31 Mar. 19

What is a water purifier: Everything you need to know

Water is essential for life. Humans cannot live without it. We use it every day to carry out different activities. But most of the water we use is not clean and safe for consumption and use. This necessitates purification techniques to ensure good quality of water. Mainly, drinking unclean and unsafe water is detrimental to our health.

Water contains a lot of minerals and chemicals that are necessary for the functioning of the body. However, excess consumption of these chemicals and minerals can cause a lot of complications and diseases to our bodies. Water purifiers filter and remove all vitamins, microbes, particles, and minerals that can cause harm to the body. A whole lot of manufacturers provide purifiers that are effective to this effect.

What is a water purifier?

A water purifier is a device used to remove contaminants, gases, suspended solids and undesirable chemicals from water. Their primary objective is to make the water conducive enough for use.

Water disinfection, filtration, and purification are usually used as synonyms, but they are not the same. Water purification encompasses water disinfection and filtration. While a filter can only remove particles that can be detected by a filter, a water purifier can identify and remove all bacteria and viruses that a filter will otherwise not discover. Disinfection is included in the process of purification. Water disinfection is usually used for water meant for human consumption while water purification can be used for chemical, industrial and pharmacological applications.  

Furthermore, there are similarities between the mechanisms of a water filter and a purifier. The contaminated water is initially sucked up then filtered before dispensing the clean water.

Quality water for use is dependent on some parameters such as conductivity, the concentration of microorganism and resistivity. Visual inspection alone cannot be used to determine the quality of water.


Processes involved in the purification of water

Water purifiers use some means to produce clean and safe water for use. All the methods listed below cannot all be used by a water purifier. Different manufacturers provide different purifiers that use different processes. Some of the conventional processes involved in water purification are:

1. Pumping and Storing: The first process carried out by water purifiers is to pump and store the water. This pumping and saving process is necessary so that all solid particles can settle before the actual purification process begins. In some cases, the water purifiers chlorinate the water to stop the growth of microorganisms while the particles settle.

2. Filtration: After the settling of the water from the pumping and storing stage, it is then filtered. Filtration is a process that every water purifier carries out before dispensing water. Filtration is the process of removing particles from water using a filter.

3. Distillation: After particles are filtered off, the water is usually boiled to produce water vapour. This is also a useful process, but it still does not detect some contaminants that have boiling points close to that of water.

4. Chlorination: The most common process of water purification is the addition of chlorine to the water. When chlorine mixes with water, it forms a compound known as hydrochloric acid. This acid is then used to kill microorganisms that are contained in the water.

Chlorination as a disinfection process can have an adverse effect on the water especially if it is meant for drinking — the acidic content increases, which can affect the acid composition of the body.

For other purposes, the acid increases the acidity of the water making it unfit for those purposes. Therefore, if chlorine is to be used, it is used in small quantities.

5. Fluoridation: Water that is for drinking needs to be suitable for the human body. The first organ drinking water encounters are the mouth. This water also has to be ideal for the teeth as well. Fluorine is an essential compound in the disinfection process and is used to prevent tooth decay.


Related article: How does your water purification unit work?


Types of filters used in water purifiers

Filtration is a vital process that must not be omitted in water purification, and every water purifier must use some filter in their process. As different users have different needs, there are different types of filters used. The common types utilized include;

1. Active Carbon Filter: Carbon is a porous element and is used to absorb pollutant and contaminants. The active carbon filter is made from carbon. It attracts chlorine, organic compounds, ammonia and nitrogen just like a magnet. They are usually accompanied by an activated silver lining to detect and kill bacteria.

2. Reverse Osmosis filters: Osmosis is the selective absorption of materials through a semipermeable membrane. The reverse osmosis filter behaves opposite to the osmotic process by selectively allowing the contaminants to be excluded from the water. Water purifiers that come with a reverse osmosis filter taste better, but the safety cannot be guaranteed.

One downside is that maintaining water purifiers that use a reverse osmosis filter is quite a task. The membrane used for selective separation may also become less effective over time.

3. Biosand filter: Another type of filter used in the water purification process is the biosand filter. It is a container with gravel and sand used to remove microorganisms from water. Bacterial organisms occupy the biolayer (first layer of the sand). Some microbes at this layer then kill the pathogens.

A significant advantage of this filter is that it can be used to filter a large volume of water in a batch. A drawback that affects the biosand filter is its inability to remove chemicals. Another difficulty faced is the difficulty in maintaining water purifiers that use this kind of filter.

4. Ultra Violet Filter (UV) filter: A conventional filter that most water purifiers use nowadays is the ultraviolet filter. The UV light has a low level of radiation. It is passed through the water to kill microorganisms and bacteria in their DNA and RNA cells. This type of filter is a very efficient way to get rid of pesticides and pathogens. However, they cannot be used to eliminate taste, smell or even chemicals in the water.

5. Ion Exchange Resins Filters: In this type of filters, water is passed through resins that absorb minerals and soften the water in the process. They can be used to filter a small volume of water daily and but do not detect any solid particle.

6. Ceramic filters: These are made from clay and are used to filter bacteria through small pores. It is very useful in the removal of chlorine from water.

Things to do in maintaining a water purifier

For a purifier to last for an extended period, it must be adequately maintained. Maintaining a water purifier doesn’t mean taking care of only the filter but all the components in it. Some steps that you can take in maintaining a water purifier include:

1. Regular checks on the screens and pipes: For a water purifier to be durable and effective over its lifespan, routine tests must be done. The size of the pores must be inspected so that large particles are not retained in the water. Also, pipes used for pumping and removal of water should be checked often for leakages.

2. Using the right capacity at a time: Every water purifier has a capacity of water that it can take at a time. Overloading it with too much water at a time leads to poor purification of the water and enlargement of the size of the pores. Hence, the water capacity included in every water purifier should be followed.

3. Proper storage of the water purifier: Water purifiers contain some delicate parts in them. Some filters are costly to purchase. To ensure a purifier lasts long, ensure that it is appropriately stored before and after every use.

Things to look out for when buying a water purifier

Not every water purifier can serve all purposes. So, you need to choose a purifier that will suit your needs. There are a lot of parameters that will affect your choice of water purifier, and some of them include:

1. Cost

The cost of water purifiers is significant to the selection process. Generally, the more expensive ones are better than, the cheaper ones. But this shouldn’t discourage you. If you feel a purifier answers to your need and is not overly expensive, then you should go for it.

2. Type of filter

As discussed above, different filters can be used in the purification of water. Some are more effective for pathogens and others for chemicals. It is just up to you to decide on which filter would be the most effective for the purification you would like to carry out. The best filters are usually more expensive.

3. The capacity of the water purifier 

It is necessary to determine whether the purification is to be used broadly or for just drinking. Water purifiers come in different capacities, and your choice should influence the type you purchase.

Water purifiers are essential products to get clean, safe and pure water. Our experts are capable of picking out the ideal model for you based on your needs. We can also install it for your use without any fuss. Contact us today!

Related article: Maintaining a water purifier