Able to remove impurities found in water such as chlorine, shower filters are a great and efficient way to improve the quality of your shower water for very little effort.
Today we want to discuss their value and if they are worth considering adding to your shower routine.
To understand if a shower filter is right for you, it’s important to know why you are considering one in the first place. Shower filters are not a magic bullet that will make all your water woes disappear, but they can help mitigate the negative effects of some water impurities.
Some municipalities add chloramines to their water as a way to disinfect it. Unfortunately, this ammonia-chlorine compound is very difficult to remove via a shower filter. When you read the side of any shower filter box, you’ll find that most companies never state that their filter will remove only some of the chloramines from your water.
Contact them directly to find out if your municipality adds chloramines to your water.
If tap water naturally contains a high concentration of minerals, also known as hard water, your shower filter will not make it softer. Soap scum and that tacky feeling on your skin will persist after installing a shower filter.
To mitigate these effects, you’ll want to use a whole-house water softener with your shower filter.
What Shower Filters Actually Filter?
If your local municipality relies on chlorine, then a shower filter is a great way to remove it from your water. Most reverse-osmosis shower filters can remove 95%+ of chlorine from water, making it much safer for you to shower.
Will They Impact Water Pressure?
Shower filters will have very little, if any, impact on your water pressure. The amount of water that can flow through your shower head is determined by the restrictor valve that the manufacturer placed in the head while producing it to adhere to federal and state water conservation guidelines (source).
The Type of Filter Can Provide Different Advantages
When shopping for shower filters, you’ll find a few that you can choose between. Here are a few things to keep in mind so you can see if and which shower filter is worth considering:
- Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (KDF) Filters: In addition to chlorine, a KDF filter can remove other harmful chemicals and substances, including iron, hydrogen sulfide, lead, and heavy metals. Learn more about KDF filters here.
- Activated Carbon Filters: These filters can remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs), lead, fluoride, pesticides, and chlorine.
- Vitamin C Filters: With a high concentration of ascorbic acid, vitamin C shower filters work by neutralizing chlorine. When chlorine reacts with ascorbic acid, it becomes water-soluble and harmless.
Some shower filter brands provide a multi-stage filtration system that can catch many impurities. These filters often use a combination of KDF, carbon, and ceramic to provide the cleanest possible shower water.
Personal Benefits You’ll See From Using a Shower Filter
Here are some of the skin, hair, and health benefits you’ll notice after you start using a shower filter:
Some people are severely sensitive to chlorine and may find that their shower water can aggravate their symptoms. As we recently discussed in our article outlining the benefits of shower filters, we shared that the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology stated that chlorine could cause irritant dermatitis (source).
The most notable advantage will be an improvement in skin texture. A shower filter will allow your skin to retain its natural protective oils. As a result, mild dryness, dandruff, and eczema may be reduced when using a shower filter.
Like your skin, your hair is also very porous and can absorb chemicals found in water. If you have color-treated hair, a shower filter can help preserve your color and prevent it from fading.
If you have frizzy hair, you may also find that your hair is less frizzy and easier to manage after using a shower filter. This is likely because of the removal of hard water minerals that can cause your hair to appear dry and frizzy.
According to a 1996 study done by Canadian scientists, they discovered the following:
These results indicate that the risk of bladder cancer increases with both duration and concentration of exposure to chlorination by-products, with population attributable risks of about 14 to 16 percent. Chlorination by-products represent a potentially important risk factor for bladder cancer.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8932920/
While water isn’t necessarily ingested while shower, at least not intentionally, exposure remains. A shower filter may help to mitigate the risk of some health conditions, including bladder cancer.
Long Term Costs
Like a filter, you may use for your drinking water, the filtration media within a shower filter will need to be replaced over time. Depending on the quality of the shower filter, you can expect to replace it after approximately 10,000 to 12,000 gallons of water passes through it. So, for a family of four, expect to change the filter once every 6 to 12 months.
Replacement filters are relatively inexpensive and will cost around $15 each (further savings can be had by buying in bulk). This means that, over a year, you’re only looking at $30 per year to keep your shower water clean.
Whole-Home vs. Single Source Systems
The whole home and point-of-entry systems will remove impurities from your water, but they work in very different ways.
A whole-home filtration system is a point of entry filter installed at the main water line coming into your home. This means that every single water source in your home, including your shower, will be filtered. These systems are more expensive but will provide filtered water throughout your home.
Single source systems are installed at only one entry point in the home, in this case, the shower head. While it’s quite easy to install, it will only filter the water from your shower head – nowhere else. This is great if you want a filter for, say, just the kid’s bathroom and your bathroom while also using a filtration system for your tap water (i.e., fridge water dispenser).
Shower filters can provide some noticeable and not-so-noticable benefits. While they’re not necessary for everyone, people with sensitive skin or hair, or those who are concerned about the health effects of chlorine, may want to consider using a shower filter.
Does the temperature impact the effectiveness of the shower filter?
One study found that water at 4 °C (39.2 °F), 10 °C (50 °F), and 20 °C (68 °F) passing through granular activated carbon (GAC) was more effective at warmer temperatures compared to lower temperatures (source). So you can still take a hot shower and enjoy the benefits of your shower filter.
Do shower filters remove fluoride?
No, shower filters do not remove fluoride. To remove fluoride, you will need a reverse osmosis filtration system. Additionally, this filter can remove any foul tastes, smells, or colors (source).
Do shower filters help with hard water?
No, to reduce water hardness, you’ll need a water softener. This system is designed to remove magnesium, calcium, and other minerals that contribute to water hardness. This ion exchange turns the hard water molecules into harmless sodium molecules.