As a homeowner, you may be concerned about the safety and quality of your drinking water. In recent years, many reports have been circulated about tap water quality, and people have turned to alternatives like harvesting rainwater for drinking. There are also concerns about the quality of rainwater, so people are filtering rainwater through a Brita filter. Can a Brita filter rainwater to make it safe to drink?
A Brita pitcher filter should not be used to purify rainwater because it does not remove bacteria, viruses, and other waterborne pathogens that may be present. Brita filters are designed to improve the smell and taste of drinking water, and some can remove mercury and lead. However, they are not suitable for removing biological impurities that can make you sick, and another disinfecting filter should be used to treat your rainwater if you plan to drink it.
For thousands of years, people have been collecting rainwater for drinking and other uses, but that doesn’t necessarily make it safe to drink. Several factors may make rainwater unsafe to drink and filtering it through a Brita may not remove all the impurities you would like it to. Below is information on Brita filters and what they do for rainwater.
Read my article: What Does a Brita Filter Remove – Is Your Drinking Water Safe?
Table of Contents
Can a Brita Filter Remove Impurities from Rainwater?
A Brita filter will remove impurities from water, but it will not remove all impurities or harmful elements.
Brita has many products available on the market, from faucet filters to different models of pitcher filters. Each product filters different impurities out of the water, making it safer to drink than if it had not been filtered through a Brita filter.
But keep two important things in mind when it comes to filtering water:
- No filter, not even a Brita filter, will filter all impurities out of water. Most water filters will reduce the overall concentration of impurities. Still, depending on the filter, there will likely be trace levels of impurities remaining.
- Different Brita models are designed to filter different impurities out of the water. Your model will determine what is filtered and what is left in the water.
For example, a Brita Elite Filter is certified to reduce lead in water. Still, a standard Brita pitcher filter is not certified for lead reduction. Even though both pitcher filters look the same, one will filter lead out of rainwater that may contain it, and the other will not.
Always check which Brita product you have and what it is designed and certified to filter out the water before using it. Each Brita product will have unique specifications; some may filter chemicals or impurities that others don’t.
Check out this video about how to filter rainwater.
What impurities are found in rainwater?
Because rainwater is collected and stored outdoors, it is often not done in sanitary ways. There will be impurities and potentially harmful chemicals in the water which need to be removed before it is safe to drink.
As there is pollution, smoke, and dirt in the air when it rains, the raindrops may pick up these contaminants and chemicals as they fall, meaning the water is often contaminated before it even gets into your storage tank.
Once these raindrops land on the roof, or wherever the water run-off is collected, all the dust and chemicals on the roof will also be collected and dissolved. This is especially true if it has not rained in a while. Just think of all the bird poop on your roof washing into the tank with the rainwater!
Once the water is in the catchment tank, bugs and other parasites, especially mosquitos, may get into the tank and live in the water. When the water has stood for a while, it can grow mold and be a breeding ground for bacteria. Because many water catchment tanks are not transparent, you may not see mold or other contaminants.
Because of the many places rainwater can collect contaminants, it will usually have dissolved gases like:
- Carbon dioxide
Rainwater can also contain metals, chemicals, parasites, bacteria, dirt, and even viruses in it by the time it is pumped out of your catchment tank.
Even if you filter this collected rainwater with a Brita filter or another water filter, there would still be the potential for many different bacteria and chemicals to be left in the water as these filters were not designed to filter out bacteria, microbial contamination, and most metals.
As there is a high risk of rainwater becoming contaminated in some way, many areas and jurisdictions have legal restrictions and strict regulations regarding collecting rainwater. If you plan to collect rainwater, ensure the methods of collecting the water and the amount collected are within the regulations for your area.
When you are going to drink rainwater that has been collected and stored, it is best to test the water before using it and determine the best way to purify it before drinking or cooking. In addition, it is recommended that the water collection tanks you use be flushed and cleaned at least every ten days to slow down the build-up of bacteria, mold, and other microbes in the tank.
What Will a Brita Filter Remove from Rainwater?
Brita filters are designed to remove contaminants in the water, such as sediment and some chemicals. Still, they are not a water purification system. So, when it comes to rainwater, a Brita filter will do as its name says and filter the water. It will not remove bacteria and germs that may be found in the water.
A standard Brita filter works by pushing the water through a sieve with pores and an ion-exchange resin which will catch impurities and metals like copper, cadmium, and zinc. A carbon element in the filter lowers the mercury content in the water and reduces the smell and taste of chlorine. The sieves and pores vary in size depending on the Brita product, which will affect the final filtered water result.
A Brita Elite Filter is certified to reduce the following:
- Some heavy metals (including mercury and cadmium)
- Certain pesticides and herbicides (endrin, atrazine, and simazine)
- Hydrogen sulfide concentrations
- Some pharmaceutical drugs (ibuprofen, atenolol, carbamazepine, meprobamate, naproxen, phenytoin, and trimethoprim)
A standard Brita pitcher filter is not certified to reduce microplastics. However, it will reduce some heavy metals (including mercury and cadmium), and the activated carbon in the filter will reduce hydrogen sulfide concentrations.
If you want to purify water, the system you need to use will have to remove unwanted chemicals, suspended solids, gases, and any other biological bacteria or contaminants. A Brita filter is not designed to do all this. In particular, a Brita filter will not effectively remove bacteria, viruses, waterborne pathogens, fluoride, nitrates, and arsenic.
Remember that treated water will be boiled, chemically disinfected, and filtered. Some microbes and chemicals can be removed by filtration, but only boiling and chemically disinfecting will treat the water completely to make it safe to drink.
While a Brita filter will be good at removing a chlorine smell and taste from water and filtering out some chemicals, it will not purify or treat water that is unsafe to drink to the point where it is safe to drink. Collected rainwater has the potential to pick up contaminants, impurities, and microbial matter from several places, and this makes it unsafe to drink. Always test the water to determine the necessary treatment, and subject rainwater to appropriate treatment before drinking it.