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Filter carafes: a good idea?

Table of contents
Carafe Filter

Many of you use a carafe filter in your home, and you have questions about how this popular product works. common purpose of the kitchens of France.

We will attempt to answer these questions, without entering into a scientific debate that is already widely available. In this article, you will find links to two very comprehensive studies. One by the French National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) and the other by the association "Que choisir".

We'll now look at the usefulness of these carafes and their filters. We will also look at the various disadvantages that users are not always aware of.

What is a carafe filter?

Carafe or filter coffee maker

First of all, let's start with the basics and a definition!

A carafe filter (some would sayfilter jug"orfilter coffee maker") is therefore a way of improving the taste and the quality oftap water from your kitchen. We'll see that there are more effective techniques!

It works in filtering out certain impurities that can be found in your kitchen tap water.

A simple utensil

Using this type of filter gives you access to a range of drinking water cleaner and better tastewithout the additives or extra cost of bottled water.

It is true that a decanter does not require no complicated installation and is easy to use. All you have to do is fill it with cold tap water (you'll need to do this several times to fill it completely) and leave it to stand for a few minutes. Finally, you can enjoy freshly filtered water and better quality.

The device consists of a double-tank container. Sa upper part is designed to receive the water to be filtered. The lower part stores the filtered water. Finally, the appliance is fitted with a cartridge containing the filter itself.

Composition of the carafe filter

Le filter or the filter cartridge of the carafe is the nerve centre of the appliance.

Inside, you'll find white ballsion exchange resins, and black ballsmade of activated carbon. Le activated carbon is a material obtained by carbonising and activating carbon-rich organic materials such as coconut shells and wood. Its porous structure allows it to capture impurities such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. chlorinethe pesticides and organic residues by adsorbing them to its surface.

Finally, everything is wrapped in plastic and enriched with silver particles to prevent bacterial growth in the filter.

In this way, the water you pour into the carafe's top reservoir will flow through the top of the carafe. gravity through these beads (this takes several minutes and must be done several times) into the bottom tank.

Carafe filter cartridge

Disadvantages of filter carafes

Environmental impact

Plastic filter for a Brita or Berkey filter carafe

In fact, the filter cartridges in carafes, like those in coffee podsare very difficult to recycle. The process is specific and costly, due to the mix of components and the low value of the materials.

What's more, the cartridges produce so much plastic waste that their environmental impact becomes significant. So, no, the carafe and their filters made of ion exchange resins and activated carbon are not the best solution. are not an ecological solution.

Low capacity

It is also important to understand that useful capacity is not the one announced, but only the one of the low tank !

Indeed, the advertised capacity of 2.4 litres for the models of the best-known brands do not contain 1.4 litres of filtered water. Nonetheless, the device will occupy more than 3 litres of space in your fridgewhich generally has no dedicated space for this type of container.

a carafe filter will take up a lot of space in your fridge

Reduction in essential trace elements

But let's talk about essential trace elements contained in your water, and more specifically calcium and magnesium.

A carafe filter greatly reduces them up to 80 to 90%, thanks to the white resin beads in the cartridges. These figures appear on the leaflets themselves.

Calcium and magnesium are essential to our good health. While we buy mineral water in plastic bottles at 30 centimes a bottle for its calcium and magnesium content, or cheese or milk, why not drink the stuff that comes to us?

What's more, to reduce calcium, these products contain it. replace with sodiumand therefore lead to a saltier water when you go out. Care should be taken when following a special salt-free diet.

Read also: Tap water filter: What to choose

Chlorine reduction? Yes, but...

So, yes, it's a fact that a filtering jug also reduces the chlorine in the same proportions as calcium and magnesium. This is undoubtedly the primary reason for its use. In fact, tap water that has been purified of chlorine (used primarily to disinfect the water) will be much more pleasant to drink. better taste.

However, according to the Anses, the process of reducing the minerals in carafes will produce acidic water. Its pH will fall from an average of 7.5 to 6, and will become corrosive to metals in household appliances.

glass of pure water against a natural backdrop

Corrosive water

For example, if your water is filtered by a carafe, it will protect your kettle from limescale and scale, it will also damage it through its acidity. The metal in your kettle will corrode and then break if you boil it in acidic, salty water too often!

Another tip for getting rid of limescale if you use water that is balanced in terms of trace elements in your kettle: a spoonful of citric acid effectively removes limescale and costs just a few euros per kg.

In conclusion, you've got it, It is not advisable to use water from a filter carafe in household appliances. that heat water in metal: kettles, coffee machines, etc.

Read also: How can I descale a kettle and extend its life?

What about bacteria?

The final point is bacteriological. L'UFC Que Choisir and theANSES warn after analysis of "nests of bacteriaIn other words, it's "measured" in the day-to-day use of carafes.

Relative efficiency

In fact, a report by the French National Health and Safety Agency (Anses) published in March 2017 concludes that the effectiveness of filter carafes is open to debate.

Although these carafes promise healthier water than tap water at a lower cost than bottled water, the agency warns that their inappropriate use can lead to proliferation of bacteria.

The report warns against microbiological contamination linked to the improper use of carafes at home. According to the Anses, when used at home, carafes can become veritable nests of bacteria, compromising water quality.

Filter jugs = breeding ground for bacteria

Water quality often compromised by carafe filters

In fact, the use of decanter filters can release certain contaminants such as silver, sodium, potassium and ammonium ions in drinking water.

In addition, as we mentioned earlier, some carafes can lower the pH of the water. According to Canadian and British studies, this lowering of the Ph of the water could encourage the release of certain metals when heated in contact with metal or ceramic utensils. However, the Anses states that current data do not indicate any health risk for consumers.

As far as water quality is concerned, the Anses considers that most carafes meet the standards for reducing odour, bad taste, chlorine, lead and copper. But performance varies considerably between models. Anses also raises the question of the relevance of filtering the calcium and the copperMany people already have inadequate intakes of these minerals.

Finally, in 2010, analyses had already shown that all the carafes tested at home had led to a deterioration in water quality.

An alternative to the carafe filter... Without the filter!

LaVie water purifier

Although carafes don't offer all the filtration efficiency you need for your tap water, you shouldn't conclude that the solution lies in buying a carafe. water packs !

In fact, bottled water is a much worse alternative, both for the environment and for our health.environment and your wallet ! Did you know thatbottled water is at least 300 times more expensive than tap water ?

But don't worry, a a third way is possiblewith UV purifiers from LaVie.

A technological innovation

First of all, you should know that tap water purifiers UV-A LaVie® operate without filters or maintenance and allow you to purify your tap water in just a few minutes. 15 minutes.

They use an innovative technology, different from the gravity filtration of the carafe, patented and exclusive to LaVie®: the photolysis of chlorine by UV-A radiation.

This treatment, which has been shown to be effective (https://lavie.bio/tests-scientifiques/) enableschlorine removal and its derivatives, chemical compounds such as certain pesticides, herbicides, drug residues. As a result unpleasant tastes and smells that can be found in tap water are eliminated.

An economical AND ecological alternative

Firstly, the results are very qualitative, enabling us to draw a definitive line under the consumption of plastic bottled water and regain pleasant taste of the water.

Next, thecarbon footprint linked to the manufacture of the UV water purifier's aluminium tube is neutralised in just a few days' use, compared with the equivalent consumption of water in plastic bottles.

Finally, there's an economic dimension to buying a LaVie water purifier. In fact, the savings on the cost of plastic water bottles will quickly pay for itself.

Armed with this useful information for all customers, you can choose the right water purifier suitable for you and your family.

Read also: Carafe filter vs UV tap water purifier: the match-up!

1. Fill in
LaVie bottle

Your LaVie bottle of tap water

2. Insert
use LaVie

The bottle in the water purifier

3. Wait
LaVie treatment

Time taken for UV-A light to activate chlorine photolysis (15 minutes)

4. Enjoy!
enjoy LaVie

And enjoy the real taste of healthy water!

FAQs on filter carafes

Filter carafes reduce certain contaminants, but they do not eliminate them completely. They are more effective at improving the taste of water than at completely purifying it.

It works by passing tap water through a filter containing ion exchange resin beads, activated carbon and silver particles to eliminate biological contaminants.

The life of a carafe filter, such as the Brita Maxtra Pro filter, depends on how often it is used and the quality of the water. In general, they should be replaced every 4 to 6 weeks.

a. Environmental impact Filter cartridges for carafes, like coffee pods, are very difficult to recycle, unless you pay a lot of money for a specific process, because of the mix of components and the low value of the materials.
b. Low useful capacity Carafes take up more space in the fridge than the amount of water they actually contain.
c. Reduction in essential trace elements Carafes: Carafes significantly reduce the levels of calcium and magnesium in water, which are essential for good health.
d. Chlorine reduction Water softeners: Although they reduce chlorine, they also make the water more acidic and corrosive to household appliances.
e. Bacteria Poorly maintained filter carafes can become breeding grounds for bacteria, compromising water quality.

No, because of the difficulty of recycling filter cartridges and the production of plastic waste, they are not considered an environmentally-friendly solution.

Carafes reduce the calcium and magnesium in water, which are essential for good health, by up to 80 to 90%.

Yes, they reduce chlorine, but this can make the water more acidic and corrosive to household appliances.

Some filter carafes reduce the presence of heavy metals such as lead and copper in tap water.

Yes, if they are not properly maintained, filter carafes can become breeding grounds for bacteria, compromising the microbiological quality of the water.

Yes, an alternative to filter jugs is to use UV-A water purifiers, which work without filters or maintenance to purify tap water in just a few minutes.

They use UV-A photolysis technology to eliminate chlorine and certain pesticides, and improve the taste and odour of the water.

Yes, they have a smaller carbon footprint than water in carafes and plastic bottles. So they are quickly becoming a greener option.

Pascal Nuti CEO of LaVie Water Purifier

Article written on 04/11/2020 by Pascal Nuti - CIO Solable - Passionate about energy, I'm constantly on the lookout for new targets for improvement, exploring cross-disciplinary paths using novel methods.

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