If you are going to have one water filter in your house, a filtered shower head might provide the biggest “bang” for your buck. Whether you realize or not, your skin is absorbing all the contaminants in your water supply and you are breathing in harmful vapors too. When taking a shower, you are potentially exposed to as many water contaminants as what you drink each day.
You can also improving the water quality for your children when they take a bath as well.
When Did You First Think About Filtered Shower Heads?
When you mention the term “water filter”, I’d say the first thought that enters most people’s mind is filtered drinking water. We have also been taught that “We are what we eat (& drink).” If you eat junk food & drink lots of soda, your doctor (and body) is not going to be happy. People have been taught, and correctly so, that substances we ingest can impact our bodies in multiple ways.
Showering is essentially an afterthought & a mundane task before you eat breakfast and drink a cup of coffee in the morning. Filtered drinking water is also important, but have you ever thought about the water you bathe in every day? If so, it’s probably making sure you have soft water so that your skin or hair doesn’t dry out.
I will admit that I had not thought much about filtered shower heads myself until I started researching various filters for our house. I thought that having a water softener was enough and water quality was judged by how much lotion I needed to put on my dry-feeling skin after showering.
Filtered shower heads and drinking water filters, used together, are an affordable alternative to whole house water filtration that allows you to address the two most common ways you consume water on a daily basis.
Importance of Filtered Shower Heads
Obviously if you are supplied by municipal tap water, a filtered shower head is going to be more beneficial as they are primarily designed to eliminate chlorine and disinfectant by-products. Although filtered shower heads will also remove or reduce other contaminants such as iron oxide (rust water), hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell), sediment, and other odors. Filtered shower heads can remove harmful chemicals & “soften” your water simultaneously. 🙂
If you take a 10-minute shower, your body is exposed to 25 gallons of water. This figure is generated on the basis that the average shower head water flow for a house built after 1992, is 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM). Depending on the water flow, you might be exposed to more or fewer gallons of water per minute.
By taking a shower you are exposed to as many or more, water contaminants as what you drink each day.
Your skin is composed of approximately 80% water whereas the body is approximately 75% water. The skin also absorbs various nutrients like Vitamin D or contaminants like chlorine.
The greater risk from unfiltered shower water is inhaling the vapor fumes. Chlorine, more specifically free chlorine that hasn’t attached itself to anything else, is more prevalent with hotter water temperature. The vaporized “free” chlorine & DBPs are breathed into your body and can cause long-term damage.
Plus chlorinated water can aggravate preexisting conditions such as eczema or asthma. So you might notice immediate results after installing a filtered shower head!
For more information on the potential health effects of unfiltered shower water please view the following video below:
Types of Filtered Shower Heads
We are going to cover four different types of shower filters that you can install.
When looking for a shower filter, it is important to make sure it has been NSF Certified for Standard #177 regarding shower filtration. These filters will typically offer the best results.
You can buy filtered shower heads from your local hardware store or the internet.
These are the least effective filters of all four. Carbon doesn’t perform well with hot water in general, as it’s recommended that drinking water is filtered with cold or room-temperature water for optimum performance. A high-grade carbon is required and usually these are employed as second-stage filters.
Carbon filters are most effective at reducing chlorine, radon, sediment, and odors. It is not so good with filtering heavy metals or fluoride.
Also, carbon filters are more prone to bacteria growth & need changed more often.
These filters have several different filtering media. It’s namesake, Zeolite powder removes viruses and bacteria.
The filter also contains activated carbon to filter chlorine, KDF-55 (zinc/copper mixture) to remove heavy metals, , activated alumina to remove fluoride, and Shungite that is a rare mineral that is anti-bacterial and helps condition the water.
The most affordable filter I found is produced by Omica Organics and sells for about $100. The filter lasts about 6 months before needing replaced.
I haven’t personally used this filter, Omica Organics doesn’t claim their filter will remove fluoride due to several reasons.
These filters contain KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) that is a zinc and copper mixture. KDF works similar to the catalytic converter on your automobile. Using a chemical reaction called “reduction-oxidation,” free chlorine is turned into a larger chloride that is too large to evaporate or be absorbed through your skin. This filter media also removes heavy metals like copper, lead, iron, mercury, and hydrogen sulfate. These filters also are bacteria resistant & also double as a water conditioner.
You can expect the so the filter can last from 6 months to one year depending on the brand.
An affordable filter that is also highly rated is one produced by Sprite Filters that can be purchased at Lowe’s or on Amazon for about $35.
You can also purchase a two-stage (Activated Carbon & KDF) filter from Aquasana or Crystal Quest for around $50-60 on the internet as well.
Vitamin C Filter
These filters are most popular in Asia, but are gaining steam in North America. They are particularly noted for their ability to remove Chloramines (another nasty disinfectant used by water utilities), that other filters cannot remove. This is accomplished by filtering the water through a block composed of ascorbic acid, also known as Vitamin C.
The filter by Sonaki goes anywhere from $90 to $120 depending on the model you get. It removes Chlorine and Chloramides up to a 99% effectiveness rate. Vitamin C filters do not remove heavy metals. The filter life can range from 4 months-12 months.
Which Filter Is Best?
The answer mostly depends on what’s in your water. I encourage you to have your water independently tested, to have a more complete picture of what is in your water. If you are on a budget, access the most recent test results that your water utility releases on an annual basis. Their survey may not be as thorough, but it can still give you a strong indication of what filter to use.
If you have chloramines in your tap water, than a Vitamin C shower filter or a Reverse Osmosis whole house system are the avenues to pursue.
For the average person, a two-stage KDF filter will be sufficient. They eliminate most of the free chlorine & also reduce other heavy metals and contaminants.
Have you used a shower filter in the past? Which type of filter do you prefer?