Ways To Provide Healthy Water For Your Household
Water is the most basic requirement for human survival and we use it every day, in terms of drinking, cooking, washing, and cleaning. Here are some useful insights into how to get the healthiest water achievable for you and your family.
Is it better to drink tap water or filtered water?
Knowing what to do with the water you have access to, in the majority of cases tap water, will depend largely on what you know about your local area. To be absolutely sure, you would do well to peruse the annual water quality report in your region. This will inform your decision-making process so that any potentially harmful contaminants or toxins can be completely removed from the precious bodies of you and your family.
Everyone is entitled to have access to this annual water report, and it is typically released on July 1 each year. It will tell you the source of your tap water, eg. groundwater aquifer, lake, river, and will then help you choose the best water filter for you. Whichever filter you end up purchasing, it is best to get one that uses a certified cartridge. Certain models even have the capacity to tell you when the cartridge needs to be changed.
Does boiling tap water make it safer?
Boiling tap water does make it safer, but not completely safe. There are still contaminants lingering because it only removes around 30% of the chlorine which exists in tap water. You would have to boil water continuously for 15-20 minutes to remove this fully, but this is a waste of time and energy.
Water filters can do this without using any energy; they also remove odors, heavy metals, microplastics, and if used in your electric kettle, pour over coffe kettle, tea brewer, or coffee maker, limescale. Your tea and coffee will taste nicer and you’ll avoid wasting plastic such as is used for bottled water, as well as gain the benefits of using running water rather than water which has been stored on a grocery-store shelf for months.
What are the different types of water?
There are nine types of water:
- Tap water – Water is piped directly into your home from a communal supply.
- Mineral water – Drawn from a mineral spring, full of minerals including calcium, sulfur, magnesium. It is good for health.
- Spring water – This is generally bottled and claims to be taken from the source, ie. the relevant glacier or spring.
- Sparkling water – It can be known as ‘soda water’ (soda makers) but it is the same thing; water infused with carbon dioxide gas under pressure.
- Distilled water – This is boiled water from which the steam is gathered and condensed into a liquid again.
- Purified water – This is generally tap or groundwater that has had its potentially unhealthy properties removed, eg. fungi, bacteria, parasites, so it is safe to drink.
- Flavored water – Water that has the addition of sugars or artificial flavorings.
- Alkaline water – This has a higher pH level than regular tap water; it also has alkaline minerals as well as ORP – negative oxidation reduction potential.
- Well water – This comes straight from the ground; on the whole low-risk and has benefited from natural filtration over an extended period of time.
How can I test my water at Home?
There is one way of testing your water at home, other than inviting in an expert water analyst or using your own sense of smell, sight, or taste. That is, to procure a home testing kit.
Whichever product you go for, they all have test strips that you will submerge in your home’s water. The color will then change, according to your water’s mineral content. There is a chart against which you can match this. The best test kits will have different strips that can help test for chlorine, lead, pesticides, bacteria, nitrites/nitrates, hardness, and pH. If it only has one strip it is usually testing only for pH.
You need to fill a cup with water at room temperature, dunk the strip into it, hold it for several seconds, moving it around somewhat. You should then remove it, shake it, and compare it with the kit’s color chart. You can match each strip against the chart provided in order to evaluate the level of each property in your home’s water. You may discern whether the level of each property is hazardous or acceptable. If anyone of them, eg. bacteria, mineral, etc. test hazardous, then test once more to make sure. If it still registers the same way then you need to get in touch with your local municipality and inform them right away.
You might also be able to purchase a hand-held digital instrument or color disk kit. They do essentially the same job, although they might be able to trace even more properties within your water. Ultimately, though, additional tests need to be carried out in a fully resourced laboratory. Your local municipality can advise you further.
- Guide to Safe Tap Water and Water Filters – Food and Water Watch