The Importance of Choosing Certified Products
Be sure that the system you choose is third-party certified by NSF International or the Water Quality Association (WQA). But just because a manufacturer displays the WQA logo, signifying only that the company is a member of the Water Quality Association, doesn't mean its products are validated. And just because a product is NSF certified against some contaminants doesn't mean it protects you against all of them. Check to see that the system you choose is specifically certified to reduce the contaminants you wish to protect your family from. Also, be wary of systems that carry only the NSF "component" certification. This symbol indicates that only a single component of the system is certified and may not be an indication of overall system capabilities.
Options for Improving Your Water
The good news is that there are a number of options available for improving your drinking water. One of the most popular is:
Carbon Filters - Activated carbon can reduce chlorine, VOCs, tastes, odors and, in some cases, lead.
Carbon filters are available in a wide variety of sizes and styles, from small units that can be attached to the end of a faucet to in-line systems that must be connected to a home's plumbing. Filter cartridges must be changed regularly to ensure optimum contaminant reduction. Choose a system that measures your water usage and shuts off to prevent filter overuse and alert you when a filter change is necessary.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) Systems
RO systems are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control as one of the most effective ways of protecting residential drinking water. These very popular systems utilize a semipermeable membrane to reduce contaminants. When water is forced against the membrane, a portion of it passes through, while impurities are left behind to be carried away.
Reverse osmosis is effective against dissolved salts, suspended solids, dissolved chemicals and a wide variety of other contaminants that cannot be seen by the naked eye. When choosing an RO system, look for a unit with a high efficiency rating. Certain systems also employ a membrane rinse feature that cleans the membrane with the high quality water produced by the system to prolong its life and ensure that it continues to produce only the best quality water. Systems that do not clean themselves or that only clean themselves with untreated water are not as effective.