You asked, we answered! A while back we wrote a blog post on “How to Figure out Which Refrigerator Filter You Need” and we received a few questions about NSF certifications, types of filters and manufacturing differences which sparked us to write this blog post.
At FiltersFast.com, we take your filtration needs seriously and that is why we have certified air and water filtration experts on staff to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have.
Here’s what our Certified Water Specialist (CWS) had to say about manufacturing differences in filters and NSF standards.
Differences between OEM and aftermarket filters
There normally is a difference in design between the OEM original name brand and aftermarket filters. Aftermarket filters are designed to make a proper seal and function the same as original name brand models.
Where to find NSF Standards for filters
The NSF Standard for each filter should be listed in the description on FiltersFast.com. If a filter is WQA Gold Seal certified that should be listed in the description too.
NSF/ANSI Filtration Standards
NSF is short for the National Sanitation Foundation. NSF International is a global, independent, public health and safety organization with a mission to protect and improve human health.
- NSF has created standards for testing and certifying filtration levels. Manufacturers pay the NSF to test their filters. If they meet the requested standard they can use the NSF certification in their marketing materials. Because of the cost of testing many aftermarket filters are not certified. This is much more common among name brand products (sometimes called OEM: original equipment manufacturing).
- NSF standards have been created in conjunction with The American National Standards Institute. ANSI is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States.
NSF/ANSI 42: Aesthetic Effects
- NSF/ANSI 42 is one of the two main NSF standards that set the benchmark for evaluating safety and integrity of residential water filters. NSF/ANSI 42 establishes the minimum requirements for the certification of POU/POE filtration systems designed to reduce specific aesthetic or non-health-related contaminants (chlorine, taste, odor, and particulates) that may be present in public or private drinking water.
- The scope of this standard includes material safety, structural integrity and aesthetic The most common reduction claims addressed by this standard are chlorine, chloramines, iron, manganese, hydrogen sulfide, pH neutralization and zinc reduction. In addition, products certified only as components are found under NSF/ANSI 42 and are evaluated for material safety and, if pressure bearing, structural integrity.
NSF/ANSI53: Health Effects
- NSF/ANSI 53 is the second NSF benchmark standard that addresses reduction claims for residential water filters. This standard establishes the minimum requirements for the certification of water filtration systems designed to reduce specific health-related contaminants, such as Cryptosporidium, lead, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and asbestos that may be present in public or private drinking water.
- The scope of this standard also includes material safety, structural integrity, and other health-related contaminant reduction performance claims. The most common reduction claims verified by this standard are heavy metals, inorganics and volatile organic chemicals
WQA Gold Seal Certification
- As an alternative, the Water Quality Association offers their own certification program. The WQA Gold Seal is a simple way to provide consumers with peace of mind that a product is certified to do what it claims.
- The WQA offers testing that certifies filters against the same standards set by NSF/ANSI.
- Gold Seal certification is more common amongst aftermarket products.