June 2003
Volume 45 Number 6
 

Website of the Month—Sifting Through the Internet—When ‘Filter’ Just Isn’t Good Enough
by Ronald Y. Pérez, WC&P Managing Editor   Pages: 

In the water treatment industry, filtration comes in all forms, sizes and shapes. On the Internet, “filtration” also comes in various formats, as I quickly found out while doing research for this review column. As is the M.O. for this reviewer, I weeded out the ultra commercial websites and other non-water, filtration ones. This still left me with a fairly good selection. At first glance and without much investigation, these three sites looked the most promising.

www.yourwaterneeds.com
With a simple tag line like “Pure Water is our business,” I figure this site probably shares its motto with many a water treatment dealer across the globe. But it’s the thought that counts, right? Scanning the home page, I see the site is run by Advanced Solutions LLC. Here is the lowdown on the company: yourwaterneeds.com, established in 1992 in Tampa, Fla., is a division of Advanced Solutions LLC.

Primarily designed as a product catalog, the site’s key areas of service can be identified by the main buttons at the top of the home page. These include drinking water systems, whole house systems, well water treatment, iron out feeder systems, shower and bath filters, spring air purifier and replacement parts. Before going in-depth with some of the main buttons, I will skim over the main highlights of the home page. A free water test is provided as well as a “replacement filtration program.” An FAQ listing is available and visitors are welcome to join the site’s newsletter.

Along with various products, Drinking Water Systems defines “safe drinking water” and contains an FAQ link about water filters. Meanwhile, Whole House Systems makes the argument for water conditioners, offers a free water test, and provides tips on how to select a water softener, ultraviolet system and a carbon filter. Well Water Treatment discusses do-it-yourself water test kits and contains a “typical” well water installation diagram. Finally, Bath and Shower Filters features more products than helpful hints.

www.freedrinkingwater.com
Don’t be fooled by the name (as I temporarily was), there’s really nothing “free” about this site. In general, it’s an online product catalog from the folks at Advanced Purification Engineering Corp. Funny thing is, in what passes as its mission statement, the word “free” is never mentioned. To be completely fair, the site invites visitors to enter a drawing to win an $80 water filter. Not exactly Ed McMahon holding a check, but you get what you can, I suppose.

We’ll hit on only the main buttons that feature filtration components—Reverse Osmosis Home, Drinking Water Systems Products, Replacement Filters & Parts and Water Filters FAQs. Reverse Osmosis Home also serves as the home page, oddly enough. Nothing great to report here except that the site host offers two “free” gifts when you place an order. As a pro-RO site, visitors are also exposed to the requisite bottled water bashing. Though some of the spiel here borders on sensationalism, a few of the available news items seem educational and informative.

The next button, Drinking Water Systems Products, does what you think it would. Scroll down to the bottom and you’ll find out more about sizing your system properly as well as flow rates and other related factors. Replacement Filters & Parts is a plethora of products and not much else. Lastly, Water Filters FAQs lists 12 questions with accompanying answers. Some of the sample questions involve RO/bottled water (surprise) comparisons, what system features may be unnecessary, etc.

www.filterhomepage.com
With its primary use as a global listing for filter manufacturers, this site may have the largest links’ database ever placed on a home page. And, trust me, each listing (in some kind of font that registers somewhere near this size) has a link that directs you to the company’s website.

The home page is broken down into seven categories excluding links: Filters, Industrial Air and Gas Filters, Industrial Liquid Filters, Filter Media, Other Products, Services, and Industry Contacts by Country (where only China, Germany, India, Korea and the United Kingdom were represented). Each button also has various categories underneath it (too many to name here). As a practice run, I click on “Home Water Filtration” under Filters.

For $45 a year, you too could be part of this listing, as stated on the home page. Does this site do much by informing visitors on what filters do and where they are more applicable? No, but that’s clearly not the intention. This site is strictly for professionals who know what they want and don’t need anything explained to them. Only until you get into Other Products as well as Services do you see a non-link connection.

Conclusion
If you should ever doubt what significant role filtration plays in water treatment, just let these sites be representative of a reminder that it’s major in scope. When someone says “filter” now, you may want to ask for a clarification. Be forewarned, however, that trying to find non-commercial websites is as easy as getting rid of the spam that infiltrates your email in-box.

Filtration Basics
www.yourwaterneeds.com The most informative of the three sites. Good: It gives illustrative shots of each product. Bad: The companies represented are limited in number. Testimonials are big at this site, and it’s consistent with its customer-friendly approach.

www.freedrinkingwater.com OK, first thing we do here is change the name to www.drinkingwaterataprice.com. And then we hire William Shatner as the pitchman. Oh, wait, we already tried that…and it failed miserably. It’s catchy enough to work and it will make the pro-RO crowd very happy.

www.filterhomepage.com Think of this as the Yellow Pages of filters. If you’re looking for a manufacturer, chances are you’ll find it among the 500 listed here. But if you happen to need some sizing tips, diagram layouts or general information, look elsewhere. If your credit card is handy, click here.