How to Make Your Drinking Water Safe

The information provided in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice.
It is not a substitute for your doctor's care plan or advice.

This is all about water filtration choices and what my recommendations are for purifying your drinking water and doing so on a budget. Making your tap water safe is important for your health!

In yesterday's post I gave you a lot of information showing that the drinking water coming out of your tap may not be as safe as you thought.

Today I am going to talk about water filtration choices and will share my recommendation for purifying your drinking water and doing so on a budget.

Our history with water filtration is a long one.  It started years ago (too long :-)) when my husband and I first married.

I recall phoning the manufacturers of the different pitcher-type and faucet-mount water filtration systems to determine which type to buy.  We were renting at the time, so the cost of installing a large filtration unit either on top or under-the-counter just didn't make sense.

1.  THE FAUCET MOUNT:

We were living in Evanston, Illinois, and my research eventually led me to purchase PUR brand's faucet mount filter.  It brought with it a nice set of credentials as it apparently had been endorsed and was used at the time by the U.S. Navy, if memory serves me correctly.  My husband was a part time youth minister at the time and one of the youth volunteers was married to a man who was a chemical engineer.  When I shared with him the conclusion that I had come to about purchasing our PUR filter, he echoed with enthusiasm what a great filter it was, stating that he had seen the research and thought it was the best filter on the market.

2.  THE COUNTER TOP:

When my husband and I lived with his parents for a two year period just before our oldest son was born, we recommended that they buy PUR's counter-top model.  The faucet-mount filter unit had proven itself to be heavy for some faucets, causing problems with leakage and other issues and additionally the counter-top model was less expensive to use.  So PUR seemed to be quite the favorite in our family.

3.  MULTI-PURE CARBON:

However, after moving to Oklahoma for my husband's first tenure-track job as a professor, I became aware of Multi-Pure carbon filters.  They were more expensive initially, but the cost per gallon analysis showed that the Multi-Pure was a clear winner.

So, after again doing extensive research into the amount of and types of contaminants that various filters on the market, we made a change.

And Multi-Pure had a great deal at the time wherein one pre-purchases 10 filters (10 years' worth) and the filter housing is then provided for free, resulting in a significant savings.  We were then locked in for 10 years, but I felt confident in our choice.

Fast forward three years.

Our eldest had then been diagnosed with autism and I was having some physical symptoms that were quite worrisome.  I had been reading on and off about reverse osmosis, distillation and alkaline water, but was quite confused and could just not come down on one side of the issue or the other.

However, it came to the point where I felt that in order to do the best for our family, I simply needed to make the best decision that I could.

So I got on the phone again and spoke with a few “experts” in field and perused the internet looking for answers.  I interviewed experts on the phone regarding the pros and cons of distillation versus reverse osmosis and additionally read articles and spoke with several people regarding alkalinized water.  I truly agonized over this decision for a long time.

I already felt that I was a bit excessive in taking my super-duper carbon-filtered water with me everywhere, but I really wanted to get the fluoride and other “undesirables” out of my family's water.

There are many articles and resources that I could point you to, but here is the “distilled version” (pun intended).

Now, all of this information can get a bit murky, so here are some more articles to read if you would like.

1.  The first is on mercola.com and is on the dangers of drinking distilled water.  In a nutshell, the article shows that distillation removes all minerals from the water and since minerals are crucial to ones health, this method of purification is not healthy.

2.  The second article is written by Gene Franks, the owner of Pure Water Products.  He discusses reverse osmosis technology and compares it with distilled water in a no-nonsense manner that is very typical of his business style.  To avoid keeping you in suspense any longer, our family chose to go with Pure Water Products and a reverse osmosis system that they recommended.

This is all about water filtration choices and what my recommendations are for purifying your drinking water and doing so on a budget. Making your tap water safe is important for your health!

4.  REVERSE OSMOSIS:

Even once the decision to get a reverse osmosis was made, we still had to decide which type.  They are sold all over the place and there are different types and different prices.  But if you read Mr. Franks' article, you will see part of what made going with his company an easy decision to make.  He took a good bit of time on the phone with me to walk me through the pros and cons of his system versus the others that I had been contemplating and well, his reasoning was easy to follow, he made a lot of sense and he was not pressuring me into anything.  In fact, I was considering a water softener as well, but he talked me out of it! 🙂

We purchased a reverse osmosis system that uses our multi-pure carbon filter as one of its filters (we had already pre-paid for these and Gene said that they were a great filter and we should save money and keep them) and then we put a remineralizing cartridge on the filter as well.  We additionally purchased a whole house filter to remove chlorine and sediment as the negative health effects of chlorine in water are something that I wanted to avoid.

I do not receive any financial compensation from Mr. Franks for referring people to his company.  I just think he does a great job and would like to help others “wade through” the deep murky waters of making your drinking water safe.  It took us a lot of time and stress and I hope that I have helped to reduce both of these for you.

Costco also carries some reverse osmosis units that Mr. Franks said were worth considering, but some of those have expensive replacement cartridges.

{Please note – there are affiliate links in this post. If you click on one and make a purchase I might make a commission. Your support is much appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running.}

5.  BERKEY FILTERS

This is my choice for a portable water filtration system and can be great for in home if you have monitored the pH of your water.

UPDATE – April 2015.

I had been doing some reading about reverse osmosis systems removing beneficial minerals from the water and felt I needed to pay some attention to this.  I already had a remineralizing cartridge on our RO system, which puts some minerals back into the water, but felt I wanted to go more in the natural direction and just not remove the minerals to begin with.

We ended up going with Berkey Filters, a great portable option for water filtration that apparently can even filter really dirty water (think emergency situations).  I love that you can take this with you easily on a trip or camping and you can easily bring it with you if you move.

In order to get the best deal on Berkey filters (better than I can offer as they give a lifetime warranty), visit here.

Berkey Buying Tips:

  1. I highly recommend that you purchase at least 1 size larger than you think you need.  That's the #1 complaint I hear from people — that they wish they'd bought a larger unit.
  2. I also highly recommend the sight spigot and the Berkey primer.  The sight spigot allows you to see the water level in the filter without removing the top.The primer allows you to prime the filters without using a water faucet. The priming can be pretty messy so it's a great idea to get this.

In a post in the near future we will discuss selecting water bottles so that you can carry your clean pure water around with you in a healthy way.

6. The Filter We Are Using Now – PureEffect FILTERS  

Pure Effect Filters

Update March 2016

Lack of Fluoride Removal Using Berkey Filters

Due to several concerns, since I published this post, I started researching water filters again and am now using the Pure Effect Filter.  I still like the Berkey, but for our home use, this is the filter I recommend.

I have been doing more research into this and the reason I recommend the PureEffect Filters is that the Berkey fluoride filters are dependent on having the water be at certain pH levels in order to effectively remove fluoride.  If you are going to be monitoring your pH, then the Berkey can be fine.  Otherwise I highly recommend the PureEffect.

You can get either an over or under the counter filter that removes just about everything — but it does leaves the natural minerals intact.

You can read more about the potential health ramifications of removing minerals from your drinking water here.

The PureEffect Filter Removes:

fluoride
chlorine
loads of other contaminants
and even radiation if you like.

Additionally, you can get extra UV protection as well.  The owner is very knowledgeable and went into the business since he felt there was no filter on the market that did what he wanted — fabulous filtration without removing minerals.

He will walk you through installation, doesn't try to “upsell” you, and the filters are very reasonable.

I never would have thought about radiation, but particularly for those on the West Coast (dealing with the water flowing from the Fukushima nuclear accident, that is ongoing), this is a legitimate concern.

We chose an under the counter model, but you can go with the countertop as well.

My husband isn't that handy (sorry, honey–well, he'd tell you that himself), but he and my son installed the PureEffect Filter by themselves and the owner makes himself available to assist.

We will be considering their whole house filter in the future.

Go here to learn more and to purchase.

So there's a lot to think about–and a lot to do in order to make your tap water safe.

How have you chosen to make your tap water safe?
If you haven't already, what do you think you will do?

Comments

    Speak Your Mind

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    The comments below do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom, LLC.
  1. Meredith Moore says:

    Reading the info you’ve posted regarding the Pure Effect water filtration system. My question is, are the filters incased in plastic. Looks as if that’s the case. I looked up their system and read that they mention they use BPA free plastic but for me, plastic is plastic and made with chemicals.
    Hope you’re still responding to questions regarding this systems. Currrntly, I’m filling gallon size glass containers with ionized water from a machine at the Earth Fare store in Charlotte but have been reading that drinking ionized water long term is not good for me.

    • Hi there. Good question. Hmmm.. I can find out but is there another option? Is the machine you get your water from plastic free? I don’t have an issue with chemicals…it’s toxins that I have a problem with.

  2. Hi Adrienne,

    Thanks so much for doing all this research so that the rest of us don’t have to!

    This is a very basic question, but how does one get an under-the-counter unit like the Pure Effect installed? Are regular plumbers familiar with how to do it? I live in Manhattan and we’re not used to having to employ contractors!

    Thanks,

    Sarah

    • Hi Sarah,

      You are so welcome. I know — it’s all so much work!

      My husband and son did it. My husband is not handy but my youngest is and the owner is available for help so in that sense it’s a good idea to install it during business hours.

      Hope that helps!

  3. Rita Hendrickson says:

    what do you think about the filters that ionize the water like Kangen? the ph of the water is amazing according to what ive seen. im looking to drink water that is good and not out of plastic. Thank you!

  4. How can a water filter device filter out numerous unwanted substances yet allow certain minerals to pass through… I’m very suspicious.

    • Hi Ella. Good question. It appears to be that it is dependent on the size of the molecule and minerals are smaller than the impurities. For example a filter that removes impurities of greater than or equal to 1 micron will remove cryptosporidium and giardia but will leave Ca which is 231 pm (picometers) in size. I hope that helps.

  5. Terri Thompson says:

    Thoughts on this . . . I’m considering buying the AquaGear . . . “”Almost all pitcher-style filters use GAC or “granulated activated carbon” as the filtration medium. Typically, GAC is coconut husks that have been heated to a high temperature in the absence of oxygen and then granulated. These filters do remove some chlorine and hydrogen sulfide (rotten eggs odor) — but are not effective at removing VOCs, metals, pesticides or fluoride. Overall, they are not very effective water filters. One exception that I’ve discovered is the Aquagear Water Filter. This filter has been certified by ISO 17025 accredited labs tests to remove lead (97.5%), fluoride (90%), chlorine (99.99%), chromium 6 (99.87%), mercury (99.6%), trihalomethanes (99.99%) and DDT (98.8%). This filter costs about $70 and it’s available on Amazon.””

  6. Hi,
    I was wondering if you still like Pure Effect as the best filter. Anything you do not like about it?
    How do we know that the filter really does what the owner says that it does? Is it certified by an independent, reputable third party like NSF?
    Thank you for your help.

  7. Do you have any info on Turapur pitcher?

    • I see that it hasn’t been tested for the removal of fluoride. From what I know about water filters, it would be unlikely that this kind would do that. Fluoride is toxic and is especially bad for the thyroid. Hope that helps.

  8. Jennifer Erickson says:

    Adrienne, I knew I could count on you for a deliciously complex article about water filtration after you helped me sort through the essential oils mess 🙂

    And deliciously complex it is! Let me make sure I understand. You are no longer using Mr. Franks’ reverse osmosis filters and are instead using the Pure Effect filters? I am about to move into a new home and would like to have both whole house and drinking water filtration in place ASAP. Thanks again for your guidance, you are an indispensable resource!

    • Hi Jennifer. Too funny of a comment – deliciously complex. Love it!

      Yes, that is correct. I really love the filters and the owner. I HIGHLY recommend getting the Gallon Meter to keep track of how much you use. I didn’t get it when we first bought the filter and had to buy it separately.

      • Jennifer Erickson says:

        I just got off the phone with Igor. Yes, what a great guy! I’m gonna get the ultra disinfect with the gallon meter today! Turns out my PayPal Credit line got extended, so I’m treating myself to healthy water 🙂

  9. Wow! We must be related somewhere down the line! LOL! I’m a “researcher” too. I use a faucet mounted Pur filter and I add a dash of Real Salt (google realsalt.com), which I use exclusively for flavor, as well as to enrich our food. We live in an old house with old pipes and I’m pretty sure the pipes running from the local water plant that have been buried under the ground for heaven-only-knows how long have equally dicey health concerns.

    Keep up the good work! Just found your blog and LOVE it! 🙂

    • So fun – perhaps we are. And I would love that b/c I don’t have many relatives. So let’s dig into the family tree and find out :).

  10. Another great post. (I just found your website today and am learning a lot.).

    I really appreciate how you include separate updates in your posts and don’t delete the originals. It is really helpful for me to see your own learning processes as we can all learn from them, as well. At least I do. Thanks!

  11. Kimberly S Hofstra says:

    Question….about to buy a Pureffect filter…which specific model do you recommend?

    • Hi Kimberly. Are you thinking about countertop or under the counter? We did the under the counter since I value my counter space. I ended up getting the one w/ the UV option. We haven’t used that part of it yet but it’s nice to have the option.

  12. what do you say to the other thought that minerals in the water get stored in the joints and that is why distilled water is best? there is a school of thought that believes in this

    thanks

  13. I don’t think you should be afraid of distilled water. The minerals in water are not usable by the body anyway. Get your minerals from fruits and vegetables. See this link for an explanation of the minerals in water: http://www.uspurewater.com/minerals-in-water.html

  14. LaMesha Mahoney says:

    Hi, I love that you did all this research and could explaib it to us. Because I have been concerned about my water quality for a couple years and have been following the alkaline movement. Since, I moved my concern started again because the faucet water still taste strange in my Brita filter and after boiling or using my coffee filter. So I buy a lot of water at the store and pay extra for the alkaline brands. I currently just rent but I was fortunate to have an under the sink filtration at my other apartment. This one doesn’t offer that so I would rather have a system that we can take with us when we move again and preferably alkaline benefits to heal the body.
    Which do you recommend? Of the three systems you recommend which one is alkalizing?
    Thanks so much!

  15. Bernadette says:

    Thanks for all your research. We have a Berkley system. I was wondering if you could direct me to the information about testing the pH of the water and its significance?

  16. Liz Dimauro says:

    Thank you for this helpful article. You did all the research for us! That is truly appreciatd. What pure effects filter would you recommend for a family that moves every three years?

    • Hi Liz. You are so welcome. So we got the under the counter version. My husband isn’t very handy but he put it in w/ my youngest (who is) and they were able to do it. I think depending on your desires you could do that or the on the counter one. I like having it hidden. If you don’t mind taking it out and putting it back in every 3 years you will be fine. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! I hope to write more about these filters – they are amazing.

  17. Are you saying that our drinking water in California is contaminated with Fukushima radiation? Can you clarify what you meant? Also, how do we know the minerals that are being added back in are free of contaminants and radiation? Let me know your thoughts please.

    • I’m saying that water drifts from west to east so the Fukushima water moves towards the US with CA being on the way. There are no minerals removed with the filter that I use now (the final one on the list). Hope that helps!

  18. So the water filters that remove everything, such as Zero Water are actually harmful? I kind of wondered about that after I bought it…

    • I was just asked about this filter the other day. Does it remove minerals? What I did check is that the cost per gallon is way higher than the cost of the system that I just went with. The one that I bought comes out to about 26 cents per gallon. The Zero Water one depends on TDS (total dissolved solids) in the water and at the best case scenario it’s about 40 gallons per filter. I think the filters are about $15 a piece (I couldn’t figure out which filter went with what but that is the first price I saw on Amazon) so at 40 gallons per that is a cost of 38 cents a gallon. At the middle of Zero’s estimation that would be 46 cents a gallon. So I think with the better filtration the brand that I have is superior b/c of the cost factor as well – does that help?

  19. Thanks for all the info. Trying to educate myself as we’d like to get one for our family of 7. I’m honestly completely overwhelmed! Did you by chance do any research into the Radiant Life RO 14-step system? Someone told me about that. Does the PureEffect system have a UV light enclosed in glass or plastic? Plastic breaks down under UV exposure and can leach chemicals into water then. Just curious. For the whole house system does that make all the water everywhere as the safetesf drinking water or do you still add an additional unit under kitchen sink for better purity?
    I’m getting confused!
    Thanks!
    Thanks!

    • Hi Erin. Yes, I did look at that system but I finally felt it was overkill and the Pure Effect one was less expensive for better products. I am an affiliate at both places, just so you know.

      Here is the owner’s response about the UV light and the whole house system:

      Our UV Chamber is Food-Grade Stainless Steel with special UV Resistant Black fittings. The UV light itself sits inside a Quartz Glass sleeve inside the Stainless Steel Chamber.

      Because the whole house system cleans the water BEFORE the plumbing system of the home (where bio-films, metal/solder/plumbers tape/grease leaching and all kinds of build up occurs), as such, it would not result in as thoroughly cleaned water for drinking/cooking. For this, the kitchen units are best, since they clean directly AFTER the plumbing system and at a much slower flow rate, which gives them the greatest thoroughness. For baths, showers, cleaner clothes and dish washing water, the whole house system will be exceptional.

      Ideally, both systems complete the whole home clean-water approach.

      I hope that helps. Feel free to ask more if needed.

      • Thanks so much for the response!
        I think this is going to be our Christmas gift this year! So romantic! ?

        • You are so welcome.

          I think it’s TOTALLY romantic. What better than something to really improve your health? Good water filtration is basically Number 1 on my list of what to do for health.

  20. Here’s a lite-question for you (not calling d-u-m-b) but do I have to put in a whole new faucet when we install the Pure Effect Ultra under counter purifier? I can’t tell from the webpage.

    • There is a place in most sinks where you can just remove a plug and put the filter in right there. Does that make sense? The filter comes with the faucet that goes through that hole.

      • Thanks. I will look into it further. I really like the faucet we have.

        • You keep the faucet that you have. It’s a small circle that’s plugged up that it on your sink. Under your sink you can see how you remove the plug to put the new filtered water faucet in there. Does that help?