Bottled Water for Less
Cheaper Than Bottled Water?
Wondering if someone has any tips on how to save money on buying drinking water. I've been paying about $2.50 for 2.5 gallons that lasts only 3 days. Are those machines by the supermarket door, that work by inserting coins ($0.50 per gallon) safe? How about those filters you can install at home?
Please, I need help.
Brita Better Than Cheap Bottled Water
I have saved money by making my own drinking water. About 4 years ago, I bought the Brita pitcher and a separate one-gallon pitcher. After I filter tap water with the Brita, I fill up the gallon pitcher and keep it in the refrigerator. I have ice-cold drinking water whenever I want! I buy the 4-pack of replacement filters. So, for under $20, I get about 8 months of great-tasting drinking water!
Check Out the Records on Bottled Water
Clean, safe drinking water is not easy to figure out. The first place to go to is the web site for the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). nsf.org Then type in the name of the manufacturer or bottler you are interested in or type an A and get a listing of all manufactures. Click on the manufacture and it describes their different products and ratings. NSF is an independent third party testing facility. NSF certification does not mean that it is a good or safe water filter or whatever is certified. It just means that it is certified to do what it says it does for the amount of time or gallons is says it will do it for. There are different standards and classes. For example, with water filters whether it is a pour through, faucet mounted or above or below counter type. There are two standards they test. The first is Standard 42, Aesthetic Effects or how your water will look, taste, smell. And the classes they are rated for, found under the Product Function Column. Class 1 is the best at reduction of particulars (reduces 0.5 to < 1 microns in size, the smallest bacteria known can't get through) and Class 5 is the least (reduces particles of 50 microns in size, in plain words it doesn't do much for the money). The pour through pitcher filters don't do much other than remove chlorine. And Standard 53 - Drinking Water Treatment Units - Health Effects. The Product Function Column will list the Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOC's) it removes. Some pour through units remove only one thing, copper, while other manufactures have above or below counter models that will remove over 100 VOC's.
The machines in the store are just city water that has been filtered at the point of purchase, which is an expensive and heavy way to get water. For more information on types of systems, distillers reverse osmosis, etc. and the standards they are tested and rated for or help understanding the chemicals, TDS's, Trihalomethanes (TTHM), Turbidity, in water.
Cheaper Than Bottled Water: PUR
We have a PUR faucet mounted water filter and we love it! The filter lasts for about two months for two people, including using filtered water for cooking. The filters are a bit pricey - I can't remember exactly, but it's something like 3 for $50. Of course, that's SIX MONTHS of water for $50 or so, and you can get them at Wal-Mart where they go on sale periodically. We live in south Georgia where the water tastes really bad, and although it doesn't make it taste great, it is passable and no longer has all the lead and miscellaneous other nastiness from the factory up the river.
Cheap Alternative to Bottled Water
My family purchased a water filter and love it. Check on the internet for the British Berkefeld, the one used in third world countries during emergencies by the Red Cross. It does not need any electricity and can filter the dirtiest of water--even from a lake. Missionaries around the world have used it for over 100 years. Try the web site: www.911water.com. The British Berkefeld uses ceramic elements for filtration. They are very easy to clean, which I only had to do once in the last 12 months. It took less than 10 minutes. I use mine to make ice because I like the clear fresh taste. It is great for cooking with too. It is made of stainless steel. Also a place called Noah's Pantry in Claremore, OK carries them.
Consider a Filter Instead of Cheap Bottled Water
All water is filtered water. If you check the labels of the bottled drinking water you are buying, you will find that it comes from a municipal water system and is filtered some more. You can do the same thing at home with one of those filters you mentioned.
Consumer's Reports rated water filters. It would be worth the trip to the library to check it out. If I remember correctly, the Brita filter rated well. I think Brita has a filter pitcher that rated well also. Pitchers are good. But they take time to work. It might be worthwhile to get two. A faucet-mounted filter is another option.
Remember that you have to replace the filter cartridge regularly or the filter doesn't do its job. Still, filter cartridges are cheaper than the $1.00 per gallon you are paying now.
Reverse Osmosis Provides Cheap Bottled Water
I ran into the same problem a couple of years ago. I was spending around $30 a month for bottled water and always running out. That was when I did some looking around and found out that for the same price, I could have a reverse osmosis filter installed under my sink and have nearly unlimited water for drinking and cooking. The system supplies up to 30 gallons a day of water that is better filtered and has much less contaminants than bottled water. It is just a step down from distilled as to how pure it is. My system is rented from one of those bottled water companies that deliver. At no additional cost, they also call me twice a year to schedule replacement of the filters. I could have opted a lower monthly fee with the responsibility of buying and replacing the filters myself but it did not work out to a savings so I opted to just let them do it. You can also buy the same kind of system to own which over time would work out to be worth the money. Just price shop and compare systems because they can vary widely.
Updated November 2013
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