Home Water Treatment: Water Filters

Learn about why you should be checking your water supply and why you should consider purchasing a home water treatment system.

| March/April 1980

  • 062 water filters - three units2
    LEFT: American Water Purification's UTS Silverator filter. CENTER: BestWater from L.T. Marketing Inc. RIGHT: Sears Roebuck's Taste and Odor filter. 
  • 062 water filters - four units
    TOP LEFT:  The General Ecology Seagull IV. TOP RIGHT: The Seagull 1.5L. BOTTOM RIGHT: The Water Washer from American Water Purification BOTTOM RIGHT: Sears Roebuck's Instapure. 
  • 062 water filters - all six units2
    Home water treatment devices come in a wide range of sizes, a factor to consider depending on how much space you have available.

  • 062 water filters - three units2
  • 062 water filters - four units
  • 062 water filters - all six units2

Our evaluation of home water treatment devices began with an examination of distillers. All three of the units that we discussed qualified as water purifiers (that is, the devices removed or killed all bacterial impurities), yet they crossed an impressively broad range of capability and cost. Similarly, the pieces of filtration equipment we're reviewing in this installment vary considerably in both capacity and price.

However, the seven filters we've had a chance to appraise do have one thing in common: They all employ activated carbon to filter out chemical impurities such as carcinogenic trihalomethanes. (Note: Although they, too, use charcoal, the General Ecology units rely on an even more effective microstraining system for their primary impurity removal.) Activated carbon — which is also called charcoal — has been used for cleansing for over 100 years . . . functioning, for example, as the stripping agent in World War I gas masks and as the medium used for decolorizing sugar. It's only recently, however, that the versatile material has come to be used in water filtration.

Because activated carbon's "cleaning" ability depends entirely on the amount of surface area contact between the cleanser and the water that's available, a filter's performance is largely determined by the volume of carbon inside it and the length of time the water remains in contact with the carbon ... a consideration which is called "residence time." Unfortunately, extensive residence time can result in the growth of bacteria on the charcoal . . . and each of the manufacturers included in our study has dealt with that problem in a different fashion. 

American Water Purification

Both of the California-based American Water Purification Company's filters have silver infused into their charcoal to inhibit any bacterial growth. In addition, the smaller of the two units — the Water Washer — has built-in flow control to prevent the operator from inadvertently reducing residence time below a safe level. Another useful feature of the limited-capacity model is a viewing port to give the owner a visual warning when the filter element is dirty.

The UTS Silverator is an under-sink model which can be used either to filter all the cold water at that location, or to deliver the cleansed liquid to its own faucet to be used for drinking and cooking only. In the latter application, the Silverator's 5,000-gallon-life filter should last for a very long time.  

Bestwater Filter

The Louisville, Kentucky manufacturer's product is by far the most ambitious filtration setup of those we sampled. Its capacity as well as its size is several times that of any of the other devices . . . great enough, in fact, to process all the water entering a household. Furthermore, even at its maximum flow rate of two gallons per minute, the BestWater retains water for a full two minutes and provides about one year of filter life. Since the unit is almost constantly in use on a residence's main water line, bacterial build-up isn't a problem.   

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters