How to improve the drinkability of your tap water

Some time ago, filtered tap water was a luxury for the highest classes. These days, it’s an accessory, because of the large amount of contaminants in our water that heavily affect its drinkability. That being said, a water filter is in any case an investment that can help you save money in the long run.

What’s in your tap water?

Your tap and well water probably seems perfectly fine, yet, the degree of contamination in it might just be higher than you think. Rivers and lakes are often some of the best natural water resources, but they still get polluted by factories and acid rain. Not all of these impurities are man-made; some have natural causes. Natural minerals like calcium and magnesium can impact your water too. All of these factors are causing homeowners to increasingly opt for water treatment filters.

How about you? Do you really know what’s in your water? Let’s get to know a few of the unusual visitors that you might be taking in on a regular basis.

Pesticides, herbicides & biocides

To maintain fruit and vegetable production, agriculture uses pesticides against undesirable plants, diseases, fungi and other pests. Some of these agents end up in the environment, through runoff, rainwater or water streams and are ingested by humans through food and drinking water. Freshwater pollution from agricultural pesticides is the main issue of concern for Switzerland. Various experts therefore rate pesticides as the greatest threat to water quality at present. Health complaints include skin irritation, hormone changes and an increased risk of cancer.

Nitrates

The main use of nitrate is in the fertilization of plants. According to the FOEN, “the largest issue regarding water in Switzerland is the quality of the water as it is contaminated by agricultural fertilizers and livestock waste.” Small water bodies are mostly affected by this. The Commission of European Communities through the EU warns against the potential health risks involved with high percentages of nitrate in drinking water. Consumed nitrate reacts with compounds in the stomach to form products which have been found to be carcinogenic.

Heavy metals

Toxic alloys like copper and lead are very common in tap water and can cause damage to your health, even at low doses. They dissolve easily in water, so corrosion of household plumbing systems and erosion of natural deposits are major sources of heavy metal pollution in public drinking water. The presence of these metals in drinking water can cause a variety of adverse health effects like high blood pressure, fertility issues, kidney problems, brain damage and miscarriages.

Bacteria and chlorine

You can find an abundance of bacteria in drinking water, most of which are harmless or already filtered out once they reach your faucet. However, a few of them are still present. This is why most cities use chlorine to treat water and kill bacteria such as those that cause Legionnaires’ disease. Chlorine itself, however, has a few unhealthy properties and can be absorbed through physical consumption as well as through your skin while bathing. If you’re being exposed regularly, it can severely irritate your skin, eyes and nose as well as affect your intestinal flora.

Pharmaceuticals

These cover a wide range of synthetic chemicals that are found in prescription, therapeutic and veterinary medication. They commonly make it into the water stream from poorly controlled manufacturing facilities and improper disposal. In Switzerland, for example, around 29 tonnes of antibiotics were sold in the field of veterinary medicine in 2020, and around 40 tonnes were used in human medicine in the last 10 years. Due to the high use of antibiotics and their presence in drinking water, resistance to these active ingredients quickly develops which is considered a serious problem.

Hard water

Hard water is another way of saying that your drinking water has a high mineral content, mostly consisting of calcium and magnesium. Excessive consumption of hard water stresses the liver and kidneys, in some cases even to the point of forming kidney stones. It’s not particularly good for your skin and hair care either, as it can dry out both, and cause irritation.

Consider installing a water filter

As you can see, there are still a lot of potentially hazardous substances in our tap water. By installing a water purifier, you’ll filter most of the dirt, chemicals and other pollutants out of your tap water. This gets rid of unwanted tastes and unpleasant odors, increasing the overall drinkability.

How does it work?

A water filter serves as a physical barrier, preventing contaminants and thus purifying the water. There are different types of filters, depending on the purpose of the filtered water.

  • A sediment filter allows the water to pass through one or more layers of sediment and is therefore also called a settling filter. This type of purifier actually mimics the water filtering that already occurs in nature with different types of rocks. A sediment filter mainly removes coarse impurities from the water, but not the microscopic particles that are already dissolved in it.
  • Carbon is known for its ability to bind other substances and is therefore also used for filtration. An activated carbon filter uses specifically treated carbon that can remove huge amounts of substances from your tap water.
  • With reverse osmosis, there are additional filters. The primary filter removes sand and metal particles from the water, while the secondary filter removes small impurities such as bacteria. Reverse osmosis removes all minerals from the water.

Why do I need it?

First of all: a water filter removes odors and taste-disturbing substances as well as dangerous contamination from your drinking water. Most of the substances we’ve talked about earlier on, will be removed during the water treatment, making it healthier and safer.

Purified water is softer and purer in taste. In most cases, this eliminates the need to buy bottled water. This is not only better for the environment, but is also a lot cheaper! Moreover, you are not always stuck with piles of empty plastic bottles. Filtered water also makes better coffee and tea.

It is also better to use filtered water for small household appliances such as kettles, coffee makers and irons. Because there is less lime in the water, there will also be less lime deposits in the appliances and therefore they will last longer. This will also affect your energy bill, in a good way. We can all use that these days.

Can’t wait to enjoy clean, fresh water, right on tap? Then you should really contemplate installing a water filter in your home. 

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