Once regarded as just another European fad, bottled water is now big business in the UK with a market worth close to £2 billion per annum. Now more health conscious and sensible about what we eat and drink, we accept that clean water is important for more than just hydration, but at what cost? Environmentalists are questioning the ethics behind an industry that transports a natural product many thousands of miles and produces mountains of plastic and glass for our recycling facilities. According to research by the people at Triflow Concepts 200,000,000,000 litres of bottled water were consumed globally in 2009. This generated 1,500,000 tons of plastic waste, and 170,000,000 litres of oil was required to produce and transport plastic bottles. Is it morally acceptable to engage in this profligate use of the earth’s energy resources when clean water is still an unthinkable luxury in certain parts of the world? And what’s the alternative?
The alternative is to install a filter tap which will pay for itself in less than a year. Not to be confused with water softeners, where salt is added to the water supply of the entire home, water filters come in the form of either a replacement tap with filter system, or a standalone filter cartridge that fits in the cupboard beneath any tap. Today we are can choose between a number of different water filtering systems according to health requirements and taste. The type of filtration offered by these systems varies, and this article sets out to demystify some of the options.
Brita offers a range of quality replacement taps with a separate control for filtered water, and a filter cartridge mounted in the cupboard beneath the sink area. Brita filters improve the clarity of water by removing limescale, chlorine and other impurities such as some pesticides and heavy metals. This improves taste and creates a famously crystal-clear cup of tea. Brita cartridges last for around 500 litres of water treatment, and are widely available from high street retailers. Brita also runs an active recycling programme for used cartridges
Franke Triflow taps come in a range of prestigious designs and finishes, with a separate lever for filtered water. The system includes a filter cartridge mounted in the cupboard beneath the sink which removes a range of contaminants including – harmful bacteria, protozoan organisms such as giardia and cryptoporidium cysts, chlorine, foul tastes and odours, certain chemicals, rust particles, sediment and numerous other undesirable contaminants including particles above 0.2 microns in size. Franke Triflow cartridges should be replaced approximately every 6 months, are widely available in quality household stores. Franke runs a service to remind customers when cartridge replacement becomes due.
The Zip Hydrotap delivers instant filtered boiling and filtered chilled water in a smart contemporary chrome pillar tap with its own drip tray and a special child lock. The triple action water filtration system filters out dirt, rust and particles that contaminate drinking water, plus asbestos fibres and micro-organisms such as giardia and cryptosporidium. The filter timer is set to approximately 9 months, but this can be adjusted to take account of local water conditions. Replacement filters are available directly from Zip.
The Quooker tap delivers filtered boiling water on demand for much less than the cost of running an electric kettle, and is fitted with a child-proof push and turn handle for safety. The Quooker boiler comes with an internal high temperature activated carbon filter (HiTAC), which removes or significantly reduces many volatile organic chemicals (VOC), pesticides and herbicides, as well as chlorine, benzene, trihalomethane (THM) compounds, radon, solvents and other chemicals found in tap water. The integrated filter should be replaced every five years, and replacements can be purchased online. An additional in-line limescale pre-filter can be fitted in front of the boiler in particularly hard water areas to protect your Quooker boiler and also your dishwasher, for example. The additional pre-filter we use is the Everpure Claris system (below).
Everpure Claris Filters can be fitted into the kitchen cupboard beneath any tap, and combine excellent filtration with the option to tailor water hardness. These highly efficient water filters combine ion exchange (changing scale ions into sodium ions for ‘softer’ water), and a 5-step filter to provide a high level of particle and mineral removal down to 5 microns. Some coffee machines and steam ovens use mineral content to detect the presence of water, so the Everpure Claris Filter allows a blend of filtered and tap water to be set to the mineral level required to operate appliances properly without compromising on taste. Baristas choose Everpure technology to protect their coffee equipment from scale and at the same time gain optimum taste, and they know their customers can taste the difference. Water is blended to adjust the mineral content by the simple twist of a dial on top of the filter. On the inside Everpure Filters employ Micro-Pure® precoat filtration technology which means superior chlorine and particulate reduction, and significant reduction in contaminants such as lead, cysts and asbestos. Everpure filters should be changed once a year, and claim to be six times as effective as the competition.