Even rainwater in rain water tanks could be contaminated by bird droppings on the roof and other contaminants in the gutters and it should be appropriately filtered if the water tanks are used to supply potable water.
Water contaminants can be broken down into four categories: Taste and odor causing contaminants, rust/sediment, bacteria/parasites and lead. Your water may, or may not, suffer from any of these contaminants. If you are concerned about the quality of your water, you may want to have it tested by an independent laboratory. The filtration system you need for your home depends upon the quality of your water supply. Water filters do require some maintenance, and cartridges should be changed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Taste and Odor Causing Contaminants
If your water smells or tastes bad, there is little doubt that you would benefit from a water filter. Municipal water often smells of chlorine which is used to treat the water. Well water, which is dependent upon many local conditions affecting the water supply, may also smell bad. Water filters often treat these conditions by the use of “Granular Activated Carbon,” a substance which absorbs contaminants that would otherwise cause offensive tastes and odors.
Filters which use granulated active carbon (GAC) may cause cloudy water for the first couple of weeks after a filter change. This is a harmless condition caused by the release of air from the GAC and can be reduced by running the water for several seconds before each use until the air is flushed out.
Rust and Sediment
You may notice visible particles in your water; sediment may be seen collecting in the bottom of your dishwasher or commode, for example. Larger particles may collect behind the screens of your faucet aerator. Smaller particles may collect at the bottom of a glass of water that sits for a time. Rust and sediment are easily collected by particulate filters. Whole house particulate filters can be easily installed to protect not only your drinking water, but also appliances such as dishwashers and ice makers.
Water filters are not effective against clear water iron, which can leave red stains in tubs and toilets. To treat this substance, a water softener is required.
If your house relies on a well or borehole water, your water is more likely to be contaminated by bacteria and parasites. Many bacteria and parasites occur naturally in clear water supplies, others are the result of water supply contamination by sewage and wastes. Some bacteria and parasites affect the taste and smell of the water, but others do not. Cysts, such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia, are particularly hearty parasites and have been known to contaminate even chlorinated municipal water supplies. They can cause illness and are a serious hazard to the young, elderly or those with immune deficiencies. Water filters are available with various filter cartridges which are effective against many of these contaminants. Houses built before 1986 may have pipes joined with lead solder. Your municipal water system may also be composed of components which contain or are soldered with lead. If you are concerned about the possibility of lead in your water supply, you may have your water tested by an independent laboratory.
Lead contained in water is tasteless and odorless, but should be avoided as much as possible. It can be most effectively removed from your drinking and cooking water by installing a lead filter directly under the sink in your kitchen. This filter placement assures that even if you have lead in the pipes of your home, it will be removed from your drinking water.
Also see: Do I Need a Water Filter?
Whether you obtain drinking water from municipal supplies, groundwater wells, dams/rivers or from a rainwater harvesting tank, it is always a good decision to invest in a water filter. If you store water, it is also important to store drinking water in high quality water tanks that are made from food-grade materials such as those manufactured by JoJo Tanks in South Africa (click on the links below to view the wide range of JoJo water tanks, JoJo chemical tanks, JoJo tank stands and other high quality JoJo Tanks products).
JoJo’s superior polyethylene plastic water tanks and steel water tank stands make JoJo Tanks the leaders in plastic water tank technology and the quality, affordability and 5-year guarantee on these water tanks make JoJo products one of the best choices in South Africa. *All JoJo Tanks polyethylene tanks and products now carry a 8 year warranty (on tanks purchased on or after 1 July 2013)* JoJo’s water tanks and chemical tanks come standard with a number of features that are often lacking on cheaper/inferior plastic tanks made by other companies in South Africa.
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