How Does Water Filter Works?

Water purification is when biological, chemical, organic, and inorganic contaminants are removed from the water. The main aim of purifying water is to produce water that is pure for drinking. The purification process reduces the number of contaminants, such as parasites, suspended particles, bacteria, and algae in the water. Many pollutants are pathogen that is dangerous to humans, while some are removed to improve the water quality.  Water is not declared safe for human consumption by merely looking at it; it has to pass through various processes.

Contaminants of Water

The contaminants are water can be classified into four categories

Physical impurity: they change the physical appearance and properties of the water. They include suspended particles or organic materials

Chemical pollutants: they include elements or compounds such as fertilizer, toxins, pesticides, which may contaminate the water.

Biological contaminants: they are microbes that are found in water and make them unsafe for drinking. They include bacteria, viruses, and protozoan.

Radiological contaminants: they are radioactive elements that contaminate water. Radioactive elements are dangerous to the body of water. They include plutonium, cesium, or uranium. They have unstable protons and neutrons, which accounts for their unstable atoms and results in ionizing radiation.

Methods of Water Purification

There are majorly four ways of purifying water. They include

  1. Boiling: This is one way of purifying water and rendering it safe and fit for use. Boiling water increases the temperature and eliminates microorganisms that cannot be seen with the eyes. It is generally recommended that water should be boiled for 1-3 minutes and cooled. This allows the particles to settle before they are filtered out of the water.
  2. Filtration: This is one of the fastest and effective ways of purifying water.  The right methods eliminate particles, compounds, and dangerous pathogens. The process of filtration can be chemical, physical, and biological. Filtered water is considered healthier than water purified using other methods because filtered water still contains mineral salt. Compared to some other techniques, filtration is more effective in removing compounds like chlorine and other pesticides. It is economical and requires little energy.
  3. Chlorination: chlorine is a filtration method that eliminates germs, parasites, and other disease-causing microorganisms. It is an effective method of purification that has been used for a long time. Chlorine is a cheap way of treating water; however, it has a side effect on people suffering from thyroid problems. Chlorine tablets eliminate bacteria, but it must be applied to heated water. This is because chlorine dissolves faster at 21 degrees Celsius.
  4. Distillation: this process utilizes the boiling point has a way of separating water from other contaminants. Contaminants increase the boiling points of water, so pure water has a lower boiling point. Water is heated to a temperature where it turns to vapor, which is then collected in a condenser and cooled. the contaminants have higher boiling points and is collected as sediments in another container. The distillation process is slow if there are a large amount of water involved and requires a source of heat, which may not be readily available. It is a costly process of purifying water.

Reasons for purifying water

Water is essential for carrying out different functions. The body requires water to carry out metabolic activities, regulating body temperature, and removing toxins from other parts of the body. It performs an important role in the series of chemical reactions occurring in the body. Impure water harms human health.

The presence of contaminants in water makes them unsafe for consumption.  The most common method of purifying water in the past is the boiling method, but boiling water alone will not eliminate all the contaminants. Boiling only get rid of microorganism and pathogen present in the water and not dangerous chemicals.  Below are a few reasons for purifying water:

  1. Drinking purified water is essential for children because it builds up their immune system
  2. Water filters prevent the contamination of water by toxins.
  3. Purification of water eliminates pathogenic organisms like E. coli and giardia. This prevents a gastrointestinal disease that results from drinking water contaminated by these pathogens.
  4. Purifying water reduces the risk of developing cancer.
  5.  Purifying water improves the overall quality of water by giving it a better taste and smell.

How does water filter work?

There are two techniques used by water filters to remove dirt – chemical and physical filtration. The physical method involves removing physical particles that can pass through a sieve or textile membrane, while the chemical process involves uses materials that remove chemical impurities from water. Nowadays, water filters utilize the combination of these two techniques. There are four main types of filtration, and they combine both the physical and chemical removal methods.

  • Activated carbon: Also known as activated carbon granules, they are commonly used as household filters. It utilizes charcoal, a form of carbon, to trap chemicals and impurities. This process is known as adsorption. However, charcoal cannot remove the hardness of water and heavy metals. Also, there is a need to continually replace the charcoal filters as it clogs up by impurities.
  • Reverse osmosis: this makes use of a membrane in its filtration process. Water is passed through the membrane at high pressure, and the impurities are left behind.
  • Ion Exchange:  they are usually made of zeolite; this method is useful for softening water. It works by separating contaminating substances into ions and traps them. They then release a less problematic one.
  • Distillation: this separates water from impurities based on their boiling point; however, there are still some impurities that cannot be removed by this process because they have a lower boiling point than water.

Common types of Water Filters

Different types of water filters utilize various techniques in purifying water. Below are some of the popular filter used in the purification process:

  1. Refrigerator filter: this filter is usually built-in with the fridge; it helps filter water for drinking purposes.
  2. Under the sink filter:  these filters can filter a large volume of water at once because they are linked to the main water line. Just like the name suggests, it is installed under the sink.
  3. Whole house water treatment: these filters are large and used to treat incoming water. Due to their size, they are usually located in the basement.