How To Know If Your Water Filter Is Any Good

How to Know if Your Water Filter is Any Good

Many people think that water filters perform equally, so they grab a water pitcher filter at their big box store without thinking. Or, they install a Reverse Osmosis (RO) water filter system and assume they’re getting the purest water available. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Why? Because water filter effectiveness varies significantly.

Water Filter Effectiveness – Performance Varies

Even among the same type of filters, the effectiveness can vary. You might assume that a water pitcher filter performs the same across brands. But, it’s not true. Take the Brita water pitcher filter for example. It removes Chlorine and a handful of other contaminants. While another pitcher removes over 200 contaminants. That’s a huge difference in the purity of your water.

For RO systems, you can also have a difference in effectiveness. One RO system might remove 50% of a contaminant like arsenic, while another may reduce 99.9%. If you have arsenic in your drinking water, you’d obviously want the one with the better performance.

With this wide variation in effectiveness, how do you know if your water filter is any good? You can assess your water filter effectiveness by following these steps.

1. Find & Read the Test Reports

The worthwhile water filter manufacturers have their water filters tested by certified third-party labs. These labs confirm the manufacturer’s claims. It’s not difficult for filter makers to test their products, and short of testing your water yourself, it is the only way you’ll know whether your filter is performing to your expectations.

Most water filter companies publish the lab test reports on their websites. If the reports aren’t published, call the company to request a report. Some companies don’t bother to test and you’ve got to wonder why. You should never buy a water filter that hasn’t been tested by a certified third-party lab. Period.

The next step is to analyze the report. Below is a portion of a report from a brand name water pitcher filter. As you can see, it is limited to removing Chlorine and a handful of other substances. Notice that it doesn’t even reduce lead!

Compare that to a report on a high-performing pitcher, the Propur Water Pitcher. There’s a big difference in the number of water pollutants that the pitcher filters remove. The report is just one page out of a six-page report.

On the surface, it may seem that all water pitchers are the same, but when you look more closely, you can see the meaningful differences. It’s always good to read the lab test reports.

2. Verify the Third-Party Lab

Step 2 is to verify that the lab that performed the tests is certified. Filters certified by NSF are by definition certified. If your filter is not certified by NSF, then you should do an online search for the lab and look for proof that they are certified to test water filters. You can typically find this proof in the “about us” section of the website.

Some water filter manufacturers post their in-house test results, cherry-picking their best numbers to compare to other filters. Don’t fall for this approach. It’s always best to compare performance by analyzing the full reports side-by-side from certified labs.

3. Get to Know Your Water

The last step is to gather information about your water quality. Start by doing a search for your city’s water quality report. Enter your city name followed by “water department report” to see the latest posted water report for your municipality.

As you read the report, start by understanding whether your water department uses chlorine or chloramines to disinfect your water. If you see chloramine in the report, then you’ll know that your water filter needs to remove chloramine. This is a key point. Most brand name water pitcher filters remove chlorine and not chloramine. In fact, the brand name water pitcher’s report above clearly shows it removes only chlorine.

Scan the rest of the report. Look for areas where your water department is failing to meet the MCLG which is the stricter standard. Maybe your water department detected arsenic in your water. According to the EPA, no amount of arsenic is safe, but some arsenic is allowed due to the cost of removing it. If this were the case for your water, you’d want a water filter that removed 99.9% of arsenic to do the job your water department can’t do because of the expense.

When you read the water quality reports, keep in mind that not all harmful contaminants are regulated. For example, PFOAs are not yet regulated but are harmful to your health. So, even if your city’s report looks squeaky clean, your water may have pollutants you’d rather not consume.

After getting to know your water and analyzing your water filter effectiveness based on the certified lab results, you’ll know whether your filter is meeting your expectations.

How to Make it Easier

If this all seems overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be! At, you can rely on our water filter recommendations and have quick and easy access to the third-party lab results.

Questions? We love to help. Please contact us.

How to Know if Your Water Filter is Any Good

How to Choose Whole House Water Filters

Do you have questions about buying a whole house water filtration system? Get the info you need to make the right decision. Click to read the full article or PIN to save for later.

One of our Dallas readers sent us this question about how to choose Whole House Water Filters.

“I want to install a whole house water filtration system but not crazy expensive. Are there one of two companies you could recommend? There are tons listed in the area and I’ve heard there are a lot of flaky companies out there.”

Our response – Here’s How to Choose Whole House Water Filters

We know what you mean about purchasing a whole house filter and not knowing who you can trust. Many companies make claims that just aren’t backed up with facts and third-party lab results. These are the steps we recommend to choose whole house water filters.

Do Some Background Reading

If you haven’t yet, please consider reading our article on Whole House Filters – Confused about Whole House Filters? This will give you a good start. In this article, you’ll discover three critical things you should know before purchasing a filter.

Confused About Whole House Water Filters?

Know Your Water Department’s Chemical Disinfectants

You should start by understanding which chemical disinfectant your water department uses. Why? Because it will determine which type of whole house filter you need. You wouldn’t want to purchase a filter that is primarily geared to removing Chlorine if your water department uses Chloramines as a disinfectant.

Since you’re in the Dallas area, I think you probably get your water from Dallas County Park Cities Municipal Utility District and they use Chloramines and not Chlorine as a water disinfectant.

How do you find this information?

Simply google the name of your city including the term “water department” or “water quality”. You should easily be able to find your city’s water quality report. When you read the report, it will be obvious which disinfectant they are using.

We Recommend Austin Springs Whole House Filters

We recommend the Austin Springs Whole House Filter which is third-party tested and NSF certified (#42 & #53) to remove certain water contaminants. Aquasana, a well-known name in water filtration, makes the Austin Springs filters in the USA and supports them with a 3-year warranty.

Whole House Water Filter Austin Springs

Any licensed plumber can install this whole house filter. After installation, you can change the filters without tools or help from a plumber.

If you decide to go with a different system, we recommend only buying filters that are third-party tested and certified by NSF. You’ll want to look for NSF certification #42 & #53 for your whole house filter.

PLUS, you need to ask for the lab report.

Why? Because even certified filters perform at different levels. For instance, the Austin Springs Whole House Filter reduces 90% of chloramines and other filters may only remove 50% of chloramines.

Don’t Buy it without Third-Party Lab Report

We advise people to only buy water filters with a third-party lab report. Trustworthy water filter manufacturers hire a certified third-party lab to test their filters and they publish the results.


Want a Custom Whole House Filtration System?

If you want a custom system (perhaps with a reverse osmosis tank, etc.), then look for certified professionals:

  • Certified Water Specialist (CWS) 
    This designation is best suited for professionals who provide solutions to “problem water” issues and health-related contaminants.
  • Certified Installer (CI) 
    This designation is ideal for professionals who specialize in installing water quality improvement products.

Don’t settle for uncertified businesses because you only want to hire certified professionals.

Armed with the facts, you don’t have to feel overwhelmed when choosing a home water filtration system.

Send Us Your Questions – Ask Pure Living Space

Do you have any questions about creating a pure living space in your home? Send them to Ask Pure Living Space. We’ll do the research for you!

Confused About Whole House Water Filters? Three Little-Known Things You Need to Know

Confused About Whole House Water Filters?

Buying whole house water filters can seem daunting. You’re making an investment in your health and you want to make sure it’s a smart one. So how many times have you thought about getting a whole house filter only to become bogged down with questions and doubts?

And, what happens? Nothing! That’s right. You end up doing nothing because you can’t get your questions answered. It certainly isn’t your fault.

This time, we’ve got you covered. Here are the three little known things you need to know about whole house filters. Guaranteed to answer your questions and get you on your way.

Let’s start with some quick basics – what is a whole house system and why you need one.

What is a Whole House Water Filter System?

Whole house water filters install where your main water line enters your home. The most effective systems use a three stage filter system.

  • Pre-filter to remove sediment, rust and other large contaminants.
  • Copper-zinc blend designed to remove chlorine as well as lead, mercury, nickel, and other dissolved metals.
  • Carbon/activated carbon filter that will remove dangerous organic compounds (such as VOC’s).

Why Do You Need a Whole House Filter?

You need a whole house filter for filtered water to every outlet inside your home.


Because your water has treatment/disinfectant chemicals that can become airborne when heated in your shower, bath, dishwasher, or laundry.  Studies have shown that when you inhale these airborne chemicals, it can be more dangerous than drinking unfiltered water.

Just think about it. A hot shower can release 50-80% of the chemicals in your water into a steamy vapor that you can inhale.

Kind of scary, right?

And I bet you did not know that your dishwasher also releases that same chemical vapor into your indoor air every time you run it.

Using a whole house filters means cleaner, healthier water for drinking, cooking, showering and bathing, as well as the water used in your dish and clothes washers.

And, it means you and your family are not inhaling dangerous vapors.

Next, let’s talk about three little-known things you need to know and probably don’t!

Three Little-Known Things You Need to Know When Buying a Whole House Filter

1. You need to know if your water department is using chlorine or chloramines to disinfect your water.


Because most whole house filters are designed to remove chlorine, but won’t remove chloramines.  If your water company uses chloramines then you will need a filter that is specifically designed to remove chloramines.

So how do you find out if your water department is using chlorine or chloramines as the primary disinfectant? It’s easy. Google your water department’s water quality report. If you see chlorine listed in the report, then you know you to look for a whole house filter that removes chlorine. On the other hand, if you see chloramines listed, then you must find a whole house system that removes chloramines.

Don’t skip this step because 20% of water departments use chloramines as a disinfectant and if you buy the wrong filter, it won’t do you any good!

2. You need to know if the whole house filter is certified by NSF Standard 42 and you need to read the report.

When considering a Whole House filter you should make sure it has been  NSF Standard 42 certified for removal  of chlorine and particulates (such as sediment and rust) thereby improving the taste and odor of your water.

And, you should also check the water quality test report. Not all filters certified by NSF are equally effective. The report will tell you if the filter removes 99% or say 85%. Obviously, the higher the removal rate, the better.

3. Finally, you need to know that a whole house filter is not the best solution for ensuring the purest possible drinking water. So, you’ll need a separate drinking water filter.

You may think this seems crazy but it does make sense. Here’s why.

It’s all about water flow and filtration. The higher the water flow, the less filtration that is possible. If you compare a whole house water filter in terms of number of contaminants removed to a drinking water filter, the drinking water filter is able to remove many more (in some cases 10 times more) contaminants.

Even though whole house filters use a carbon/activated carbon filter which is also a primary part of most drinking water filters, there is one key difference.  Whole house filters must process all the water coming into your home without significantly impeding water flow and typically have a Flow Rate of at least 6 GPM (gallons per minute).

Contrast that with a high quality drinking water filter that is certified to remove chlorine, chloramines, lead, mercury, MTBE, and VOC’s.  That drinking water filter will only have a flow rate of less than 1 GPM.   A typical shower head has a flow rate of 2.5 GPM.

Clearly higher levels of filtration result in lower flow rates that would not be acceptable in a Whole House application.

So, the best solution is a whole house filter system to give you chlorine and chloramine-free water and a separate drinking water filter that removes more contaminants to improve the health of your water.

Which Drinking Water Filters Are Best For You?

You have many options when it comes to drinking water filters. The solution can be as simple as an effective pitcher or larger counter top filter that you fill with tap water and let gravity do the work.

Or a counter top filter that easily attaches to your non-pull out faucet and delivers filtered water with the turn of a switch.  An under counter filter will tap into your cold water line and deliver filtered water to a separate tap.  And finally a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system which is the most complicated to install and requires the most space, but will remove the most contaminants and deliver the purest drinking water.

Not sure which filter is best for you? Check out our water filter selector guideClick here to see our recommendations for NSF 42 & 53 certified drinking water filters.

Advantages of Whole House Water Filters

  • Delivers clean chlorine and chloramine-free water for all your household uses, including drinking, cooking, showering and bathing, and cleaning.
  • Reduces risk of inhaling dangerous airborne water disinfectant chemicals
  • Long life filters (3+ years) making them relatively worry free.
  • Due to the long filter life they are a relatively inexpensive way to provide filtered water throughout your home.
  • Is the most effective way to remove chlorine from your shower and bath, and eliminates the need for separate shower filters.

Advantages of a Drinking Water Filter

  • Insures clean, pure healthy water for drinking and cooking.
  • Removes the most possible contaminants that are typically found in water supplies today.
  • Water that has been processed through a high quality filter removes contaminants that whole house filters leave behind resulting in the healthiest drinking water.

Check out our whole house water filters and drinking water filters. All Pure Living Space’s recommendations are certified by a third-party and have the best test results for contaminant removal.

Please share! And, contact us with any questions. We can help.

Want the Healthiest Water? Avoid These Mistakes

Want the Healthiest Water? Avoid These Mistakes

You know that drinking clean water (and lots of it) is key to good health, but you’ve probably been making three common mistakes.

It’s easy to do.

Why? Because the information isn’t readily available. If you want to drink the healthiest water, avoid these three mistakes.

How to Drink the Healthiest Water

Mistake #1 – Drinking Unfiltered Tap Water

You may think that your tap water is healthy, and your local water department has you covered.

But, do they?

A couple hundred common contaminants aren’t regulated yet. And, your water department isn’t perfect, so even regulated contaminants exceed safe levels from time to time.

So, do your body a favor by drinking filtered water.

Don’t know which filter or brand? Check out How to Know If You’re Buying the Best Water Filter to find the perfect solution without the hassle.


Mistake #2 – Drinking Bottled Water

You might be scratching your head on this one, but the bottled water industry is completely unregulated, so no one is watching out for you.

Who knew?

The water quality might be better or worse than your tap water. No one really knows.

In a Natural Resources Defense Council study, 22% of bottled water brands contained chemical contaminants at levels above health limits. That’s almost a quarter over the limits for what’s deemed healthy. According to the NRDC, if consumed over a long period, some contaminants can cause cancer or other health problems.


Also, phthalates can leach from the plastic bottles or lids on glass bottles after being stored for just ten weeks. Unlike tap water, no one regulates phthalates in bottled water. (source: NRDC: bottled water)


Mistake #3 – Thinking Your Water Pitcher Is Effective

If you’re using one of the widely available water pitchers, you’re not getting much filtration. Most water filter pitchers remove less than 10 contaminants and many focus solely on chlorine.

So, if your water company uses chloramine, your water pitcher is not doing you much good.

About 20% of water departments, especially in the South, use chloramine instead of chlorine to disinfect water.

Effective water pitcher filters do exist but don’t bother buying the ones in a big box store. Check out really effective water pitcher filters that remove over 50 contaminants.


Just curious.

Were you making any of these mistakes?


Then, check out a killer resource that will help you get up-to-speed on what’s healthy for your home. It’s a 12-week email series called The Zen of Pure Living.

You’ll get the best tips in an easy format. Sign up!

The Zen of Pure Living Health Home Series







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