Before you choose which drinking water purifier system to use, it is necessary to take several technologies into account. Whether you need a tap water filter, an under-the-sink filter or a more voluminous Point of Entry system is entirely dependent on your specific needs. It all depends on the type of water you want to achieve.
Overview of water purification technologies in Kenya
Drinking water purifiers range from simple water filters to advanced water purifiers using membrane technology for water filtration followed by additional disinfection with carbon or UV lamp filters. So which one should you choose?
Here is an overview of the main technologies used for drinking water purification.
Reverse osmosis (RO)
In reverse osmosis, water is forced through a semi-permeable membrane to filter out unwanted contaminants, sediments and dissolved solids. Reverse osmosis also requires membranes that are suited for the specific task. The RO membrane is usually combined with other water purification technologies such as a sediment filter or an activated carbon filter, which produces high-quality water that is free from unpleasant tastes and odors and is completely safe to drink. This highly effective water purification technique means that RO is usually a good choice for dealing with very low water quality or harmful contaminants.
Ultraviolet water purification disinfects your water from harmful bacteria and microorganisms, eliminating their ability to reproduce. It is a simple and sustainable way to disinfect drinking water, as UV systems destroy 99.99% of harmful microorganisms without the use of chemicals. However, it does not remove physical or chemical contaminants. UV water purification products come in an array of different sizes and forms and are usually combined with other water purification systems such as reverse osmosis systems or carbon block filters.
Ultrafiltration (UF) water purification uses pressure and a semipermeable membrane to filter out suspended solids and solutes of high molecular weight from the water. This non-chemical treatment is highly effective, achieving almost complete pathogen removal. UF is often deployed for pre-filtration in conjunction with a reverse osmosis water purification system.
In microfiltration, the contaminated water is filtered by a special pore-sized membrane. With a pore size varying between the 0.05 and 10μm and an operating pressure of less than 2 bar, MF effectively separates microorganisms and suspended particles from drinking water. Both filtration and disinfection take place at the same time without the use of chemicals.
Alkaline or PH balance
Alkaline water is a type of water created by raising the pH of the water by using an ionizer, which often also removes contaminants including chlorine, chloramine, pharma, heavy metals and resilient contaminants like chromium VI and arsenic. Water with a pH higher than 7 is alkaline. Despite the lack of proven scientific research on the topic, proponents of alkaline water believe in its healthy properties specifically with regards to anti-aging, hydration and immune system support.
Point-of-Entry vs. Point-of-Use water purification system
Water purification technologies come in many shapes and forms. But mainly they can be categorized in two different systems: Point-of-Entry (PoE) and Point-of-Use (PoU).
PoE water purification systems are installed on the main water line for the building. The system purifies the water before it reaches washing machines, toilets, and bathrooms. PoE purification systems purify all household water and removes most odors, bad taste, and most forms of pollutants. A PoE system can handle a large amount of water. Typically, it is used for providing softened water to eliminate staining. If your main concern is drinking water safety and quality, point-of-use purification is the better choice.
PoU water purification solutions are used primarily to ensure a high quality of tap water. The system is installed in connection to a water outlet such as the kitchen tap or bathroom sink. Thus, it purifies the water at the tap. The system can also be installed on the countertop or mounted on the tap itself, and even under the sink. PoU systems are typically called tap water filters. They are cheaper and easier to install and maintain, than PoE systems –ensuring high-quality drinking water directly from the tap.
Both POE and POU systems have strengths and weaknesses, however, it’s worth noting that there is no one-size-fits all approach, so remember to identify the needs of your home to help you choose the best system or combination of treatment options for you. Point-of-use water purification systems
Pros and cons of popular Point-of-Use water purification solutions
When finding the perfect water filter for drinking water you need to consider multiple factors. If you are concerned about the quality of the water you use for drinking and cooking, a Point-of-Use solution is an easy and reliable system. This system provides clean, odor free, great tasting and environmentally friendly tap water, eliminating the need to buy bottled water.
There are several options for Point-of-Use water purification, and to find the best suit for your needs, you can read about the different solutions in the next section.
Tap water filter
Kitchen tap drinking water filters are installed directly on the faucet. Tap water filters have been widely adopted, especially in developing regions like India and South Africa. The benefits of the tap water filter compared to other solutions lie primarily in its cost-effectiveness and easily installable features. However, the drinking water purification effect of the tap water filter is lower than many other solutions and maintenance is required as the water purifier filter often need changing.
Under-the-sink water filter
The under-the-sink water filter system is more expensive than other systems but makes daily use more convenient as it is directly connected to the water inlet and often comes with a dedicated faucet. The under-the-sink water filter system often has a multi-stage water purification process that includes sediment, active carbon and reverse osmosis filters.
Countertop water filter
Countertop water filter systems come in various shapes and sizes depending on their use and filter technology. Typically, the filters are carbon-based, but multi-stage purification is possible. However, countertop water filters take up more space than under-the-sink solutions.
Tabletop filtration pitchers
Tabletop pitchers with water filtrations systems need to be filled manually. While some products utilize a range of filtration technologies, most rely on carbon-based filters and gravity. The benefits of the tabletop pitchers are its portability, low cost and zero installation time. However, the water filtration efficiency is limited, and the water filter needs continual change.