The US has a water crisis. And we ALL need a good water filter!
This article spells it out very, very clearly.
“Hundreds of cities and towns are at risk of sudden and severe shortages, either because available water is not safe to drink or because there simply isn’t enough of it. The situation has grown so dire the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence now ranks water scarcity as a major threat to national security alongside terrorism.’ No, it’s not about the California drought. It’s about an aging water infrastructure that is falling apart at the seams. The millions of miles of water pipes needed to bring clean water to your kitchen tap are old.. too old. And yes, they are failing, more often than ever before.”
The stories abound, but the one that struck me was the mains leak under a cemetery. Enough said? Adding to and multiplying the problem is the fast expanding list of ‘new’ contaminants that the EPA has alerted us to, but has not had the funds or capacity to recommend how to deal with these exotic new nasties. The one ray of sunshine in this otherwise bleak outlook for clean water is that water filtration technologies have been getting better.. and better. But it still means a certain level of interest to learn about these technologies, and to understand the steps we can take to protect our personal and family health. We spend as huge amount of our time researching the latest water filtration technology. If everyone in Flint had an AlkaWay UltraStream, the advanced filtration media in the UltraStream could have protected them from this glaring example of the overall degradation and misunderstanding of our water supply.
Here at AlkaWay we’ve always understood that good filtration is a bit like cod liver oil. We all know it’s good for us, but none of us want to take it.
Because good filtration costs more (at least double) what a big box store water filter sells for, and because our ‘cod liver complex’ doesn’t want us to know something if it is (financially) unpalatable, most people decide to trust the Asian made cheap filter on sale almost anywhere. So our task here is to get you, our future customer, to understand the gravity and potential danger of drinking water with up to 600 contaminants in it. We don’t want to be scare mongers, but we have very few ways to convince people to buy a good water filter rather than more health insurance, the latest miracle berry, or nothing at all. It IS hard to learn and understand everything water filter people talk about, and it IS hard to get to a confident decision point. One of the reasons people come up with for NOT buying a better water filter is that they are scared of buying something that will be OK today but outdated tomorrow. When you are considering an electronic water ionizer this is a problem, because the system can’t be upgraded. That’s why when we sat down to design the UltraStream, we decided that we had to have the ability to upgrade our filtration for as long as our customer owns the UltraStream. because the filtration media and the hydrogen enriching media are in the same cartridge, we are able to vary the filtration every time we do a production run. So when we find a new technology with better filtration tests, we can add it in to your next filter replacement. In that sense it’s a forever future filter. I do recommend that you take a few minutes to read the article. And Australians, don’t think it’s different here just because we are a younger nation. Our water reticulation system is in the same dilapidated state as the US. UK readers? You too! I’ve written a post to help you understand the way water filters are sold so you can approach any vendor pre-warned. It’s here. And if you’d like to go out armed with the right questions to ask any water filter vendor, us included, grab our free ’10 Points to ask your Water Filter Salesman’ report from the same page.
If you’re looking at buying the best water filter, wouldn’t you like to know it will do what it says?
Unfortunately 99% of water filters on the market are sold in the knowledge that you don’t know and will probably decide to believe what they tell you it will do. Water filter vendors service a huge market and they know exactly how you think about their products.
They know most people regard water filters as a problem they’d prefer not to have.
They know that for this reason you are looking for a simple answer.
They also know that for this reason you’ll probably choose to believe what you see on a label.
Finally, they know that because all of the above, if they package it attractively with the right key ‘sales triggers’, and a cheap price, you’ll probably buy.
This is the basic financial consideration in water filter marketing. But there is a ‘darker’ side. Because they know that 99% of people won’t follow up, read or understand test results, most water filter manufacturers don’t do them, or don’t do what we regard as ‘honest’ tests. You, the market, aren’t asking for them, sales are good, profits are good, so why spend on testing? After all, it’s the shareholders that matter, isn’t it? This is the reason most relatively untested water filters find their ways into big box stores. In a big box store they know you’re in a hurry to buy, haven’t researched, are there because it’s easy to locate a product, satisfy a need and leave. You have been targeted by your shopping habits. They’ve laid the bait and just sit back until you ‘bite’. If all this sounds cynical.. well, it is. It’s the result of sixteen years of finding our way around a system of entrenched big business publicly listed highly profitable corporate profiting.
Here’s the essence of what we have learned and believe.
- A filter should say how long it has been tested for.
- That test period should be equivalent to what you want in longevity of practical healthy use. Lifespan.
- The test should show beginning and end contaminant removal levels.
Isn’t that what you’d want from any other product that affect your health? Shouldn’t every tablet in a bottle of vitamins work? Shouldn’t a car deliver you an advertised MPG and pollution level for at least its warranted period? (Remember Volkswagen?) Shouldn’t a computer open up and work every day the same way? So how did we let water filters slip their inadequate ‘as new testing into us, or no testing at all? How can a Chinese made water filter be soldin the West with no supporting verifiable test data? (Most water filters are made in China even though America is the source of the best filter media technology)
We believe that when we buy anything it should perform as promised for the time the vendor says it is good for. We estimated that an average use for a family of four is two litres (8 glasses) a day. That comes to around 3000 litres a year. So we asked the Griffith University laboratory to test contaminant removal for that amount of filter use. They took a new UltraStream, created a special mix of ‘nasties’ – all the common and less common contaminants found in drinking water – and tested its effectiveness in reducing these contaminants. Then they ran the UltraStream for (in excess of) 3000 litres and repeated the special brew test. In this way we knew the UltraStream filter would continue to protect our users for a year of use. (It may actually work much longer, but we had to pick a period, and a year seemed best.) We went quite a way further. We had the UltraStream submitted to the stringent EU safety certification process. We had the H2 levels checked by AquaSciences LLC. And right now we’ve sent another unit back to the university lab for hormones in water testing. Again, for the life of the filter. See the results here What we can’t really understand is why all water filters don’t perform tests like this. But.. we have already discussed the reason they don’t. They don’t need to. For 99% of sales there’s no problem, so they are quite happy to drop the more difficult customers like you and me who ask sticky questions.
Hard water is water with high levels of alkaline minerals. It is the result of having high mineral content, usually calcium and magnesium ions. Dissolved rock causes scale, which impedes appliance performance and is the direct cause of energy inefficiencies and increased utility costs. It can be a serious problem for many water filter systems because calcium in this form can accrete inside the filter, seriously reducing performance quickly. If you don’t understand this you could make a serious mistake in choice of water filter.
It will also severely reduce the life and efficiency of your water heater and dishwasher.
There are basically four choices for water filters. 1. Whole of House A whole of house filter isn’t a fine water filter. It’s main purpose is to get clean sediment and chlorine free water into your home, but ultra filtration means slow flow, which in turn means slow showers and washing machine cycles because the devices are waiting for the filter. 2. Point of Use Water Filter The is usually installed on the benchtop or undersink. There’s a huge range of this form of water filter on the market with a vast difference in quality. At the high end products like the AlkaWay UltraStream offer to purify the water of a huge range of contaminants found in modern water supplies, but also to transform the water into alkaline, antioxidant hydrogen rich water. 3. Electric Water Ionizers These units’ primary function is to create alkaline high hydrogen water. Filtration sophistication is not the norm although one brand of ionizer has now tackled this problem. the problem of electric water ionizers is that they use electrolysis to create the high pH and H2 water. This process separates alkaline and acid ions in the water, effectively concentrating any calcium into the drinking water output stream. Also, calcium will remain in solution unless the pH of the water rises. When this happens, it will come out of its soluble state and turn into a suspension or sediment in the water. In this state it is very ‘sticky’ and unless the water ionizer has specific design criteria to prevent it, will shorten the ionizer’s life. 4. Reverse Osmosis water filter Reverse osmosis (RO) can be one of the best ways to treat water for the home. But, there can be issues that exist after a RO unit is installed. One issue that arises is the challenges presented with hard water. During the filtration process, hard water can cause scale, making it extremely difficult for RO’s membrane to work and the result is lower quality of water. It will reduce the output of the membrane itself and it will reduce the quality of water that the membrane is putting out. Essentially, it slowly kills the membrane. Replacing membranes too frequently can be expensive over time. It”s the sticky calcium molecules that affect a RO system. Calcium in the water is like cholesterol in your blood stream, notes McDowell. It sticks to everything, binds, hardens and thickens as more collects. On a RO membrane, the calcium molecules block the membrane, making backwashing necessary on a regular basis. One of the major downfalls of having hard water and its effects on a RO system is that it is not very energy efficient. The minerals that clog the RO and cause scaling make the RO unit work even harder, waste water and run up the utility bill. There are ways to prevent this from happening and in return help the environment. The amount of water you will waste, the discharge issues that we’re facing all over this country and really all over the world have become serious enough that the water treatment industry is paying attention to the need to reduce discharge, save water and be more environmentally friendly. There is still a long way to go for RO. A benchtop or undersink filter wastes no water, so is immediately a greener alternative. Best Method: reduce water hardness before your water filter. After installation, it’s always best to continue to monitor your water to make sure scaling isn’t becoming a major problem in your water filter system. In a benchtop or undersink water filter, take a look at the end of the spout. If a hard layer is forming, you have a calcium problem. If you are changing the membranes of your RO system quite frequently, it may be time to find another system and/or hardness solution. Going green One of the major downfalls of having hard water and its effects on a RO system is that it is not very energy efficient. The minerals that clog the RO and cause scaling make the RO unit work even harder, waste water and run up the utility bill. There are ways to prevent this from happening and in return help the environment. The amount of water you will waste, the discharge issues that we’re facing all over this country and really all over the world have become serious enough that the water treatment industry is paying attention to the need to reduce discharge, save water and be more environmentally friendly. There is still a long way to go for RO. A benchtop or undersink filter wastes no water, so is immediately a greener alternative. What You Can Do All 3 methods of water filter can be assisted by specific technologies. These are broken into ion exchange, electronic and systems that use turbulation to change calcium ions into aragonite, a non-sticky form of calcium crystal. We recommend you talk to your local AlkaWay distributor. They’ve been trained in overcoming this problem and they’ll probably also have ‘local knowledge’ of your specific water. Just remember this moment. It’s one of those ‘I-told-you-so’ moments we all hate to remember. Do you know anyone living in a hard water area? Please share this post with them or ‘Like’ us on Facebook and Twitter. Links to your nearest Alkaway people: USA UK EU AU NZ CA Kuwait