When you’re considering home improvement projects to take on and new investments to make, you might overlook an important area: the safety of your water.
There are options available that you can install such as reverse osmosis, also known as an RO filter system.
How do you know if this is an upgrade you should make in your home?
The following are things to know about water contamination if you’re debating the installation of an RO system or another type of water filtration system.
When to Consider Water Filtration
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says more than 90% of the U.S. water supply is safe to drink from the tap, but does that mean you should?
Certain people, in particular, are advised to consider a water filtration system.
This includes people with a lot of lead in their water, which you can find out through testing. If you have high contaminant levels from your well, such as radon, you should also think about installing a water filtration system.
If you’re someone with an extremely compromised immune system, it may also be beneficial for you to filter your water.
A water filtration system can eliminate contaminants that make your water taste bad or that make you sick.
Filtration systems can remove:
- Microbes like bacteria, parasites, and viruses
- Disinfection byproducts
In general, drinking water contaminants are usually divided into a few main categories.
There are physical contaminants that might include sediment from organic material.
There are chemical contaminants, which are things like pesticides and metals.
Biological contaminants are organisms in the water, and radiological contaminants are chemical elements, including uranium and plutonium.
Is Chlorine In the Water Bad For You?
One of the contaminants many people are focused on eliminating from their water is chlorine. However, a lot of other people don’t even realize they’re probably drinking chlorine every day.
Chlorine is used to clean water and it does remove almost all pathogens.
However, there’s a downside to be aware of.
Your cancer risk can go up when you drink chlorinated water.
According to the EPA, Americans now consume anywhere from 300 to 600 times the amount of chlorine that’s considered safe for ingestion.
When chlorine mixes with certain organic compounds that are often present in water, it can create byproducts called THMs. These product free radicals in the body and that then leads to cellular damage. These byproducts are also considered carcinogens, even in small amounts.
There has been researching over the years showing that drinking chlorinated water significantly increases the risk of developing certain types of cancers over your lifetime, including gastrointestinal cancers.
Chlorine is also thought to damage your beneficial gut bacteria. We need the so-called good-bacteria for our immune systems to operate optimally.
Should a Filtration System Be Your Next Home Improvement Project?
If you want to focus on removing contaminants from your water, including chlorine, a reverse osmosis system should be a consideration.
An RO unit contains carbon filters that can remove chlorine and its byproducts.
The reverse osmosis system works by eliminating the molecular compounds from water that are smaller than water itself.
Reverse osmosis uses a high-pressure pump that then increases the pressure on one side of the system and forces it across a membrane that’s semi-permeable.
The contaminants that didn’t pass through the membrane are then sent to the reject stream.
RO system use cross-filtration instead of standard filtration.
Cross filtration means that a solution passes through the filter, and there are two outlets. The filtered water goes one way and contaminated water goes the other.
If you’re someone who likes DIY projects, you may wonder if you can install a reverse osmosis system on your own.
It is possible to do it on your own, but if you aren’t very handy or your nervous about the prospect, a plumber can do it for you.
You might even want to call a plumber before you buy a system because they can help you figure out the right size for your home, as can the company selling the system itself.
There’s increased interest in the health effects of the water we drink. As a result, some homeowners are opting to take control of their water through the installation of whole house filtration systems like a reverse osmosis system. There are also under-counter systems that you can use specifically for your drinking water if that’s your main concern.