Drinking water systems are everywhere... Does that mean everyone needs them?
It's easy to forget that water is the life-giving force behind just about everything on this planet. One of the four basic elements (along with fire, earth, and the Kardashians), water is instrumental in humanity's survival. So, in honor of those uber-important three molecules, let's take a look at some facts you might not know about water.
You are made up of 50-65% water (unless you happen to be an infant, in which case you are about 78% water)
Water makes up a little over 70% of the Earth's surface (as compared to asphalt, which clocks in at about 0.2%)
A gallon of water weighs 8.34 lbs, and a one-inch acre of water weighs just over 113 tons. Kevin James weighs 290 lbs.
Of all the water on the planet, 97% is salt water. The rest is either trapped in glaciers (2%) or in our rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, etc. (1%)
There is more water in the atmosphere than in all the rivers around the globe.
The United States uses more than 400,000,000,000 gallons of water per day. Almost 1/2 of that is for thermoelectric power. Another substantial portion of that is my neighbor's sprinkler.
Over 25% of bottled water is sourced at a municipal water supply.
The average American home uses over 100,000 gallons per year. My neighbor uses a lot more than that.
After evaporation, a water molecule stays in the air for roughly 10 days.
Approx. 74% of home water usage is in the bathroom. 21% is for laundry/cleaning, and 5% is in the kitchen.
It takes around 4,000 gallons of water to grow one bushel of corn. A bushel of wheat takes 11,000 gallons, and almost 135,000 gallons to grow a bushel of alfalfa. It's unknown how many gallons were used to raise Carl Switzer.
Chickens, elephants, and trees are 70% water. Earthworms, corn, and pineapples are 80% water - all three were also ingredients in a casserole I believe my sister made once.
You can refill an 8 ounce glass of water about 15,000 times for the same price as a six pack of soda.
Keep checking back for more fun water facts!
So you just moved into your new home. Congrats! The boxes are slowly getting unpacked, and the furniture and tchotchkes are getting moved around (and around, and around) into their final position. Your family is trying to get used to a new location, a new bed, a new neighborhood. It’s an adventure, one that everybody is excited to undergo.
After all the cases of bottled water purchased for the move are gone, you go to the sink to pour yourself a glass to quench your thirst after your initial jog through the neighborhood. You raise the glass to your lips, wet beads running down the sides of the cup, and take a nice, long gulp.
Uh oh. Something doesn't taste right. At all.
What is that? Metal? Paint? Rotten eggs? An unholy mix of all that and something even more sinister?
Terrified, you throw the glass against the wall and it shatters, sending a deadly shard into the treasured painting over the couch. Ruined forever. Just like your mood.
Soon afterwards, as you’re out spending $76.31 on enough bottled water to get you through the week, you notice that you keep scratching your arms and neck. You ponder the reason for this insistent itch and come to the slow realization that your dry skin problem started when you moved in. Come to think of it, those red bumps on your body did as well. You glance down at your shopping cart, loaded down with high-end body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and lotions, and begin to freak out.
This is never going to end. This is only the start of a long nightmare.
You leave the cart right where it is and go screaming into the night, Googling “hard water” as you run.
Far-fetched? Maybe, but not by much. If you were to Google “effects of hard water” or “why does my water taste awful” you would start to make the connection that while you can control most of the things coming into your house, you can’t control the water. Or your daughter’s boyfriend, to a degree.
Well, let’s rephrase that a bit. You can condition the water that comes into the house. But that costs money. Money that you need for the bottled water, lotions, soaps, shampoos, cleaners, and other things you left in that shopping cart. It would be absolutely asinine to drop a bunch of money on a whole home filtration system all at once. Why, that would be like spending a pile of money on car insurance, instead of just fixing things that go wrong on cars as they happen. Who would do that? I mean, that guy’s bumper can’t be that much, right?
Here’s the facts: Chances are, no matter where you live you have hard water coming into your house. Only 15% of the country has what is considered soft water, primarily because the source water for the municipal water district comes from rivers. Just so we’re clear, anything with less than 3 grains per gallon of hardness minerals is deemed soft. That’s pretty good.
However, 85% of our great country is over that, and a lot are WAY over that. The six “hardest” cities are, in no particular order:
• Las Vegas
• Minneapolis/St. Paul
• San Antonio
I would put Detroit on that list, too. Nobody would argue that town isn't hard.
So what, you say. What does hard water really do, anyway? Boiled down, four things you’ll care about:
Eats away at your plumbing and appliances.
Anything that the hard minerals in your water are running through, at, or into is simply getting pounded day after day. Water heater, pipes, washer, dishwasher, bathtub, toilet, and more are getting calcified, stained, clogged, and basically destroyed. But most choose to just get it go on and hope for the best.
Irritates the heck out of your skin.
Remember that constant itching and scratching? The dryness and flaking? The bumps and clogged pores? Blame those pesky minerals again… Dermatologists have some great names for it – “cradle cap” “seborrheic dermatitis” “pompholyx” (that one sounds like a Batman villain) “rosacea” – but they all point to the high pH of hard water as the root cause. But some people love it…Hey, is that Avon calling?
You’ll know ‘em when you see ‘em. Everywhere! Glassware, dishware, reading glasses, countertops, around the sink… if hard water touches it, it’ll spot it. And so will you. Unless that’s part of your décor, you won’t want to keep running into them.
Rough, dry and tangled hair.
Let’s face it – grunge died in the 90s, and now people enjoy hair they can run fingers through (unless you’re bald…but that’s another blog for another day). What happens is the hard water makes the scales in hair stand up, hence the roughness and tanglenation™. Oh, and this means more shampoo and conditioner, because you can’t rinse it all out. One of the cities with the softest water is Amsterdam, where Frederique van der Wal is from. Coincidence? Who knows? But do you really want to have hair that feels like something livestock would think twice about eating?
So, with all this talk about hard water, if you’re still with us then you want to at least look into what your shiny brand new house can do to protect itself. We know, because your house called us while you were at work. Why not schedule a free water analysis and let us show you the correct system for you and your family. Your pipes will thank you, while the toiletry aisle manager probably won’t – he works on commission.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “It’ll pay for itself in no time,” but in the field of whole home water softeners it can be proven with a calculator. Too good to be true, you say? Well, let’s take a look at the facts.
For all of these prices we’re going to be using Walmart, simply because the prices are comparable to anywhere else.
Let’s start with laundry detergent. A family of four with the national average of 10 grains per gallon (gpg) of hardness. Some areas it’s higher, as in San Antonio, where it ranges from 15 to 20 gpg, according to the San Antonio Water System. Or how about the water in Scottsdale Arizona coming in this year at 16-25 gpg , depending on which part of town you test. That’s okay – it just means that you’ll pay off your water softener 25% to 50% faster!
Averaging out the price of all leading detergents sold at Walmart, the average cost of a bottle is $14.08 and the price per load is $0.37. The average family of four runs 300-390 loads each year. Assuming the number of loads per bottle are actually correct, that means you are conservatively spending $129.50 a year of detergent. This is most assuredly on the low end, as Consumer Reports argues that the number is closer to $275/year, due to higher detergent costs. We'll split the difference for our example.
Now we come to personal items, such as shampoo, body wash, bar soap, lotions, cream rinse, dish soap, dishwasher detergent, etc. I could break it all down for you, but the bottom line per the American Cleaning Institute is that the average family of four spends $628.00 each year for these personal items. The difference, of course, is in the shampoo/rinse brand (and probably lotions, as well).
We can’t forget about cleaning products, stuff like Comet, glass cleaner, antibacterial spray, and the like. Why do we take cleaners into account? Hard water means you are dealing with soap scum, calcification on countertops and sinks, and other places. Again, according to the American Cleaning Institute, the typical family spends $504 every year on cleaning supplies. This would vary depending on your level of clean, obviously, but let’s go with that number.
Hard water does a number on your towels, clothes, and linens, so it would be remiss if we didn’t factor the cost of these items in. The US Department of Commerce estimated back in 2014 that the usual family conservatively spends $600 a year in this area. They didn’t poll my wife, obviously! That’s seems unusually low, but let’s go with that number for our comparison.
A couple of more things. Hard water is just that – hard on your appliances and hard on your plumbing. You have to figure in the cost of repair and replacement costs on your pipes, washing machine, dishwasher, water heater, etc. It’s amortized, of course, but the US Bureau of Economic Analysis puts the usual cost of decay in a home’s water system is $10 a month, or $120 a year.
Finally, let’s consider the water heating bill. Soft water drastically reduces the level at which the water heater must work, so the consumption is less. If the average gas and electric bill at a house is $163/month, then 16% of that is directly attributed to the heater. That’s $313 you’re paying each year for the water heater to do what the water heater does.
Okay, so let’s add it up.
Estimated Annual Cost
% Savings with Soft Water
Cost w/ Softener
Soap & Cleaning Products
Laundry - 400 loads/yr @ 0.37/load
Personal Care (shampoo, rinse, lotions, etc)
Gas & Electric Consumption
Water Heating - avg of 16% of household utility bill @ $163/month
Clothes, towels & linens
Plumbing & Appliances
Repair & Replacement Costs
Yes, that’s right. You save $884 (more or less) each year with a whole home water softener in your house. Depending on the system you opt for, it pays for itself in either no time at all or in just a little while.
For a more definitive list of what each cleaning product costs, check out this list.
Is 2017 the year your house gets the clean, filtered water it deserves? Give us a call at 877-534-5837 or simply email us and make the switch today!
The 2016 Water Quality Report for San Antonio was recently released , and it contains a few interesting observations. First, the SAWS (San Antonio Water System) admits that “…all drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants.” It then goes on to describe how to “minimize the potential for lead exposure” by running your tap for a couple of minutes before filling your glass or cooking utensil.
Nice. That sounds wasteful and unsafe.
The report lists a bunch of contaminants that may be present in source water, including microbial (“such as viruses and bacteria which may come from sewage treatment plants”), inorganic (“such as salts and metals … from oil and gas production”), pesticides, herbicides, organic chemicals (“including synthetic and volatile chemicals … from gas station runoff”), and radioactive contaminants.
This thing reads like a Stephen King best seller. Sewage treatment plants? Gas station runoff? Radioactive contaminants? [deep shudder]
Here’s a paragraph that stands out: “You may be more vulnerable than the general population to certain microbial contaminants, such as Cryptosporidium, in your drinking water.” The CDC has this to say about that little guy:
"Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. Both the parasite and the disease are commonly known as 'Crypto.' There are many species of Cryptosporidium that infect animals, some of which also infect humans. The parasite is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for long periods of time and makes it very tolerant to chlorine disinfection.
While this parasite can be spread in several different ways, water (drinking water and recreational water) is the most common way to spread the parasite. Cryptosporidium is a leading cause of waterborne disease among humans in the United States."
So, the SAWS admits that the water is more vulnerable to Cryptosporidium, which is "very tolerant to chlorine disinfection". That’s wonderful. It's a superbug, and San Antonio's water sources are lousy with it.
Let’s take a peek at the actual report. The first thing that jumps out is the chlorine level. Chlorine, of course, is used to try to kill off all the gas station runoff, sewage, and radioactive material, in the city of San Antonio’s water. So it’s no real surprise to see that the average concentration found is 1.14 ppm. But look at the minimum (0.11) and especially the maximum (4.5 ppm). Wow, that’s a lot of chlorine running through the tap! The EPA allows up to 4 ppm, so the SAWS is within those parameters, but the EPA also admits that drinking water filters and reverse osmosis systems are a better solution.
What else shows up in San Antonio’s water? Copper, lead, barium, fluoride, nitrate, radium 226 and radium 228 (honestly, that can’t be good, right?), and a cute little chemical named Tetrachloroethylene. This guy is manufactured for dry cleaning and metal degreasing. I’m sure it tastes wonderful, also…
One last thing. The report doesn’t mention this, but the SAWS was fined by the TCEQ last year for too much coliform bacteria in the water. You probably received a letter about this.
Of course, San Antonio doesn’t have to take this laying down. Dupure has been working with quality homebuilders around the area for many years now, and plenty of your neighbors are reading this report with total confidence. Why not join them and enjoy clean and clear water today? Dupure offers a single-stage activated carbon filter system, a dual-stage pre- and post-filter system, and a reverse osmosis drinking water purification system. Any one of these filters out Chlorine, Chloramines, heavy metals (such as that lead we mentioned above), pharmaceuticals, chemicals, organics, and many more. Check out each page for more information.
Dupure and San Antonio, Texas – eliminating sewage and superbugs in your water, one family at a time.
Dupure has evolved beyond an almost century-old residential water treatment industry that is focused on entering your home at any expense by random door-knocking, misrepresenting product capabilities, and selling uncertified products. For the consumer, what begins as skepticism results in frustration. All these years, the residential water industry has been run by independent dealers that have very few barriers to entry, little product expertise and no accountability to anyone other than themselves.
Product manufacturers operating in this arena are forced to go to market almost exclusively through this network of locally owned, independent dealers. This is a problem. A problem recognized by the industry’s own self-evaluation that ranks consistently – every year – poor business ethics and practices by its independent dealers as its number one concern. If it’s happening every year, why can’t the industry fix the problem?
This industry is characterized by five factors that contribute to this dilemma.
1. Independently Owned Dealerships
2. High Margin Product
3. Commission Only Salespeople
4. Salespeople being independent contractors are not employed by or accountable to the independent dealer.
5. This industry is content allowing the competitive dynamics between dealerships to play out but, where else, in your kitchen.
The product manufacturers have no control over this sales dynamic, and in most cases, have totally removed themselves from being accountable for all unethical behavior by its dealers. Still today, independent dealers haven’t changed their bad habits.
A leopard doesn’t change its spots. With a garage and a truck, you’re in business.
The consumer dictated that this business approach is unsustainable. Dupure agrees, and has evolved our business model to meet demands of the modern consumer. Dupure has chosen to enter this market by accessing the consumer through major homebuilders in large metropolitan markets. By offering a turnkey solution, enabling the builder to offer high-quality water treatment products in a consumer-favorable venue that, previous to Dupure, has been unattainable. Unattainable, as a result of the industry negligence we’ve discussed, through first dealing with the home builder and then the home owner, Dupure is establishing a clear chain of accountability and offering leveraged power to the consumer. Builders look for the same qualities in a vendor that consumers seek from a service provider.
• Great product
• Premium service
• A strong business track record
• Economic viability
• Sustainable lifetime warranties
Dupure is committed to a distribution business model for water treatment products that fills the vast expanse between the big box experience and the water dealership world that relies on outdated lead generation methods and high pressure, high priced sales. Dupure is unique, in that it’s a manufacturer, a wholesale distributor, a direct-to-consumer sales company, and a turnkey service provider. Dupure’s the only water treatment company in the country that has the resources, suppliers, and knowledge to sustain such a “consumer-centric” business model.
Dupure has further proven itself with national, regional and local home builders like your own through strong reputation, attention to service, quality of product, and affiliations with the Water Quality Association, state commissions on environmental quality (like the TCEQ or ADEQ), and the Better Business Bureau. At Dupure, if customer service fails in any way with one of our home buyers, then they are empowered to go back to the builder and express dissatisfaction. Home builders, overseen by regulating bodies and quality conscious home owners alike, have extremely high standards. And if we fail at customer service on either side, then we disappoint both.
A disappointment we do not stand for.
It’s the ultimate accountability. Consider the alternative: Dealers in our industry don’t have to make the necessary infrastructure and compliance investments for long term sustainability. Do you think dealers selling service today will be there for you tomorrow?
Alternatively, for Dupure to operate our business sufficiently for the benefit of the consumer, a substantial investment in infrastructure has been made. Even further, we continually advance our information technology and human resources dedicated to functions like employee training, accommodating sophisticated builder scheduling software, satisfying WQA standards, and more.
There are many in this business willing to knock on doors, make capability claims that don’t match their products, and misrepresent warranty information. How has our awareness of competitor negligence inspired our business practice?
We hear about consumers and builders being offered products that don’t meet expectations. Also, most builders having dealt with the rest of our industry didn’t feel they were educated on key aspects of the products or their warranties. Take a look at the warranty provided by an industry leader. Case in point, certain aspects of their products have “lifetime warranties”. Unfortunately for the homeowner, these warranties will never be valid due to language buried within their contracts that do not cover oxidants damage – with one of those oxidants being chlorine.
Chlorine is present at every water district in the country and at some cases in very high levels. How many consumers do you think read this carefully enough to ask “What do oxidants damage? Why should I care? I drink the stuff every day…”
Petroleum-based synthetic resins present in water softeners are sensitive to chlorine and oxidants. The industry is not being truthful in letting the builders and homeowners know that chlorine and chloramine have a damaging effect on their resins, and over time will render the resin ineffective. Without chlorine protection, these systems are weakened and become less effective from day one. The industry is not forthcoming in communicating this aspect of these products voiding their lifetime warranty.
Dupure is a consumer advocate in the industry, supporting the public’s need for education.
Spend any amount of time researching a clean drinking water solution for your home and you'll inevitably run into the term reverse osmosis (or RO for short). If you're a normal individual and not a scientist or a water engineer, the phrase should give you pause. Sure, you could google "Reverse Osmosis" and get temporarily lost in jargon, or you could read on and get a fuller understanding of the best system for your home's drinking water.
Reverse osmosis is simply the process by which the water is purified. Inorganic materials such as ions, molecules, particles, bacteria and other things that you really don't want to consume are flushed out through a semi-permeable membrane, leaving only pure, filtered drinking water. The membrane is filled with tiny pores that allow the hydrogen and oxygen molecules to pass through, as long as they aren't attached to anything else. In other words, while H2O is small enough to pass through the pores, C8H14ClN5 (Atrazine, an herbicide commonly found in tap water) isn't coming through because it's too big for the membrane's pore. C6H4(CH3)2 (Xylene, a solvent also found in your water) isn't making it out either. And there are many, many more.
The one thing you don't want to forget is this: H7O57 is too big to make it...that's E. coli.
How does the system work? There are three (and an optional fourth) components involved: A pre-filter, which takes in the tap water andfilters out heavy metals such as rust and mercury and large sediments like calcium carbonate, up to 5 microns.
The remaining fluid is shot through the membrane at high pressure. Constructed of several layers of polypropylene mesh, the membrane's tiny pores stop virtually all elements other than H2O, leaving purified water. The list of contaminants the RO sends to waste is quite long, but here's a sampling:
Then the water passes through the last carbon filter, called a post-filter, which filters out anything the other filters somehow missed. The purified water then goes into a 2.2 gallon (or an optional 3.2 gallon) tank, where it is stored until the spigot is activated.
The result is pure, clean, healthy water in your glass or pan.
Many, many owners of home water filtration systems, either an under-the-sink drinking water purifier or a whole home water softening system, are stunned to find out that the filters are meant to be changed out on a consistent basis. At Dupure, our customer service representatives call each of our clients to remind them that the filter is due for a change, and more times than you would think we are met with utter and complete disbelief that a filter needs to be changed. Why, then, is it a good idea to change a water filter?
The only real job of a filter is to filter out impurities. A filter does just that - stops bad stuff from continuing through the circuit. The filter simply stands there in the center of the line, blocking all the hard metals, sediments, harmful bacteria, algae, minerals, and other debris. Of course, the only way a filter can do this effectively is to trap it inside itself, which eventually will clog it. Your water, with a dirty filter, will run slower and eventually the clogged particles will deteriorate the filter completely and wind up in your glass anyway.
Not changing the water filter reduces the quality of your water. As a filter gets clogged up it's less efficient at being a filter. It's like a bouncer at a club on a busy Saturday night - some under-21s are getting in there. Believe that. By the same ridiculous analogy, an old, clogged filter can't be held responsible if some microbes, minerals, or other chemicals sneak through. It's doing the best it can do - it's just old and worn out.
Reduction of water flow isn't fun for anyone. In an age of Wi-Fi, microwaves, and instant messaging, standing at the sink waiting for a trickle of water to fill your receptacle is pure torture. It's sad, but it's true. And not changing your water filter practically ensures you a bloated, clogged system that will reduce your flow more every day.
You deserve to have clean water. Having a water filtration system without changing the filter is like buying a Ferrari and never changing the air filter. It's a beautiful investment ... until it breaks down in front of a high school and all the kids snicker at you while you pop the hood and wave the white smoke away. "You should have changed the filter!" they chant and laugh as you curse under your breath. In your heart, though, you know they are right. It's exactly like that with your water filter.
Now, I hope that explains why a water filter replacement is a brilliant idea. It's only once a year or so, depending on the system. Call us at 877-534-5837 to order yours today!
Let's just admit it... soft water sounds a little sensual. Like a pina colada, or getting caught in the rain, the idea of showering in "soft" water brings to mind a luxurious spa massage administered by cherubs. A wonderful idea, but ultimately impossible. Anyone who lives in the South has simply accepted the fact that tap water is hard as calculus. Always has been, always will be.
Except, it doesn't HAVE to. Soft, velvety water isn't a myth. The yeti might be, but you can actually enjoy silky soft water.
I can almost hear you thinking, "Well, sure, soft water would be good to shower in, but is it worth plopping down hard-earned cash for a whole home system?" Let's take a quick peek at what you're currently working with at your local tap source. in your home 24/7.
Foggy, stained glassware. The calcium and magnesium in hard water do a number on your glassware
Overloaded appliances and plumbing. Hard water just loves dishwashers, washing machines, shower heads, faucets, pipes, and other areas in your house that water runs through. In fact, hard water loves your plumbing so much that it leaves all kinds of minerals behind to clog up pipes, valves, strainers, and other vital components needed to keep it running. Just pop open your water heater to get an idea of how much build-up you're dealing with - if you live in the south, the bottom of your heater is rising at least an inch every year. That's literally heavy news, brother.over time, leaving thick scaly buildup and etching. Yummy! Assuming you don't want to keeping buying glasses every year, there are essentially three options for fixing this: (1) repeatedly soak the glasses, in vinegar or a baking soda solution every couple of months, (2) purchase an expensive and acidic chemical cleaning agent (remember to buy gloves as well ... the acid will take off your fingerprint) and try not to breathe too much, or (3) go ahead and install the Whole Home System from Dupure.
Foggy, stained shower doors. If your shower appears to be frosted, and it wasn't last year, then you have a prime example of hard water. Here's the 'hard' truth: Your shower head is spraying calcium, magnesium, gypsum, dolomite, and other minerals all over you and your loved ones. Over time, hard water wants you all to itself and chooses to hide you from the rest of the house. And don't forget about soap scum, quite possibly one of the most aptly named things on this planet. A soft water system removes that too.
Stained fences. You know how you notice stained, discolored fences as you're driving through the neighborhood? How they make the house appear dilapidated? Yeah, that's hard water in the sprinklers, making its presence known. Neighbors love those fences, by the way.
Consider that a Whole Home System by Dupure would remove virtually ALL of the harmful minerals in your water, leaving only velvety, smooth water. Water that would caress and gently clean your fences...as well as the relationship with old Mr. Johnson next door.
Hopefully, this helps you understand how hard water is slowly destroying your stuff. Why not give a Whole Home System from Dupure a try, and get back to enjoying yourself?
Drinking water systems are everywhere...Does that mean everyone needs them?
The short answer is no. Some people are perfectly fine with rolling the dice and drinking or cooking with contaminants like chlorine, chlorimine, and ammonia. Others love the permeating smell of sulfur. Live fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse, right? Life is an adventure!
However, the vast majority of people would prefer to have the safest water possible. And let's face it - your local municipal water supplier is just doing the bare minimum it needs to in order to pass the EPA's water testing. The EPA, by the way, is perfectly fine with certain levels of Chlorine, Ammonia, Chlorimines, Arsenic, Asbestos, Cyanide, Barium, Lead, radioactive contamination... should I go on? Here's the complete chart, courtesy of the EPA. So now the homeowner has a few options. Let's run them down and analyze them, shall we?
Activated Carbon Water Pitchers (Brita, ZeroWater, Body Glove, etc): These pitchers work by pouring tap water through a small cartridge (usually about 6" long), which typically helps to remove mercury, copper, cadmium, and the chlorine taste of your water. Filters need to be changed out every two months, or every 40 gallons. Inexpensive choice for one or two people, but the length of the cartridge means a lot of water is being filtered through a small area.
Faucet-Mounted Water Filter: This filter is attached to the spigot of the existing faucet and re-routes the water flow through a cartridge filter, reducing contaminants such as lead, asbestos, as well as cryptosporidium and giardia cysts. Also removes the chlorine taste of your water. Downsides would include a small cartridge (typically 7"), slow water flow, and a filter change every three months or every 70 gallons. Also, if your home has a sprayer as part of your faucet this isn't an option.
Under-Sink Water Filter: Now we're getting to serious filtration. These systems include longer filters (often 2 filters working in conjunction with each other), mount underneath the sink, and aid to remove most harmful contaminants in the water. Filters need to be changed every six months or so. Downsides are higher cost, both for the system and the filters.
Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System: The best, most effective under-sink system available right now. The reverse osmosis (or RO) system operates with a membrane between a pre- and a post- filter. The system pushes high-pressurized tap water through the membrane, which attracts all types of contaminants and "catches" them. The resulting water is virtually pure, healthy drinking water. The pre- and post-filters need to be changed out every six months or so (one year for the membrane). The upshot is the cleanest water available. The downside is higher cost for the system and the filter changes.
So, the obvious question is...what's in your water?