The Difference Between Water Treatment Certifications
With new technology comes new options. Just think how online shopping dramatically changed the multitude of things we may consider when making a new product purchase, but sometimes the overwhelming number of choices can seem exhausting.
If you have made the decision to start looking into treating your home’s water supply, you may have already found that the process of researching to be not unlike standing in front of a large display of new phones. It seems like an endless selection with similar features.
When it comes to water treatment systems, people often first consider one after noticing scale buildup on the faucets or bad taste or odor from the water. But, knowing little about water treatment, it can be hard to figure out where to turn. You may already know there are big-box stores that sell water softeners and there are water treatment specialists in the area, but how do you know that what you’re buying is actually doing what it’s being promoted to do?
Certified Water Treatment IS Important
Whether you are just started researching water treatment equipment or already have a system installed, you will want to confirm that your equipment is working as well as it claims to do. This is why understanding third-party certifications is important.
A certification group is an independent organization that performs designated series of tests on water treatment devices to ensure that equipment performs as the manufacturer advertises. The goal of these organizations is to grant their “stamp of approval” on certified products and to pass along confidence to the end consumer that what they are purchasing for their home is reliable, trustworthy, and working as advertised.
Because manufacturers realize many savvy consumers are thorough in the pre-purchase research, they (the manufacturers) work through a variety of third-party agencies to get their water treatment products certified. You may have seen certification labels on various household products and appliances that you have purchased or researched in the past. For water-treatment systems, the three primary certification bodies are: The National Science Foundation (NSF); the Water Quality Association (WQA); and the International Association of Plumbing and Manufacturing Officials (IAPMO). Each of these bodies has specific certification standards for different types of water products. Understanding what these standards are can help you better determine if the water treatment system that you are considering or already have installed in your home meets your needs.
The National Science Foundation is a United States federal agency formed in the 1950s with the mission of “promoting the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; to secure the national defense…”. Among its other responsibilities, the NSF’s certifying body extends to many different industries. When certifying water treatment equipment, the NSF has developed a strict set of standards created by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI). Some of the common water treatment standards include:
- NSF/ANSI 42: Aesthetic Effects
This standard evaluates non-health-related qualities in water, pertaining to factors that influence the taste, odor, and appearance of water. Examples would be the reduction of iron or total dissolved solids.
- NSF/ANSI 44: Water Softeners
This standard is exclusive to water softeners, and creates baseline requirements for the reduction of hardness, capacity (amount of hardness that can be removed before regeneration), and material safety. This standard can also establish efficiency standards pertaining to the amount of salt and water used during regeneration and normal use.
- NSF/ANSI 53: Health Effects
This standard applies to water filtration equipment that claims to remove more than 50% of contaminants linked to health-related concerns.
- NSF/ANSI 58: Reverse Osmosis (R.O.)
The reverse osmosis standard ensures that certified equipment reduces contaminants in accordance with its claims. It also creates and includes baselines for unit efficiency, overall safety and material quality used in its manufacturing, and the recovery rating, which establishes the amount of wastewater needed to flush the membrane system vs the amount of drinkable water it makes.
- NSF/ANSI 401: Emerging Compounds/Incidental Contaminants
This standard pertains to the reduction of emerging contaminants, which are contaminants believed to cause health problems (although there is not enough evidence backing their negative health claims). This may include some common pesticides and herbicides discovered in water.
The “Gold Seal Certification Program” through the Water Quality Association (WQA) measures standards similar to the NSF. The WQA provides regular audits for products in their Gold Seal Program to ensure that the standards are still being met following the initial certification. Some of the WQA standards include:
- WQA S-100: Pertaining to household, commercial, and portable cation exchange water softeners.
- WQA S-200: For both commercial and residential water filters.
- WQA S-300: Specific to point-of-use reverse osmosis systems.
- WQA S-400: Pertaining to point-of-use distillation drinking water systems.
International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) consists of a laboratory testing unit that examines water treatment system products against both NSF/ANSI and the WQA standards. IAPMO also has its own set of standards that it tests and validates against. Like the other certification bodies, IAPMO certifications require ongoing, regular audits and are required to be resubmitted every 3 years.
Why Should You Buy Certified?
Just as most people couldn’t tell the difference between a certified organic tomato and a regular tomato in a blind taste test, you can’t always smell, see, or taste the difference between regular tap water and properly treated water. You just trust that the system does what it said it was going to do. This is the true benefit to third party certification – gaining the confidence that the product you chose has been tested to meet or exceed the standards it claims to meet, giving you peace of mind.
One way to make the process of choosing a water treatment system even easier is to contact your water experts at Futuramic’s Clean Water Center. We help take the guesswork out of the equation – from testing your water to recommending a custom solution to your particular water needs. You will feel comfortable relying on our Evolve Series line of professional water treatment products that come with a gambit of industry-specific certifications to meet their very impressive claims.
If you would like to learn more or have any questions, please give us a call at (402) 453-5730 or toll free (800) 568-3072.