How Does Water Filtration Work? What Happens to Water Before You Can Drink It

One of humankind’s most useful and most important inventions is the water filter. Without it, we have to settle on drinking dirty water that could be hazardous to our health. Water filters remove impurities, odor, and bacteria and make water potable and safe to drink. If your water filter occurs issues that affect its operations, it is good to hire a professional plumber to prevent further problems. 

Different types of water filters 

The planet Earth is about 70% water. Our body is also comprised of 75% water. This shows how important water is to our bodies and our environment. It is used for different applications in science, medical, agriculture, recreation, transportation, food processing, and drinking. 

Your local city or municipality treats the drinking water most of the time. However, it might also taste and smell unpleasant due to chlorine used to disinfect water and ensure that it is safe to drink. The main water might also contain limescale deposits that could damage appliances and block pipes in some areas. 

There are 5 different types of water filters. Each filter addresses a specific water issue, while some filters use a combination of filters and these are: 

  • Reverse osmosis filters 
  • Ion exchange filters 
  • Absorption filters 
  • Mechanical filters 
  • Sequestration filters 

How water filters work

The taste of chlorine, limescale formation, and unpleasant odor is the most common water issues that water filters can solve. But the question is how water filters work. For one thing, it depends on the type of filter you are using. 

Reverse osmosis 

It is the process of removing minerals in the water, such as calcium and magnesium. Clean water then goes through the filter and leaves the contaminants behind. Reverse osmosis is one of the most popular ways of water purification. 

Ion exchange 

This filtration process involves softening hard water by exchanging calcium and magnesium ions with hydrogen or sodium ions, often found in hard water. Ion exchange filtration removes the hard minerals physically, reduces limescale, and makes water safe for human consumption and other applications. 


This filtration process uses carbon that is effective at capturing water-borne contaminants. Granular activated carbon is often used and can trap contaminants such as chlorine. Other materials such as coconut shells and wood are also used to create carbon for filters. 


In mechanical filtration, you remove dirt, sediments, and other particles in the water using a barrier using a basic mesh or a ceramic filter. An automatic filter is measured using a micron rating. For example, a 5-micron rating means the filter removes most particles seen with the naked eye. On the other hand, a 0.5 micron means the filter removes cysts, including cryptosporidium and giardia. 


It involves isolating a substance chemically using food-grade polyphosphate to sequester minerals, causing corrosion and limescale. Polyphosphate does not soften the water but keeps the mineral within the solution and prevents the formation of scales. Hiring a plumber in Franklin, TN, is a good idea if the issue comes from the pipes and other parts of your water system other than the water filter. 


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