The sad truth is that Indy has some of the dirtiest water in the country according to the Environmental Working Group.  We discussed this in more detail in our Dirty Water post. There isn’t a lot we can do about the water that comes into our house, but there are a number of options to clean the water once in your home.

Over the next few posts we will share about the different water filtering options available including: carafe filters, faucet mount, counter-top, under-sink and reverse osmosis.

The most common type of water filter is the carafe filter.  These filters have a cartridge that sits in a pitcher which filters the water as it drains into a storage compartment.   An example of a carafe filter is the Brita Filter.  These filters are cheap and require no instillation, but are they the best option for cleaning your water.   The most obvious down side to the carafe filter is the small capacity for holding water.  These types of filters also take a considerable amount of time to filter water so you have to plan ahead.  If you have a busy household you will most likely find yourself drinking regular tap water because the filter is empty.

Prices range significantly in this category from $15 to over $200.  The top of the line, and number 1 ranked by Consumer Reports (CR), is the Tersano Lotus LWT100 that sells for $229 from Amazon.  At the bottom of the CR rankings is the Crystal Quest CQE-PI-00600 which is available for $30 on Amazon.  There are four main criteria that Consumer Reports uses to determine the ranking of these filters: Lead removal, chloroform removal, flow rate and clogging.  The only category that may not be straight forward is the chloroform removal which Consumer Reports describes as “Chloroform removal rates the percentage of chloroform removed. A filter’s ability to remove chloroform predicts how well it will remove organic compounds as well as byproducts created by disinfectants used by water systems.”

The Tersano is a great filter with the highest rating in all of the aforementioned categories, but it is not without problems.  It is much larger and complex than some of the less expensive models.  It is also a two-stage filter that uses ozone to clean the water during stage 1.  Ozone is used in many of the large water treatment and bottling plants.  Some people have experienced leaking of ozone from this unit, which is believed to cause problems in people who have respiratory conditions.  The second stage filter is carbon and is expected to last a year producing a gallon/day.

The Clear2O water filter is second on Consumer Reports list and can be purchased for $15 on Amazon.  As far as cleaning the water and flow rate the Clear20 competes nicely with the Tersano. The only category that the Clear2O falls short is in clogging.   The Clear2O does have a faucet hose that will only work on traditional faucets.

The Brita Smart Pitcher is the only other CR recommended carafe filter which can be purchased for $35 on Amazon.  This model was comparable to the Clear2O in all  categories.  Both these type of filters do require disposable filters that the manufacture recommends replacing every two month and the newer Brita filters have an electronic sensor that indicates when the filter needs changed.  Individual filters sell for around 8 dollars.

Personally I’ve been using the same Brita filter for many years and it has worked well for our family.  I should replace the filter more often, but with two small children some things fall through the cracks.  In writing this post I learned about the electronic sensor, which is something I would consider investing in when it’s time to replace our current filter.

The bottom line is that you should be filtering your water, especially here in Indianapolis.  The carafe filter provides inexpensive clean water that doesn’t require any installation.  If you don’t currently filter your water this is a great place to begin.