What is the impact of drinking purer water?
There is no magic to water.
70% of our body is made up of water, so it's no secret that drinking cleaner water can lead to better health, since our very lives depend it. A constant supply of water is needed to replenish the fluids lost through normal physiological activities, such as respiration, perspiration and urination, and a lack of it can be deadly. On average, a person will consume close to 700 litres of water per year, if not more.
Drinking purer water serves to decrease one's total exposure to chemicals, and with the alarming rate at which pollutants are increasing worldwide, this is becoming increasingly important. Many trace contaminants are ending up in global water systems, such as the cancer-causing group of trihalomethanes, and this is predictably detrimental in the long-term as it can lead to - obviously - cancer.
Do I need a water filter?
Let's answer this from the context of Singapore, which has a very reliable source of municipal water.
The short answer, if only considering price and necessity, is no.
By many standards, Singapore's water more than meets 'safe' levels.
However, a more thorough answer requires you to consider your individual lifestyle.
Firstly, filtered water has a great deal of health benefits over the long term. Almost every aspect of life requires the use or consumption of water, from washing vegetables and brewing drinks, to cleaning cuts and wounds. Hence, the addition of a good filtration system directly decreases the amount of chemicals and toxins entering your body, and we need not cite the thousands of medical articles explaining how this is beneficial. So instead of spending on expensive and temporary methods such as detox diets/pills, why not just start at the fundamentals?
Secondly, water quality defers from location to location, and nothing short of constant water tests can guarantee the quality of your water at your point of use. Chlorine is put into our water to ensure that typical bacteria does not easily infect your pipes and water tanks, but that does not account for water with heavy metals or other chemical contamination. That is, unless, you possess a good filtration system - it's role is exactly that; to filter water to meet guaranteed standards.
The last point is that filtered water simply tastes far superior to tap water, and there is a reason why the global bottled water industry is worth over $100 billion USD. Singapore's no slouch either, standing at roughly $134 million in 2015, for a population of just over 6 million. That's both a huge cost to consumer for just better tasting water, as well as a gigantic, needless waste of plastic. By getting a filter, you can be your very own bottler at home and avoid this altogether.
What should I look out for when choosing a drinking water purifier?
We are a company built on being genuine, and we understand our systems may not be for you. We recommend Doulton® filters because it carries both stellar accreditation and a rich legacy. But since we believe water information belongs to the people, we will share a few points from our experience in the industry for your benefit.
1) The filter should contain anti-bacterial elements
Different parts of the filter system should not breed mould or fungus over time. Make sure the filter element contains silver similar to our Doulton® filters or other anti-bacterial media, so that there is no colonization of harmful bacteria within the filter itself. Without it, an inferior filtration system can pollute your water instead!
One point to note is that many filtration systems that are trending offer multiple cartridge systems that lack individual anti-bacterial elements, especially carbon-containing media which is basically a playground for bacteria. The huge problem with this is that these multiple stages actually do become multiple stages for bacterial breeding grounds, which is rather nasty if you think about it.
2) Make sure the product has accreditation, even if partial.
Many filters will perform similarly for the first few hundred litres of water, but rapidly degrade in performance after, or when subject to tougher conditions. In fact, many low quality filters can appear to perform well at low water pressures and in low contaminant challenges.
Check for guarantees of quality standards passed, and ask for proof if you are not sure. The quality of drinking water filters is very important, and it is vital to ensure specific standards are not misrepresented with purported health benefits such as "antioxidising water" or the typical "2/3/5/10/100-in-1 filtration".
For example, Doulton® filters have full accreditation from many US and EU water agencies such as NSF* or WRAS (being based in the UK), are verified by over 50 independent laboratories globally, and offer hard performance statistics for their filters backed by this portfolio which is continuously updated annually.
*NSF is the National Sanitation Foundation based in the USA, and it is an international organisation which carries out stringent water tests and issues standards. Doulton® products are guaranteed to continue to perform at the stringent levels throughout its rated life from 2,000 to 10,000 litres depending on the candle model.
3) Make common-sense selections.
This may seem obvious, but the fact is that many ultra-low-cost systems are not filters at all. Check that the housing is made of food-grade materials of decent quality, and check that the filter actually does - well - something. Technological design and brand is a bonus, but crucial to every system is good filtration integrity and continuous performance of the drinking water purifier.
If you are buying from another reputable brand, make sure you are not given an imitation product. Doulton® ceramic filters have, as with other relatively famous brands, counterfeits out in the market that claim to do the same thing/look the same. Doulton® counterfeits and spin-offs are useless and possibly dangerous because filtration integrity is severely compromised when the silver content leeches out, the pore size is too large to be effective, or the ceramic quality is poor and cracks as time passes, among other problems.
We bid you well in your momentous decision to buy a water filter.
Or you could just pick up our Doulton® filters worry-free here.
Is Alkaline Water beneficial to my health?
Ah, now we are getting to the real stuff. The question being asked and answered by millennials everywhere. We will proceed with caution, our short answer being:
We are not certain, but we don't think so.
There are a host of companies globally claiming to offer the purported benefits of alkaline water in visually stimulating packages, such as trendy water bottles or fancy electric ionizers. However, there is a distinct lack of long-term medical research that supports or verifies positive causality.
A strong argument against alkaline water would be that our very own body's function of acid-base homeostasis opposes this, which is responsible for maintaining the pH of extracellular fluid (even before ingested materials hit the bloodstream). A more common-sense argument would be that every human's stomach pH is ranges from 1.5 to 3.5, effectively neutralizing immediately whatever extra few ions you throw into it. Lastly, a quick search into actual scientific articles brings up the words 'quackery' and 'pseudoscience'.
Conversely, there are so many products and reviews, that it is hard to deny that there could be intangible, but real long-term benefits.
Perhaps we the "uncles" and "aunties" at Arkwater are wrong, and alkaline water is going to be humanity's cure for cancer, but dealing on the ground where we have had to filter out the contaminants of decaying animals from a flooded village's water source, we'd rather deal with proven facts and figures. For now, we'd recommend saving $2000 and slicing some lemons instead.
We sincerely do want to always keep learning, so do contact us if you feel strongly about this. We would be glad to explore the addition of a new technology to our lineup.
What is heterotrophic bacteria?
If you are still reading, well done - you've just entered the big-boy league of water FAQs.
Heterotrophic bacteria refers to organisms that do not photosynthesize - which is over 95% of all bacteria, inclusive of both beneficial and harmful bacteria. Bacteria are living organisms and they naturally exist everywhere because they are part of the environment.
Some are good bacteria. For example, the probiotics and prebiotics as discovered by Nobel prize winner Eli Metchnikoff. These include bacteria found in yogurt, cheese, yeast, and in our human stomachs which are part of the normal gut microflora such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. In recent years, it is becoming increasingly common for people to consume these heterotrophic bacteria as dietary supplements to health.
Other heterotrophic bacteria are pathogenic (disease-causing). In our water context, the presence of these pathogenic bacteria is measured by the amount of Escherichia Coli(commonly known as E. Coli) which are found in the lower intestines. Since E. Coli can only survive for a short while outside the body, their absence makes them a good indicator organism for fecal contamination. The specific measurement of E. Coli in water, (as opposed to simply ALL heterotrophic bacteria), has become the prescribed way to measure the safety of drinking water.
What is HPC (Heterotrophic Plate Count)?
Wow, you are still here. Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back.
HPC is a method used to measure the amount of heterotrophic bacteria in water. One milliliter of water is cultured on an agar plate, and the number of formed colonies is counted. This reading does not indicate the presence of pathogenic organisms; hence HPC is not used as a standard for measuring water quality. The US Environmental Protection Agency set a water benchmark of 500 cfu ml-1 (colony-forming units per milliliter), as high concentrations of HPC bacteria can interfere with coliform analysis.
According to Health Canada, "Rudimentary testing for heterotrophic organisms became possible with the advent of culture media in the late 1800s. By the end of the century, HPC tests were being used as indirect indicators of water safety by providing information on the treatment process - that is, they indicated the level of removal of bacteria by filtration." Health Canada continues, "The use of HPC as a safety indicator decreased in the 20th century with the advent of fecal-specific testing."
One way to understand this to consider a simple human analogy. Within a human population there will be the large majority of good people and there maybe some bad people. HPC is akin to measuring the presence of people in an area and concluding that since there are people, there is a proportional amount of bad people within them. Obviously, this was not a good or even particularly scientific method.
A better way to measure bad people would be to look at the crime statistics - and that's sort of like what the E. Coli tests are about! This is why HPC has ceased to be used as an indicator for water safety, just as a population census is not used to find criminals. Similarly, one can explain the EPA's reason for the establishment of their HPC level through another analogy. The larger the population, the harder it will be to find the negative portion within that body with certainty.
According to the World Health organisation, a study was conducted among families in Connecticut, USA (Calderon 1988) who were randomly assigned either a blank filter or a granulated activated carbon (GAC) filter. The study covered over a total of 600 person years. There was regular monitoring of water quality and human health. Water from taps fitted with GAC filters had substantially higher heterotroph counts (mean >1000 cfu/ml) compared with unfiltered water (mean 92 cfu/ml). However, at the end of the study, there was no statistical health difference between people receiving water with high HPC and low HPC.
A further study was conducted in 1991 and came to the same conclusion (Calderon and Mood,1991). A further trial was conducted in 1997 (Payment, 1997) with several groups of people; one group drank chlorinated tap water, some were given bottled effluent water, and lastly some were given effluent water further treated by reverse osmosis (RO). In the 2 groups using bottled plant effluent water, there was significantly higher HPC detected. Despite this, the gastrointestinal illness rates were not significantly different between the high HPC and low HPC groups - in fact, the illness rate in the group with lower HPC was actually higher.
TL;DR The World Health Organisation has concluded that studies demonstrate there is no association between total counts of HPC bacteria and illness in humans.
If you have read and understand everything, you might just be a natural water buff - and if you are into saving lives, perhaps you would like to consider contacting us to volunteer in the field.
What exactly is removed or reduced by Doulton® filters?
Pathogenic Harmful Bacteria
such as Cholera, Typhoid, Salmonella, Shigella, Serratia, E.Coli, and Fecal Coliform
are removed to an absolute degree (defined >99.99%)
based on testing by Acer Environmental Ltd, Clare Microbiological Consultants, Halden Consultants Ltd, Hyder Environmental Laboratories and Sciences, Threash Beale & Suckling and more.
such as Cryptosporidium, Parvum and Giardia Lamblia
are removed absolutely (defined 99.99%)
based on tests by Arizona State University
Sediment and Particles
above 0.9 microns are removed completely (defined 100%)
between 0.5 - 0.8 microns are removed absolutely (defined >99.99%)
>99.9% at 0.5 microns
>99.7% at 0.3 microns
>98% at 0.2 micron
based on tests by Spectrum Laboratories, Minneapolis
such as pesticides, herbicides, organic solvents and trihalomethanes
are significantly reduced (>50-95%), varying by specific filter.
such as free chlorine is significantly reduced at 2ppm (96%), varying by specific filter.
Dissolved Heavy Metals
such as lead is significantly reduced at 150ppb (98.7%), varying by specific filter.
How can the Doulton®'s 1-element filter perform so many functions?
The Doulton® ceramic is made with a superior grade of diatomaceous earth, and each filter is made up of over 80,000 overlapping pores, with a micro-porous depth filtration equivalent to 0.2 microns.
The ceramic shell of our Doulton® filter is an NSF-listed component and is manufactured to meet NSF Class 1 Standards 42 and 53. Doulton® water filters are one of the only ceramic filters certified under both these NSF standards.
Every Doulton® ceramic filter has silver permanently locked into the Sterasyl®l pore structure, destroying bacteria and preventing colonisation throughout the ceramic element due to the oligodynamic effect. This is what makes the Doulton® ceramic filters one of the best and most reliable in the world.
Comes as a block (Ultracarb®, Supercarb®) or granular form (SuperSterasyl®). Quality activated carbon can have a surface area of up to 1000m2/g. This means that just 5 grams of activated carbon can have the same surface area as a football pitch.
Carbon adsorption then ensures that molecules of various chemical impurities collect on the carbon surface. Doulton®'s carbon core is responsible for removing bad taste and odors, as well as pesticides, herbicides, organic solvents, and trihalomethanes.
Ion Exchange Media
Doulton® utilizes a zeolite metal ion reduction medium. Doulton®'s ion exchange resins selectively reduce specific and potentially toxic heavy metals such as lead, copper, and mercury, while leaving healthy minerals such as calcium to flow through.
Is it expensive to maintain a Doulton® Water Purifier?
Not at all, for two main reasons:
No Electricity Required
While many distillation systems require significant electrical power consumption, Doulton® water purifiers do not need any electricity at all, using mechanical pressure to filter water. Converse to many popular water systems now which include a fairly inefficient heating system for instant hot and cold water dispensing, Doulton® filters are purely for the purpose of providing quality water, and will not blow up your bill.
The superb product reliability of Doulton® filter allows it to live way beyond rated levels of performance
For example, the Ultracarb® filter we carry has a total guaranteed performance of 2,244 litres for rated metal reduction performance. However, some Arkwater customers in Singapore with several
members in their households have used the Doulton® ceramic filters for easily
over 15 months, cleaning it almost up to a hundred times with no cracks in the ceramic.
Doulton® is a rare gem that trades frivolity for solid filtration integrity and reliability.
WHY DO DOULTON® CERAMIC ELEMENTS CONTAIN SILVER? IS IT SAFE?
In a multi-layer candle, anti-bacterial elements are even more critical because carbon is a natural growth medium for bacteria. In carbon-only filter elements, which are commonly found in many multi-stage systems, the carbon filter often ends up as being a bacteria repository if not changed regularly.
The pure silver in Doulton® ceramic elements is a specially assimilated self-sterilizing bacteriostatic agent, which destroys bacteria through the oligodynamic effect. The result is that bacterial growth is inhibited within the Sterasyl® ceramic. Bacterial "grow-through" is huge problem, especially on the ground in disaster-relief situations, since it is especially common with typical ceramic filter elements.
The silver content in Doulton® ceramic elements stands at about 0.07%, which is well within the allowable levels recommended by the World Health Organization and the EPA. Because of the silver, Doulton® filter elements do not require any sterilization, even after cleaning/scrubbing.
Will Doulton® be around in the next 5 years to get spare parts for my purifier?
Doulton® is one of the most reliable and trusted water filtration brands worldwide.
Doulton® first entered the water filtration business serving the industrial sector, but now brings its advanced technology to residential homes. Doulton® filters are still used by bottling companies, hospitals, clinics, and many other industries for professional water filtration processes.
Doulton® is also used by the International Red Cross, Unicef, Save the Children, foreign embassies and field workers in over 150 countries worldwide.
Doulton®'s filter technology has been time-tested and proven over 190 years of continuous product research and development since 1827.
Be at ease because you are not just investing into a filter system - you are investing into a legacy.
1. HOW LONG DO I NEED TO FLUSH THE CANDLES FOR WHEN I AM INSTALLING NEW REPLACEMENT DOULTON® CANDLE FILTERS?
The Doulton® candles emit fine non-toxic particles upon first use due to manufacturing process.
Remember to read the Doulton Manufacturer's Instructions, and flush each candle through with at least 20 litres of source water before use, or roughly 10 minutes.
2. HOW OFTEN DO I CLEAN MY FILTER ELEMENT?
This can vary depending on usage and water quality, but the best indication to do so is when your water flow becomes noticeably less than normal. This reduction in flow is due to contaminants blocking the water pathway, proving that the ceramic element is working.
3. How do I clean my filter?
Gently clean the candle with a scouring pad holding the plastic mount up, until the whiteness of the ceramic returns. Try not to rub too heavily or use overly abrasive material, and ensure that the end of the plastic mount does not come into contact with unfiltered water.
Do not use soap as it can potentially damage and clog the ceramic structure.
4. My filter seems to block up too regularly; is it working correctly?
Yes, regular blocking would be simply due to high turbidity in the water supply. This proves that the filter is working effectively; it is the ceramic filtering out contaminants which reduces the water flow.
If the filter affects the flow too often or too much, it may be beneficial to use a pre-filter upstream of the ceramic filter. This prevents the ceramic from becoming blocked too quickly, minimizing cleaning and extending the life of the candle.
5. How do i keep my filter housing clean?
Unscrew the body from the head and wipe the outer surface and inside of the body with a soft cloth dampened with warm water. Do not to attempt to clean the filter spout as this could cause contamination of the filtered water if wrongly cleaned.
6. Can I leave my filter un-used for a period of time?
If there's time before you leave on a holiday, take out the Ceramic candle, scrub it clean and lay it flat to dry on a clean towel. But if you haven't done this, don't worry.
Due to it's self-sterilising nature, Doulton® candles will not be affected by a lack of use for a period of time. If normal use of the filter is interrupted by holidays or vacations, the growth of harmless heterotrophic bacteria may result in a ‘flat’ or ‘stale’ taste for a period of time when use resumes.
This is especially true for the filter elements that contain activated carbon such as the Super Sterasyl® (containing granular activated carbon) or the Supercarb®, Chlorasyl® and Ultracarb® (containing an extruded activated carbon core). Flushing the filter system for several minutes after any prolonged period of inactivity will eliminate the problem.
7. How do I determine when the carbon in the ceramic element is exhausted?
When the bad taste and odor of unfiltered water returns, it indicates the activated carbon in the candle has been exhausted and change is recommended.
Please note the Doulton® ceramic shell will continue to remove pathogenic harmful bacteria even after the carbon is exhausted.