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Pros and Cons of Water Purification Methods Used in Household Water Purifiers

Water purifiers are one of the functional household items that play an important role in making life healthy. With health consciousness among the individuals increasing like never before, many companies are coming with affordable and serviceable technologies of water purifiers.

Water purifiers are helpful in these days where pollution is at its peak. It is beneficial to know the technologies behind these water purifiers to make an informed purchase.

1. Activated carbon filtration: Also called as carbon adsorption technique, activated carbon filtration, is one of the popular techniques used in household water purifiers. In this method, activated carbon is used to filter the water. Activated carbon, a highly absorbent material effectively attracts and traps many of the common impurities in water. Many toxic organic compounds like pesticides, chlorinated solvents and microorganisms are adsorbed by these filters.

• Advantages

a.Activated carbon filters remove unpleasant taste and odor of water, including chlorine.
b.More activated carbon in the filter improves the quality of water and the lifetime of the cartridge.
c.Electricity is not required

• Drawbacks

a) Water at higher temperatures affects the performance of carbon filters.
b) Limited lifetime – once the surface of the cartridge becomes saturated with adsorbed chemicals, it can not adsorb more and hence needs to be replaced.
c) Carbon adsorption can not remove heavy metals and dissolved solids in water.
d) Can generate carbon fines into the water.
e) Effective when combined with other purification methods.

2.Ultra-Filtration (UF): Ultra-Filtration is a type of membrane filtration, in which the water is forced against the membrane with several tiny pores. The pore size of ultra-filtration membranes range from 0.01 – 0.1 micrometers (1 micrometer is one millionth of a meter). This method of filtration removes dirt, suspended solids, bacteria, viruses, germs and their eggs, endotoxins and other pathogens, thus produces very pure water with low slit density.

• Advantages

a.The size of the smallest virus and germ is more than 0.02 micron and hence UF method is effective in eliminating most particles, pathogens, microorganisms, and colloids above their rated size.
b.Highly filtered water with less usage of energy.

• Disadvantages

a) Ultra- Filtration can not remove any dissolved inorganic substances from water.
b) To maintain a high pressure water flow, regular cleaning is required.
c) Effective when preceded by carbon adsorption or when combined with other purification methods.

3. Reverse osmosis (RO): Reverse Osmosis is also a type of membrane filtration but the pore structure of RO membrane is much smaller (0.0001microns) and tighter than UF membranes. This helps the membrane to remove 90-99% of the impurities in water, making it one of the most effective and economic options of water purifying. One more unique characteristic of a RO purifier is that it removes all the dissolved salts, metals and chemicals from the water.

• Advantages

a.RO removes several impurities from water like total dissolved solids (TDS), turbidity, asbestos, lead and other toxic heavy metals, radium and many dissolved organics.
b.Converts hard water to soft water.
cA combination of RO and carbon adsorption is a most effective treatment.
d.Requires less maintenance.

• Disadvantages

a) Reverse osmosis removes healthy minerals like calcium and magnesium from the water. Because of small pore size, water flow is slow and hence storage tanks are required.
b) Chlorine may pass through the membrane and can also damage it; hence a combination of RO and Carbon adsorption is recommended.
c) Expensive when compared to other water purifying methods.
d) Professional maintenance is needed

4. Ultraviolet (UV) filtration: The unique quality of ultra violet light that kills harmful bacteria and microorganisms is used in this filtration method. This method of filtration is mostly used for disinfecting water. UV light rays penetrate into the cells of bacteria and viruses and destroy their ability to reproduce.

• Advantages

a.An effective UV purifier kills 99.99% of harmful microbes.
b.This method will not release any chemical compounds into the water.

• Disadvantages

a) Decreases the resistivity of water.
b) Will not remove any dissolved salts, particles, or ions from water.
c) Uses electricity.
d) Requires professional maintenance.

These technologies, when used in combination of two or more technologies, will yield better results than when used individually.

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