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Ultrafiltration (UF) uses a porous membrane to remove bacteria and viruses while retaining minerals. A UF system is a waste-free alternative to reverse osmosis.
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What is ultrafiltration and how does it improve drinking water?
Ultrafiltration (UF) is a powerful water filtration process that uses standard home water pressure to propel water through a semi-permeable membrane. The ultrafiltration membrane eliminates a host of contaminants, like lead, bacteria, viruses, chlorine, and any suspended particulate matter. This membrane filtration technology has historically been used in hospitals, industrial plants, and city municipalities, but now, ultrafiltration is one of the most popular choices for comprehensive under-sink water filtration.
Ultrafiltration membranes have a remarkable 0.02 micron rating. The ultrafiltration process guides water through a membrane comprised of hollow fibers. Contaminants with a high molecular weight are unable to permeate the exterior of the hollow fibers and adhere to their surface. The ultrafiltration membrane only allows water, minerals, and some dissolved solids to pass through the filter and out of your faucet. The multitude of hollow fibers gives ultrafiltration systems an expansive surface area, capable of eliminating cysts, pharmaceuticals, and heavy metals from your water. The ultrafiltration membrane also has a high chemical resistance to oxidants and chlorine, compared to the thin film composite (TFC) of some reverse osmosis membranes, which cannot tolerate any degree of chlorine.
What are the advantages of an under-sink ultrafiltration system?
Zero waste: Ultrafiltration produces high purity water directly at your sink without generating any wastewater. Unlike reverse osmosis systems, contaminants can be reduced without creating any brine. This eliminates the need for ultrafiltration units to be connected to a drain line. Without a permeate pump, a reverse osmosis unit will waste around 80% of the water it processes. This makes ultrafiltration a more environmentally friendly filtration system, in addition to conserving your water usage.
Simple installation: Under-sink ultrafiltration units do not require laborious installations. With the assistance of household tools like a drill, screwdriver, and wrench, you can install your system without an expensive call to the plumber. Built-in shut-off valves on quick-change filter cartridges lead to simple and sanitary filter replacements. These are low maintenance systems, requiring only annual membrane replacements and biannual prefilter and postfilter replacements.
Low pressure operation: Ultrafiltration systems can operate at standard household water pressures without any assistance from a booster pump or demand pump. Most systems can produce high flow rates at pressures as low as 20 psi. RO systems require at least 50 psi to function optimally, necessitating additional pumps to ensure proper system performance.
High flow rates: The ultrafiltration technology processes water quickly. You can expect a flow rate of anywhere from 0.5-1 GPM on most ultrafiltration. This allows you to run your UF system to not only the dedicated sink faucet, but also to appliances like your ice maker and refrigerator filter. Reverse osmosis systems produce water at such a slow rate a storage tank is required to collect the purified water for when you demand it. Ultrafiltration eliminates the need for bulky under-sink tanks and provides water from the tap at a desirable rate of flow.
Mineral retention: The hollow fiber membrane of ultrafiltration systems don’t eliminate any minerals from your drinking water during the filtration process. There is no need to add an alkalinity boosting remineralizer after your UF system to improve the flavor and elevate the mineral content. With alkaline water increasingly being touted for its perceived health benefits and superior taste, ultrafiltration has the advantage of providing highly pure but nonetheless mineral-rich water.
What does an ultrafiltration system remove?
The three-stage ultrafiltration process is adept at eliminating dirt and debris, unwanted contaminants, and restoring fresh taste and odor to your drinking water. The water initially passes through a sediment filter, which removes large particulate matter like rust, silt, sand, and dirt. This protects the system from clogging with debris and enhances the filtrations capabilities of the ultrafiltration unit. The water then passes through a carbon block filter. This eliminates chlorine from the water, which gives water a chemical taste and pungent odor. Finally, the water passes through the hollow fiber membrane, where microscopic contaminants are stripped out before the purified water flows out your kitchen faucet or into your ice maker.
Ultrafiltration’s sub-micron filtration capabilities effectively remove and reduce contaminants including:
- • Algae
- • Bacteria
- • Benzene
- • Chlorine
- • Chloride
- • Copper
- • Cysts
- • Lead
- • Mercury
- • MTBE
- • Pesticides
- • Pharmaceuticals
- • Rust
- • Sediment
- • Viruses
- • VOCs
If you want to learn more about how ultrafiltration works, explore our blog post on ultrafiltration!
Ultrafiltration System Reviews
| Love It! |
I talked to the people at the company prior to this purchase. I had an RO system I could not find filters for and then discovered the amount of waste water I was producing. This system has none and I just love the taste. --- Kelly C.
| Very pleased |
I’m very pleased with the TL3. It is a good source of water free from contamination and it does not take up much space in your kitchen. I also bought a second TL3 for my mom!! --- Jose V.
| Highly Recommended |
Great system! A breeze to install. Water tastes and smells great. Seems like a good value compared to many of the systems I considered. --- Adam C.
| WQCFU-T-3 |
Have been using this system in a vacation home in the Cabo San Lucas, BCS, Mexico for a number of years and sold about 15 more units to friends in the area, no one has come down with Montezumas Revenge yet. this includes some chemotherapy patients and many grandchildren. --- R.A.K.
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