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Beginner's Guide When Buying a Water Purifier in 2021

Statistics show that over 21 million Americans consume unsafe drinking water every day. Millions more drink water that is a little safer, but still riddled with chlorine and other unwanted contaminants. This is why getting a water purifier can be so important and truly life-changing for any home.

A purifier is able to clean up the water you use and consume. It can get rid of many unwanted elements. These impurities can include everything from germs to heavy metals, chlorine, and more. But you have to choose with care. There are countless purifiers out there. But only the best water filtration system will give you the clean, pure water you want. This guide will help you find it.

What Does a Water Purifier Do?

Water purifiers are systems that are designed to clean up the water that comes out of a home's faucets. They work in a range of ways, depending on the filters they contain. In general, they rely on passing the water over different filter media. These filters, trap, remove, and eliminates unwanted elements. Only the clean and pure water is allowed to flow through and then come out of the faucet.

Types of Water Purifier

Before purchasing your own pure water filter, it helps to know about the different types. There is a wide range of different water filters you might want to make use of. See below for more information on the main types.

Reverse Osmosis

A reverse osmosis water filter is one of the most common and effective options you can get. These purifiers are able to remove over 99% of contaminants from your water supply. They work by passing the water over a semipermeable membrane. This membrane gets rid of any particles that are bigger than the individual water molecules. 

It can remove germs like viruses, as well as heavy metals like lead. Other contaminants like arsenic, nitrate, and more are removed with an RO purifier. However, they don't work on VOCs and chlorine. So it's wise to find a purifier that has RO filtration and other filtration methods to get the cleanest water.

Activated Carbon 

An activated carbon water filter is another common option. Many purifiers come with at least some form of carbon filtration. This system makes use of natural carbon materials that are semi-porous. They work by attracting impurities. These unwanted elements, like chlorine, stick to the carbon material. 

Meanwhile, the clean and pure water passes on through to your faucets. These types of filters can vary in terms of efficacy. Some are only good at improving the taste and smell of your water by getting rid of chlorine. Others are able to handle more molecules like VOCs and radon.

Ceramic 

Ceramic purifiers are made from ceramic materials with little holes inside. The gaps are just big enough to let water molecules pass through, but help to block and trap bigger things. They're good at catching bacteria and protozoa. So if you're worried about microbes in your water, a ceramic filter is a good choice. 

UV 

A UV or ultraviolet filter is fitted with an electronic UV light. This light is able to kill germs like bacteria and viruses. It destroys their DNA, preventing them from being able to replicate. This is great for people who are worried about infections in their water supply. These rays aren't effective on other unwanted elements though, like heavy metals and chlorine.

What to Look for in a Water Purifier

To find the best purifier, it's recommended to take your time and consider various factors. Since there are so many types of purifiers out there, it's vital to choose with care. Otherwise, you may waste money on a low-quality model or one that isn't suited to your home. Here are some key factors to keep in mind.

  • Type of Filtration

One of the first things to think about when getting the best water filter is the type of filtration. As explained above, purifiers can have a wide range of different filtration methods. Some of them make use of activated carbon, while others have UV lights. There are also RO water filters too, which work in their own ways.

It's important to think about what you want out of your purifier. Are you worried about excess chlorine, for example? If so, an activated carbon purifier is a good choice. If you're particularly concerned with heavy metals, an RO purifier can remove them. Look carefully at each model and find purifiers with filtration that can get rid of the contaminants that concern you.

  • Size and Design

It's also important to think about the size and general design of your chosen purifier. Purifiers can come in a broad variety of sizes and styles. It's common for homeowners to choose under-the-sink models. These purifiers can be fitted beneath the sink, hidden away, and cleaning the water that comes through the faucet.

There are other designs though. You could opt for a point-of-entry or POE system. This type of purifier filters all water for the whole house, rather than just for one sink. There are portable filters too, which can be carried around from place to place for small-scale applications.

Regardless of the design you choose, make sure to think about the size. It's important to find a purifier that will fit in your home correctly. Otherwise, you may encounter issues during the installation process.

  • Number of Stages

Another key factor to consider is the number of filtration stages or levels. Many of the best purifiers don't just have one single stage of filtration. They may have three, four, or even five filtration stages. This is what allows them to deal with the widest range of contaminants and pollutants in your water.

A good quality purifier may begin with a pre-filter stage, for example. This is where large particles of silt and sediment can get removed. It may then have two or three more stages of filtration. These stages will get rid of heavy metals, chemicals, chlorine, and germs. By the end, the water will be very pure, clean, and healthy.

But don't always assume that models with more stages are automatically superior. In some cases, a unit with three stages might be more effective than one with four or five. Some manufacturers attempt to confuse or impress buyers by boasting of high stage numbers. But their systems might not be made of the best materials.

  • GPM 

GPM is another important feature to think about when looking for purifiers. It stands for gallons per minute. You can also see this term listed as "flow rate". In simple terms, this tells you how fast the purifier can operate at any given time. For example, a unit with a GPM of 15 can filter 15 gallons of water per minute. 

The GPM of each unit can vary quite a lot. Some are much more efficient than others. You'll need to think about your home's needs here. If you live alone and don't use that much water, a high GPM rate won't be that important to you. If you have a big family house, you may need a fast-acting filter to provide clean water for all.

  • Capacity 

You may also want to look at filter capacity. This essentially tells you how much water the purifier can handle before the filter media needs replacing. Some models can handle 100,000 gallons, for example, before requiring fresh filters. This is a way to see how durable and long-lasting a filter really is.

When considering filter capacity, think about your household's water usage too. Statistics show that the average American uses up to 100 gallons per day. This includes drinking, washing, doing dishes, and so on. You need to find a purifier that can keep up with your home's rates of water consumption.

  • Maintenance

Purifiers need to be looked after. The most important maintenance task is usually replacing the filters. Filtration media gets clogged and dirty over time, so have to be replaced with fresh ones. You may also need to clean and adjust your unit on a regular basis too. Some purifiers will require more cleaning than others.

So if you want a simple and low-maintenance unit, it's wise to opt for one that doesn't need excess care. You should try to prioritize units with high capacity and long-life filters. It's also helpful to find purifiers with lights or indicators that let you know when the system needs refreshing. This helps to make the whole maintenance process a lot simpler.

  • Warranty 

When getting any kind of device or appliance, you need to think about the warranty too. The best purifiers can last for many years, but there are still possible issues that could arise with them. If you don't want to have to pay for repair costs, having a good warranty is key.

When choosing a purifier, it's recommended to take a look at the warranty. Try to find one that comes with at least a few years of coverage. Some units may only offer one year of coverage. Others can offer five years or even more. The longer the policy, the more peace of mind you’ll have.

  • Price 

When looking for anything for your home, it's normal to consider the price tag too. So this is another factor to keep in mind when searching for a purifier. Again, prices can vary wildly in this market. Simple, portable purifiers can cost $50 or less, while larger models may cost in the hundreds.

It's up to the buyer to consider their own budget. This will help you decide how much you're able and willing to spend. You should also think about the other factors above to avoid over or under-spending. 

If you overspend, you might get a unit that is designed for a much bigger home than yours. This could be a waste of money. But if you under-spend, your purifier might not be powerful enough to meet your needs.

Installation and Maintenance Tips for a Water Purifier

Once you've chosen and purchased a purifier, you'll need to think about setting it up. This process can vary, depending on the model you choose. Some systems, like a portable purifier, won't even need installing at all. An under-sink purifier, however, will need to be set up, as explained below.

Installing an Under-the-Sink Water Purifier

Usually, it's possible to install your purifier on your own. You don't need too much experience or expertise to get started. But you may choose to contact a professional if you want some help or have any doubts.

  • A good way to start is to read the manual. This will provide you with step-by-step instructions to get your purifier up and running. The best purifiers always come with clear and easy-to-follow instructions.
  • You should also make sure to prepare the necessary tools and equipment. To set up a purifier, you may need some essential tools like a wrench, drill, screwdriver, tubings, and fittings. Plumber's tape may also be needed.
  • Once you've got everything, go through the manual and follow the instructions. Make sure to pay close attention and follow the manufacturer's guidelines. Even if you've set up another purifier in the past, different models work differently, so the method might not be quite the same.
  • As mentioned earlier, you may want to contact a plumber or handyman for help, if needed. They should be able to get your purifier set up for a small fee. This can provide peace of mind, as it will ensure that everything is installed the right way.

Maintenance Tips

Installing your purifier should not be too difficult or time-consuming. The process can be completed within a couple of hours. But once the purifier is installed, you can't simply leave it to run without looking after it. Purifiers need regular maintenance. This helps to keep everything running the right way. Maintaining your purifier should help to reduce the risk of repairs. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

1. Watch Out for Warning Signs

    There are various signs you can watch out for which may indicate that your purifier needs maintenance. If you notice any sudden changes in your water quality, check the unit. You may experience changes in water taste, odor, or even appearance.

    Water pressure can also be affected when a purifier is broken or faulty. The pressure may decrease if the filters are clogged. Leaks can also occur around various parts, like the tanks and valves. If you notice any water pooling around the unit, take a closer look to find the source. You may also need to contact a professional for a more thorough check.

    2. Read the Instructions with Care

    As stated above, it's very important to read the instruction manual that comes with your purifier. It can be a goldmine of information to help you. It's not only useful for installation, but also for maintenance too.

    Often, manufacturers will inform you of filter lifespans and maintenance tips in the manual. So reading through it should help you get the knowledge you need to keep your purifier in perfect working order. It may also contain important information about the warranty.

    3. Replace Filters on Time

      The filters are the key components of your purifier. They do the hard work of trapping contaminants, germs, and unwanted particles. Without them, the filter won't be of much use. But they can get clogged over time due to exposure to so much dirt.

      This is why filters have to be changed. They can't last forever and will wear out in the end. Make sure to note down when you fit new ones and set reminders if it helps you to remember when fresh replacements are needed. Don't leave dirty equipment in the purifier, as it may negatively affect your water quality.

      4. Use the Correct Filters

      We've just spoken about the importance of changing filters. But it's also important to make sure you're using the right products for your unit. Some people make the mistake of buying the wrong filtration media for their unit. This can be a bad choice, as it may interfere with the unit's functioning and harm your water quality.  They might simply just not fit in the purifier and will then have to be returned.

      Make sure you're choosing adequate filter media for your precise purifier. It's usually wise to look for the brand and model name. You can then use this information to find replacement filters online. Many of the best manufacturers sell spares directly, or via trusted retailers. 

      You can purchase additional filtration media in advance. This way, you can change them when needed, rather than having to wait around for new ones to be delivered. Spare filters should always be stored in a cool dry place for their protection. Try to keep them in the original packaging until you need to use them too.

      Common Questions and Answers about Water Purifiers

      Now, let's take a look at a few commonly-asked questions about purifiers to help you learn more.

      What Is the Life of a Water Purifier? 

      This really depends on the unit you buy. Some purifiers are much more durable and long-lasting than others. Some models will be able to last for up to 20 years or more with minimal maintenance. 

      Other models might struggle to last for 10 years. It also depends on how much care you provide to the unit. Purifiers that are properly cared for tend to have longer lifespans. So make sure to change filters regularly and keep the purifier clean. 

      What Is the Maintenance Cost of Water Purifier? 

      There's no fixed answer to this question. It depends on many factors, such as the type of unit you own and what level of maintenance you provide. Some types of purifiers are known for being lower maintenance and easier to look after. 

      An RO water filter, for example, shouldn't cost much to maintain. Purifiers with many different filter levels can be costly. This is because you have to pay more to replace each individual filter over time. 

      Should We Switch Off Water Purifiers? 

      In general, purifiers should be left on whenever the home is occupied and the water supply is being used. There's no need to turn them off at night or while you're out. These systems are designed to run continuously, for the most part. 

      But there are some times when you might consider switching off a purifier. For example, if you're heading away on vacation, it makes sense to turn the purifier off. Purifiers should also be deactivated during cleaning or maintenance.

      How Long Do Water Filters Last?

      Again, this depends on several factors, like the brand and type of filter. If you ask "How long does a water filter last?" you might get a different answer each time, depending on the model in question. In general, though, individual filters in your purifier will last between three and 12 months. They will need to be replaced on a regular basis. This is because they can get clogged and dirty over time. 

      How Do I Know If My Water Filter Is Bad? 

      There are many signs that could show your filter needs replacing. You might notice a decrease in your water pressure, for example. You may also hear strange gurgling or heavy draining sounds. The water's taste, smell, or appearance may also start to change. If you spot any of these signs, check the filters. 

      Conclusion

      Getting a water purifier is an excellent choice to improve the health and purity of water in your home. It can offer many advantages, helping to reduce exposure to chemicals, toxins, and germs. It may also provide better tasting and more pleasantly-smelling water too. 

      As demonstrated in this guide, there are many purifiers out there. There are also lots of factors to think about when considering "Which is the best water purifier to buy?" It’s important to find one that not only matches your budget, but also meets your household’s needs in terms of power, performance, and filtration. Try to find a model that is of high quality, with good reviews, effective tech, and a durable design..

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