Water is the most basic and most often overlooked commodity of all. In many countries, we turn on a faucet, and water flows as much as we need. With large parts of the United States in drought and water in the cities being of questionable quality, it seems prudent to give this matter more consideration. How do we provide healthy water for ourselves and our families, the Frugalite way?
The Faucet, Maybe
Turn on your kitchen faucet. Does the water smell and taste good, or is there a color or odor? Some impurities such as lead and other heavy metals have neither. They flow out of your faucet and into your food without leaving a trace. Ask the people in Flint, Michigan, how long it took to realize there was lead in their water. When I receive my annual report from the local water utility, lead levels are listed as “within acceptable range.” Really? There are many other toxic substances in my city’s water, but no worries, they’re all within acceptable levels. Right. For a peek at things that are also “acceptable” in tap water, read this article.
Bottled water is a common way to get cleaner water, but it has its caveats: plastic bottles. These can be recycled or repurposed, but there will be quite a few of them. The price I’ve commonly seen locally is $3/24 liters. According to Mayo Clinic, a healthy person needs to drink 3-4 liters of fluid per day as a rule of thumb. So calculating conservatively, that 24-liter case will last eight days. Over the year, that’s 46 cases rounding up, totaling $138 (46 x $3) just for drinking. Not bad, actually! My average quarterly water bill isn’t much less but to be fair, that’s including water for cooking, showers, and watering the garden.
Another thing to be aware of is that bottled water isn’t necessarily any cleaner than city water. Do we really believe the company is taking water from some pristine mountain stream? I don’t. Here’s a glimpse at where some of the most popular brands of bottled water originate. Some brands have been found to contain thousands of plastic particles and others have even tested positive in the past for arsenic.
Granular Carbon-Style Filters
These filters use a combination of mechanisms to filter water: activated carbon granules combined with an ion exchange system that claims to remove several contaminants, including lead and several other heavy metals. The precise mechanism depends upon the exact model, so feel free to research before buying.
Brita has many different products ranging from the familiar pitcher to water bottles and a faucet system. Walmart sells the faucet system for $19.92; other sellers are in the $25 range. Replacement filters are $27.95 from Walmart, and each claims a 100-gallon capacity before needing replacement. Obviously, to calculate costs, you’ll need to know how far 100 gallons will stretch in your household. The faucet system can be augmented with the standard pitcher; the Lake model with two replacement filters is $41.99; standard filters are $23/6 pack and claim a 40-gallon filtration capacity. The claim is also made that these filters can replace 300 water bottles. At the very least, that’s a lot less plastic to recycle! Pur filters are similar in both price and product line.
Solid Carbon Block-Style Filters
These are solid carbon block systems that either attach to your kitchen faucet or under your sink. They’re a bit pricey initially, anywhere from $270 to $1250. The closest system to the one I purchased in the 1990s is the Aquaversa at $455. This one attaches to your kitchen faucet. I flip a diverter valve for all of the clean water I can use in one year’s time or more.
As a single Frugalite I replace mine every 3-4 years, a far longer time frame than the recommended one year per family of four. The Aquaversa filter is $90. Yup, pricey upfront but again, very long-lasting, and I haven’t had any trouble with the SSCT I purchased 25 years ago.
LifeStraws are a straightforward concept and a great water bottle! I first learned about these from one of Daisy’s articles and decided to buy one. This filter uses a two-stage membrane microfilter and claims to filter 1000 gallons or 4000 liters of water. Replacement filters are $25 whether you buy them on Amazon or from the LifeStraw store. The Go water bottle is $39.99 from the store and $35 from Amazon, so not a huge difference. The manufacturer’s recommendation is to replace the filter once per year. Not a high price to pay for safe, fresh water on the go, in my opinion.
And What About the Garden?
When I’m watering, I can’t help but notice that the water looks a bit brown coming out of my hose. Rain barrels are one option if your municipality allows water collection.
Another is a garden hose water filter. Water Filter Advisor is a wealth of information about all kinds of water filters, including those that will attach to a garden hose. There are many options available on Amazon. As always, do your due diligence! These are priced anywhere from $12.99 to $349, depending upon several factors.
Quality Water. Quality Life.
Water is something we need in quantity every day of our lives. Between the droughts restricting supply and municipal purification systems doing a questionable job, why not take matters into your own hands? There are many options for apartments, houses, RVs, and water bottles. This article is a mere overview of the available options. Good luck!
How do you make sure the water your family is drinking is clean and pure? Share your ideas in the comments.