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Spring Clean Your Water Source

Many people assume that city water is as clean as it can be because it goes through a filtration system but there are still many contaminants in the water that comes out of your tap.
Apr 11, 2022 | Joy McCarthy

It’s finally spring! That means sprouting grass, budding flowers, warmer weather and – for many of us – spring cleaning. While you’re dusting those shelves and scrubbing those floors (hopefully with chemical-free cleaners!) you may want to take some time to think about making sure your water source is the cleanest it can possibly be, too!

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Clear Water Doesn't Always Mean Clean Water

Water quality problems are a long-standing issue all over the world, especially right here in Canada with long-term water crises across many Canadian First Nations communities. I really hope that you live in a place that isn’t forced to drink bottled water as a matter of safety (which isn't even regulated). But even if the local authority deems your tap water safe to drink, there are ways to make it even safer!

These are some of the known contaminants in water. The amount of each will differ greatly depending on where you live.

  • Fluoride. This should no longer be a controversial issue, but it remains today largely due to misinformation and lack of up-to-date information. Learn more here
  • Pesticides. Agriculture is the leading source of pollution of rivers and streams surveyed by U.S. government experts, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Pesticides are well established hormone disrupting chemicals
  • Pharmaceutical drugs. Residues of painkillers, antihypertensives, hormones from contraceptives and antibiotics are found in water. These chemicals enter the water cycle mainly through excretion, but also through improper disposal.
  • Personal care. Water also gets contaminated by perfume, cologne, skin lotions, and sunscreens that wash off people's skin.
  • Microplastics. Everywhere scientists have looked from the North pole to the South pole, they have found microplastics - in the soil, air, food, rain and our drinking water.
  • PFAs aka "Forever Chemicals". We can thank DuPont and the chemicals used to make non-stick pans for their contribution to this catastrophe of chemicals on planet earth. They have been found in studies to impact the immune system, have developmental and reproductive effects, inhibit thyroid function, hormones and more. Not only are PFAs found in drinking water but they are also found in human breast milk.
  • Chromium-6. Remember that movie Erin Brockovich? If you saw it you probably thought "thank goodness for activists like Erin who care enough to fight the big corporations to get this cancer chemical out of our water" right? Think again. Yes, she did a good job, but that was just one town. There is no federal limit for this carcinogen in drinking water! Watch this video to learn more about chromium-6.

The only “chemicals” you really need in your water are the plain old hydrogen and oxygen you need to make H2O! Of course, water is a mineral-rich source and given that we should all be drinking 2-3L (8-12 cups) of filtered water per day, drinking water is a major source of minerals.

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Lucky for us, there are steps we can take to clean up our water to get at least some of those excess chemicals out of there!

Water Filters: The Easiest Way to Get the Gunk Out

There are so many different types of water filters out there that everyone should be able to find one that suits their needs and budget. A great place to start is one of those water-filtering pitchers you can keep in your fridge, which gives you the added bonus of keeping your water refreshingly cold!

These systems do not get the majority of contaminants out of your water, but they’re excellent at removing chlorine, so your water will taste better.

There are lots of different companies making these sorts of pitchers out there. Just remember to pick one that’s BPA-free and to replace the filter regularly!

What about Reverse Osmosis (RO) filters?

Reverse osmosis filters are the Ferrari's of the home water filtration world. They hook up to the plumbing in your house, so the good news is that you’ll always have filtered water straight out of whatever tap you hook the system up to. They remove all of the contaminants in the water. I had one in my home for many years but I do not recommend them anymore and I never liked the taste. 

The reason I do not like RO filters is because they remove absolutely everything in the water so you're left with dead or "zero" water. Have you ever noticed how bad Dasani bottled water tastes? That's RO water. There is a way around this. You can add remineralizing tablets or drops to a jug of water if you go with this option.

Reverse osmosis filters are definitely pricier, but they last for years, and are relatively easy to install, even if you’re not a professional plumber. If this is the option for you, have a chat with the staff at your local hardware or home improvement store as they will be able to advise you on all your options but as I mentioned, they are not my favourite choice.

What about spring water?

The last time I was hiking through the Austrian mountains I came across spring water gushing out of the mountains where locals fill up their jugs. I gladly filled up my water bottle with that water. It tasted better than any water I've ever tasted in my life.

There are fresh springs all over the world. You can use Find A Spring if you live in the US or Canada. Even though I know many people who do this, I am personally hesitant due to lack of knowledge on whether there is any agricultural run-off nearby potentially contaminating the water with pesticides or radioactive isotopes. Do so with your own caution.

What about countertop systems?

Of all the countertop systems out there, my favourite is definitely the Berkey. I would have one if I didn't mind it taking up the counter space - I want all the space for meal prep and cooking! My parents have one and they love it. It's very pretty, it's cost-effective, it works at removing most of the contaminants and the water tastes great.

What do I use?

Joyous Kitchen

After many hours of research from structured water to RO, we decided on a water filtration system from Watermart in Toronto. We have a 4 stage filter that removes 99% of the contaminants including fluoride and arsenic but not the minerals. Walker did the installation himself, it was pretty easy and the water tastes great! I always let it run for about 20 seconds when it's used for the first time in the day, like in the morning to prevent reabsorption of contaminants from the filter. Feel free to use my discount code: JOY for a 15% discount on any system. This is not a sponsored post, I just really love my water filter and want to pass along the savings!

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No matter what filter you end up using, make sure change your filter regularly as it can harbor bacteria and let contaminants through if not replaced.

Don't Stop at the Kitchen Sink!

When we think about water filters, we tend to focus on the kitchen sink and the water we drink, but there’s another source of water in the house that we’re exposed to every day: the bathroom.

You can just as easily absorb chemicals through your skin as you can through your digestive tract, but you can make sure your daily showers are squeaky clean by installing a water filter on your shower head. Or take it up another level and have a filter installed onto the water that comes into your house.

We have a filter by Kinetico (which you can get installed through Costco) that removes chlorine and ammonium on the main water line coming into our house. If you have dry skin, rosacea, eczema or you feel itchy after a shower you will notice a difference filtering out those two contaminants from your bathwater.

What’s your spring cleaning project for this year? Share it with us in the comments below!

Apr 11, 2022 BY Joy McCarthy
12 Comments
Elaine Roberts-Kercheff   •   March 31, 2016

Hi Joy! This is a great article! We are actually looking into purchasing a water filter for our house to better ensure our little one's health. We recently learned about chloramine and activists questioning it's use to treat drinking water. along with trihalomethanes. Not many of the shelf filters can filter this out - only regular chlorine. Do you have any insight on this? Warm Regards, E

Reply
Heather Allen   •   April 1, 2016

Kerry   •   March 31, 2016

What filter would you recommend for the shower? Do they affect water pressure? Are the filters on fridges (the ones built in) also good options?

Reply
Heather Allen   •   March 31, 2016

countertop water filter   •   April 26, 2017

This is the best blog i have seen.I liked it. countertop water filter

Reply
Rachel Molenda   •   April 26, 2017

john   •   December 14, 2017

Hey Joy, You wrote superb content, I love to read your article. So glad to enjoyed it. Great work keep it up :)

Reply
Rachel Molenda   •   December 15, 2017

Erika   •   February 27, 2019

Great article, my husband gifted me a reverse osmosis water filter for my birthday(i love my water!) Just worried we have removed too many vitamins and minerals, is this a valid concern? What remineralizing tablets would you recommend?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   February 27, 2019

cindy muskat   •   July 8, 2019

Hey there! I know this is a years old post but hopefully you’re still monitoring it? I’m wondering what type of filter you are using Joy?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   July 9, 2019

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