contaminants that could be harmful to you and your family. 

Water filtration is a great way to improve the taste and smell of your water, as well as the safety of your water. It removes chlorine, chemicals, pesticides, and other bacterial contaminants that can make you sick. It also removes heavy metals like lead, which have been linked to different types of cancer. A home filtration system for your water serves as an extra line of protection against chemicals, bacteria, and viruses.

If you’re unsure how to purify water at home or you’re unsure if your current filtration system is up to standards, you can easily schedule a water quality test with one of our plumbing experts.

How Safe Is Your Water?

Water quality matters — to your health, the health of your plumbing systems, and your quality of life. Call 703-372-9359 to schedule a water quality test with the plumbing experts at CroppMetcalfe or request service online today.


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