It really depends on what you're trying to filter out—the chlorine taste or contaminants like lead and pesticides.
Generally speaking, water filters can improve the overall taste, smell and appearance of drinking water and can remove some chemicals. But it's important to select a water filtration system that suits your water conditions. To do that, you need to know the problem.
If your drinking water contains lead, you'll need to choose a filter that has been certified to remove lead. Note: filtration systems normally reduce concentrations rather than removing 100 per cent of the contaminant. Check out the NSF Contamination Guide, which certifies filters based on the particular contaminant.
Now, if you simply want to avoid single-serving bottled water—and there's no reason to believe bottled is better than tap water—consider a carbon filter.
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Activated Carbon (AC) filters are most effective in removing organic contaminants from water (often responsible for taste, odour and colour problems). When water passes through the filter, the carbon particles attract and remove contaminants including dissolved substances such as hydrogen sulphide; heavy metals such as lead, mercury and copper; and chlorine.
There are two types of activated carbon filters. Granular AC (GAC) filters use a cartridge packed with granules of activated carbon to trap chlorine, heavy metals and organic compounds. Solid Block AC filters trap contaminants like pesticides, chlorine, lead and asbestos.
A Solid Block filter mounted on the tap or under the sink will work better than the pitcher types with loose carbon. But there's good news if you already own a Brita pitcher—filters can be recycled at filterforgood.ca!