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.
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.
4. REVERSE OSMOSIS:
At this stage in our Water Filtration journey, we made the decision to get a reverse osmosis filter but 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 salt-free 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.
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.
So the Berkey became my choice for a portable water filtration system and can be great for in home if you have monitored the pH of your water. Unfortunately, the Berkey's fluoride filtration system isn't dependable unless you pH is in optimal range. The problem is that I have read varying reports about what that optimal range is, so I encourage you to do your own research.
We did end up going with Berkey for awhile, and it's 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. This smaller unit is a great size for camping. And for a REALLY portable option, these Sport Berkeys filter right as you drink!
You can also find Berkey here.
Berkey Buying Tips:
- 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.
- 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.
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 recommend the PureEffect Filters since 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 Filters
You can read the pH information in the section above on Berkey filters, but basically the exact recommended pH isn't something I can tell you since I have seen varying information on this.
With 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:
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 love it so much that we will be considering their whole house filter in the future!
What About Shower Filters?
PureEffect has a great filters and they have a shower filter too, but if chloramines are a concern where you live, then a vitamin C filter would be best.
This shower filter is one that appears to be a very solid option for shower filtration. I plan to do more research into this in the future.
So there's a lot to think about–and a lot to do in order to make your tap water safe. But thankfully we have some great options!
How have you chosen to make your tap water safe?
If you haven't already, what do you think you will do?