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FAQs about water filters
Most water filters are labeled BPA-free. This means the materials used to make these products don't contain bisphenol A, a chemical that was once common in reusable plastic products. This chemical has been phased out of many manufacturing processes because of the health problems it can cause, particularly to unborn babies and infants. BPA has been linked to the following health problems:
- Early menstruation.
- Reduced sperm count.
- Reproductive problems.
When you buy water filters labeled BPA-free, you can feel confident you're not putting yourself or the other members of your household at risk.
Some manufacturers of water filters claim their products meet NSF standards, ANSI standards, or both for filtering different contaminants. NSF standards are set by NSF International, while the American National Standards Institute sets ANSI standards. Both these bodies are responsible for setting industry standards for water filtration. Products that claim they meet these standards must effectively filter the listed contaminants. You can feel confident when you purchase products with these claims that the water filters meet industry standards.
You may also see other certification seals from organizations including the CSA Group, Water Quality Group, and Underwriters Laboratories. These third-party labs certify water filters to NSF standards for additional peace of mind.
Community water suppliers release a Consumer Confidence Report every July. This report shows the levels of contaminants in the local water supply and how they compare with the Environmental Protection Agency's standards. Contact your community water supplier for a copy of the latest report. Building managers can also provide a copy to tenants. If your community water supplier provides water to 100,000 people or more, you can access the report online.
The Environmental Protection Agency doesn't regulate private wells, so there are no Consumer Confidence Reports for these water supplies. However, if you're on well water you can contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and request information about any testing and treatment of your water supply.
You can also test your own water to determine if contaminants from your pipes are impacting your water. Shop for water testing kits at Instacart.
Many water suppliers add fluoride to local water to help in the fight against tooth decay. Thankfully most household water filters keep a healthy level of fluoride in the water. While some people are concerned about the health impact of excess fluoride, it's important to remember that water suppliers only add trace levels of fluoride. At these levels, fluoride is very beneficial for our bodies.
A water filter's lifespan depends on several factors, including the quality of the water filter, how often you use your water filter, and the type of water that runs through your filter. Water with a lot of contaminants will make a water filter work harder than water that's relatively pure, and this also impacts the lifespan.
Most water filters note their expected lifespan on their packaging. Use this estimate as a guide and change the water filter when that time is up. You might change your water filter earlier if your water has a strange taste or smell. Faucet and refrigerator water filters typically last between six months and two years. Pitcher water filters often have a much shorter lifespan of just a couple of months with regular use.
Note that buying water filter refills from Instacart is much cheaper than buying your water filter system. The water filter system itself should last much longer than the refills.