Water is the absolute base for life. We all know that - and nothing is more true than the saying: "Thousands have lived without love, not one without water." That goes not only for us here in Florida where the tap water is quite bad - it is the truth for most states in the US.
I was born in Denmark and I lived there (for the most part) the first 46 years of my life until I moved to Florida. Denmark is - among other things - known for having some of the best tap water in the world. Yes - literally!
No matter where you are in Denmark, the tap water is of the absolute highest quality, clean taste, no chlorine and no chemicals. Actually it is hard to find any type of bottled water able to compete with the Danish tap water. In South Florida the need for a good whole house water filter is beyond any doubt!
The Tap Water in Florida
Here in Florida (and in most states actually) the tap water is of a quality so low, that it is a chock for Europeans visiting.
Yeah - it is that bad. If you grew up with the tap water here in Florida, you probably drink it and think that that's how tap water should taste.
Even when used in a soda fountain, the taste from the water is so disgusting, that most Europeans never buy a second soda from a fountain here in Florida. Not only is the water so full of chlorine that it resembles drinking swimming pool water - it is also contaminated with quite a lot of more or less harmful chemicals. Now embrace yourself for a few facts about the content of the water, you get from your faucet for drinking, rinsing your vegetables, cooking and showering - these are poisonous chemicals common in city water all over Florida and in most other states:
What is in the Tap Water?
In Florida, EWG tracked 93 contaminants across the state's water supply. The organization says the following contaminants were detected above health limits at different water departments across the state:
- Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) (linked to bladder cancer, skin cancer and fetal development issues). Found above health guidelines at 1,405 utilities.
- Chromium (linked to cancer). Found above health guidelines at 306 utilities.
- Radium-226 (linked to cancer). Found above health guidelines at 739 utilities.
- Radium-228 (linked to cancer). Found above health guidelines at 359 utilities.
- Chlorate (linked to impaired thyroid function, which can be harmful during pregnancy and childhood). Found above health guidelines at 239 utilities.
- Arsenic (linked to cancer). Found above health guidelines at 571 utilities.
- Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFHPA) (linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, accelerated puberty, liver and immune system damage, and thyroid changes). Found above health guidelines at 15 utilities.
- Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) (linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, accelerated puberty, liver and immune system damage, and thyroid change). Found above health guidelines at 28 utilities.
- Uranium (linked to cancer). Found above health guidelines at 118 utilities.
- Strontium (linked to bone cancer and leukemia). Found above health guidelines at 33 utilities across the state.
These contaminants were detected above legal guidelines at water departments across the state, according to EWG:
- Trihalomethanes (linked to bladder cancer, skin cancer and fetal development issues). Found above legal limits at 32 utilities.
- Haloacetic acids (linked to cancer and interference with fetal growth). Found above legal limits at 15 utilities.
- Thallium (linked to liver damage, central nervous system damage, hair loss, harm to the male reproductive system). Found above legal limits at two utilities.
They come from various sources of pollution - industrial, agriculture etc. Add to that: Most of the water in the taps in Florida comes from surface reservoirs like Lake Okeechobee, parts of the Everglades and other "interesting" places. It is cleaned and made less contaminated by adding chlorine and other chemicals to it before pumping out to your faucet.
The awful taste of tap water in most parts of the US is one thing. Some people gets used to it - personally I never will. But the contaminants in the water... Hell no! There is no way I will rinse my vegetables with it, shower in it (your skin is like a sponge for absorbing chemicals) and let alone drink it.
I dare you: Do you have the courage to actually test the water, your are drinking? There is a great product for that, and you complete the test at home in a few and easy steps! It will test for Lead, Bacteria, Pesticide, Iron, Copper, Alkalinity, pH, Hardness, Chlorine, Nitrates and Nitrites. You can buy the test kit pretty cheap at Amazon here:
Sure - you can use bottled water if you are ready to spend a fortune and you really don't care for the environment. The use of plastic bottles, fuel for transportation of the water etc. takes a HUGE toll on the environment. And even the largest bottles still won't solve the problem of showering in a chemical soup once or several times a day, right?
Anyway: If you are ready to spend a fortune in your lifetime on buying bottled water, polluting our world and have your fair share of chemicals absorbed through your skin: Go ahead.
The Best Whole House Water Filter
Since I became a Floridian in 2009 I have tested a few of them. Both the under the counter types of drinking water filters where you have an extra faucet just for filtered drinking water as well as the whole house water filters. The latter is by far the most convenient and effective solution, and surprisingly enough also the cheapest solution!
One example is the whole house water filter I have today. The price for the whole system is around $600 and it is good for cleaning 600,000 gallons of water!
For a normal family of 4 that equals around 6 years! Around $100 per year for the pleasure and health benefits of having perfect drinking water in every tap, in your shower etc.
The average price for 1 gallon of bottled water in wholesale in the US is $1,20.
If every member of the 4 person family is drinking even only half a gallon a day that equals 1,460 gallons in one year. Or the neat sum of $1,752! That's around 3 times as much as the best whole house water filter system costs - and that baby will provide you for 6 years for a third of the money, you spend on bottled water!
Also it is important to remember, that with the filter installed you are no longer showering in "dirty" and chlorine stinking water, you are not rinsing your vegetables and boiling your pasta in a chemical soup. Worth a thought or two, right?
This is the whole house water filter I have installed at my home:
A dear and welcome guest in our house is a very picky man with an exquisite taste for the finer things in life. Presented with our water served to him in a pitcher his reaction was:
Installation Cost for Whole House Filter?
Let me start by saying that if you are even a little bit of a handyman, you can do this yourself. If you are not - or if you simply feel uncomfortable working with your water pipe - any plumber can do the installation for you. I chose to have a plumber do it, and I paid him $120 for the job. He took care care of everything, and the system has functioned perfectly for the now 4 years since I bought the house, where I live today.
Not really for maintenance - but depending on where you live you will have to replace the pre-filter (the blue container on the left in the image above) in a certain frequency. Here in South Florida the city water is extremely bad, so I replace my pre-filter every 4 month. It costs around $8, so if you calculate with $25 a year, you are good. And replacing it takes about 2 minutes and can be done by anyone!
Apartment or Rental? Drinking Water Filters
If you live in an apartment or elsewhere without any real options for installing a whole house water filter, you can still save your water pretty easy! Aquasana (the manufacturer of the whole house systems) also has a great line up of water filtration systems for under the sink and even on the counter. They basically give you the same good water as the larger house system - but without the benefit of having perfect water everywhere in your home.
They are easy to install, very effective and a HUGE benefit to not only the taste of your water but to your health! Here is one of their systems for installation under the counter - and any person with a few tools can install this in minutes:
To me it is a mystery that not every house here in South Florida has a whole house water filter system. I do understand that you have to take out around $750 for the system and installation upfront. But even if you are a moderate water drinker, you will spend at the very minimum $500 every year on bottled water! And that amount is only if you buy in bulk / wholesale and goes for the lowest price and (sometimes) quality of water.
This means, that even in a single person household, you are at a comfortable breakeven financially after 14-15 month. And on top of that you can put the benefits of cooking with and showering in water, that is not full of toxins, lead and with a taste of old swimming pool.
The Worst Drinking Water in the US?
More Floridians are exposed to unsafe drinking water than just about anywhere in the country, according to a new study of violations.
The state ranked second in the number of people impacted by violations under the Safe Drinking Water Act based on the most recent data available from 2015, the Natural Resources Defense Council said. Nationally, 77 million people were exposed to unsafe water, with violations including high levels or toxic arsenic, lead and other chemicals, as well as failure to test or report contamination.
Altogether, 7.5 million Floridians received water from utilities that violated standards. Among the state’s top violations was failing to provide its citizens with a required annual water quality report. Other major problems violated rules on cancer-causing disinfectants, high levels of coliform from human waste, and lead and copper that exceeded safe limits.
Are you still drinking your tap water? Really? Ready for safe and healthy water in your home?
Hit me in the comments with questions. I'll be happy to answer!
In most cases you can if you are handy with a few tools. It is very easily installed. Make sure that there is no leaks when done.
The water from your tap taste like any high quality bottled water! Even severely chlorine taste is completely gone.
If you buy your drinking water today: Absolutely. A lot of money actually. And you help the environment too!