We normally take for granted that the tap water we use for drinking is safe. It should be, but risks remain in the possibility of contamination as water flows through the water distribution system. While boiling water kills the microorganisms in the water that presents the greatest danger, it does not remove sediments and metals such as lead. In fact, boiling water will increase the concentration of harmful elements should they be present, since part of the water has been vapourized. This is where water filtration comes into the picture. For practical reasons, for the home, it usually comes down to choosing between Ceramic Carbon and Reverse Osmosis water filters.
Factors to consider when choosing between Ceramic Carbon and Reverse Osmosis (RO) water filters:
– RO produces unmatched pure water given that it has extremely small membrane pore size compared to those found on Ceramic Carbon filters
– Carbon Ceramic water filters do have very good performance even though it trails behind RO
– RO produces water that is lacking in mineral and possibly slightly acidic, both of which are not of great concern since the minerals can be obtained from food and the human body regulates acidity extremely well
– The RO filtration process produces more waste water than it does drinkable water. However, the waste water can typically be used for household cleaning chores
– The initial setup cost of RO is very high compared to Ceramic Carbon water filters, and maintenance cost is probably also higher (Ceramic Carbon filter candles are easily washed and changed whereas maintaining the RO membranes probably require professional servicing)
In view of these considerations, i settled on the Ceramic Carbon water filter, since they are good enough for me, and they are extremely good for the price. The product i picked was through referral – Doulton. The performance claims (in particular >99.99% bacteria and cyst removal which should make boiling water redundant) look very convincing. Here’s what it costs:
– Water filter housing: £48.65 (S$95.95 at time of writing)
– Filter Candle: £16.27 (S$32.09 at time of writing)
Each candle is said to last 6 months, but can probably be used for longer, depending on the household water consumption. All well and good, but there is one problem. The diverter valve (for switching between filtered or non-filtered water) may not fit your kitchen tap faucet, as was my case. I suspect the majority of the kitchen faucets installed here do not conform to standard sizes (the diverter valve would fit onto a 55/64″ male threaded spout but the commonly used Taiwan or China made kitchen faucets here are smaller). To fix this problem, you can get a universal tap adaptor (3rd item on the list – note that the inner rubber ring, meant to fit onto a tube or a much smaller spout, can and should be removed, then it can be fitted onto the kitchen faucet).
So there you have it, DIY water filtration at no more than S$200 with shipping cost included. It’s so easy to install that you don’t need to contract anyone to do it for you. Don’t be duped into paying more for a similar system (very likely a lesser system). The Doulton Ultracarb candle can fit into other housing units as well, but i doubt they will be cheaper than what Doulton themselves produce which is of high quality. Don’t buy a water filter that doesn’t tell you exactly what it filters!