When you go to buy a new refrigerator, it's very likely that you will find at least one that has a water filter built into it. In today's world, the reality of harmful chemicals in our water is evidenced by expensive bottled water just about anywhere you go. As the need for fresh healthy water on the go has increased, so have the ways that filtered water can be made more convenient.
There are many refrigerator water filters on the market today, but the difference in quality has changed drastically in the last few years. For the most part, they all use GAC (Granular Activated Carbon). Yet, not all fridge filters are the same. For instance, the AQ-7000 by Aquasana has earned the right to be called the most effective in-line water filter on the market because of the quality of the filter media and combination of the most effective technologies.
A High-Quality Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) Filter Is a Must
A GAC carbon filter has the ability to absorb many harmful chemicals and is recognized by the EPA as the best available technology for organic chemical removal. Activated carbon is exposed to high temperatures causing micro pores to form. This newly created surface can effectively filter out a wide variety of contaminants, such as chlorine, pesticides, trihalomethanes (THMs) and other chemicals linked to cancer. GAC also removes bad tastes and odors.
The are 3 distinct technologies to look for in a refrigerator water filter. They are mechanical filtration (filtration down to 0.5 microns), adsorption (contaminants bond chemically to the surface of the GAC filter medium) and ion exchange (replaces harmful lead ions with healthful potassium ions).
1. Sub-micron Filtration
A high-quality in-line refrigerator filter should contain a highly porous surface. One of the more expensive and highest performing materials is a coconut shell carbon block. The filter should have the capacity for 0.5 or less sub-micron filtration. This allows for the effective removal of chlorine resistant microscopic organisms like cryptosporidium and giardia. Low cost carbon is less effective and needs to be replaced more often. Look for a filter that will last at least 6 months.
While sub-micron filtration works by physically blocking contaminants, adsorption is a process where the carbon filter actually attracts a variety of dissolved contaminants and they are held or adsorbed on the surface of the carbon particles. Unlike pitcher water filters like Brita, a fridge water filter has a lot more carbon to go around. The large surface area means that the water contact time is longer. The result is that greater adsorption of various chemicals can take place. Filter systems like the AQ7000 use a highly compressed carbon media to filter out chlorine, lead, VOCs (Volatile Organic Chemicals), THMs, cysts, turbidity (sediment level) and most other tap water contaminants.
3. Ion Exchange
The final filtration technology is ion exchange. During this stage, lead is filtered out by a complex ion exchange process where lead ions are replaced with potassium ions. This process is extremely effective for lead and heavy metal reduction. It also enhances your waters natural mineral balance. Potassium is one of the minerals that give your water its natural spring water taste, as well as a neutral pH. A coconut shell carbon block can be impregnated with potassium charged microporous zeolite to achieve this effect.
Most refrigerator filters come in a standard size and can provide water for refrigerators, ice makers and coolers. You get healthy water for drinking, pets, cooking, ice and beverages - and you get it quickly. They are also great for RVs, water fountains, and can even work under the sink. For most refrigerator filters, no tools are needed.
When you buy a refrigerator water filter, make sure it has the 3 technologies listed above. Now that you have taken the time to learn what goes into making the most effective in-line fridge water filter on the market, you should find out 3 more things. Learn about the water filter company's guarantee, successful track record and recognition (awards) by industry experts. In a world with literally thousands of chemicals making their way into your water supply, you need to insist on the most advanced breakthroughs in water filtration. If you don't, you are leaving your families health to chance.