FAQ - General
There are too many choices in water filters on the market. Where do I start?
Start by reading about the various technologies that are available by clicking on Buyers Guide in our main menu. This will familiarize you with the different technologies available to treat your water. Next, go to our products page and view your options. We will make some recommendations to you based on your water supply and personal preferences. Of course, you can always call us for assistance on 09 530 8872.
How do your products compare to Brita-style pitcher filters and faucet-mounted water filters?
Pitcher and faucet-mounted filters generally rely solely on activated carbon filtration. While activated carbon is very effective at removing a wide range of contaminants, the problem with this type of filters is that they contain a very small amount of activated carbon. Further, the time the water spends in contact with the carbon, particularly with faucet mounted units is too little to provide full absorption. While counter top and under sink activated carbon filters generally have removal rates for relevant contaminants in excess of 90-99%, the removal rates for faucet mounted and pitcher style units is generally 30-60%.
I am specifically concerned about removing parasitic cysts like cryptosporidium and giardia from my water. Can you suggest a filtration or purification method?
You have a few choices. You can select any counter top or under counter water filter that features a 0.5 micron carbon block filter. These cysts generally range from about 4-10 microns in size and can be eliminated by these fine filters. Reverse osmosis will also remove these contaminants as an RO membrane's pores measure only about 0.005 microns. While ultraviolet purification is ideal for other microbiological contaminants such as bacteria and viruses, it is not always effective against cysts as they require a longer exposure time than is sometimes possible in a home UV system. Don't forget, e.coli is too small to be removed by any existing activated carbon (GAC or carbon block) filter available anywhere. Reverse osmosis is generally effective at removing bacteria, however a secondary ultraviolet system is recommended for optimum security against e.coli and other bacteria.
My community frequently issues boil advisories to deal with short-term water problems. If I boil my drinking water, am I safe?
Yes and no. A rolling boil for a least two minutes is effective in killing harmful organisms such as e.coli, giardia and cryptosporidium. However, boiling does not remove many other contaminants such as heavy metals, in fact, it concentrates them. While these contaminants do not often cause immediate acute sickness, long-term exposure to them is certainly unhealthy, especially at concentrated levels.
Are National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certified water filters better than non-NSF certified water filters?
Not necessarily. To become certified by NSF, water filter manufacturers have to pay NSF various fees on an ongoing basis. A large number of manufacturers choose not to pay these fees and therefore not to have their products endorsed by NSF. Many of these manufacturers produce filters that are more effective than those produced by companies that have opted for NSF certification. You should evaluate a water filter based on the materials it is composed of and the reputation of the company that stands behind it.
Can your countertop filters be mounted on any faucet?
Our counter top water filters can be attached to more than 95% of all faucets as originally equipped or with the use of the internal thread adapter that is included with your unit. Adapters for most of the remaining faucets can be obtained from a quality plumbing supply store.
Do your systems come with all necessary parts for installation and are they difficult to install?
For each product, we list all components that are included with your system. Unless you have an unusual installation, you will not require any additional parts to complete your installation. All of our systems also come with enough replacement filters for a complete year! You will not have to purchase replacement filters for 12 months! The vast majority of our systems are very easily installed by the homeowner. Detailed installation instructions are provided with your product. Whole house systems require some mechanical aptitude, so we generally recommend that you request the assistance of a good handyman or plumber.
I have seen water filters at my local home center retail store that are cheaper than yours. Are they the same thing? What is the difference?
The quality of water filters on the market vary dramatically. In most cases, but not all, it is a "you get what you pay for" situation. When comparing different filters, you should look at the following:
- Quality Materials - look at the materials that were used to make the filters. For example, TFC membranes are better than cellulose triacetate (CTA) membranes in reverse osmosis systems, and coconut shell activated carbon is generally better than all other forms. (Note: all of our activated carbon filter products use coconut shell carbon, and all reverse osmosis systems use TFC membranes.)
- Micron Rating - most filters have a specified micron rating which indicates the nominal size of particles they are able to remove. The smaller the micron rating the better - this means that your filter will remove smaller particles. A 20 micron filter is not necessarily "worse" than a 5 micron filter, it depends on what the filter is for. If it is a whole-house sediment filter which serves as the first filter before your activated carbon filters than a 20 micron filter would be preferred to 5 microns because the 5 micron filter would clog too quickly. However, when looking at a reverse osmosis system for example, micron ratings of the various component filters (and the number of pre-filters in the system itself) can be compared to give you a relative indication of quality and effectiveness. Be very wary of manufacturers and retailers who do not indicate micron ratings for their filters - there is a good chance their products are of inferior quality.
- Manufacturer Reputation - how long has the manufacturer been in business and do they have a good reputation in the marketplace?
- Replacement Filters Included? - Don't forget that many of our systems and packages come with enough replacement filters to last a complete year under normal usage and average water conditions. Traditional retail chains and most online retailers of water filters generally include only the first set of filters. When you add on the cost of the additional filters, they might not look so cheap after all.
I have another brand of water filter in my home. Will your replacement filters fit in my unit?
Most likely yes, as long as the housing is not tapered. Our replacement filters are designed to be universal and to fit most other point-of-use and whole-house filter housings on the market. If in doubt, email a photo of your existing filter together with its physical measurements (diameter and length) to us and we will confirm for you