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What Do Fridge Filters Remove vs. Reverse Osmosis?

Take a glance at a modern refrigerator, and you might find that it has a water filter built right in. But what exactly does the typical fridge filter remove? When you compare these products against powerful reverse osmosis filtration units, there are a few key features missing.

The Typical Fridge Filter

Understanding how most fridge filters work often comes down to activated carbon. This is usually the same process a standard pitcher water filter uses. In these types of setups, the filters contain granules of carbon that can trap certain contaminants, like chlorine. It’s a great step for filtration, but relying on activated carbon alone doesn’t quite cut it. If this is the only filtration stage, your water might not be as clean or safe as you’d like.

When you break down the facts, a fridge water filter is usually doing the bare minimum. Only special filters can remove heavy metals and other contaminants. When you only have a carbon filter, a lot of things contaminants can still make it into your glass.

  • Won’t filter hard water minerals
  • Can’t remove lead, copper, or arsenic
  • Is ineffective against bacteria and viruses

To make matters worse, many fridge filters don’t go through the same rigorous testing that other water filters are built for. For example, they often don’t adhere to the qualifications laid out in the NSF/ANSI Standard 58 criteria. Earning NSF certification means that a system removes exactly what it claims—and that the advertising isn’t misleading. Simply being “tested to NSF standards” isn’t the same thing. The actual certification is what really counts.

Choosing the Best Home Water Filter

If you want the best water filter for your family, settling for the standard fridge filter probably isn’t the way to go. We usually recommend reverse osmosis water filters. Of course, you’ll need to analyze your water quality first. Only then can you make an informed decision about your water filtration setup.

1. Assess Your Needs

The majority of homes in Central Indiana are dealing with hard water at their tap. In addition to these high mineral levels, we also have to contend with chlorine as a disinfectant. Chlorine stays in our tap water as it travels from the water treatment plants to our homes. (That’s why you’ll sometimes notice a swimming pool or bleach-like smell from your tap water.)

But what other contaminants is your home water up against? This is where a home water test can help. Is your neighborhood at risk for lead in your drinking water? Do you have concerns about bacteria or other bothersome odors coming from your tap? Reviewing the top water issues for your home can help ensure you get the right water filter that will tackle everything—leaving only clean, filtered water for you and your family.

2. Install a New System

You’ll have different options for your home water filter based on your needs. Homes with well water, for instance, often require extra filters in place to get rid of high levels of iron or manganese. For most homes in our area, though, a reverse osmosis system is the ideal choice. These powerful systems remove all the top contaminants—including lead and chlorine—to give you truly safe water.

3. Replace the Filters

Once you have your filtration system hooked up, it’s important to change the filters on a regular basis and stay consistent with the manufacturer’s recommendations. With fridge filters this step is often overlooked altogether. Ignoring this crucial part of home filtration can dramatically lower your system’s efficiency and effectiveness. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to swap out the filters for today’s reverse osmosis units.

4. Enjoy Filtered Water

When you have water that’s filtered in multiple stages, beyond just a carbon filter, you get better taste across the board. You’ll probably notice that your coffee and tea take on new, tasty complexities, or that you enjoy drinking plain water even more. You can use RO water for just about anything in the kitchen, from washing fruits and veggies, to cooking pasta. Plus, you can share the benefits of drinking filtered water with your pets!

RO Water for Your Fridge

Reverse osmosis delivers a more intense filtration process than the typical fridge filter. One of the best parts of an RO unit though, is that it doesn’t have to stay at the kitchen sink. Did you know you can run your reverse osmosis water to your fridge water dispenser, too? This can be a smart upgrade for any fridge with a water line. Plus, you get the benefit of having RO ice cubes. That way, even your ice cubes will taste great. When your reverse osmosis unit works with your fridge and freezer, you’ll really have the best water everywhere in the kitchen.

For more information on how to set your fridge filter up with reverse osmosis water, just contact your local water softener and filtration experts. For the greater Indianapolis area, that’s Indy Soft Water! This overview of our first visit will help you know what to expect. Then you can send us a message to get your water consultation scheduled. We look forward to hearing from you!

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