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Do Brita-type filters work?


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Can anyone please tell me the difference between the 3 Brita Faucet Water Filter models:

 

FF-100

 

OPFF-100

 

SAFF-100

 

I am having difficulty finding any pictures on the Internet, that show the filter with the specific model number.

 

Thank you.

Did you try the Brita website? Click here. Scroll down for specific model numbers.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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  • 2 months later...

Prompted by a discussion in the Anova thread:

 

http://forums.egullet.org/topic/148325-new-anova-precision-cooker-announced-may-6-2014/?p=2001176

 

 

I'm considering a Brita filter for dashi making, if the Brita really will remove calcium.  In googling around the calcium consensus is as clear as mud.  Further, according to wikipedia, in North America Brita does not have the rights to the name "Brita" and in North America Brita filters are sold under the name Mavea.

 

An interesting experiment might be to anova up an equal weight of kombu in three bags, one with tap water ice, one with filtered water ice, and one with distilled water ice (as I use now).

 

The filters are not that expensive but I'd like to learn a bit more about the technology before getting my feet wet, as it were.

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  • 1 month later...

Finally after much thought I acquired a Mavea/Brita pitcher filter.  So far I am pleased.  The pitcher seems well engineered, flavor of the water is improved.  Normally I find the local water supply quite potable but in some seasons there are off tastes, to say the least.

 

I still don't know about the calcium, as far as making dashi.  The literature claims to remove limescale.  There is also a warning that potassium levels are increased.

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  • 3 years later...

I now have Hach test strips as @rotuts recommended.  My Mavea pitcher reduces total hardness considerably.  I plan to try double filtration.  I just ordered a Brita pitcher of the same type from amazon UK since the only remaining Mavea seller on amazon US is demanding $70 (with free shipping).  Price including shipping was $41 from amazon UK.  Fortunately amazon US is still selling the replacement filter cartridges.

 

This article helps explain the Mavea/Brita business:

http://kitchenboy.net/blog/mavea-exits-north-american-market-frustrating-water-filtration-pitcher-owners/

 

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We recently gave up our Brita pitcher for under-sink filtration and are happy with the choice. We didn't have any gripes with water quality from the Brita, but that's largely because in NYC the water quality excellent. The filter is for removing chlorine, and any bad tastes and smells contributed by nasty pipes in the building. Our building has nasty pipes—probably galvanized steel that's been corroding and developing atherosclerosis since the building was built in the 1960s. Activated carbon takes care of this business easily.

 

The Brita also has some kind of ion-exchange resin, which is capable of reducing hardness and removing dissolved metals. But if you really need to reduce hardness (like to protect an espresso machine) or remove metals (because there's lead or mercury in the groundwater) you should have heavier duty protection than Brita. Tests I've seen show that the ion exchange effectiveness of Brita filters is middling at best, and short lived compared with the carbon portion of the filter. 

 

We just use a standard carbon block filter, because we don't need softening or metal removal. We went 100% standard, non-proprietary, with 10" filter housings and plumbing fittings. I got all the parts on Amazon for about $125. This included a nice solid stainless faucet to mount in the sink. The filters themselves cost $6 each, and are rated at 6000 gallons for chlorine removal. The Brita cartridges are $4 each (bought in bulk) and are rated at 40 gallons. That's 1000 gallons/dollar vs. 10 gallons/dollar.

 

Realistically, we'll probably replace the carbon filter once a year, which will be well before 6000 gallons. And we generally used the Brita cartridges past their prime. So the new system won't really be 100 times as cost effective. But it's more convenient. 

 

If we had issues with other pollutants, or needed water softening, a system like ours could be augmented just by adding more filter housings. You could have a carefully chosen resin filter for removing metals, and a softening filter. Some people will put in a mixing valve to blend the softened water and the unsoftened water to get a mineral level that they like. This is a pretty user-friendly and economical way to go, as long as you're not dealing with problems that merit a full-on reverse-osmosis system. 

 

Several companies make a huge range of filters in the standard 10" size, and all but the most specialized will probably be cheap.

Notes from the underbelly

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@paulraphael, I am very interested in what you installed under the sink to filter your water. I am in a similar situation: good water in the city, but by the time it gets through my ancient pipes, it has an "off" taste, slightly bitter, an iron taste. Currently I use the filter in my refrigerator, which makes a huge difference in the taste. As a result, for all my chocolate work and anything else requiring pure-tasting water (such as making coffee), I keep a pitcher in the fridge, but it is a nuisance to have to keep it filled and it doesn't help with all my other cooking (filling a pasta pot, for instance). I would love to know more about what you did. I have no mechanical abilities at all, so would have to hire a plumber to make any changes. Therefore it would help to know how complex this work would be. Lots of companies are more than willing to install a filter at the point where the pipe enters the house, but there are still the pipes between the new ones in the street and the ancient ones in my house.

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Years ago, I installed an under the sink filter in my rental apartment. One day, when we move out, I'll have to do something about it.

 

Ours is a little different, but very easy to install - it probably took no longer than a half hour. Ours doesn't use a separate spigot, but filters the cold water line of the kitchen sink. I installed a GE filter system that was like $50 at the Home Depot. I think it's been either discontinued or just that the Depot doesn't sell it any more. But I get replacement filters from Amazon or Ebay for anout $25.

 

In hindsight, I'd install a different one as the filters are a PITA to change.. But the initial install was really easy.

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12 hours ago, Jim D. said:

@paulraphael, I am very interested in what you installed under the sink to filter your water. I am in a similar situation: good water in the city, but by the time it gets through my ancient pipes, it has an "off" taste, slightly bitter, an iron taste. Currently I use the filter in my refrigerator, which makes a huge difference in the taste. As a result, for all my chocolate work and anything else requiring pure-tasting water (such as making coffee), I keep a pitcher in the fridge, but it is a nuisance to have to keep it filled and it doesn't help with all my other cooking (filling a pasta pot, for instance). I would love to know more about what you did. I have no mechanical abilities at all, so would have to hire a plumber to make any changes. Therefore it would help to know how complex this work would be. Lots of companies are more than willing to install a filter at the point where the pipe enters the house, but there are still the pipes between the new ones in the street and the ancient ones in my house.

 

There are a million options, but I think using non-proprietary standard parts is the most versatile and economical. The only real disadvantage is that it doesn't come as a kit so you need to figure out what connectors and hoses to buy. 

 

Maybe you can consult with the plumber and tell him what kind of filter housing and faucet you have, and he'll take care of the fittings. I

It took me about 45 minutes to install the stuff, not counting my extra trip to the plumbing store. Someone who knows what they're doing could probably do it in 15.

 

The basic parts (prices are what I paid a couple of months ago):

-10" filter housing $21

-Carbon block filter $6

-Shutoff valve (so you can turn off water to change filter) $8?

-Beverage faucet $43

 

And then the annoying connecty bits that the plumber might help with:

-T-connector (creates the connection from your cold water line) $7

-Appliance hose (connects from the t-connector to the filter) $10–$20

-Threaded fittings for filter housing ~$4

-3/8" LLPE polyethylene hose (connects filter to faucet. Worth getting this stuff; it doesn't add any plastic taste) ~$5

-Compression fitting, 3/8" (connects the 3/8" hose to the filter housing) ~$2

 

If the plumber isn't helpful, you can snap a picture of your undersink connections (in case you have something odd going on down there), and bring the picture along with your faucet and filter housing to a plumbing supply store / home depot. They'll tell you what to get. You could probably just buy all this stuff at home depot and be done with it, but I find the selection there disappointing much of the time. 

 

Edited to add: you can save some money by doing what Kenneth did, and not getting a separate faucet. Just be aware that it will greatly slow down the flow rate of your cold water, and you'll go through filters faster. We're happy to have the extra faucet. 

 

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Notes from the underbelly

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My filter doesn't slow down the cold water flow initially, but definitely slows down over time. If your local water had a lot of silt or particulates, it could be beneficial to get a prefilter which will only remove solid particles that would quickly clog the main filter.

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3 hours ago, KennethT said:

My filter doesn't slow down the cold water flow initially, but definitely slows down over time. If your local water had a lot of silt or particulates, it could be beneficial to get a prefilter which will only remove solid particles that would quickly clog the main filter.

Now that sounds interesting. The screen in my faucet gets clogged much too quickly; the plumber thinks it is from the cast iron pipes. And it is horrible to clean since the manufacturer designed the faucet to be attractive to look at but impossible to take apart fully. I definitely don't need anything that will slow down the water flow more than it already is. So where would a prefilter be installed? Under the sink? That under-sink area would get rather crowded with all this equipment. I suppose everything could be installed in the basement before the pipe comes up into the kitchen. I did have a plumber discuss replacing just the particular pipe that runs from the initial house inlet to the kitchen (leaving other pipes as they are). That new pipe would still require some sort of filter because of the stuff in the pipe from the street to the house.

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Usually the prefilter goes just before the main filter. The filter that I have is called a kitchen or bathroom filter and is designed to filter the entire kitchen or bathroom cold water. They make other types of "whole house" filters but they'd need to accommodate much more flow than a single room filter. But if part of your problem is coming from old rusty pipes, a filter at the water entry point won't help that...

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On 7/2/2018 at 8:20 PM, KennethT said:

Usually the prefilter goes just before the main filter. The filter that I have is called a kitchen or bathroom filter and is designed to filter the entire kitchen or bathroom cold water. They make other types of "whole house" filters but they'd need to accommodate much more flow than a single room filter. But if part of your problem is coming from old rusty pipes, a filter at the water entry point won't help that...

 

That's probably a big filter with lots of surface area, so you're not getting a noticeable slowdown before it starts clogging. A standard 10" carbon filter will slow the flow rate more noticeably. Exactly how much depends on your water pressure and the normal flow rate of your faucet. 

 

Whether or not it makes sense to filter all the water really depends on what's in it.

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Notes from the underbelly

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My Brita filter pitcher arrived today from amazon UK.  Looks just like the Mavea pitcher that I purchased a couple years ago from amazon US.  It's a pain that they left the US market.

 

No energy at the moment to set up and test.  Will try to report back later.

 

 

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2 hours ago, rotuts said:

 

Yes it is the Elemaris XL.  And yes, there is a reason, the Mavea filters I use don't fit the US Brita pitchers.

 

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@JoNorvelleWalker

 

interesting

 

are you using Mavea Filters because :

 

a )   you have a bazillion , for some reason ?

 

b ) you feel they are more effective than Brita ?

 

if   b ) is the answer Id like to learn about it

 

Im fine with Brita BTW   and drink the water out of my tap as its excellent town well water .

 

I just  would rather remove the Ca for there effects on my gizmos

 

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5 hours ago, rotuts said:

@JoNorvelleWalker

 

interesting

 

are you using Mavea Filters because :

 

a )   you have a bazillion , for some reason ?

 

b ) you feel they are more effective than Brita ?

 

if   b ) is the answer Id like to learn about it

 

Im fine with Brita BTW   and drink the water out of my tap as its excellent town well water .

 

I just  would rather remove the Ca for there effects on my gizmos

 

 

Bazillion is a strong word but I have them on amazon subscribe and save.  They may or may not be better.  I note the US Brita filters look an awful lot like the prior generation from Brita DE.

 

And c) I don't want to have to stock two kinds of filters.

 

I drink my tap water as well.  Although the CSO is thirsty too.  However the primary reason for obtaining the second pitcher is to test double filtration for making stock.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Color strips are pretty, and nice as far as they go.  However as a frustrated chemist I now have a Hach Total Hardness Test Kit, Model HA-71A, which measures total hardness by titration:

 

Hach07142018.png

 

 

I did not feel it was necessary to spring for the kit that actually measured calcium.

 

With my new Brita (which is exactly the same as my old Mavia, except that the side of the pitcher says "Brita" instead of "Mavia") I am able to double filter my water.

 

The double filtered water measures 2 mg/L of hardness.  The single filtered water measures 51 mg/L of hardness.  My tap water measures 171 mg/L of hardness.

 

Sometimes it's a hard life but now I can make kombu stock!

 

 

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12 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

 

With my new Brita (which is exactly the same as my old Mavia, except that the side of the pitcher says "Brita" instead of "Mavia") I am able to double filter my water.

 

The double filtered water measures 2 mg/L of hardness.  The single filtered water measures 51 mg/L of hardness.  My tap water measures 171 mg/L of hardness.

 

 

 

 

It would be interesting to see how quickly the softening ability changes as the filter ages.

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Notes from the underbelly

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Im going to have to try the Brita two step w my strips.

 

for fun

 

Ive had no calcium issues on my CSO nor my Espresso machines.

 

so for fun.

 

I did a fair amount of chemistry a long long time ago

 

and similar stuff called  " Clinical Chemistry "

 

still come time ago.

 

your titration system

 

is talking to me

 

pleased its not Singing ,

 

or Id have to Rope Myself to the Mast.

 

hard to study MR that way,

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  • 4 months later...
On ‎7‎/‎15‎/‎2018 at 11:31 AM, paulraphael said:

 

It would be interesting to see how quickly the softening ability changes as the filter ages.

 

I have been remiss in changing the filters.  Now after more than 4 months the double filtered water is 34 mg/L.  At the start of the experiment the double filtered water was 2 mg/L.

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