Americans have a growing taste for water. Many are installing home water filters for a variety of reasons: wanting to improve the taste of their tap water, a desire to reduce consumption of bottled water and health concerns. Although drinking water in the vast majority of homes meets the Environmental Protection Agency's standards for quality, some consumers use point-of-use water filtration systems to help reduce certain contaminants. Most typically, carbon filters are installed on faucets or used in pitchers or bottles, according to The Columbia Tribune.
Here are the numbers:
34.6 billion — The number of single-serving plastic water bottles bought by Americans each year.
40 percent —The portion of Americans who use a home water-treatment unit.
Top three reasons Americans use home water filters:
- Health concerns
Water can pick up chemicals and a bad taste after it leaves a central distribution plant and travels through miles of pipes and then your own plumbing, said Pauli Undesser, director of regulatory and technical affairs at the Lisle, Ill.-based Water Quality Association. For more extensive filtration, whole-house water-filtering systems are available, Undesser said, and cost from $400 installed.
What's new in water filtration?
- Design. New products such as the sleek Bobble Jug, designed by Karim Rashid, filter water and look good in the refrigerator.
- Consumer-friendly features. Some units have alerts, whether alarms or lights, that go on when it's time to change filters.
- New technologies. More individual water bottles now have carbon filter inserts for on-the-go hydration.
- Convenience. Disposable straws with mini-carbon filters inserted in them can be brought to restaurants for one-time use.
- Filter care. Some pitcher systems require soaking filters before inserting into the unit.
- Change filters on schedule. For best performance, follow manufacturers' instructions carefully for replacing filters.
- Consider outside testing. The best way to choose the correct filter is to have a professional lab test of your tap water so you know what's in it. Your corroded pipes might be adding lead or copper to your water.
- Well water. If you are using your filtering systems with well water, have your well water tested frequently.
Learn as much about your local tap water as you can before deciding to add home water filtration. Contact your public water company and ask for the Consumer Confidence Report for information on levels of contaminants.
Read more about water filtration.