Author Topic: Water filtration: buy a faucet filter, pitcher, purifier or under-sink filter  (Read 23102 times)

Sri C.

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The apartment we moved to has water with a very salty taste to it. While it's perhaps OK to use it for cooking and cleaning, we don't want to keep on buying bottled water for drinking.

Which thing would be a Mustachian thing to do to enjoy less salty water:

faucet filter
pitcher
purifier
under-sink filter
continue buying bottled water

The faucet filter looks like the easiest (and hence not perhaps the best) way out and this one has rave reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Culligan-FM-15A-Level-Faucet-Filter/dp/B00006WNMI/

However, some experienced people have recommended that it might be better to buy a more expensive under-sink filter and "connect and forget" about it for atleast a year (whereas these faucet filters need to be replaced every 2 months)

While I can try installing the under-sink filter myself, given that I have never done any plumbing before, would it still be a "better bet" than the other options above?

Spork

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I can't speak for the other options, but we've used the Brita pitcher.  We lived somewhere that had a yearly algae bloom in the supplying lake.  The result was a bit of stink and lots of chlorine from the processing plant.  Brita (just a plain old charcoal filter, really) knocks it out.   I suspect any charcoal filter will work.

Sri C.

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I can't speak for the other options, but we've used the Brita pitcher.  We lived somewhere that had a yearly algae bloom in the supplying lake.  The result was a bit of stink and lots of chlorine from the processing plant.  Brita (just a plain old charcoal filter, really) knocks it out.   I suspect any charcoal filter will work.

As a side note, I read that the low cost "filters" don't actually remove a lot of the contaminants but "color" the taste of the water to mask the odor and that water purifiers are the way to go?

Also, why not buy a faucet filter instead of a pitcher?

Sri C.

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I can't speak for the other options, but we've used the Brita pitcher.  We lived somewhere that had a yearly algae bloom in the supplying lake.  The result was a bit of stink and lots of chlorine from the processing plant.  Brita (just a plain old charcoal filter, really) knocks it out.   I suspect any charcoal filter will work.

As a side comment, I read that the low cost "filters" don't actually remove a lot of the contaminants but "color" the taste of the water to mask the odor and that water purifiers are the way to go?

Also, why not buy a faucet filter instead of a pitcher?

Spork

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I can't speak for the other options, but we've used the Brita pitcher.  We lived somewhere that had a yearly algae bloom in the supplying lake.  The result was a bit of stink and lots of chlorine from the processing plant.  Brita (just a plain old charcoal filter, really) knocks it out.   I suspect any charcoal filter will work.

As a side note, I read that the low cost "filters" don't actually remove a lot of the contaminants but "color" the taste of the water to mask the odor and that water purifiers are the way to go?

Also, why not buy a faucet filter instead of a pitcher?

I did the pitcher because I wanted it cold.  It's hard to put the faucet in the fridge. 

I can't speak for the quality of the water where you are, but most municipal water in the USA doesn't need purification.  I think that's marketing scare tactics.  You might be in an area where that pays off... I've never had that issue.

grantmeaname

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We use the pitcher too. It's charcoal and it does meaningfully filter things, but for us like Spork the largest motivation has been getting the water cold.

acanthurus

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If you actually want significantly less salty water, you can forget the Brita and carbon filters, as the only way to get there is a reverse osmosis system. A typical RO system will knock out 98% of NaCl in tap water, as well as a host of other items. For about $150 you should be able to find an RO system with separate sediment and charcoal pre-filters, an RO membrane, and a storage tank for filtered water. They waste about 3-4 gallons of water for every 1 gallon of clean water they produce, require filter changes every 6 months @ $30 each time, and require RO membrane replacement ever 3 years or so.

http://www.airwaterice.com/product/1WATERCOP/WaterCop-5-Stage-Kitchen-RO.html

If you go this route, get something with standard 10" filter cartridges like the above. Some manufacturers sell things at Lowes etc with proprietary, easy-change filters that cost way more and don't have as long a lifespan. Stay away from those, what you want (if you get an RO) should look very similar to the above.

Now, the question is do you really need this? I live in an area where the drinking water has relatively high levels of sodium, chloride, and bicarbonate. I had to use an RO system back when I kept planted aquariums. But for myself, I drank straight tap.

You can send a sample of your water out for analysis, or you can simply find a local aquarium store and have them measure a sample of your tap water with a TDS meter. If your tap water TDS is less than 500ppm I would not bother with it. If your tap water is significantly higher, I would consider it. If your apartment tap water is significantly higher than the tap water elsewhere in the municipality, I would call the apartment complex and the local utility company because you have a problem...
« Last Edit: May 18, 2013, 10:47:48 AM by acanthurus »

hybrid

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We use the pitcher too. It's charcoal and it does meaningfully filter things, but for us like Spork the largest motivation has been getting the water cold.

+1, and you can get both the pitcher and filters at Costco.  Our tap water has a bit of an odd taste and the Brita just plain works.

tuyop

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This may be one of those things that you really just need to HTFU over.

Or admit that you just want pretty tasting water at any cost because you can't handle slightly less-ideal tasting water or other things that aren't perfectly delicious.

Mark B

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Bracing myself for ridicule from the water filtration geeks in the group, but I use the filtration machine outside my grocery store, filling five gallon Sparkletts-type bottles.  I use it only for ice cubes, when I want a glass of pure water or when I want a cup of hot water immediately (my water dispenser has both hot and cold water).  If I'm making something where the water is just an ingredient, I use tap water. As a bonus, I got the water dispenser from Craigslist for $30, and it produces very hot and very cold water.  It's the old school style that everybody at the office wastes time standing around talking about the football game.  I couldn't be happier.  I go to the grocery store to do a water run about every three months.

The filtered water from the machine tastes just fine, good, in fact, and it makes crystal clear ice cubes.  It costs .25 per gallon, and I dunno, maybe Britta filtered water costs less, but at the rate I use filtered water my 10 year loss of $$ as compared to using a Britta will proably be less than $50. 

geekette

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We used an undersink filter for years, but changing it every few months was a pain - lying on your back trying unscrew the canister and then get it back on with no leaks - quite the production.  So it got changed less and less often, and then it was difficult to find the filters, and then we just pitched it and went with the Brita.  When we replaced our fridge, we got one with a filter, but that's not a real option for apartment living.

dorkus619

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I use a Brita Max dispenser. I also use a Sprite filtered shower head.

I am allergic to chlorine and live in the city. The first couple months in my new home, my mouth and underarms were constantly itchyyy! Took me a while to realize it was my water. Since implementing the above, I've had no issues!

I have heard that the pitcher type dispensers only work the first few times because you pour the water back up thru the filter backwards....NO IDEA if this is bogus or what. The dispenser I have, the water comes out a different spout, not back thru the filter.

Spork

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I have heard that the pitcher type dispensers only work the first few times because you pour the water back up thru the filter backwards....NO IDEA if this is bogus or what. The dispenser I have, the water comes out a different spout, not back thru the filter.

Nope.  When  you pour, it bypasses the filter.

Kazimieras

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I'd suggest go and get your water tested. The cost should be minimal and then you can find out exactly what is in the water that you don't like the taste of. This will let you pick what filtration method is the most effective for you. Here's a rough idea of what each 'filter' type does:

- Charcoal - removes some chemicals and will typically make water taste more like nothing
- Mechanical filter - depending on the size of the pores it will typically do nothing. Smaller pores remove bacteria/viruses (you hopefully do not need to worry about this)
- Reverse Osmosis - pretty much everything, including any useful minerals. Expect stupid high electricity costs

there are other options, but that is usually reserved for people on well water with really crappy ground water.

mensa

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We use an under sink RO system to remove chlorine and flouride from our water. It does remove all minerals as well, so if your diet is poor, you'll need to replace those another way.

There is no electricity use with our system, it's all done by water pressure.

There are only 2 of us in the family, so the cartridge filter needs to be replaced once a year, the RO membrane every 3. We use it for drinking, cooking and washing veges, etc.

grantmeaname

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Why would you want to remove the fluoride?

dorkus619

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Mixed opinions - hot topic. Some believe it's necessary for your teeth and small doses don't pose a health risk. Others believe the gov't is poisoning us.
"fluoride is more toxic than lead, but slightly less toxic than arsenic"

http://www.fluoridealert.org/issues/health/
http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/water-fluoridation-and-cancer-risk

grantmeaname

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One old study found an equivocal connection with one vanishingly rare cancer in one of four nonhuman populations studied, nobody has ever corroborated that, and it's on the toxin list?

mensa

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We remove it for the same reason as we remove chloride - we prefer not to ingest it.

Let's not hijack the thread over this debate, however. My point is that I find the equipment well worth associated costs, which are not high. That said, I'd suggest OP look into what is actually in the water before making a decision on what s/he wants removed. Once that's known, the solution will be obvious as each solution removes different things.

« Last Edit: August 20, 2013, 11:31:37 AM by mensa »

Mark B

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We use the pitcher too. It's charcoal and it does meaningfully filter things, but for us like Spork the largest motivation has been getting the water cold.

+1, and you can get both the pitcher and filters at Costco.  Our tap water has a bit of an odd taste and the Brita just plain works.

I just want to point out that any pitcher will work if you want cold water, as long as it fits in your refrigerator.  So, that's not a meaningful reason by itself for getting a Brita.  You could just as easily fill up a regular old pitcher using a faucet filter and stick it in the fridge.  And, you can then use the faucet filter when you need purified water that doesn't have to be cold, thus saving the precious cold water for your parched mouth.

grantmeaname

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You could also fill up a regular pitcher with a faucet with no filter. Our tap water rocks.

Spork

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You could also fill up a regular pitcher with a faucet with no filter. Our tap water rocks.

...and you generally get used to any tap water if you just drink it for a week or two.  The only reason I ever filtered anything was due to a yearly algae bloom in the local lakes.  This resulted in a month of extreme chlorination.  (i.e. drinking a swimming pool).

Mark B

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You could also fill up a regular pitcher with a faucet with no filter. Our tap water rocks.

...and you generally get used to any tap water if you just drink it for a week or two.  The only reason I ever filtered anything was due to a yearly algae bloom in the local lakes.  This resulted in a month of extreme chlorination.  (i.e. drinking a swimming pool).

Yup and yup.

porkchop

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My reccomendation:

Berkey
Berkey
Berkey

http://www.berkeyfilters.com/

Good stuff.

galliver

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As another apartment dweller, I never regretted my faucet filter*. Doesn't take up fridge space or need to be refilled, just flip and go, and change the filter every three months. If I want cold water, I add ice.  Just make sure you read reviews and get one that doesn't start falling off the faucet.

I grew up drinking boiled (and cooled) water--"old country" habit. We made a lot of tea so we just saved the rest of the water in a container on the counter. In college, got used to tap water--some of the fountains had filters, some did not, but Chicago water is pretty good either way. But I couldn't stand the taste of the water in my cornfield-town. After 2 months or so started looking for filters.