Boiling is an age-old method to purify water, but it’s not effective in water filtration when the water contains contaminants like metals and salts. You may be tempted to put boiling water in a Brita filter, but it is not the best idea.
Boiling water should not be used in a Brita pitcher, dispenser, faucet, or bottle because it damages the carbon filtration mechanism. Water up to 29°C/85°F can be used in a Brita filter. A new filter must be installed following hot water damage. However, these filters can be refrigerated and used to filter cold water.
Brita filters remove chlorine, a few metals, and sediments, but this process is temperature-dependent. In this article, I’ll lead you through why you can’t put boiling water in a Brita filter and what you can do instead.
What temperature water can Brita filters filter?
Brita water filters can filter water up to a temperature of 85-100°F. There’s a bit of wiggle room depending on the exact type of filter. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of Brita filters and what water temperature they can handle.
|Brita Filter Name||Minimum Water Temperature Recommended||Maximum Water Temperature Recommended||Compatible Products|
|Standard||32°F/0°C||85°F/29°C||Brita Pitcher (Monterey, Grand, Lake, Wave, Metro, Soho, Everyday, Pacifica, Space Saver), Brita Ultramax Dispenser|
|Longlast||32°F/0°C||85°F/29°C||Brita Pitcher (Monterey, Grand, Lake, Wave, Metro, Soho, Everyday, Pacifica, Space Saver), Brita Ultramax Dispenser|
|Stream||32°F/0°C||85°F/29°C||Brita Ultraslim Stream Dispenser, Brita Stream Pitcher|
|Bottle Filter||32°F/0°C||85°F/29°C||Brita Premium bottle filters (stainless steel and plastic)|
|Faucet Filter||32°F/0°C||100°F/38°C||Brita Complete Faucet Mount System, Brita Basic Faucet Mount System|
What are the types of Brita filters?
To help you make more sense of this table, here’s what you need to know about the types of Brita filters.
- Standard: This is the basic Brita filter that removes copper, chlorine, mercury, cadmium, and zinc. It is inexpensive when compared to the rest of the line-up but has a filter life of only 2 months. The Standard filter can be used with all Brita pitchers.
- Longlast: The Brita Longlast filter has a filter life of up to 6 months (or 120 gallons), which is three times more than the Standard filter. It also filters lead (the Standard filter doesn’t), mercury, chlorine, and other contaminants like cadmium, benzene, asbestos, and bisphenol. The Longlast also employs a filter-as-you-pour mechanism.
- Stream: The filter-as-you-pour Stream filter is particularly effective at reducing chlorine (taste and odor) and trichlorobenzene in water. This filter can also be used to filter ice water. The Stream filter is compatible with both pitcher filters and dispensers. It has a filter life of 2 months (40 gallons).
- Bottle Filter: Compatible with all models of Brita’s bottles, this filter primarily removes chlorine (taste and odor). It has a filter life of 40 gallons and doesn’t need to be pre-soaked before use.
- Faucet Filter: The most effective filter in the line-up, Brita’s faucet filter removes 60 contaminants from water, including asbestos, chlorine, lead, trichloroethylene, and benzene. While it is recommended to not exceed a temperature of 38°C/100°F with this filter, it can take a maximum of 77°C/179°F.
What happens when you use hot water through a Brita filter?
According to Brita, using hot water through a pitcher, faucet, and dispenser will damage the filtration mechanism. This leads to improper water filtration and you will also need to replace your filter cartridge sooner or replace the entire filter apparatus.
To understand how hot water damages your filter, let’s look at how Brita filters water in the first place.
Most Brita filters operate with a combination of activated carbon filters and ion exchange resin. The activated carbon is packed into the filter column and water is passed through the cartridge. Here, a phenomenon called adsorption removes impurities.
Adsorption is the phenomenon by which particles stick to the surface of the adsorbing material – in this case, the carbon column. This process is different from absorption because the particles are not absorbed INTO the column – they merely attach themselves to the surface of the material.
This happens because the activated carbon sites are negatively charged. The metallic impurities in water (like lead and mercury) are positively charged and are attracted to the negatively charged carbon ions.
You can visualize this process like a magnetic reaction. The carbon filter is like a magnet that attracts impurities to its surface like iron filings.
Chlorine is also removed from water by carbon filters through a chemical process called redox. The carbon reacts with chlorine compounds in the water to release chlorine ions, which are subsequently removed through agitation.
How does hot water play a role in this? The rate of adsorption is dependent on water temperature, according to Dr. David O. Cooney, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Wyoming.
The hotter the water, the lower the rate of adsorption is. This is because heat impairs the ‘sticking’ of impurities to the carbon surface. So more impurities are likely to escape the filtration process and make their way into drinking water.
If you run hot water through a carbon filter previously exposed only to cold water, you also run the risk of dislodging already filtered impurities that are stuck to the surface of the carbon.
So your ‘filtered’ water may be even more contaminated than usual.
Filters use either carbon blocks or granular activated carbon (GAC) to remove impurities. Heat also damages the delicate mesh of these filters. Ripped meshes can cause carbon particles to leak into the filtered water.
Does hot water also damage the bottle or mount?
The plastic in Brita filters is BPA-free, so you do not run a risk of harmful chemicals leaching into the water. However, it is recommended to not pour hot water into plastic containers, as they may be unsafe to hold and handle.
Brita also recommends placing its pitchers and bottles in the refrigerator, or away from direct sunlight at room temperature.
Hot water may not damage stainless steel fixtures, but they can get too hot to touch.
Does hot water ruin water filters?
Hot water is not recommended for conventional carbon filters. Water at temperatures greater than 85°F/29°C impedes the removal of contaminants and damages the filter. Adhesives, media, meshes, and housing can also be ruined through long-term exposure to hot water. This typically results in filters losing effectiveness.
Can you put a water filter on a hot water line?
Specially designed filters can be placed on a hot water line. These filter cartridges remove dirt, sand, and silt, and are enclosed in a special heat-resistant casing. Glass-reinforced nylon may be used to prepare a special housing for these filters.
In some cases, stainless steel housings are used for home fixtures with high pressure. The filter cartridges are made with polypropylene, which is a heat-resistant thermoplastic.
If your home is not connected to a district hot water line, try to install your filtration apparatus BEFORE heating your water domestically.
What type of filter can be used on hot water lines?
Thermoplastic sediment filters can be used to filter sand, silt, and dirt from hot water. These filters are available in polyester and stainless-steel mesh frames. They use the principle of mechanical filtration to remove sediments. Impure water is pushed through physical filters that catch suspended solids and sediments on the mesh, much like a coffee filter.
If you’re looking to remove chlorine compounds from hot water, special carbon filters can be used. These filters are designed to perform in hot temperatures without losing efficiency. Avoid using generic carbon filters for hot water lines.
How can I purify water without boiling it?
Boiling purifies water by killing bacteria and other harmful pathogens. If you suspect your water may be contaminated by bacteria, consider investing in a UV filter – the UV radiation deactivates all harmful pathogens including bacteria, spores, fungi, viruses, and parasites. A carbon filter can also be used to remove any suspended impurities (e.g. metals), or a reverse osmosis filter to remove dissolved impurities.
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