As we devise more kitchen appliances to make out lives easier, so we are posed with the need to ensure that clean water either goes into them or comes out for us to consume. It is now becoming increasingly common for fridges to be fitted with cold, fresh water storage for instant delivery of drinking water, and many homes have filtered water carafes. Lots of coffee aficionados wouldn’t dream of brewing their favourite brand of bean without using filtered water and water-filtering kettles are becoming more common in our kitchens. It seems that we have gone filter crazy, and with good reason too.
Today’s tap water is a cocktail of naturally-occurring minerals, medical additions, and various cleaning agents, and much of it isn’t too good for out bodies. Depending on where you live in the world, you may well experience differences in the taste of your unfiltered water based on the local minerals. The terms hard and soft water generally apply to the amount of minerals encountered on the waters course. Hard water is formed when water percolates through deposits of limestone and chalk which are largely made up of calcium and magnesium carbonates, and picks up atomic-level particles.
Conversely, soft water areas, typified by rocky, granite areas and substrates, have a much lower incidence of these minerals and the water has a less harsh, or metallic taste to it. Hard water gives water a distinctive taste as well as being detrimental to kitchen appliances, which experience a build-up of the minerals in their systems. Plainly, filtration is needed and there are a growing array of filter systems available for different appliances.
Many refrigeration systems now come with integral water dispensers, and these typically have in-line filtration systems to remove debris and some included antibacterial cleaners. These, self-contained units are usually a mix of activated carbon or ceramic cleaning medium, designed to take out many of the unwanted parts of the incoming water. Filters such as these are fairly effective but should be replaced at least every six months and preferably before then.
Many of the additions in water can leave a nasty taste when it comes to coffee and tea. Coffee is filled with a huge amount of natural chemicals and over a thousand different aroma compounds included. Water additives and inclusions can have profound effect on that flavour and hard water is generally considered to be bad for coffee, different compounds and elements have different effects. While high bicarbonate levels are bad for flavour, high magnesium ion levels increase the extraction of coffee into water and improve the taste. Water generally cannot be filtered to remove some hardening elements while leaving others, so the best option is to remove them all and use softened water. In-line activated carbon filters are the best option to do this.
There are many advertisements on the TV, about the effects of hard water on appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers and how hard water additions can slowly clog internal filters and piping. While such companies are trying to sell you removal products, a much better strategy is to prevent the additives entering in the first place. But you want a filter to remove more than just hardness, and a multi-stage in-line filter may be best. This could include separate areas consisting of:
Stainless Steel micronet’s eliminates both organic and inorganic materials like sand silt rust & algae that have been picked up on the way in.
Zeolite Crystals effectively takes out fluoride, and a host of heavy metals.
Coconut Shell Activated Carbon help absorbs pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, colours & odours.
Calcium Sulphite, which efficiently removes chlorine & chloramine.
Filters of this nature leave your inbound water very clean and safe to use in all of your kitchen appliances, and other equipment such as dehumidifiers, showers, and baths.
Before you commit to any kind of blanket water treatment, it makes perfect sense to find out what is in your local water. All managing companies compile water quality reports based on continuous sampling of their throughput, and these can be obtained from the company free of charge, so that you can see exactly what you incoming water has in terms of contaminants. Once you know that, you are in a better position to select the right kind of filtration unit or units.
Finally, always use a qualified plumber to install a device and check in advance with your water company that the device meets the water fittings regulations. Check and follow the manufacturer’s advice about cleaning and maintenance and the frequency of changing cartridges as failure to do this may cause a build-up of deposits and create an extra breeding ground for bacteria in the system.