How to Measure the Performance of Drinking Water Filters

How to Measure the Performance of Drinking Water Filters

Water purification customers will undoubtedly want to be sure their filtered water is safe to drink. Implementing a water filter is well and good, but how can one know how well it’s working and if it actually cleans the water effectively? There is a little more to it than plugging it in and using it. There are maintenance considerations and some knowledge about its inner workings.

Evaluating water quality

Sometimes it’s quite easy to discern a water source’s quality by smell and taste alone. Some people are more sensitive to specific substances in drinking water. Chlorine is the main component that alters water taste and smell. Usually, chlorine is not very dangerous in the small amounts that can be found in the water source, but it’s also not the only component present.

Heavy metals, high amounts of calcium, and other such pollutants find their way into water sources. An effective way to check for any unwanted elements in water is to test the source. There are very extensive tests one can use where a sample is sent to a lab and analyzed. There is also a simpler method to do this by using a TDS meter that indicates the levels of dissolved solids.

Basic features to check a water filter’s performance?

To guarantee a water filter is adequately working, installation must be done properly. This may require the help of a professional depending on the type of filtration system. Connecting a water filter on the water pipe can be difficult and might be prone to leaks, which in some cases could hinder the water pressure needed to filter water through the membrane.

Maintenance is another part of a water filter’s performance requirements. Foregoing changing filter cartridges or offering enough recharge time will hamper its efficiency. There are many different types of water filtration systems, some may be more complex than others. Opting for a certain type of filter depends on what needs to be filtered out, or what the results of a water test were.

Verifying the performance of water filters

For starters knowing exactly what the filter does is important. A water filter will come with information on what exactly it removes. As such some filters will be better at reducing unpleasant smells and tastes, while others will eliminate heavy metals. A full performance test for the water filter will evaluate the efficiency of the filtration by contrasting contamination levels before and after filtration. The hope is that it will show a substantial reduction of the contaminants in the water.

A post-treatment test is another way of analyzing how good a job the water filter is doing. This usually implies testing the water after it has passed through the filtration medium. Ordinarily, this will mean that there won’t be any contaminants values pre-filtration. This kind of test is one that is more inexpensive than a full water filter test.

Why water filtration may not be working

There can be situations when even after testing and using filtration, water quality still did not improve significantly. The pipe’s condition could impair filtered water as it travels through and reaches the tap. Anything from old plumbing to unwanted deposits already in the home pipes could render the filtration ineffective.

Contaminants may collect on the surface of the filtering medium and in time this will become evident in the water’s quality. This sort of thing can happen with poor maintenance procedures, and it’s one of the main reasons why filtration sometimes fails. It’s also one of the easiest ones to fix, by simply replacing the filtering medium with a new one, or cleaning it.

In conclusion

There are as many solutions as there are problems with water treatment, and having the means to ensure clean water is desirable in many households. Measuring a water filter’s performance is the only way to confirm whether or not it does its job correctly. Water testing, however, does not have to be a complicated process, as there are options for home testing. These will not only be cost-effective but can be used multiple times, like before and after installing a filtration system.


Eric is the creator of At Home in the Future and has been a passionate fan of the future since he was seven. He's a web developer by trade, and serves as the Director of Communication and Technology for a large church in Nashville, TN (where he and his family are building a high tech home in the woods).

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