Are you wondering How to remove lead from water in your home?
Lead is a toxic metal that can cause serious health problems, especially for children. If you have young kids at home or are pregnant, removing lead from your drinking water is an important step in protecting their health. You may also be concerned about the safety of your drinking water if it comes from an old house with pipes containing lead.
There are several treatment options available to protect you from lead contamination – reverse osmosis and activated carbon are the two most commonly used methods. You can install a lead filter that treats your entire house (called a point-of-entry system), just the water that you drink (known as a point-of-use system), or a pitcher filter.
We review all of these technologies and approaches so you can decide the best way to protect your family from the hazards of lead.
Health Risks Associated with Lead
Lead is a serious health hazard and can cause a variety of health problems, especially in children. Lead poisoning is lead that has accumulated in the body to a dangerous level. Symptoms of lead poisoning may not be immediately noticeable and can develop over time. Some common symptoms include:
- abdominal pain
Lead exposure can also lead to more serious health issues such as:
- brain damage and lead poisoning in children
- increased blood pressure
- hypertension (high blood pressure)
- heart attack risk
In addition to lead exposure from drinking water sources, lead can also be found in products that we use every day like: paint, gasoline, toys or even cosmetics. Anywhere lead is present, it is important to take precautions to avoid exposure.
Check out my comprehensive resource of online sources of information about lead in drinking water.
What Can I do to Protect My Family from Lead Exposure
Fortunately, there are several treatment methods available to remove lead from your drinking water. One of the most common and affordable treatment methods is a lead filter.
There are a number of different lead filters that you can install in your home to help with lead removal treatment. Some popular lead filters include:
- Water pitcher filters with lead removal capabilities
- Under the sink water filters with lead removal capabilities
- Whole house water filters with lead removal capabilities
It is important to find a filter that meets your specific needs and fits your budget. Be sure to read reviews and compare different lead filters before making a purchase.
Test your tap water to see if lead is present
To find out if your drinking water is contaminated with lead, you should test it. There are several options available to you:
- Test it yourself using a home test kit
- Submit a sample to a certified laboratory
- Have a professional test your water
- Check with your local water utility (they are required to test it)
If lead is detected in your drinking water, a lead filter is the best way to remove it.
If you don’t have a lead filter, there are some temporary things you can do quickly and for relatively little money.
Quick and effective tips for removing lead from your water supply
There are a few quick and easy tips that you can use to help remove lead from your drinking water. Note that lead filters are not a permanent solution for lead removal from drinking water, but can be used in conjunction with other methods until the source of lead exposure is found and removed.
- Removing lead from water starts by running your tap on cold to get rid of any lead particles so they do not enter your cup or glass.
- If you have a filter on your tap, be sure to change the filter regularly as they can become saturated with lead over time.
- Consider using a lead removal pitcher or filter to remove lead from your drinking water. These filters are designed specifically for lead removal and can be very effective in reducing lead levels.
- Use bottled water. This is a very short-term solution, but it can be done immediately to protect your family from lead contamination.
- Check your home for lead pipes. Corrosive water can leach lead from your water supply lines.
Important tip: Boiling water does NOT remove lead.
How to Remove Lead from Water
There are a variety of lead filters available on the market, so it is important to do your research before purchasing one. Many methods have been highlighted in the news recently because people were found to be drinking contaminated water.
Lead filters are available in several styles and can be installed on your drinking water faucet, under the sink or even whole-house lead removal systems are available.
These water systems are easy to use and maintain. If you are not comfortable installing a lead filter yourself, many water filtration companies offer lead filter installation services.
Treatment technologies that remove lead from drinking water include:
- Reverse osmosis (RO): The Reverse Osmosis process removes lead from drinking water, protecting you and your family. It can remove up to 99% of this harmful contaminant – this is the best way to remove lead from your water supply!
- Distillation: The distillation process is a slow and energy-consuming one, but it can remove lead from drinking water.
- Activated carbon: Carbon adsorption is a very effective treatment method for a variety of contaminants, including lead. This type of filter system is simple to use and relatively inexpensive.
Reverse osmosis lead filter system
I recently installed an undersink reverse osmosis filter in my kitchen – it’s amazing. It makes high quality water and is easy to maintain. You may be interested in having one for your home.
Some lead filters are installed on the faucet, while others need to be connected directly under your sink. Whole-house lead removal systems can also clear lead from drinking water and work by replacing some of the pipes in your house with lead free ones.
Water distillation lead removal system
Here is a popular countertop water distillation system. It can produce 4 liters in a batch.
Whole house lead water filter
A whole house filter, also known as a point-of-entry system, is a lead water filter that is installed on the main water line entering your home. This type of lead filter is designed to remove lead and other contaminants from all of the water entering your home, including drinking water, showering and washing dishes.
Hydroviv can design a custom lead filter for your home based on your city’s water quality. Because they use site-specific data, you get cleaner, healthier, better-tasting water, straight from the tap.
A whole house lead filter is a good choice if you are concerned about lead exposure from all sources in your home, not just drinking water. They are also a good choice if you have young children or pregnant women in your household, as they can help reduce lead levels in all of the water entering your home.
Whole house lead filters typically cost more than other types of lead filters, but they offer the most protection and convenience.
Under sink lead filter
An under sink lead filter, also known as a point-of-use system, is lead filter that is installed under your sink and connects directly to the lead pipe coming from your water meter. It does not provide protection for all of the water entering your home, but it can be a good option if you only drink water from your sink or want a quick solution while testing for lead levels.
These types of filters are typically less expensive than whole house lead filters and are easy to install. They also typically require less maintenance than other types of lead filters.
Under sink lead filters should not be used as a permanent solution for lead removal, but they can be helpful in the short-term.
Lead water filter pitchers
A lead water filter pitcher is a small, portable lead filter that can be used to remove lead from drinking water. These pitchers typically hold between two and six cups of water and have a built-in filter that needs to be replaced every few months.
A lead filter pitcher is a great option if you are looking for an affordable treatment method that can provide temporary protection against lead exposure in drinking water. They do not remove lead from all of the water entering your home, but they can be helpful in reducing lead levels from your drinking water.
Lead filter pitchers are typically less expensive than other types of lead filters and are easy to use. They also typically require less maintenance than other types of lead filters.
This approach is the fastest and lowest cost option for many people who have lead in their drinking water.
Test Your Drinking Water for Lead
Tap Score has a home test kit for lead in drinking water. The package includes materials, instructions, and glassware needed to properly collect and submit a sample for certified laboratory testing. You’ll receive a report that provides a detailed analysis of lead and copper by EPA method 200.8 (or equivalent). This is an easy and affordable way to test your water for lead if you’re concerned about possible contamination.
Knowing what’s in your water is the first step to keeping your family safe.
Water Filter Maintenance
All lead water filters require periodic maintenance to remain effective.
Regular lead water filter maintenance will extend the life of your lead filters and ensure that they continue to remove lead from drinking water.
Good lead water filter maintenance includes:
- Replacing a lead cartridge or sediment pre-filter every three months (or as recommended by the manufacturer)
- Cleaning a faucet mounted lead filer twice per year with a lead filter cleaner
- Cleaning a lead water pitcher every two months with soap and warm water
All lead filters require regular maintenance to remain effective, but under sink lead filters may need more frequent attention than other types of lead filters. If your home has had recent plumbing work or you have low lead levels in your drinking water, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for lead filter replacement and maintenance.
If you are unsure how to properly maintain your lead water filter, consult the manufacturer’s instructions or contact a qualified professional.
Removing lead from drinking water can be an important step in protecting your family from harmful exposure to this toxic metal.
Top Benefits of Lead Treatment Systems
Lead treatment system offer many benefits to you and your family. These include:
- Protecting your family from lead exposure
- Improving the taste of drinking water
- Providing peace-of-mind knowing that you are removing lead from drinking water in your home
- Reducing lead levels in all sources of drinking water entering your home, including tap and bottled or filtered water
Removing lead is an important step in protecting your family from lead exposure.
Certification – The Best Way to Know if Your Filter Works
It is important that any water treatment device you choose meets National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) standards. The applicable standard for lead removal systems is NSF Standard 53
NSF certifies a wide variety of lead treatment devices, including the following:
- Water Pitchers with Filters
- Faucet Filters
- Under-Sink Filters
- Reverse Osmosis Filters
- Counter-Top (Manual-Fill) Filters
- Counter-Top Filters Connected to a Sink Faucet
- Refrigerator Filters
- Aftermarket Refrigerator Filters
- Integrated Refrigerator Filters
NSF has a database of all devices that it has certified.
Frequently Asked Questions about Lead Treatment
Do water softeners remove lead?
A water softener will not eliminate lead contamination from your drinking water. It only reduces hardness by removing things like calcium, magnesium, or iron. There are permanent solutions at hand – replacing all outdated pipes containing lead or installing a lead filter would work.
Does my refrigerator filter remove lead?
Many refrigerator filters do not remove lead. They are only designed to remove chlorine and taste from the water. However, some refrigerator filters are able to remove lead from drinking water.
Does boiling water remove lead from drinking water?
Boiling water does NOT remove lead. In fact, it can increase the lead concentration due to evaporation during boiling.
My Take on Lead Treatment for Drinking Water
Lead is a toxic metal that can cause serious health problems, especially for children. It’s important to know how to remove lead from drinking water so you can protect yourself and your family.
Reverse osmosis or distillation are the best ways to remove lead from water. These methods can drop lead concentrations to below detection limits.
We reviewed the available treatment technologies for lead removal and purifying your drinking water. You can select from Point-of Entry systems, Point-of-Use devices or filters that treat your potable water.