How to Purify Tap Water at Home

Water Security: How to Purify Tap Water at Home

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

We all know the importance of water. However, the additives intend to clean our tap water and make it safe to drink can actually cause harm. Chemical additives and traces of heavy metals affect our moods and bodily function and can seriously damage critical body organs. Unfortunately, many people do not know the damage caused by drinking tap water or care to take extra measures to ensure their water is safe.

Fortunately, you can test your tap water, and there are many purification methods to make filtered water safe to drink. In this article, we will discuss the different types of filtration systems for tap water at home.

Read on to learn more.

What is in Tap Water, and why does it need to be filtered?

What is in your tap water depends on the source of your tap water. Your tap water is either from municipal water or private well water. Municipal water as a public water supply follows a state policy for safe water consumption. However, it may contain traces of heavy metals, and in most cases, municipal water uses chlorine to treat the water. Chlorine, and other chemical contaminants, can leave an unwanted smell and taste in your water. And long-term exposure to chlorine can also affect your health

If you’re sourcing your tap water from a well, well water is known to contain contaminants like heavy metals, which makes your water “hard.” When water is hard, it becomes undesirable to use for drinking as it can lead to serious health problems. Heavy metals may come from mining sites, industrial wastes, or urban runoffs. Thus, it is important to use water filters or water purifiers for tap water from private wells. 

Different Methods to Purify Tap Water at Home

Whole House Purification Systems:

From the name itself, the whole house purification system is capable of filtering the water supply for all household uses. It is directly connected to an external water source, and all the water passes through the filtration system before it can be used for household applications. They are relatively large in size due to the large volume of water that they can treat.

1) Whole House Water Filters

at home UV water treatment systemThis system can filter from 1,000,000 gallons to 3,000,000 gallons, with an average lifespan of 20 years. Whether you are using hot or cold water, this system will filter the maximum impurities, sediments, and chemicals in the water that can be harmful if used for cooking and drinking. 

There are many different types of whole-house purification systems available, and you can pick the ones that work best for your specific needs. But generally, a whole house purification system doesn’t need any electricity to function, and it has low maintenance because it will only need to be replaced every six months. They also have a water softener, a UV sterilizer, a carbon filter, and a sediment filter. In addition, this system can also be paired with other water purification methods, such as reverse osmosis.

2) Ultraviolet (UV) Light Filters

UV treatment is a disinfection method that disinfects water by using ultraviolet waves to kill harmful microorganisms. UV rays kill viruses, bacteria, and parasites by damaging their DNA, so they are no longer effective and cannot reproduce. However, if you decide to go with this method, you should pair the UV filter with a sediment filter to remove physical contaminants from the water.

This method may be effective for water purification, but it is not intended to treat wastewater or too cloudy contaminated water. Although UV filters disinfect water effectively, they do not remove chemicals or heavy metals. UV filters also require routine maintenance and replacement of UV bulbs.

Related Articles: UV Water Filter Pros and Cons: Everything You Need To Know

3) Quantum Disinfection Filter

Quantum disinfectionQuantum Disinfection is a new disinfection technology that kills harmful bacteria by using quantum physics. It is a breakthrough disinfection method that is also effective, like other water treatment methods, in terms of resolving water quality issues. 

The method kills bacteria without the use of chemicals, posing a lower risk to humans and the environment. It can also be used on hard surfaces such as metals, plastics, and ceramics, which other disinfectants can’t do, and they work on organic surfaces such as skin or clothing.

Related Article: What is Quantum Disinfection Water Filter and How Does it Work?

4) Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis is based on the osmosis principle. Osmosis means a membrane separates two solutions containing different amounts of dissolved chemicals. Some compounds, such as water, can pass through the membrane, but larger compounds cannot. In this case, pure water passes through the membrane from the dilute to the more concentrated solution due to pressure differences. 

In reverse osmosis, pressure is applied to the contaminated side of the membrane. This causes the osmotic process to reverse, and pure water is forced from the contaminated side to the treated side. The treated water is collected in a container for storage. The contaminants that are rejected on the concentrated side of the membrane are washed away as wastewater. 

Point of Use Systems:

A point-of-use treatment system is any form of water treatment that may be installed or used by a household. These systems purify the water at the very point where you use it. 

1) Faucet Filters

These filters are attached to the faucet and remove any dirt and filter the water as it flows out. This type of filter is ideal for people who do not want to install it or do not have the space for a whole-house water filtration system. These are also ideal for those living in rural areas where drinking water contains contaminants and heavy metals.

purify rainwater for bathing

2) Shower Head Filters

Although it may not seem necessary since you’re not drinking shower water, it is important to treat it with a filter to remove harmful chemicals from the water. Chlorine and chloramine, commonly found in tap water, can damage hair and irritate the skin, causing acne and eczema to become more severe. This is because your body produces natural oils to protect your body, but chlorine removes those natural oils. For this reason, if you care about healthy skin and hair, we suggest having a shower filter in your home.

These filtration systems work by reducing the amount of chemical contaminants that can pass through the water, coming in contact with skin and hair. Typically the filters should be replaced every 6 months, so it requires minimal maintenance to upkeep.

Point of Entry Systems:

Point-of-entry systems are typically installed where water enters your home or tank. They treat the entire water supply in your home, not just the drinking water. They are often expensive and time-consuming to install. 

1) Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis is comprised of a module, a storage tank, and a separate faucet. The process is typically used as a final step in the purification of water after it has been filtered through other steps such as sand or carbon filters. It is effective in removing organic and inorganic chemicals, microorganisms, and heavy metals.

A membrane in the module then allows the water to pass through and accumulate in the storage tank. The treated water flows slower than water from a regular tap; thus, the time it takes to produce one gallon of water varies. However, estimates suggest that it would take between 2 and 7 hours. 

When compared to whole-house reverse osmosis systems, this is a relatively inexpensive and safe way to treat water. However, the water will need to be remineralized for taste and nutritional benefit.

2) UV Light

uv light water treatmentThis method uses a UV light filter installed at the point of entry or before the water enters your household to receive purified water. UV water purifiers are available in a variety of sizes and shapes, and it is determined by the flow rate of your water. The price of this filter can also run from expensive to affordable options. 

This method can’t purify water alone because UV radiation is only effective against bacteria and viruses. UV light does not remove contaminants and heavy metals; thus, it is usually paired with other methods like reverse osmosis to treat and produce water that is safe for consumption.

Related Article: UV Water Filters Pros and Cons: Everything You Need to Know

3) Countertop Gravity Filters

brazilian ceramic water filterThese filters are attached to a countertop and linked to the water supply faucet. Unlike pitcher filters, you do not have to refill the water jug on a regular basis. Countertop purifiers are usually connected in the kitchen or bathroom, which have smaller spaces. They help purify the air and remove unwanted odors.

Countertop gravity filters come in many different styles and features. Our preference is ceramic gravity water filters because it uses a natural filtration process to remove bacteria, chemicals, and sediments from the water.

Related Article: Pros and Cons of Ceramic Water Filters

Related Article: 6 Best Ceramic Water Filtration Systems

Related Article: DIY Guide: How to Make Ceramic Water Filters

4) Under the sink filters

These filters treat water before it reaches the faucet. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes but may take up space where you will install them. Still, it is a way to purify your water, and oftentimes the filter is hidden, so it is not a distraction in the kitchen.

However, you may need to purchase multiple to ensure the majority of the faucets have access to clean water. With multiple in your home, the upkeep can become expensive and time-consuming. 

5) Pitcher Filters

Water filter pitcherPitchers with filters are inexpensive and portable. They work similar to countertop filters but can be stored in a fridge and shifted when needed. Since they are portable, they do not carry as much water, so you may find yourself refilling your filter multiple times per day.

They have two chambers, one with an activated carbon portion where the water directly enters. The water that passes through the activated carbon portion then proceeds to the purified water portion of the filter, the bottom chamber. 

Other Methods:

There are other ways to treat water when conventional systems are no longer working. In case you find yourself in a SHTF scenario, we would like to share some other water purification methods.

1) Solar Purification

Sunlight is effective at killing microorganisms or water-borne diseases found in your contaminated water.

Solar purification is a water purification method that leverages the sun to treat water. This differs from UV light filters because it harnesses the actual sun instead of a lightbulb. In this process, you can either use a system or simply a container filled with water and place them under direct sunlight for at least 6 hours and up to a day. However, the main downside of this purification method is the long wait time to treat drinking water.

Solar water purification is a new purification method that was developed in response to the global demand for safe drinking water and for developing countries where there is an existing lack of access to electricity in underserved areas.

Related Article: How to Purify Water Using Solar Energy

2) Chemical Treatment

Examples of chemical treatment for water are chlorination and the use of disinfecting tablets. Chlorination is a popular chemical treatment for water disinfection. It has the ability to kill bacteria, viruses, and toxins that cause water-borne diseases. However, knowing how many drops of bleach to put in your water is also important because too much of it can be harmful to your health. This chemical is hazardous, and it must be handled, stored, and used properly.

Disinfection tablets are another example of a chemical purification process that uses iodine tablets. These small tablets are highly effective against viruses, bacteria, giardia, and cryptosporidium. Simply drop two iodine tablets into each quart of water, thoroughly mix, and set aside for 30 minutes. 

3) Distillation

boiling waterDistillation is the most ancient method of water purification. First, water is first brought to a rolling boil. The boiling water creates a water vapor that then rises to a condenser, where cooling water lowers the temperature, allowing the vapor to condensate, collect, and be stored. The majority of contaminants then remain in the liquid phase vessel. 

This process removes more than 99.9% of dissolved materials. However, certain organic compounds may not be removed by distillation. These contaminants should be removed from the water before distillation if they are present. The cost of distillation is also expensive and requires a lot of energy.

water filter system

Final Thoughts

There are a number of ways to filter and purify the water supply that enters your home. Installing a purifier system would be enough if your water source comes from municipal water, which is initially treated. But if your water source comes from other sources like well water, a combination of water filters and water purification would be a great option.

Having knowledge about the different filters under the whole house purification systems, point-of-use systems, point of entry systems can help you decide on what is the best filter to use for your current water supply. In addition, assessing or observing the quality of your water will help you narrow your choices, as there are water filter systems that treat specific cases of water issues.  

Additionally, it is important to remember that tap water is not a guaranteed source of water. In natural disasters or a SHTF scenario, conventional water sources may become difficult to access. So it is important to consider other methods of harvesting water, such as from rainwater, rivers, and wells. For more information on these topics, consider our other articles.

Related Article: Rainwater Harvesting: How to Collect Rainwater for Drinking

Related Article: How to Purify River Water For Drinking

Is your Water Safe?
tap water testing image
Untreated water may contain harmful contaminants
Sign Up to our Newsletter to access our eBooks
Food Storage: Canning and Jarring 101
Get our latest Articles
Subscribe today!

Get our latest Article and eBook
Subscribe to our Newsletter today!

Find us on

Share This Post

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article are sponsored links. If you make a purchase through these links, we may receive a referral fee at no additional cost to you. However, if you do purchase from the link you will be supporting Soulful Prepper and help us continue to produce content for this site. Thank you. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

stay in touch

Receive survival tips in your inbox daily & access our free survival e-Books