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July 2022

Shower Water Filters: Answers to Your Questions

Have you been considering using a shower water filter in your home, but feel unsure that it's worth the cost and effort?  

Of course, only you can decide, but it’s been shown that shower water filters are one of the best water purifying solutions you can implement in your home for bathing.  

Even though the water we drink and bathe in has been regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act since 1974 in the United States, it's no secret that it could benefit from more filtration. According to the Environmental Working Group's tap water database, it is believed that there are over 300 contaminants that can be found in household water.  

Per this data, most shower and bath water contains chemicals that have been known to be harmful to humans. Some chemicals found in shower water include volatile organic chemicals like chloramine.  

Fortunately, you can filter shower water quite easily. In our article, we're going to have a look at everything you need to know about shower water filtration so that you can decide for yourself if it is worth considering.  

Is Shower Water Filtered?

When water is sent to your home from various sources, it is filtered with numerous harsh chemicals to make it safer for humans to bathe and drink.  

Additionally, although your water is filtered at a plant and treated, a lot can happen while water travels from the plant and to your house water. The water that comes out of your taps does go through a plant water filtration system. Yet, your shower water is not further filtered for any other chemicals or impurities it has picked up along the way. 

What Is a Showerhead Filter?

In the filtration industry, several types of shower filters include inline models and built-in showerheads, which work to help filter water to make it healthier. A shower head filter functions the same way regular showerheads function.  

However, unlike regular showerheads, a filtered showerhead has a built-in filtration system that removes impurities and softens your shower water to an extent. In contrast, an inline shower filter is directly screwed behind the existing showerhead or fixed showerhead you use.  

Since there are different showerhead filters, it's essential to know about the best shower head filters. Yet, before installing one of these filters, you need to identify if any contaminants are found in your local water system, as this will allow you to determine which showerhead filter you should use.  

There are carbon filters for shower water with multiple layers of carbon, typically in the form of activated coconut carbon. These filters remove chlorine and are best for removing sediment, odors in the water, and volatile organic compounds. Yet, it's important to note that high temperatures could diminish its filtering capabilities.  

Additionally, there are also kinetic degradation fluxion filters (KDF). These shower head water filters are made with zinc and copper, and they use a chemical reaction to neutralize impurities. For example, KDF filters can neutralize chlorine, mercury, iron, bacteria, and hydrogen sulfide. KDF filters can also reduce mold and limescale in your shower.  

Moreover, there are vitamin C shower filters. These filters for showerheads have become popular in recent years because they help dechlorinate tap water.

Can I Put a Filter on My Existing Showerhead?

The simple answer is yes. However, not every filter will suit your shower. Many people prefer to use an inline shower filter behind their showerheads. This filter is harder to install but allows you to keep your original showerhead to improve your water flow quality.  

Should you want an easy shower filtration system, you can purchase a showerhead that has a built-in filter. However, with this type of water filter, you will sometimes need to replace the entire showerhead each time the filter's life cycle has ended if it doesn't have replacement filters. 

Does Shower Water Need to Be Filtered?

Although some might not see it as wholly necessary, filtering your shower is important for many different reasons. Not only will your skin and hair benefit from filtered water, but also your body. 

For example, there has been extensive research into how showering in chlorinated hot water may lead to the development of bladder cancer. This research has shown that many people might be inhaling trihalomethanes (THMs), a by-product of chlorinated water. This compound increases the likelihood of a person developing bladder cancer.  

Additionally, researchers have uncovered during a study that participants' lungs had increases of an estimated 2.7ppb of chloroform after a 10-minute shower. Since shower water is hot, the participants had opened pores which allowed for the chloroform present in the shower water to enter their skin and lungs. The amount they ingested was more than if they had drunk eight glasses of the same water.  

Moreover, another study completed by a research team determined that women who drank or showered in unfiltered water laced with chloramine and chlorine experienced adverse health problems. The study concluded that these women experienced complications with their pregnancies, including stillbirths, spontaneous abortions, premature delivery, and various congenital disabilities.  

As can be evidenced, it is likely better to install a shower water filter than not. Many good filters are available, like the Whole Home Water Filters from HomeWater that will remove up to 99% of chlorine from the water stream exiting your shower head.  

Not all shower water filters will remove THMs from your water supply because of high water pressure. Fortunately, if you use a water filter that combines activated carbon and KDF 55, you can reduce a significant amount of THMs and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from your shower water.

Do Showerhead Filters Work?

Whether or not a showerhead filter works will depend on your purchase type. Some showerheads make unfounded claims or claims that cannot be supported.  

Yet, for the most part, the most reputable shower head filters that are considered the best shower filters do what they are designed to do. They remove harmful chemicals, contaminants, and impurities to varying levels of success.

How Do I Filter My Shower Water?

How you can filter your shower water will largely depend on the type of filter you choose. Above we briefly spoke about shower head filters, but below, we go into more detail surrounding how two kinds of shower filters will filter your water.

Built-In Shower Water Filter 

A built-in showerhead has a filter built into the showerhead– just like it sounds. You won't have many choices with a built-in shower water filter, but the filter will work better because the head has been designed to accommodate the filter. When you switch the water on, it will be filtered through your showerhead. 

Many built-in showerhead filters have multiple spray patterns, despite what you might think. Additionally, since this type of water filter is built-in, it won't reduce the height of your shower.  

Inline Shower Water Filters 

An inline shower water filter is installed close to the back of the shower arm. These filters are usually compact, but they often lower the showerhead, so they might not be ideal for tall people.  

An inline shower filter is placed between the pipeline and showerhead so that you can use it with any showerhead.  

When you switch your water on, it will be filtered through this inline filter and come out of your showerhead.

Do Shower Filters Work for Hard Water?

Let's unpack what hard water is. Hard water has a high mineral content. Often, hard water will form after bodies of water have percolated through deposits of chalk, gypsum, or limestone primarily made up of magnesium carbonates, calcium, sulfates, and bicarbonates.  

It's estimated that approximately 85% of water in the U.S. is classified as hard water. You can determine if you have hard water in your home by conducting a water hardness test with a kit that you can purchase from various stores.  

If you have hard water at your home, you can use a shower filter to make the water you bathe in less harsh. A shower water filter will not soften the hard water in a traditional sense. Yet, it will remove the chemical contaminants, minerals, calcium, magnesium clogs, and chlorine from the hard water. It's crucial to note that not every shower water filter will work with hard water.

How Long Do Shower Filters Last?

Although a few shower water filters will claim to last longer than a year according to their warranty, this is unfortunately not the case. Most shower water filters will realistically last a maximum of three to six months if you take two 10 minute showers each day. However, KDF 55 water filters can last between eight to twelve months. 

Other cheaper filters could last only a few weeks before you need to change them, but it really depends on the amount of water that passes through the filter cartridge.  

However, despite not lasting too long, they are still a home improvement that will benefit you.

Does a Shower Filter Affect Water Pressure?

Although it might seem like a shower water filter will affect your water pressure or flow rate, it likely won't. If a shower head filter is installed correctly, it will process approximately 2.5 gallons per minute, the same as a standard showerhead. In addition, most shower head filters will allow a pressure rating of between 40 to 80 psi which is perfect for most people. 

Does a Shower Filter Help With Hair Loss?

Since most shower water filters minimize the effects of hard water on your skin and hair and remove impurities and contaminants, it provides you with softer water. This means that not only will you suffer from less dandruff, but your hair loss from breakage of brittle hair also won't be as significant since the water does not contain as many harmful chemicals like chlorine. 

Do Water Filters Help Hair?

With a shower water filter installed, you have an improved shower experience because your skin feels softer, and your hair loss is curbed, as we mentioned previously. Yet how do water filters help your hair? Have a quick look below to learn more about the various ways a shower water filter can help you achieve healthier hair.  

  • Reduces copper: If your home has copper pipes, it could be affecting your hair health because copper can react to the amino acids found in your hair's protein structure. When this happens, your scalp could develop dandruff, become red, or in extreme cases, turn green. Having a showerhead water filter can prevent this from happening. 
  • Protects against hard water: Hard water is high in mineral content. The minerals like calcium, and magnesium buildup the surface of your hair shafts, leaving them dry and brittle. This causes your hair to break. If you have a shower water filter, you will reduce the amount of buildup that occurs, which make your hair healthier. 
  • Reduces chlorine: Besides having adverse health effects on your body, chlorine also dries out your hair. If you use a shower water filter, your scalp won't be as dry and less prone to irritating eczema, and your hair follicles will be healthier.  

Can I Drink Shower Water?

Drinking your shower water is not a good idea. 

Hot shower water can contain bacteria and harmful chemicals, and if you drink this bacteria, it could make you sick. Even if you have a shower filter, you should avoid drinking shower water. Unfortunately, few shower water filter systems can remove 100% of water impurities, chemicals, metals, and bacteria. 

Do Shower Water Softeners Work?

Although a few shower water filter softeners can make your home water softer, they cannot do so for a very long time. This is because the process of softening water is complex, and an inline or built-in shower water softener cannot complete all the steps of the process in its entirety since it is a small filtration system. Often the best way to soften your water in your shower is to install a whole home water filter system

Shower Water Filtering – A Good Idea

Installing a shower water filter in your home is incredibly beneficial. The various shower water filters will remove harmful chemicals from the water, including minerals and heavy metals.  

These filters will also decrease your likelihood of developing bladder cancer and help prevent complicated pregnancies. Shower water filters will also help prevent dry skin and dandruff and ensure healthy hair.  

If you're eager to learn more about the various types of shower water filters or would like to install one in your home for a healthier living environment, you can speak with us at HomeWater. Our water experts understand how important it is to have a shower water filter in your home and can explain the various ways it will improve your water quality.

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