Water is one of the most precious resources of our time. In many parts of the world, however, the quality of tap water leaves much to be desired, and it may be contaminated by organic matter, chlorine, rust, and microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses. Water filters for household appliances and water purifiers are a part of the solution. They provide people with clean water permanently and sustainably — no matter in which country the tap is located.
A burst water pipe, maintenance work or civil engineering work outside in the street: it doesn't take much for water no longer to be available “on tap”. Only then do we realize just how important tap water is to our everyday lives. Each US resident consumes nearly 300 liters of tap water per day1: for cooking, washing, cleaning, personal hygiene or simply for drinking. In India, tap water consumption is only one-tenth of this figure1. Germany lies roughly between the two, with a daily consumption of around 128 liters per capita2. This makes it all the more important that the water — which has traveled a considerable distance from its source, via water treatment plants, to our domestic plumbing — should be safe and clean before we come into contact with it, directly or indirectly.
In large parts of the world, however, tap water is not of particularly good quality. It may contain organic impurities, or be contaminated with heavy metals, viruses or bacteria. In very few countries is tap water completely safe to drink, and even then, limescale and other impurities may cause problems for washing machines, coffee machines and fittings. The solution: powerful water filtration, directly integrated into household appliances and water treatment systems.
We're becoming more and more demanding, and this also goes for the water we use in our homes. The water should not harm our health or be contaminated by bacteria or drug residues. It should also contain as few suspended solids and undissolved minerals as possible. As coffee lovers have known for a long time, the excessive levels of lime found in hard water gives even the best espresso a somewhat flat taste — something that not even aromatic highland beans and sophisticated espresso machines can change. For tea drinkers too, lime, residual chlorine and organic matter present a problem. They degrade the tea's appearance, with turbidity, sedimentation and floating lime flakes. Hard water prevents the aromas being exploited in full. The taste of the tea is less intense, and in some cases even bitter.
Whether you're a gourmet or not, however, it's important for certain substances to be filtered out beforehand: when you're preparing baby food, for instance, or if tap water accounts for most of your daily liquid intake. The trend is also for refrigerators to be equipped with an ice and water dispenser. Models with an integrated water filter, which use chemical and physical processes to adsorb certain substances in the water, deliver water that is safe and healthy for this purpose. Personal hygiene is a further issue: contaminated water may cause skin irritations and diseases, as well as present a health problem, particularly for sufferers of atopic dermatitis3. This can be resolved by water treatment systems with effective filters, which take the risk out of everyday life.
However we view these developments, the trend is clear: consumer awareness of high quality water is on the rise — worldwide.
Besides its health benefits, filtered tap water has other positive effects, particularly for manufacturers of household appliances. Lime, organic substances, rust and chlorine in the water clog the surfaces, pipes and functional elements of these appliances and can damage them in the long term. The result is costly repairs, or even the need for the appliance to be replaced. Freudenberg Filtration Technologies' customized filter solutions, activated carbon and carbon block filters, and membranes are effective in capturing undesirable particles, protecting sensitive components and thus increasing the appliances' service life. This is more sustainable, good for the consumer, and for that reason also crucial for the manufacturer: after all, the prompt for the water dispenser or coffee machine in the open plan office to be de-limed always coincides with an important meeting, and is in any case far too frequent. Continually having to remember to run self-cleaning programs on dishwashers and washing machines is also an annoyance. Products with an integrated filter, which treat the water appropriately for its intended use, therefore deliver the crucial feel good factor. This directly impacts the manufacturer's reputation and image, because the owner of a household appliance that has been running without glitches for years with a minimum of maintenance will be happy to recommend it to others.
A familiar problem: washing machines with lime scaling don't wash as effectively. The consequence is generally that the user washes more often at 60 °C instead of at 40 °C, or simply uses more washing powder. The heating elements also require more energy to heat the water as the limescale layer increases. This always results in an increase in energy consumption and the corresponding CO2 equivalent (greenhouse gas emissions) per wash cycle. Filtration solutions that filter out lime and other impurities before the water comes into contact with the heating elements and drum can improve the appearance, feel and smell of each individual wash cycle and, at the same time, thanks to lower energy consumption, also help to protect the environment.
The same applies to central heating systems. A lime layer just two millimeters in thickness, for example, can halve the efficiency of a heat exchanger, while at the same time increasing energy consumption by 15 percent4. Not good news at a time when energy is becoming an increasingly valuable resource. With the proactive use of appropriate filters and treatment equipment, you can relax.
In the long term, powerful water filters in household appliances connected to the water system will shift from being a nice-to-have to a necessity. The sustainability and health arguments are clear. Consumer expectations are also rising, resulting in growing demand. Manufacturers of water treatment systems and household appliances who adopt good filter solutions and focus on high water quality and the accompanying benefits at an early stage are thus able to find favor with customers. Freudenberg Filtration Technologies provides support in the form of a wide range of powerful standard filters and with the development of custom solutions for refrigerators, water purifiers and other household appliances.