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If you have noticed an undesirable odor or taste in your water, do not feel alone. Many people experience this problem, especially when living in rural areas or large cities. Rather than just living with this problem or buying expensive mineral water from the local grocery store, now you can use water filters at home. Although water that has a slight odor or taste may not be pleasant, it is generally not considered harmful. To help remove some of the unwanted contaminants in your water, what you need is a water filter that uses activated charcoal. In fact, the most effective way of removing volatile organic compounds, benzene, and pesticides is with activated charcoal. Additionally, certain metals, radon, and chlorine can also be eliminated. Although not all contaminants can be removed, most can.

To determine which water filter treatment will work best for your home, you need to first determine which contaminants are in your specific water, which can be done through an analysis performed by your local health department or a laboratory qualified in your area to perform such tests. The test is expensive but if you care about your health and water quality, it is worth every dime. Once the test has been performed, an official from the same health department can go over the results and determine how extensive your problem really is. If the problem is only minor, a water filter system will help improve the quality of your water. If the problem is more serious, although a water filter will help, it will only offer a temporary solution. In this case, you need to determine where the contamination is coming from so the underlying problem can be corrected.

Activated charcoal is a black substance that looks much like powdered or granular charcoal. The surface area is large and the coal porous. The way this works is that some contaminants will stick to the surface, which occurs since these specific chemicals do not like water but like charcoal. Substances like chlorinated and non-chlorinated solvents, pesticides, gasoline, and tri-halo-methane are absorbed by activated charcoal. For removing some heavy metals and chlorine, activated charcoal is quite effective. Additionally, activated charcoal is great for eliminating metals that bind to organic molecules. Keep in mind when looking at water filters and know that regular grilling charcoal and activated charcoals are two different substances.

These water filter systems work simplistically. The activated charcoal is provided in filter cartridges that are inserted into the filter device and as water from the faucet passes through the system and then through the cartridge, it makes contact with the activated charcoal before filling your glass. Water filters are designed to fit directly onto the faucet, under the sink, or on the countertop. These treatment systems are designed for drinking and cooking water, and not the water used for washing laundry or dishes. Another important thing to remember is that both physical and chemical characteristics of your water will affect the performance of your water filter. High acidity levels and low water temperature actually help the charcoal filter's performance.

Over time, the cartridges themselves become contaminated and need to be replaced. The filter becomes saturated with contaminants, which breaks through the filter, going into the water. One of the problems with charcoal filters is to know when this breakthrough occurs. If possible, look for cartridges that have estimated longevity dates. Although these estimates are crude, they will provide you with some idea of when replacement is needed. Replacing the filter is also important so food sources are not supplied bacteria from not being used over a long time. To eliminate this problem, some filters have silver added by the manufacturer as a way of preventing bacteria growth.
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