Whether you get city water, or have a well, you might not be aware of all of the benefits of filtering tap water. We know the human body is composed of 60-70% water. We’re taught that from a young age. And water is more important than food, because we can go weeks without eating. However, on average, we could only survive 3-8 days without water. Therefore, we also know we can’t live without it. But what’s the difference between filtered tap water and plain tap water? And is the distinction that important?
Water filtration has been around for at least 4000 years. In fact, the first recorded process of purifying water was boiling. Although the ancients believed if it tasted good, it was good. Thus, many people got sick and died. By 1750, the first home filters, however simple, were available. And in the early 1800s, the first water treatment facilities started popping up in Europe. In addition, it was nearly a century later when indoor plumbing was introduced in the US. And then another ~ 90 years before it was widely available.
Back then everyone drank tap water. Except the few who drank bottled water, because they believed it could cure common ailments. Furthermore, water treatment facilities continued to improve. Unfortunately, before something can be improved, it seems something drastic always needs to happen. For example, in the late 19th century, efforts were made to disinfect water in Maidstone, England. When the city council neglected to regularly test the water supply and failed to repair the sewage and drainage systems, typhoid fever was the result. But then they experimented with chorinating the water supply, so the death toll wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Today most tap water is chlorinated, keeping us safe from bacteria. Though there are other issues that disinfectants won’t fix.
Benefits of Filtering Tap Water: Signs Your Home Needs Water Filtration
- Better smelling and tasting: If your water tastes like chlorine, metal, grass, dirt, or even sewage, then you definitely need water filtration. Or if it smells bad; sulfur, chorine, algae, copper, iron, and lead are a few known contaminants that can make your water smell bad. So, if you want great smelling and tasting water, get a water filtration system.
- Clean, clear water: Pour some tap water in a clear glass. Do you see anything floating in it? Is there a tint of brown, red, or yellow? If you have clean water, it should also be clear and free of floaters.
- Reduces limescale: Do any of your plumbing fixtures have limescale? It’s a white, crusty build-up on faucets, sinks, tubs, etc, that indicates you have hard water. Additionally, it ages your appliances faster.
- Prevents plumbing problems due to limescale: That same build-up will cause appliances to work slower, lead to clogged drains, and even corrode your pipes.
- Removes organic contaminants: Although city treatment facilities do their best to remove pharmaceutical contaminants, there’s just no way to really test how much is in tap water. And how or when someone will get affected.
- Improves hydration: Some contaminants, like chlorine, calcium and magnesium can dry out your skin and hair. Therefore, if you’re constantly thirsty or suffer dry skin, and don’t have one, you’ll feel better with a home water filter.
- Removes bad bacteria: If you or family members have unexplained health problems, your water might be the culprit. These health issues could range from frequent colds, flus, and nausea to more chronic and serious issues.
- Better for the environment: 60 million plastic bottles end up in landfills or incinerators each day. And can take up to 450 years to biodegrade. Furthermore, more than 17 million barrels of oil are needed to make enough plastic bottles for America’s bottled water demands.
- Saves money: Americans purchase on average ~ 43 billion water bottles annually. And ~ 64% of bottled water in the US is really just glorified tap water. That’s right, we’re paying extra to drink the same stuff that comes out of our tap. Yes, it might taste different. That’s because those companies change the electrolytes or flavoring. But essentially, you’re drinking expensive tap water. However, if you purchase a water filtration system, there are reusable BPA-free water bottles.
What About Lead Pipes
Before moving on, I want to bring up lead pipes, because of the situation in Flint, Michigan. Due to bad management, their water, and ultimately health, was compromised. Also, this is the 8th year, some still waiting for their replacement pipes. Over 9 million US homes still get water through lead pipes. However that number could be higher. Texas is reported to have nearly 300,000 LSLs, while Oklahoma has just 48,000. But the problem is that some states don’t know where all of their LSLs are located and buried. And when their use was banned in 1986, most public water systems only removed the public portions of the LSLs; the home’s plumbing components weren’t dealt with at all.
In addition, if you have lead pipes and hard water, it could leach lead into your drinking water. But, there are even filters to combat that. Assuming you live in the city, you should get a water quality report every year. And if it shows high levels of any particular contaminant, it’s possible your home’s tap water is involved. For instance, there have been a few times since 2019 where Oklahoma residents have been asked to boil their water. Sometimes out of a sense of over-precaution. However, other times it was due to E. coli. Therefore, any time you’re being cautioned to boil your water, and you’re on city water, is a red light that something isn’t right. So, filtering your water at home would be very beneficial to you. But if you’re not sure, then have your water tested by a professional water quality analyst.
There are so many benefits of filtering tap water. But the biggest benefit is your health. And most water filtration systems are easy to use, convenient, and low maintenance. Therefore, if you don’t live in the city, or you have well water, contact your county or state health department for a list of certified labs for water testing.