How Do Water Filters Work

How Do Water Filters Work? Types of Water Filters – Explained

Have you ever thought of how do water filters work? If yes? Then firstly, know about the importance of water in our life. It is possible to go without food for several weeks, as your body gradually switches over to using stored fat and protein as fuel. Without water, you will immediately collapse. There is no doubt about it. You contain approximately two-thirds of water (75 percent if you’re a baby).

Approximately 25 percent of your bones contain water, despite the fact that you would think they are solid. 2.4 liters (0.6 gals) of water is enough to keep us healthy on average (though we don’t need to drink all that much since the water in our food is plentiful). It is no surprise that we prefer water that is clean, pure, and tasty.

Water filters that remove harmful impurities are one of the reasons why people spend so much money on them. But are they really necessary? Let’s find out!

Artwork: A typical jug-type water filter uses replaceable filters to make tap water into drinkable water. It usually lasts all of a month, and the jug has a timer that alerts you when it needs to be replaced. Many companies produce jugs such as this, including Brita, Biocera and others.

Check: Best Under Sink Water Filter

The 5 Types of Filters

There are 5 types of water filters, depending on your application, i.e. what you wish to remove or, in some cases, prevent:

  1. Mechanical Filters
  2. Absorption Filters
  3. Sequestration Filters
  4. Ion Exchange Filters
  5. Reverse Osmosis Filters

There are multiple ways of purifying water, and many filters use a combination of these methods to achieve multiple filtration levels.

How Do Water Filters Work?

The human body contains approximately 75% of water, and water covers 71% of the surface of the Earth. The use of water can be found in many areas, including farming, science, medicine, transportation, heating, and recreation as well as food processing and, perhaps most importantly, drinking.

Drinking water is usually provided by a municipality that is treated and safe to drink but can have unpleasant tastes and smells from chemicals used to disinfect and maintain its cleanliness. If you live in an area where the water supply is hard, limescale deposits can form, which can cause appliance damage and block pipes. Water filtration can help solve a number of problems associated with water, from chlorine taste and odor to limescale formation. Exactly how do water filters work?

Water’s ability to dissolve things is due to its unusual molecular structure. It’s sometimes helpful to throw your jeans in the washer with detergent and water to get rid of dust from them, as the water and soap work like magnets. Yet, there are also obvious disadvantages.

The water cycle is a continuous flow of water in our environment. You could spend one minute watching it rush through a river or drift high in the sky, and the next minute it’s flowing from your tap, sitting in a glass on your table, or flushing down the toilet.

Water has a great ability to attract and dissolve dirt, so how can you know it hasn’t picked up all kinds of nasties during its journey through the atmosphere and Earth? It is a good idea to run it through a water filter just to be sure.


Mechanical filtration involves physically removing sediment, dirt or particles from the water via a barrier. There are various types of mechanical filters available, from simple meshes for removing large debris to ceramic filters that feature pore structures that are extremely complex for ultra-fine filtration of pathogens.

Mechanical filters are typically rated based on their ability to remove particles of a specific size, which is called a micron rating. Some micron ratings may include:

  • 5 micron – Will remove the vast majority of particles visible to the naked eye.
  • 1 micron – Removes particles too small for a microscope to see.
  • 0.5 micron – It will remove cysts (including cryptosporidium and giardia).


Carbon is the most common element used in water filters, which is excellent at absorbing contaminants from water. There is a reason why carbon will readily absorb contaminants, as it has a huge internal surface with nooks and crannies where chemical impurities, such as chlorine, can be trapped.

Granular activated carbon (GAC) is commonly found in household filters. It absorbs unwanted tastes and odors. Filters with carbon block elements tend to be more expensive but are generally more effective, and they often carry a micron rating for particle removal.

Carbon filters can be made from a variety of different substances, including wood and coconut shell, with coconut shell filters being the most efficient, however, they are also the most expensive.


Chemically isolating a substance is known as sequestration. A scale inhibiting filter is typically made of food-grade polyphosphate, which binds calcium and magnesium minerals that cause corrosion. Polyphosphate, on the other hand, is typically used only in very small quantities to inhibit, rather than to eliminate, scale. Therefore, polyphosphate doesn’t soften water but rather prevents mineral scale from forming on surfaces when in contact with it.

Scale inhibition is not suitable for all applications due to the presence of hard minerals in the water. Generally, water softening by means of ion exchange is recommended in situations with alkalinity levels of 180ppm or greater (very hard water) and applications that require water to be kept at a constant temperature of 95°C or higher.

Ion Exchange

Sodium or hydrogen ions are exchanged with the magnesium or calcium ions in hard water to soften it. It is physically different from scale inhibition, because the ion exchange process removes hard minerals, resulting in less limescale and improving water quality for use in commercial coffee machines.

An ion-exchange resin, which is commonly found as small beads, is most commonly used in ion exchange. In Water Softeners, a similar type of resin is used and sodium ions are used to recharge the resin so that it remains effective between administrations. Filters for water are usually sealed units, so simply replace them with a new one. However, it should be noted that they are not indestructible.
It is possible to return Calcium Treatment Units (CTUs) and have them regenerated by the supplier.

Since there is a legal limit of 200 milligrams/litre of salt (sodium) in drinking water, salt-containing resins are not typically used in drinking water filters. Filters with hydrogen based ion exchange resin are preferred over sodium ion exchange because sodium ion exchange increases salt levels.

Reverse Osmosis

The reverse osmosis (RO) process is used to remove impurities from water by forcing it through a membrane that is semipermeable to inorganic solids like minerals. The water passes through the membrane but most of the contaminants stay behind.

The reverse osmosis process is an efficient way to purify water, although it is typically combined with other filters such as a mechanical (sediment) filter and an absorption (active carbon) filter to ensure that little contaminants remain after filtration.

The reverse osmosis system does not use electricity, but it generates waste water that must be disposed of because it uses water pressure to force water through the membrane. Reverse osmosis units may be more expensive due to the additional filters involved in multi-stage filtering, but in cases where 99.9% pure water is demanded, RO offers the highest level of filtration available, as it is increasingly used in coffee-making water.


The removal capacity of each water filtration method varies, so most water purification systems rely on a combination of methods to achieve a specific level of water purity.

Accordingly, household water jug filters use a combination of mechanical, absorption and ion-exchange while inline filters utilize mechanically and absorption, with possibly some sequestration if the filter has been designed to eliminate scale. The use of mechanical, absorption and reverse osmosis by reverse osmosis systems depends on how many stages the RO system has.

It should hopefully be easier for you to identify which kind of filters you need for any given application if you understand the five different ways that water can be filtered and how they can be combined.

Check: 9 Best Reverse Osmosis Under Sink Water Filters

Water Filter Systems

Water Filtration systems give you clean, fresh water straight from your tap by removing undesirable tastes and odors from mains water. Installing a Watergem under a sink or in a small space is easy and compact. Depending on whether they are used in the kitchen or for specialized equipment, commercial water filter systems differ slightly. Filter systems come with all necessary components to be installed and tapped into the existing water supply.

Coffee Machine Water Filters

Making the perfect cup of coffee requires the right water. The filtration rules do not apply to coffee beans since they require a very special mixture of minerals to release their full flavor. We are well equipped to deal with coffee machine filters, complete with protecting and cleaning expensive espresso machines.

Inline Water Filters

Directly on the water line, inline filters prevent water from reaching the tap or appliance before it passes through the filter.  Its small size makes it ideal for under-sink installations. This type of filter is commonly used in households.

Filters can reduce the taste, odor and bacteria found in municipal water, providing water that tastes just like bottled water without plastic waste. Inline water filters from Hydro + are among the best-selling products in Europe.

Drop In Filters

Water filter housings are designed to hold drop-in filters. The size of housings varies depending on the use, but 10″ and 20″ are the most common.

Fridge Filters

Water coming through the feed water and ice mechanism must be filtered by refrigerator filters. Filters fit most American-style refrigerators and freezers, but their size and compatibility vary with the make and model.

Check: How To Install Water Filter

Water Filters for Commercial Foodservice

Good quality water is essential for steam in combi ovens. The chemical reaction between inadequate-quality water and heat is the primary cause of limescale that can cause breakdowns. Catering equipment manufacturers and their service partners can benefit from customized combi oven filters from one of the most trusted brands, Everpure Claris.

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