Questions and Points to Consider when Buying a Water Filter
Many effective filters and purifiers are available for home use that improve drinking water
quality. However, the increased attention on water quality and safety serves as an
invitation for unscrupulous companies, who use deception and scare
tactics when selling home water treatment equipment. Water treatment devices or
systems may be referred to as water "purifiers," "filtration
systems" or water "conditioners.
If you are concerned with your water quality
do a laboratory water analysis.
Understand your results,
Identify any contaminants/pollutants, and make sure that the water
filter you have in mind can remove water contaminants/pollutants.
Feel free to Contact us with your water testing requirements and a quotation will be forwarded to you.
Information on Common Types of Water Filters. How they work and what they do.
UV Water Filters Supplied by SMI
Common Methods and Approaches Used to Market Water Treatment and Purification Systems
Water Quality Inspectors and "Researchers"
Some callers represent themselves as "water quality inspectors" or
"researchers" doing a survey on drinking water quality and water safety in your sorrounding area. The
surveys allow sales people and advertising companies to gain information on households and to identify people
who have concerns about drinking water quality and water safety. Depending on how one responds, many
people will receive a follow-up visit or phone-call about water purification or water treatment systems, typically from pushy and unscrupulous sales people.
Demonstration utilizing a Free Water Test Done in Your own Home
Another approach used in selling purification devices is offering a free
in-home quality test of your drinking water. Some sales people take a water sample, run the some supposed tests, and then contact or show you
a report highlighting numerous "problems".
The in-home "test" will show there are dissloved minerals in your water (Except for high grade lab water, virtually all water has disolved minerals present,
and perhaps the acidity/alkalinity (pH) level will also be measured. The testing procedures use a chemical that combines
with dissolved minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, and causes them to
settle or precipitate out to the bottom of the bottle. Keep in mind that all water, except
distilled water, contains some minerals and dissolved elements. In general, the presence of minerals is
not a health threat or water based health risk. Normally, many of the minerals in our drinking water are beneficial to the body.
However, some do cause water hardness and an undesirable taste.(Organic compounds from rotting plant matter is commonly found in muncipal drinking water, after sustained
heavy rainfall. This leads to "weedy" and musty smells in water. These organic compounds are typically not harmful for a person, but add another concern about ones water quality)
Another demonstration uses a cloth that you previously washed. The
salesmen will put the cloth and a water softening agent into a jar of your
water and shake-it vigorously. Bubbles will occur in the bottle. This is normal as
some detergent residue remains to a certain extent on all washed goods.
These free, in-home "water quality tests" are merely sales ploys
designed to sell you a water treatment purification system. In many cases the public buy water purification systems they do not need.
Often the "test report"
on your tap water is given in a way that implies that your water contains a
lot of minerals that are not good for your family's health.
Usually the people who do the home testing will require that both husband and wife
be present for the demonstration. This prevents one spouse from
using a delaying tactic by insisting on talking to the other spouse before
making a decision to buy a unnecessary water purification system.
The Electric Precipitator or Floculator
Some unethical operators use a more dramatic demonstration with an "electric
precipitator." This "instrument" looks like a tea pot in which two metallic
electrodes (metal rods) are placed. The demonstration produces a white
froth or a dark brown sediment/sludge , these are caused by electricity decomposing the metal electrodes. The electric precipitator or floculator
device is a sham, but it is a convincing sales tool because of its visual shock
effect. High pressure selling tactics are used to
convince people to buy unnecessary water filters or water purification systems.
Taste and Appearance
Claims that a water treatment device can improve the taste of your water may
be accurate. Also, softened water saves some electricity because it takes less electricity to
heat water and because you use less washing powder for doing ones laundry. However, claims
about saving hundreds of Rands may be highly inflated.
Harmful contaminants/pollutants and pollutants in water are often more difficult to test for than the
common minerals in tap water. For example, lead is odorless, colorless, and
tasteless, but may be harmful at even very low concentrations in water. Tests
for lead, and most other contaminants/pollutants that are health concerns, require special
equipment and complex procedures. Tests for most potentially harmful water
contaminants/pollutants cannot be done in your home, and have to be done at a laboratory.
Protection from Deceptive and Devious Sales Practices
Your best defenses are knowledge about water filtration and water purification systems and a healthy skepticism of
advertising and sales pitches. Recognize that a considerable amount of "puffery"
is used in promoting most products and water systems. Be particularly wary of "scare tactics based on supposed water based health risks and contaminants"
- When dealing with telephone sales and telephonic sales pitches: learn which company is calling you
, and get a specific physical address were you can come and view there products.
- Ask the caller for his or her name.
- Ask for information about the product/system in writing before you agree to buy. What guarantees are implied?
- Don't buy something merely because you'll get a "free gift or present."
- Don't give your credit card number to anyone over the phone.
- If you are uncomfortable with being pressured to purchase something on the phone or are being irritated, HANG UP!
Successful con artists and devious salesmen are
appealing individuals who can gain your full trust and confidence. They have an
unusual understanding of human nature. They know how to mis-use people's feelings of
fear, insecurity, vanity, power, or desire to get "a sale."
Rather than selling a water treatment or water filtration system on its merits, some companies and sales people
choose to prey on the public's fears that their drinking water isn't safe. Thereby selling you unnecessary and expensive equipment.
No tap water is 100 percent pure, and most people have limited knowledge
about what is safe drinking water. Also, people may have little information about the
home water purification or filtration system they are looking at buying. As a result,
some people buy expensive water purification equipment they don't need, to cure
supposed problems that don't exist.
Fraudulent Selling by E-Mail, Postal Services and Telephone
Here are some common approaches used to sell water purification devices
The seller claims that the water purifier can completely remove a
variety of contaminants/pollutants such as bacteria, viruses, cholera, chloroform,
arsenic, lead, mercury, pesticides, solvents, asbestos and numerous other "contaminants/pollutants".
Normally - No single home water purification system is capable of
removing all pollutants and contaminants/pollutants. Different types of substances require different types
of treatment systems or filtration methods.
Customers may be assured that if they are not satisfied with the water
purifier they will be refunded via a money back guarantee system.
Normally - It may be impossible to get a refund. There may be
stipulations such as a "restocking fee" (e.g., 15 percent of the
purchase price) which means the consumer loses some of the money that has been paid. This
information typically is not revealed until the consumer tries to return the
purchase that was made.
Customers may be told that the filtering system is virtually maintenance
free, or that a filter will last 12 to 24 months.
Normally - Not only are claims about minimal maintenance false and
misleading, they can create a potential health threat if they are taken
seriously. Regular maintenance of any water treatment system is critical to its
effectiveness and correct functioning. Inadequate cleaning and/ or failure to replace the filtering
parts of the treatment system may create serious health hazards because bacteria
and other contaminants/pollutants often build up in the purification system.
Exaggerated promises are made about the amount or volume of water that the
purification device can deliver.
Normally - The volume of water a treatment device can process is
related to both its size and type. Some water purification devices require
hours to produce just 3 or 4 litres of high quality water.
Be cautious about letting someone into your home for "free testing"
of your drinking water. Understand that this is merely a sales ploy to convince
you that you need a water purification system. When a "water problem" is pointed out to you, do not panic.
Thank the person for the information and say you will check into the problem. Keep
in mind that salespersons are not scientists and have typically no experience with water analysis. They are not trained to make
judgments on the quality of your drinking water.
Be an Informed Consumer and Customer
If you have concerns about your drinking water quality and you are on a
public water system, contact your local water system officials (those who send
you your water bill if you are on a public water system). Ask for a copy of the latest
complete analysis of the water. Ask what the results mean and are there any issues you should be aware of.
If you have a borehole as your source of drinking water, have it analysed by a reputable laboratory as to its quality
If you still want to have other tests done on your water, there are several
options you may exercise. For a microbial and bacterial test, special care must be taken in sampling, the slightest inadvertent
contamination, will lead to incorrect results. Have a laboratory test for the presence of "e-coli" ,
To test for chemical contamination, contact SMI Analytical or a
Tests for chemical contaminants/pollutants range from R10 to a few thousand Rand depending on the complexity of
water analysis required and pollutants present.
Invest time reading about water quality and health "risk" factors.
Understand the difference between harmful "contaminants/pollutants" and the
minerals commonly found in our water supply that pose no health risks. Such
information can be quite enlightening. Many minerals are even helpful and required by our bodies
In summary, learn what the home water treatment or purification system can (and cannot) do, so
you can evaluate what a seller is promising or trying to promote. Asking a lot of questions is okay!
Asking for additional information is okay! Asking to have another testing agency
verify the results is okay! It is okay to be skeptical! You are much better off
not buying than spending your money for something that may have limited or no
benefits and costs you lots of money. An informed consumer is less likely to be taken for a ride!
Buying a Water Purification or Water Filtration System
Use this questionnaire sheet to prepare for a visit from a water purifier
salesperson. If the salesperson will not answer all your questions expect something "fishy" with the deal.
Questionnaire Part A - Review your water treatment and filtration needs
. 1. Ask to have your water tested by a reputable laboratory for Chemical and Organic contaminants/pollutants and understand your results.
If you have any questions contact the water laboratory and ask them about risks and other issues associated with your test results.
Good laboratories should include a report with there analysis.
2. Review information about health and appearance impacts of your water
contaminants/pollutants or pollutants. Make a Note of the special concerns and enquire about them or do further research to get a clear picture.
purification and filtration choices and list those that might be appropriate for your particular
water based threats or contaminants.
3. How much water can the treatment system process before replacement parts
or maintenance will be needed?
3.1 Have you installed a device to monitor your water consumption? Do you understand
how to reasonably estimate when maintenance or servicing will be needed?
____ Yes ____
4. Are you able replace parts or maintain the water
purification unit? Without the need for expensive call-out fees for routine maintenance
____ Yes ____ No
5. Do you know what the cost of maintenance and consumables will be each year for the unit?
Yes ____ No
6. Other comments about the water purification system:
Questionnaire Part B - Estimate the cost of the purification system.
7. Water treatment or purification system, purchase and installation: Cost of water treatment system
Cost of installation ...................R______
8. Replacement costs: Frequency of replacement/service needs ..R______
Parts to be serviced or replaced .......R______
Total annual service labour costs ..........R______
9. Any other special design considerations:
Additional electrical costs per
month to operate water purification system..... R______
Additional water costs per month per
month to operate purification system .R______ (a lot of water purifiers have a high rejection rate leading to increased water consumption.)
10. Total annual operating costs including maintenance and servicing.........................R______
11. Is the manufacturer/supplier of the equipment reputable and reliable? ____ Yes _____ No
Questionnaire Part C - Evaluate the quality of the water purification system.
12. Is there a product approval and performance specification letter for the purification system which lists the types
and amount of contaminants/pollutants it will remove?
____ Yes _____ No
13. How much space is the purification system going to need?
14. Does the purification system need specially treated water or other hidden and costly requirements to function
____ Yes _____ No
15. How many liters of water does your family/household use per day?
(Base your estimates on: 3 liters per family member per day for drinking and
16. Have you compared the daily volume of water available from the purifier treatment system
to the amount of water or drinking water your household/family will need?
____ Yes ____ No
17. Check the rate/volume of water flow that you require where the water treatment device
will be installed. Does the flow rate of the device meet the needs of your
____ Yes ____ No
18. Have you carefully reviewed and understood the
instructions for operation and maintenance that come with the potential treatment or filtration system?
____ Yes ____ No