Even as the WHO has recognized access to clean water as a basic human right, the rate at which the groundwater levels are being depleted in India is a matter of huge concern. Water is being sourced from different sources already and no points for guessing the quality of the water supply. Urban India is resolving this issue by investing in water purifiers, but with the proliferation of water purifier brands, it is becoming increasingly confusing to choose a water purifier that suits specific needs. To make the confusion worse, some water purifiers use more than one purification technology.
Let us try to delineate the parameters based on which you should choose the water purifier for your home. The parameters are listed below:
The most important parameter is the water quality measured by the hardness, salinity, and TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) levels in the water. TDS is nothing but the organic and inorganic matter dissolved in the water. Water dissolves the minerals present in the strata of soil it filters through in the case of groundwater and, in the case of surface water, the minerals present in the soil over which it flows (rivers/streams) or over which it stands (lakes, ponds, reservoirs). Other than this, it also includes microbes, pyrogens, colloidal substances, dissolved gases, and suspended particles.
< 300 mg/litre
Between 300 and 600 mg/litre
Between 600 and 900 mg/litre
Between 900 and 1200 mg/litre
Activated Carbon Filter: The carbon filters can remove chemicals like chlorine, pesticides, and impurities to a great extent. The filtration changes the taste and odor of water. It does not require electricity for operation. But it is also not very effective in removing microbes from water.
Candle Filter Purifier: The candle has very minute pores. Any particle which has a size larger than the pores gets blocked out and cannot pass on to the clean side. It does not require any electricity for operation. But the downside is that it fails to block microbes and so water still needs to be boiled before consumption. Also, the candle needs to be cleaned up frequently for effective operations.
UV (Ultra Violet) purification: UV water purification is a method of water filtration that uses ultra-violet light to kill 99.99% of all germs, bacteria, microbes, cysts, etc. in water. There is a tiny mercury lamp inside the purifier that produces short-wave UV radiation. The radiation irradiates the water and penetrates the cells of bacteria and viruses, destroying their ability to reproduce. The microbes and organisms fail to multiply and eventually die. This purification method only kills the germs but the bodies of the dead germs remain in the water. Separate filters are required to remove the germs physically. UV water purification is usually done in conjunction with other forms of filtration such as reverse osmosis or activated carbon filters. If TDS is less than 200 ppm, you can choose UV (Ultra-Violet) filtration technology which can remove impurities while retaining key minerals.
RO (Reverse Osmosis) purification: The Reverse Osmosis membrane has very fine pores that allow only water to pass through it leaving behind all the harmful chemicals, dissolved salts, and microbes suspended in water. When the TDS level of water is greater than 500 ppm, you must get an RO water purifier.
UF or Ultrafiltration: Ultrafiltration purification method uses membranes similar to RO membranes but with bigger pores. UF membranes remove all colloidal particles including most pathogenic organisms and turbidity but fail to remove the dissolved solids and salts. Unlike a UV purifier, a UF water purifier physically removes all the germs and bacteria from the water. Often, it is used in conjunction with other water purification technologies.
What is the size of your family? Are you living in a nuclear family or a joint family? If you are living in a family of five or more, a water purifier with a limited storage capacity would not suffice. On the other hand, if you are a family of two, a water purifier with a storage capacity of 15 litres might easily be overkill. Other than that, you need to consider the purification capacity of your water purifier. The purification capacity of your water purifier is the rate at which water is purified through all the stages intended for the purification. It is measured in litres per hour. Then, there is this consideration you need to make whether you are going to need, let’s say, RO water for your entire house or only for the purpose of cooking and drinking. Ensure that you pick a water purifier whose water purification capacity meets your requirements.
Durability and grade
Typically, a water purifier should last you up to a decade. That’s why you should consider it an investment for your health. If you are someone who moves frequently, then you should choose a portable water purifier. Irrespective of how often you move, your water purifier should be sturdy to last you for a considerable period of time. The quality of the plastic used should be engineering grade and food-grade, such that the toxins of low-quality plastic don’t end up ruining the quality of water in your storage tank.
Ease of maintenance
It is not as if you can purchase the water purifier, install it and use it forever. For the purifier to give you good results for a considerable period of time, you need to attend to its requirements. Some filters have alert mechanisms that alert you when servicing is due or when the UV lamp is no longer working. You should also opt for a brand that offers you Annual Maintenance Contracts for the ultimate peace of mind.
Electricity and plumbing
Not all water purifiers require electricity. For instance, gravity-based water purifiers like UF water purifiers don’t require electricity. If the quality of electric supply in your community is erratic and if your TDS is in < 500 ppm, you don’t even require a high-end purifier like an RO purifier. Gravity-based water purifiers don’t even need a supply of tap water. The weight of the water allows it to flow over and through the filters.
Read on to know which water purifier is best for home.