Over the years we have had various water treatment systems in our home. The first one was a jug filter. I realised fairly quickly that the one I had didn’t do much – it removed a percentage of the chlorine, that was it.
In the next couple of houses we lived in we had fitted systems installed that had a convenient drinking water tap installed in the counter. Fitted systems are great, but if you move every now and then it can be frustrating to have to buy and fit another system. So I decided to get a portable system so that I always have delicious and clean water to drink. I narrowed it down to a decision between a distillation system and a counter-top gravity system. Distillation is sometimes criticised because it removes all of the minerals from the water. It is not a good idea to rely on water for your minerals, ensure you are getting them from your diet, particularly from sea vegetables. Without minerals the water can be slightly acidic. Some people will put a small pinch of sea salt or himalayan salt in it, or alkalising drops can be bought from sites that focus on alkalising the body. I didn’t want to use distillation because it requires a lot of power and is slow, so I set out to see if there was a gravity system that filters fluoride.
COUNTER TOP GRAVITY WATER FILTERS
I had come across the classic British Berkefeld systems, which include the Big Berkey Portable Gravity Water Filter System and the Doulton SS Gravity Water Filter. These sit on the counter top, are made up of two corrosion resistant (surgical grade) stainless steel containers that stack one on top of the other. The top one has a lid, and contains the filters which stand vertically and are called ‘candles’. The bottom one has a spigot (tap) to draw off the filtered water. They are simple, portable, and have a long history of use. These are the kind of water filtration systems that are used by NGOs to supply clean water in Disaster Relief areas. You could drink water from a stream after it has been filtered through one of these.
The Doulton SS Gravity Water Filter has a capacity of 10 litres, whilst the Big Berkey has an 8.5 litre capacity. However neither of these filter out arsenic or fluoride unless extra filters are fitted. The extra filters are fitted to the underside of the main filters, and protrude into the lower storage chamber, reducing the stored water capacity. They are also another set of filters to buy when replacement is needed (every 6 months – 1 year).
On researching, there was another system that made candle filters that also filtered the many minerals, fluoride. This system is a Propur Big SS Gravity Filter System. The body has a capacity of 10.4 litres, it has a stainless steel tap instead of a plastic one, it leaves ‘good minerals’ such as calcium in the water, and glyphosate. It also removes hydrofluorosilicic acid (the latest form of fluoride not covered by older fluoride filter brands). It also raises the pH of the water nicely to an alkalinity of around 9.5.
The only thing was that the ProPur was more expensive than the other two systems, so my solution was to buy a Doulton SS Gravity Water Filter housing and put the Propur filters in it. This has worked really well. However, read on …
I was about to recommend the system I had bought when I noticed a brand new filter system called the Coldstream Sentry Gravity Water Filter System.
It has a high quality stainless steel casing, as the others; it has an 8 litre capacity; a stainless steel tap; 4 candle filters as standard instead of 2 or 3 (although it is possible to fit 4 in the others, they don’t come as standard), reducing filtering time; they reduce fluoride using a new technology that doesn’t use alumina.
The Coldstream Sentry Gravity Water Filter System is cheaper than the the other 3 systems [if they are fitted for fluoride removal], however this is an introductory offer. As I mentioned, this product is new on the market. It is also made in the UK in a renewable energy powered factory!
OPTIONAL EXTRAS FOR YOUR COUNTER TOP GRAVITY SYSTEM
>> Your gravity water system can be raised on a 15cm high stainless steel stand
>> A sight-glass spigot that indicates how much water is in the reservoir. Although it is sold for the Berkey range it fits all models mentioned here.
>> If you buy a model with a plastic tap you can buy a replacement stainless steel tap on ebay by searching for ‘stainless steel spigot’.
COUNTER TOP REVERSE OSMOSIS
An example of a counter top reverse osmosis system is the Puricom ZIP Portable Alkaline Reverse Osmosis System, which fits on the counter under the cupboards, and is highly suitable wherever looks are important. There are a number of manufacturers producing units like this now.
FITTED REVERSE OSMOSIS
If you prefer a fitted system, a Reverse Osmosis system is a good option for clean water, and systems have come down in price.
Reverse Osmosis systems come with varying levels of filtration from 3-stage filtration up to 7-stage filtration. The recently added seventh stage is a UV system for removing bacteria and viruses that are too small to be removed by the filters. The 6-stage systems are safe without this extra stage. The UV stage uses more power to run the UV light and the UV tube will need to be replaced at intervals, so personally I would not go for a 7-stage system. In a 6-stage system, the 6th stage is a remineralisation filter which rebalance the pH of the filtered water by adding back minerals to replace helpful minerals. Whether these are in a form and size that can be utilised by the body is another question.
The main disadvantage of Rerverse Osmosis is that a considerable amount of water goes down the drain, much more than comes out of the tap. It can take up to 4 litres of water to produce 1 litre of filtered water. However this can to some extent be overcome by using a pumped system, where the amount of waste water is significantly reduced. The quality of the filtered water from a Reverse Osmosis system is very good.
There are many brands of Reverse Osmosis systems to choose from on the market.
ALKALINE WATER SYSTEMS
For some years I owned a Chanson Water Ioniser. It cost me £1,000 and they are much more than that now! It didn’t filter the water, just ionise it. Personally I didn’t feel great benefit from using it. There is also debate about whether the negatively charged hydroxyl ion that it makes actually alkalyses the body. There are other ways to alkalise the body, including green juices and using chlorella and spirulina.
There is talk that the acid waste from the system is great for cleaning and sanitising, which is true. However, vinegar is also good.
All of the links here are to a company called Osmio Water, who have been very helpful and demonstrated excellent customer service. They were recommended to me via British Berkefeld.
Next day delivery are included in their prices – you could have your own water filter up and running tomorrow!
Page created: 5 July 2016
by Lisa Sture