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Water and Sanitation

Trading Up to More Effective Water Filtration

Photo: Courtesy of Sasikan Ulevik

If you currently use a countertop pitcher or faucet-mount water filter to improve your water’s clarity and taste, it’s worth considering a more robust point-of-use filtration system that fits neatly in the cabinet under the kitchen sink. There are lots of options available that vary in their filtering ability, and each of them will save you time and effort each time you go to the sink for a glass of water.

Achieving better filtration

Under-sink systems can consist of a single filter, but many rely on a combination of filters to remove specific minerals and additives. Some systems combine carbon-type filters with reverse osmosis (RO) technology. In an RO system, the water is forced through a semi-permeable membrane that can remove contaminants down to the bacteria level. Because RO systems take time to work, components include a four or five-gallon storage tank so that fresh water is always available.

Some under-sink systems include an ultraviolet (UV) light chamber. The UV light does not filter anything, but can zap bacteria to further sanitize the water.

As with any water filtration system, it should meet the standards of NSF International or the Water Quality Association. That is the only way you can verify the manufacturer’s claims.

Understanding the installation process

Installing an under-sink filter involves tapping into the cold water line and then running the water through the system and up to a dedicated faucet in the sink deck. Some products tie into the water line so that the existing faucet dispenses the filtered water. The connections are either compression fittings that you attach using a wrench, or quick-connect fittings. Most systems do not require soldering, so installation is easily manageable for a DIY-savvy homeowner.

The filters need to be changed periodically, usually on a 6 or 12-month schedule. RO membranes last about two to three years.

For any home, an under-sink filtration system is a reliable way to obtain clear and better-tasting drinking water. To choose the best system for your needs, send a sample of your home’s water to have it tested (especially if you source your water from a well). The test results will help you make the right purchase.

Fran J. Donegan, Contributor, Home Depot, [email protected]

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