Lead Water Filter
March 30, 2020 11:17 AM   Subscribe

A few years ago I asked for options to deal with our lead water supply line and didn't do nuthin'. It turned out that buying bottled and water cooler jugs for our potable water needs made economic sense and wasn't that onerous, but recent circumstances have made going to the store a far less appealing proposition than it already was. So, I am looking for recommendations for a potable water filter and feedback on a few questions I have.

The filter we're looking for:
1) Gets the lead out (We are not concerned with the quality of our municipal water supply, just lead.)
2) Is available in Canada, preferably a return/exchange-friendly retailer.
3) Is from a legit brand (Been around for a while, not likely to change models/make components obsolete in a year.)
4) Requires only rudimentary plumbing skills to install (Under kitchen sink model w/ dedicated faucet preferred, not looking for a whole-house unit.)

Filter model: I'm leaning towards this Rainfresh system from Canadian Tire which seems to be everything I need, but I am not familiar with the brand. It says it meets CSA International standards for NSF/ANSI 53, 42, & NSF 372, but I've not been able to find the company listed on the NSF-approved list or a CSA list.

Filters: The model above uses these filters, but they are only listed as NSF/ANSI 53 & 42 compliant, not 372, and honestly at this point the standards are just an acronym and number salad in my brain - 53 is the number I'm looking for, yes? Cartridge filters are activated charcoal & mechanical and listed as lasting 6 months or 350 gallons. Is there a shelf life for activated charcoal that would make it a waste of money to buy 6 filters now to use over the next three years?

Thanks for any help or suggestions you can offer!
posted by Alvy Ampersand to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Regardless of what you get as a filter, as well as in the meantime, make sure you run the tap for a few minutes before using it as potable water - lead lines only leach lead into the water supply with slightly acidic standing water, so if you can flush the standing water, you're going to have much less lead in the water to begin with. (I'm assuming the supply lines are on your property and not the municipal lines.)

EPA guide to flushing pipes -- make sure you flush for an adequate amount of time because too little flushing and you're still drinking lead.
posted by DoubleLune at 11:34 AM on March 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


There is a standard housing & size for these cartridges and then approximately one bazillion proprietary and branded housings and cartridges. My only advice is to go with the industry standard housing & cartridge size--then replacement cartridges will be widely available, less expensive, and usually have higher capacity/last longer.

Here are some examples of what these standard housings and cartridges look like:

https://www.amazon.com/APEC-WFS-1000-Capacity-Under-Sink-Water/dp/B00TT9I2PS

https://www.amazon.com/iSpring-FC25B-Capacity-Filter-Carbon/dp/B01M1197LW/

https://www.amazon.com/iSpring-F3WGB32BPB-Replacement-3-Stage-WGB32B-PB/dp/B0776YG2ZL

https://www.amazon.com/iSpring-FCRC25B-Reducing-Replacement-Capacity/dp/B01DE6UWL8

Definitely not recommendations for any of those particular products, just examples. But if you can find one that matches that type of system, you're almost certainly better off.

(This type of standard system must have a name but I don't know what it is.)

These kinds of system typically come with one, two, or three canisters, or three canisters plus RO unit. You probably just need a one- or two- canister system, plus the little tap you install at your sink.
posted by flug at 1:19 PM on March 30, 2020


I have an undersink unit from Watts Premiere, a reputable vendor. It's worked well for over 5 years, and is much more economical than buying gallons of store-brand water was.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:03 PM on March 30, 2020


In my experience such filters come sealed in plastic that should keep them fresh (but they'll likely say if there's any question, because of things like ANSI). And yes, you're correct that ANSI 372 is only for the content in things like solder, not for a point of use system like yours. Those look fine, most activated charcoal systems should work for your purpose.

If you're worried, you could see if your local ministry of health will analyze a sample of your water after filtration (or send it off to a private lab, following their instructions). Or run your tap for awhile each morning, as noted above. What with almost all lead in drinking water coming from old (but not very old) pipes that have had slightly acidic water sitting in them, flushing your tap upon waking is about all that most folks need to do. That said, we inherited a system like yours and I prefer the flavour of the water after filtration, and they're not super expensive (and will save plastic bottles). So it looks good to me!
posted by ldthomps at 7:01 PM on March 30, 2020


Aquasana makes a countertop one that needs electricity but requires no installation for about $100. Has its hassles (a little noisy) but overall seems to work well.
posted by slidell at 10:36 PM on March 30, 2020


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