You need to stay hydrated. That's for sure. But is tap water your best option? Generally, it is considered safe if it comes from a public water system in the United States. Public drinking water must meet strict safety standards.
But that doesn't mean your water is free of all contaminants, just that the levels of any contaminants don't pose a serious health risk. And it sure doesn't mean it's going to taste good or comply with your doctor's orders, should you have a health issue with chlorine and or fluoride, which is present in most municipal water.
Having some method of filtering the water you drink and cook with is the best way to assure great-tasting water without the high cost of hauling bottled water into the house. You have choices for how to do this:
FILTER PITCHER. The field is crowded with lots of choices, but for the money you cannot beat the much-improved Brita Everyday Water Pitcher and the Brita Longlast Replacement Filter. One standard filter is good for 40 gallons of water before it lets you know it needs to be replaced. The Longlast filter lasts up to six months. The pitcher is completely BPA-free. Filters are quick and easy to change; they don't require pre-soaking and don't leave black flecks in your water. The filter reduces chlorine taste and odor, copper, mercury and cadmium. The pitcher costs about $28, while a replacement filter comes in at about $7.99 (or $20.99 for a two-pack), and a Longlast filter comes in at about $16.99 (or $32.99 for a two-pack).
UNDER-SINK WATER FILTER. If you're serious about home water filtration, it won't be long before you ditch the pitcher in favor of a reverse-osmosis system — the kind of filtration we have in our home. This is a fairly simple installation that goes in the cabinet under the sink, but it can get pricey if you call a water service or plumbing company and accept whatever system it is selling that day.
There's a much cheaper way to do this that promises fabulous results: Buy a high-quality system yourself, and perform the installation if you have basic plumbing skills. Or, once the system arrives, call a plumber to install it. I am very impressed with both the quality and price tag on an APEC Top Tier 5-Stage Ultra Safe Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System. Remarkably, this system requires no electricity, and it works with gravity and water pressure to produce wonderful drinking water.
The APEC system removes 99 percent of contaminants including arsenic, chlorine, lead, fluoride, heavy metals, bacteria, viruses and more, and that's a very good start! Plan on replacing filters approximately every 12 to 36 months. The complete system costs about $185. One replacement filter set about $32.
Can't locate resources for these filtration devices? I have posted them for you at www.everydaycheapskate.com/waterfilters. Enjoy!
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at [email protected], or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.