Shower-filter filter
October 8, 2009 9:26 PM   Subscribe

Tell me about your shower filter - why'd you get it and does it do what you wanted?

The city did something a few months ago and my water changed. It's now very hard and leaves a stain in the dog water bowl. I'm feeling kind of itchy and with winter coming I'm wondering if shower filters work.

Does anyone have a shower filter on a hand-held shower?
posted by Lesser Shrew to Shopping (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't use one myself, but if your water is hard and you want it soft, I'd imagine you want a water softener shower head. There's enough of them out there that they must work as advertised.
posted by Chris4d at 11:07 PM on October 8, 2009

My first thought was that normal household water pressure would be far too low to produce filtering through "brita-like" filters at anything approaching even a low-flow shower head.

Then I looked at the OP link and found "CRYSTALLINE QUARTZ, that are specially washed and sun dried, help to “energize” the water by reducing the water’s surface tension. This allows for an increase of sudsing and lathering of soaps and shampoos. The water has a “lighter” feel, similar to the feeling of softened water." Since quartz (sand) is about one of the least reactive common substances, this claim is utter nonsense and puts their other claims under suspicion.

The second site noted contains this bit of woo "Magnetic water softeners are still relatively new to the market, and make use of magnets placed either inside or outside a water pipe so that water flows through the magnetic field. The molecular structure water alters it loses its hard quality." This claim is even sillier.

If you really want to clean up your water at a volume you can shower with, you'll need a whole house filter with a substantial storage tank; these aren't inexpensive nor small.
posted by fydfyd at 4:56 AM on October 9, 2009

If you are now actually getting hard water, you may want to invest in a whole house water softener. They're pretty much mandatory in many places as hard water can cause some really nasty plumbing issues (along with a number of small annoyances).
posted by krisak at 5:03 AM on October 9, 2009

fydfyd - If you're talking about whole house water softeners, rather than filters, they're only about $300 - $400 and don't require a tank.

If the OP has hard water, they may want a water softener.
If it's some weird chemical crud the city has introduced, a filter would be more appropriate.

(I, personally, have a combination of the two - whole house softener with an R/O filter for drinkable water.)
posted by krisak at 6:38 AM on October 9, 2009

I have a whole-house water softener (tank service from Culligan--for $20/month they bring a freshly charged tank and take the old one away, didn't have to buy any equipment) and an Aquasana shower filter, which I believe cost $70. Because the Aquasana is filtering already-softened water, the difference is not as dramatic as I imagine it would be on straight hard water, but it's very nice. Even with the water softener, my skin felt like it had sort of a mineral crust and felt very irritated all the time, to the point where I kept a big jug of distilled water just for the purpose of rinsing my face after washing it. The Aquasana totally fixed that. My hair got a lot softer and shinier, too.
posted by HotToddy at 8:44 AM on October 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Call the water department and ask them why your water quality changed. They are likely to be very responsive.
posted by theora55 at 8:44 AM on October 9, 2009

We've used two, one from Gaiam and another from Paragon. We got them because our area has a ton of iron in the ground and hence a lot of iron eating bacteria gets in the water, which then pools around the shower after we're done with it, such as in the soap dish or near tile caulking, and dies due to dehydration, leaving deposits of slimy orange-red iron.

They didn't work, and the Paragon one was crack riddled after a few months and leaked like a colander. We tested with UL DrinkWell and I scrub the shower once a month basically. The things eat caulking, even the silicon kind, which I'm still amazed over. Unfortunately we're in an apartment so there isn't much more we can do about it.
posted by jwells at 10:32 AM on October 9, 2009

Theora55, the city stands by their story that they have improved service in my neighborhood - this is after giving me credit instead of a bill for several months while various giant yellow machines dug up what I thought at the time was wastewater lines.

It's not as bad as when my old neighborhood was gentrified, and the process of putting in new freshwater lines for the new macmansions put mud and gravel into the old poor people lines.

Thanks, HotToddy - I had no idea a water softener was so cheap. Don't you have to build it a little house or remodel a closet or something? (Also, intriguing username.)

jwells, thanks for the warning on those two brands.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 10:58 PM on October 9, 2009

Yikes! Thanks for the link--I didn't have anything so dramatic in mind when I chose it, I just happened to be drinking one at the time!

Anyway, no, the kind that they swap out every month is a metal tank about the size of a really big fire extinguisher, much smaller than the big thing that you buy when you get a permanent one. The first time they come, they have to do a little plumbing to connect it to your water tank (I'm sure there must have been a charge for this, but I forget how much--whatever it was, it was worth it). The footprint is a little bigger than a big coffee can, I think, and it's a couple feet tall. I imagine the permanent ones might do a better job, but then I'd be the one hassling with it all the time instead of them.
posted by HotToddy at 10:46 AM on October 10, 2009

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