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I'm trying to get my parents a good water filtration system for their home. They live in Mexico so the quality of the water might not be as good as in the US. They have to buy bottled water every week and so I would like to get at least the same quality.

There seems to be 3 types of water filtration processes (UV, reverse osmosis, carbon filter) and from what I've gathered the best is to use the 3 of them if one wants good quality. What systems would you recommend, when I search online I mainly get websites of companies advertising their products so I'm interested in knowing more of what you have to say about this. Ideally I would like to find the type of product(s) I want to get them and then start to look for them in Mexico or, if some of the parts are not too big, ship them to Mexico from here.

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What is your budget? Would you still want to do this if the cost per filtered gallon was higher than the bottled water? –  James Van Huis Nov 3 '10 at 17:46
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

A 5-stage reverse osmosis / UV filter will likely give you the results you want. This will filter out heavy metals as well as viruses and bacteria.

Downsides:

  • Cost (~$400, plus consumables)
  • Maintenance (new filters every 3-6 months, new UV lamps / membranes periodically)
  • Waste water (Every gallon of purified water produces at least 3 gallons of waste water)

After installing, I would definitely send a sample of the filtered water off to a lab to verify that it is potable.

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Thanks! Very interesting! Do you know that particular brand? I'm surprised I don't see that many reviews of filters out there... –  amh Nov 4 '10 at 3:49
    
Odd that this was downvoted (it's at -1 as I'm seeing it). I'm all for testing first, but it looks like a unit like this filters pretty much everything. If it's in the budget, I don't see why this isn't a good answer. –  Mike Powell Nov 4 '10 at 9:39
    
this is definitely a good answer, not sure who or why it was downloaded. You should most certainly verify that the water is potable and that the filter will remove all harmful particles. –  Scott Vercuski Nov 4 '10 at 14:18
    
I'm not familiar with that particular brand / site, but these filters are generally similar to one another, and most of them will use standard size cartridges for all the consumables. –  James Van Huis Nov 4 '10 at 14:45
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The "best" system does not exist. It all depends on what is in the water, and what you need to remove from it.

For example, UV can kill bugs in the water. But it won't remove pesticide contaminants, nor will it remove hardness or iron. And I recall that iron in the water can make a UV system less effective. Iron will also potentially cause problems with a reverse osmosis system. So you arguably want to know what is in the water that must be removed in order for the system to work well.

All of this is why you may need several components in sequence to clean the water up.

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And the implied extra advice here is to get your water tested -- if your (OP's) parents are in MA as your profile indicates you are, you can search for EPA certified water test laboratories here: public.dep.state.ma.us/Labcert/Labcert.aspx. If they're in another state try searching for "[state] epa water labs" to find a similar tool for their state. –  Mike Powell Nov 3 '10 at 17:50
    
No, it appears they are in Mexico. Even if they cannot find a lab to do the testing, there are over the counter water test kits you can buy. They are not terribly accurate, but they will flag most problems. But definitely test the water. –  user558 Nov 3 '10 at 18:20
    
Correct, they are in Mexico. Any suggestion on reputable water test kits I can buy online and send it to them. I will also investigate if there are water test labs in their city. Thanks! –  amh Nov 4 '10 at 3:11
    
Sorry, missed that detail. At any rate, there's no reason he can't send a sample of their water to a lab certified by any state including MA. –  Mike Powell Nov 4 '10 at 9:40
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