Finding good quality water can be a challenge, especially if you don’t particularly trust the water that comes out of your taps. But what kind of water is the best, and what should you be looking for in a product or system to ensure you have clean drinking water? An under sink water filter is a good choice for the home, though buying bottled water might be a better bet.
Standard Tap Water
In terms of availability and cost, there are advantages to just sticking to tap water. Though residential water supplies are notorious for contamination, not everyone’s water has a problem. Before you immediately ditch the tap water, get it tested to see what you’re dealing with. You’ll almost certainly have some chlorine and fluoride in your water since it is intentionally added to municipal water supplies. Unfortunately, there may also be agricultural compounds (pesticides, herbicides), traces of pharmaceutical products, heavy metals and possibly organic pathogens. Once you see what’s in your water, you’ll have a better idea what to do next.
Here we’re referring to your own tap water that has been filtered at home. For cost, quality and waste production, this can be the best way to get clean water at home. Simple charcoal or carbon blocks will take out the usual chlorine and sediment, and that may be enough to bring clean water to your home. If you need more filtering than that, you can step up to single-tap or whole-house systems that use more sophisticated technology like ion exchange or reverse osmosis to really remove contaminants from your water.
Bottled water comes in a variety of forms, from simple spring water, to distilled, mineral or sparkling. Some brands are nothing more than clean tap water, so don’t expect something too impressive. Mineral water has to have a certain level of minerals in it (usually calcium, magnesium or a mix of natural salts). Distilled water is probably the cleanest because the distillation process removes absolutely everything. Oddly enough, it’s not the healthiest type of water to drink because our body does need the added minerals in water for proper hydration. For day to day drinking, you don’t need anything fancy so an inexpensive brand of plain bottled water would be fine, though the cost will add up if you are buying bottles on a regular basis.
Another downside of bottled water besides the price, and that you create a large amount of plastic waste due to all the containers. Even if you recycle the bottles, that’s a lot of plastic being used.
For regular use, your best choice is to have a home filtering system so that you have easy access to clean water without having to pay a premium for bottled. Many small units can be installed by a handy homeowner, but even paying for a professional to install a water filter still keeps this option as the cheaper one overall. If you like to have clean water on the go, get filtration at home and pack a reusable bottle when you leave the house.