What’s in your water? Is it safe for making your baby’s milk formula and letting the family drink straight from the tap? Should you be looking for a water filter or water purifier?
Wondering whether you need a water filter in Singapore? The Public Utilities Board reports that Singapore’s tap water is suitable for drinking directly from the tap without any further filtration with fluoride and chlorine levels within safe limits. However, if you are concerned about potential bacteria, viruses, heavy metals and impurities such as rust in your water, you may be researching the best water filters or water purifiers for your home. If you don’t like the taste of tap water, water purifiers can be worth the investment as they take the place of hundreds of plastic water bottles, which helps you be more eco-friendly and reduces the amount of plastic in landfills (something we are all about here at Sassy Mama!) Now if you are boiling your water to make it ‘safer’ it’s interesting to note that boiling water can kill germs, but contaminants like lead, nitrates, and pesticides aren’t affected and will still be present. We break down some general information on water filters so you can make the best choice in buying a water purifier for your family.
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What types of water filters are there?
There are various types of water filters and water purifiers on the market to suit your space and budget. From simple water pitchers filters to tap water filters, under-the-sink water filters, countertop filter systems where you’ll need countertop space or free-standing water purifiers (these come with a stand so you’ll need floor space).
How do water filters work?
There are a few different water filter technologies out there. Many water purifiers combine two or more filters to work in different ways.
- Carbon and activated carbon: Activated carbon chemically bonds with and removes contaminants as water flows through the water filter. Some water filters using activated carbon are certified only to reduce chlorine and improve taste and odour while others are more effective at removing contaminants such as asbestos, lead, mercury and volatile organic compounds. Water filters with activated carbon won’t remove common inorganic pollutants like arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, nitrates and perchlorate.
- Ceramic filter: These use ceramic material with small pore-size holes to filter debris and sediment however this does not remove chemicals and other contaminants.
- Reverse osmosis: Water filters using reverse osmosis systems usually include activated carbon (to remove sediment, chlorine, trihalomethanes and VOC) as well as reverse osmosis filtration to block any particles larger than water molecules (such as arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, nitrates and perchlorate). Downside: reverse osmosis can also remove healthy minerals such as iron, calcium and magnesium.
- Alkaline filters: These convert water by passing an electric current through it. Some believe that alkaline water is healthier due to its higher pH level. However a recent news article in Singapore contested this.
- Ultraviolet filter system: UV rays neutralise harmful pathogens like bacteria and viruses. This system does not remove chemicals or particles from the water.
- Ion exchange: An ion exchange filter captures the excess calcium and magnesium found in hard water, via its ion resin. With hard water limescale can build up in kettles and coffee machines and affect the taste. The levels of other contaminants usually remain unchanged. According to PUB, Singapore’s tap water is ‘moderately soft.
Water filters and water purifiers in Singapore:
It is worth noting that whatever water filter you have, it is very important to change the filters as guided by the water filter manufacturer guidelines. Leaving a filter unchanged can harbour the growth of harmful bacteria making your filtration system more bacteria-ridden than any tap water, defeating the purpose of filtering your water in the first place!
Compact Countertop Water Filters
Wells Singapore: Wells The One
Wells The One water filter is an award-winning water purifier that looks super sleek (it has a diameter of just 8.8cm) and is stylish enough to install in your living room or on your breakfast counter. Wells The One water filter comes with the highest level of nano-filtration on the market – nine steps of filtration. This water purifier has two filters. The first is a ‘multi-carbon plus filter’ with five stages of filtering to remove six types of heavy metals, sediment and excess chlorine. The second is a nano clean filter – a four-step filtering system to remove rust, norovirus and bacteria, foul odours, and micro-particles while maintaining minerals. One of the benefits of a water purifier is the ability to have different options of water dispensing temperatures. The Wells The One water filter has six different temperatures from cold to coffee-ready and even one for the perfect temperature to mix with your baby’s milk powder!
Livingcare Singapore: Jewel Series
Jewel Series by Livingcare Singapore is the slimmest natural antioxidant alkaline tankless water dispenser in Singapore. This super svelte filtration system (with a width of only 13cm) can be fitted in your home in under an hour. The two filters here are a carbon block filter to remove chlorine (which may cause skin irritation and dry hair) and organic chemicals that contribute to taste and odour. The carbon block pH contains additional magnesium fine particles for mild alkaline water. There’s also a nano positive filter that purifies your water, removing germs, algae/moss, residual heavy metals while preserving the good minerals and softening your water. There are seven temperatures for water dispensing (three levels of hot 40-90°C including one for making baby’s formula, and three levels of cold 7-17°C). It’s handy that this system is motorless too with an energy-saving function to power off every 3 minutes and save electricity!). Plus we love the pastel colours this machine comes in – powder blue, pink and others.
Ruhens: Ruhens Ice
Singapore’s insanely humid weather means a glass of iced water is always a welcome sight. But what if you want a cold drink without all the nasties? Enter Ruhens Ice, a multi-temperature water dispenser that comes with an icemaker! Ruhens Ice can dispense ice cubes in two different sizes, each made with purified water, and there are five temperature settings so you’ll always get the right type of ice for any drink. For example, use the 4 degrees setting for cold drinks, 27 degrees for ambient temperatures, 40 degrees for milk, 60 degrees for tea and 87 degrees for coffee. The Ruhens Ice dispenser also comes with Triple UV Care, which automatically activates every two hours to sterilise your machine. This means you can enjoy refreshing drinks with plenty of peace of mind each time!
Large Countertop Water Filters
If you have space for a big countertop water filter, Berkey is one of the big names out there. Slightly unsightly, this is one you’ll probably want to hide in the kitchen compared to the compact ones above. However this element’s filtration gets rave reviews with its combination of micro-pores and an ion exchange filter, removing 99.9999999% of pathogenic bacteria and 99.999% of viruses plus over 200 contaminants including many heavy metals, pesticides and volatile organic compounds.
Water Filter Pitchers/Jugs
Coming in as the most budget-friendly option for filtering water are water jugs with an inbuilt filter. The BRITA Marella Water Pitcher Filter removes impurities like chlorine, lead and copper with its ion-exchange resin and active carbon filtration. You’ll need to keep an eye on changing the filters once a month though there’s a BRITA Memo to help remind you. Note that these pitchers can be heavy when full for small kids to lift and serve themselves.
On-Tap Water Purifiers: Novita or Philiips
If you have a small space an on-tap water purifier makes sense. The Philips On-Tap Water Purifier is a solid choice with its coded alert function to easily tell when the filter needs to be changed. This device removes soluble lead, chlorine and 99% of bacteria with its silver coated active carbon filter. Novita Faucet Water Purifier is another attachment that fits on your tap, removing up to 99% free residual chlorine and up to 99.99% bacteria. This design helps minimise water wastage too.
Undersink Filtration Systems
If you own your home or are happy to invest in the big guns and keep the water filtration system out of sight, a water filter that fits under your sink could be the way to go. We hear great things about APEC Water System filters that remove up to 99% of contaminants including arsenic, chlorine, lead, fluoride, heavy metals and hundreds of other contaminants.
The 3M AP Easy Complete Undersink Filtration System eliminates chlorine, odours, parasites and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with its dual stage carbon-block filtration process. It has a great safety system to remind you to change the filter (a built-in automatic shut-off meter shuts off the system after 625 gallons (2,366 liters) as a reminder to change cartridges.
Whatever water purifying device you choose, or whether you decide good ole tap water is just fine, remember to stay hydrated in this heat!