Everyone knows that having clean, filtered water is important to one’s health, but water treatment plants can only do so much to keep unwanted contaminants out of your tap water. But many consumers are unaware of the potential pollutants that could be in their water, as well as how they can be kept out.
In-home water filters are commonly pointed to as the solution to these water concerns, and to some degree, that’s true: A water filtering system can yield much cleaner, healthier water than you are likely to otherwise enjoy. But to assume that all filters are made equal would be a mistake. In fact, there is among water filters a wide variance in quality, in terms of how many contaminants they can remove from water. This performance can be measured in a unit called microns. Whether that’s a new word to you or not, it has everything to do with the cleanliness of your water.
What is a micron?
Simply put, a micron is an extremely small unit of measurement – one-millionth of a meter, to be precise. A single micron is invisible to the naked eye.
Water filters are also measured according to their ability to filter out contaminants. For example, a 20-micron water filter is capable of filtering out any contaminant larger than 20 microns. The smaller the micron number, the better, because it means fewer contaminants are making their way into your water.
Water filters also cost more as their micron number goes down. While it may be tempting to forego spending the extra money on a filter that removes from your water unseen contaminants, you’ll enjoy the peace of mind that comes from drinking water free of harmful levels of contaminants.
The benefits of high-efficiency water filters
As small as a single micron is, some bacteria can be even smaller – even down to .2 microns in diameter and one micron in length. That’s small enough to pass through many commercial water filters, leaving consumers at risk of becoming sick.
Water filters with a micron measurement of one or less, though, should be effective enough to eliminate all chemicals, bacteria and other contaminants from your water, allowing you to drink your home’s tap water without reservations. Of course, the costs of water filters will also factor in to many people’s purchases, as well as the specific contaminants that eat filter is capable of removing from the water. You will have to decide what price and what micron level is a suitable balancing act between your budget and your water safety needs.
But regardless of what filter you choose, understanding microns and how they relate to your tap water can make you much better informed about what’s actually in your drinking water. Between your local water bureau’s water treatments and other information about your local water safety, you should be able to gather a much more comprehensive picture of the water quality in your area – and how you want to address it.