Behind the Scenes at a Shower Filter Plant

Sprite headquartersOver the October holidays, I had a chance to visit Sprite Showers, Inc, the producers of the shower and bath filters that we often recommend to clients.  At PureLiving, we only recommend products or solutions that we understand and trust, so although we have tested Sprite products, have had regularly discussions with their customer support, and have sold probably close to a hundred filters, I was excited to visit them in person and learn more about the company and the people behind the products. Sprite is a family-run company that has been designing, engineering, and producing exclusively shower and bath filtration systems for nearly 40 years.  Tucked into an industrial park in Corona, California in the US, the headquarters contains their corporate office, R&D, manufacturing, and shipping facilities.  I was met by Sherry Farley, their International Sales manager.  Sherry explained that even though they were a fairly small operation, they supplied many of the major home furnishings and appliances stores in the US and overseas such as Lowe’s, Home Depot, and also did some private label OEM manufacturing for other shower filter labels.  Sherry was interested to learn about the water conditions in the China market and I explained that excessive chlorine was still the main issue due to China’s highly polluted source waters and the national regulations that set a minimum, rather than a maximum level of chlorine. Sherry introduced me to David Farley, her husband and the company president.  David gave me a tour of the facilities.  ”All of our products are made in the US,” he explained, as he showed me the production floor.

Sprite production floor

The only exception, he explained, was the chrome plating on some of the models, which due to EPA manufacturing restrictions, has to be done in — you guessed it — China. Next, we took a look at the testing facilities.  Sprite’s shower filters all pass certification through the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), the most recognized authority for product certification.  To pass, filters must demonstrate water contaminant reduction that meets or exceeds NSF’s requirements.  For shower filters, this means that their products must reduce chlorine by at least 50% for the entire rated life of the filter.  When we tested, we found that our Sprite High Output model was reducing over 75% of incoming chlorine even after 120,000 liters (the claimed life).  What’s more impressive is that this lifespan is more than twice the output of anything else we’ve seen in the Chinese market, including imported models costing twice as much.

Sprite's testing facilities

Sprite's testing facilities

Mike Farley giving me a tour of the R&D facilities

David Farley, Sprite president, giving me a tour of the R&D facilities

Sprite’s R&D lab, David explained, replicates NSF’s testing facility, and maintains their testing conditions, so they can see how their filters will perform. On my way out, we passed by a wall that had all of Sprite’s patent filings.

Sprite's Patent Wall (23 and counting...) Shower filters for China

Sprite's Patent Wall (23 and counting...)

Sprite holds 23 patents, a rare achievement and good evidence of the continuous innovation that we like to see in a supplier.  Most important, this trip was a good chance to meet the folks behind the product.  This way, if our clients ever have any problems or feedback, we know that our suggestions won’t just disappear into a faceless corporate machine, but will be taken seriously by the leadership.

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