Water Filters

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Parent Q&A

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  • A friend recently suggested that I switch to alkaline water (which I must purchase) rather than drink tap water due to some ongoing gut issues.   I'm also looking into putting a filter in our kitchen sink, either so that all our water is filtered, or so that there's a separate spout for filtered water.   I am overwhelmed by all the information out there and could really use some help and guidance by those who have filters, what type, whether you feel they are worth the expense, and whether anyone has been helped with gut problems by switching to filtered water.  Sorry for all the questions but I don't really know where to turn.

    thank you in advance.

    I would be careful about drinking alkaline water, there was a recent recall for an alkaline water brand due to it causing severe health issues in people https://www.fda.gov/food/outbreaks-foodborne-illness/investigation-acut…. Water is supposed to be neutral pH, your body provides the acid/base regulation it needs via your kidneys and lungs. I don't think drinking alkaline water will have any effect on your gut microbiota since your stomach acid will just counteract the alkalinity of the water. Filtering water won't change the pH, but it can filter out impurities like ions, chlorine, or minerals. 

    We have one of those filters that attaches to the spout at the sink. Totally worth it. Removes any possible chlorine taste from the water. We also live in an old enough house that there is a chance that we actually have some lead pipes (which is the reason why we got the filter in the first place).

    If you have gut issues, I would talk to your PCP and possibly get a referal instead of relying on dubious recommendations from a friend, but then I am a strong believer in science-based medicine.

    Friendsofwater.com call Tim from the number listed on the website if you have questions, he’s awesome! I use their filtration systems at home and for my business. I highly recommend! 

    I've been using an EverPure undercounter system in my home for 15+ years. It works well and is easy to maintain. It's much more convenient and less expensive than buying bottled water. I use it for drinking and cooking water. The model I have is no longer available (although I can still get the replacement cartridges). When you're looking at systems, be sure to check which chemicals they filter out. For example, I wanted a filter for sediment, VOC's, lead, and fluoride.

    I added an Aquasana whole house system to my home 10+ years ago. It also works well and is easy to maintain. My city water has lots of sediment that was clogging up my water heater as well as any appliance or fixture with a filter, and chloramine which was damaging seals and gaskets in the appliances and fixtures. A whole house system is costly (watch for Aquasana sales), but I find it worth it. There's much less wear and tear on my plumbing system and water using appliances and my skin and hair are much healthier. I can't speak to the gut issues.

    I hope you find this information useful and that you find relief for your health issues.

    There is little evidence to support that alkaline water has any special health benefits, however most of our tap water in the Bay Area has a high pH (in the 8 - 9 range) which is considered alkaline. Also the tap water in the Bay Area is extremely good--much of it comes from snowmelt to protected watersheds in the Sierras, and though it travels quite a distance to get here and undergoes some treatment, it's important to understand that bottled water also travels quite a distance to get here, and also undergoes treatment. It's just less highly regulated and thus more prone to letting contaminants slip through. In fact, just last week one of the alkaline water brands was subject to a recall due to risk of hepatitis: https://www.fda.gov/food/outbreaks-foodborne-illness/investigation-acut…

    With respect to filters, NSF International is a widely trusted independent organization that certifies many products, including home water filters, to verify that they actually do the things they say they will do. Their website https://www.nsf.org/knowledge-library/home-water-treatment-system-selec… gives lots of good information to help you decide what kind of filter could help you. They point out that you need to first decide what it is you want to remove from your water, so you need to be aware of what is in your water in the first place. East Bay MUD, which supplies water to many of us in the East Bay makes summaries of their routine water quality testing available -- start here and click through: https://www.ebmud.com/water/about-your-water/water-quality/water-qualit…;

    Alkaline water is known to cause gastrointestinal issues and skin irritations. It can also vomiting, hand tremors, muscle twitching, tingling in the extremities or face, and confusion. It can also lower your body’s calcium levels cause bone issues.  If you have gut issues I would steer clear.  We have some of the best water in the world, thanks to the snow in the sierras.  If you want a filter I would recommend the one I purchased on Amazon for $160.  As for your gut issue I had one for decades.  I found it was low fiber in my diet and sensitivity to some foods, especially processed foods.  I started taking 2-3 spoonfuls of Metamucil everyday.  After three weeks of taking Metamucil every day the gut issues which I had for decades is gone.  You might give it a try.  A three month container is about $25.

    Best of luck.   

    Please don't buy alkaline water. Here is a June 2, 2021 article in the NY Times about alkaline water producers in Nevada that were ordered to stop selling their water after five children experienced acute non-viral hepatitis, which can lead to liver failure: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/02/us/nevada-bottled-water-fda.html

    Their product "Real Water" was found to be "municipal tap water that the defendants processed with various chemicals."   We have really good water in the East Bay. It is tested to make sure it's safe. Buying off-brand water is a risk to your and your children's health. 

  • Water filters

    Aug 4, 2019

    I am hoping to get some updated reviews for water filters. I am interested in hearing about whole house filters and just drinking water/ under the sink filters that can also be connected  to water/ice from fridge. Aside from how good the filtration is, I am also interested in getting one that doesn’t require frequent changes of expensive filters. Thanks 

    I am very happy with my Aquasana whole house filter. The water from my area's water company is treated with chloramine, a corrosive chemical that was damaging my water heater, plumbing fixtures, and water using appliances, not to mention doing a number on my family's skin and hair (several of us have very sensitive skin that responds with outbreaks of eczema). Aquasana is one of the few water filtration companies that has a product to filter out chloramines.

    My system has a small pre-filter and post-filter on either side of the main filter. In over 6 years, I've replaced the main filter once (plumber required). I change the small filters more frequently, depending on the quality and quantity of water going through them. During the summer months of the drought years, I had to change them frequently, as often as every month (yikes!), but I've been able to go as long as 4 months at other times. The company now makes bigger pre- and post- filters for less frequent maintenance. The canister that holds the filter is clear, so I can see just how much they have accumulated.

    The pre- and post-filters are easy to change, once you get the hang of it, and relatively affordable. Aquasana has a "water for life" program that gives discounts on the filters and ships them out at regular intervals (set by me). I highly recommend the Aquasana whole house water filtration system.

    We've been very happy with our AquaPure under-sink filter, which we use only for drinking/cooking water.  It can also be installed to be connected to the ice maker, but we opted not to do that since our fridge already has one. .  We had it installed with a Kohler faucet (didn't like the AquaPure one as much, and the Kohler one matched our other kitchen faucet), and had longer connecting hoses added to make it easier to change the filter.  The replacements are kind of pricey, but only need to be changed yearly (and to be honest, we often stretch that a bit, with no apparent issue). We've had it since 2006, and so far so good.

    You should check out Hydroviv. It’s a great undersink system that takes up very little room. We started using it when we lived in DC—it was started by an EPA engineer who started building water filtration systems about the Flint water crisis. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Whole House Water Filter

July 2013

I am wondering if anyone in the BPN community has a suggestion for a whole house reverse osmosis water filter brand? I prefer reverse osmosis since apparently this is the only method that removes fluoride. Berkeley is removing it from their water, but I do not live in Berkeley. I have heard that reverse osmosis has a problem with bacteria? How hard was your filter to install---or will a plumber have no problem? How much do you spend on replacement filters? Have you seen health benefits? Thank you for any feedback on your filter! Looking for toxin-free water

Where did you read/hear that Berkeley is removing fluoride? Water is not controlled at the city level, and I sure hope that there is fluoride in my Berkeley water. See http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/drinkingwater/Documents/Fluoridation/Tables/Table%201.pdf. My kid has great teeth

We have an EWS whole house water filter we got from Jack London Kitchen and Bath. I chose a whole house over a kitchen sink filter due to my research that most of what we absorb from our water is in the shower from inhalation. This filter removes chloramines, floride and MTBEs. It is a medical grade filter. I didn't choose the reverse osmosis because I didn't want to waste water, but the filter does an automatic flush every week. My water tastes great, but my kid gets more cavities than her parents did, even with twice daily tooth brushing. Hope that helps. Julia

If you are looking for a filtration set up for your house water give the guys at NuWater a call. They are local (Concord) and incredibly bright. They make all their filters and resins so the cost is reasonable. We were amazed that they were able to turn our shallow well water into drinking water that's healthier than the city water! http://www.nuwaterusa.com water wise

Alternative to Pur

October 2004

I like the idea of the Pur Water Filter (a faucet-mounted filter) but I have purchased two filters and each started leaking to the point of being unusable within 3 months. Due to the size, age, and layout of our kitchen, a below- the-sink filter with a separate spout won't work for us. Does anyone have positive experience with a faucet-mounted water filter? August

We have been using a countertop water filter for a few years now, and it's been working great. The main body of the filter sits on the counter as opposed to being attached directly to the faucet, which means that you actually have room in the sink under the faucet. You just attach a small piece to the faucet, with a tube that allows water to get into the filter. If you just do a search for ''countertop water filters'' on Google, I'm sure you'll find one that suits your needs. We purchased one with a carbon filter for about $40, and it's been working great for over a year. Corina

We've been very happy with the Brita faucet-mounted filter. It is certified for LOTS of contaminents, the water tastes good, and it is easy to use and change. The filters are about $15 (in the 2-pack at Target) and last us 3-4 months each. Only draw-back (probably true of any faucet-mount) - you can't mount it on a swivel-head. It does, however, have its own spray setting. R.K.

I have no experience with the on-the-sink-faucet kind. We have a cold water spigot on our freezer door, and even with changing the filter (under the sink) myself twice, we've never had leaks or problems with it. Bob

this is not in he same price range as PUR but we LOVE our Multi-PURE water filter. It comes in different counter-top models, i.e. a hose attaches to faucet and you can divert back to tap for dishes, etc. and the unit sits on the countertop. It is expensive (200-300), but the quality is exceptional- filters many, many pesticides and chemicals such as MTBE that the standard commercial filters don't. And filters replacement is every 500 gallons (or they make a bigger, more expensive 750 gallon) which ends up being a lot less frequent than PUR/ Britta/ etc. We have been thrilled with the taste, quality, and the set-up was easy. (and it's way cheaper and better quality than refilling gallons at a store) They're based in Nevada, just google it if you want more info. Chris

Attach-to-the-faucet water filters

May 2004

I would appreciate any recommendations regarding attach-to-the- faucet water filters. In particular, any thoughts on ''Britta'' vs. ''Pur'' brands? I want to filter out the bad stuff and leave the fluoride in (for my baby's teeth). The faucet attachment filters seem easier than the pitchers, but if you prefer those I'd love to hear why. Thanks. Emily

After some initial research, I decided to go with the Aquasana water filter. It is certified by the California Department of Health Services (California has stricter requirements than other sates, BTW) and the price is right for me (9 cents per gallon). I got the combination counter filter for the sink and their SHOWER FILTER which I LOOOOVE. The great thing about these filters is, like BRITA and Pur, they are selective, filtering out the bad stuff and leaving in the various trace minerals that you do want. I don't think it's necessarily *easier* than a pitcher though. Certainly the initial installation was more of a pain then just buying a pitcher, but the savings made such a difference. for 1 year worth of filters, the Aquasana will cost me $90, while the Pur would cost me $125 to filter the same amount of water (that's just for the counter filter, not the shower filter).

I got the shower filter because my husband has asthma, and there have been some studies that suggest that the chlorine in showers (it steams just like the water) isn't good for asthmatics. Also, the chlorine is very drying to skin and hair. So, filtering out the chlorine has many advantages.

I bought my filters from an authorized seller who sells through eBay. After you receive your filters, you can sign up for the Aquasana ''water for life'' program where you get replacement filters automatically every 6 months and you get a discount (that's what I've done).

Hope this helps. love good water!

I recommend ECOQUEST. Donna McCaskey is a local rep. She's a really thoughtful and kind woman. She's great at answering questions and customer service. She's willing to let you try out the water and air purification products to see if it's a good match for you. Donna McCaskey's phone number is 510-521-0113 and the ECOQUEST webite is ecoquest.com Good luck! Rebecca

We have used the Brita on-faucet filter for about 2 years now, and I like it. It is a bit expensive - each replacement cartridge costs about $15 (in two-pack at Target) and lasts 3-4 months. It is very easy to mount, use and change (be sure to let the water run as directed for about 5 minutes before first use, to flush out packaging impurities). One downside (probably true of any faucet-mount filter) is that you cannot use it with a swivel-attachment on the faucet. It does, however, have a ''spray'' setting, as well as ''filtered'' and ''regular flow''.

The package label claims that it ''keeps a healthy level of fluoride'' in fluoridated municipal tap water. It has been tested and certified to reduce over 25 different health-related contaminants, and three ''Aesthetic effects''. We think the filtered water tastes pretty good. It is not meant to be used to PURIFY microbiologically unsafe water. See the label for details. R.K.

Under-sink water filter

July 2003

Has anyone done research or have anecdotal information you'd like to share regarding water filters that go under the sink? I'm considering buying either a standard undersink filtration device or a reverse-osmosis system. The advantages over faucet mounted ones are that they don't weigh down and damage your faucet over time, there are models w/ faster flow-rates than what you get on faucet-mounted types, and they are better at removing lead according to consumers reports. But the cost of filters over time is about same as the faucet mounted ones. I'm also considering installing a reverse-osmosis filter that removes everything, including fluoride and chloride. There is very little info on the ratings of what's available, with Consumer Reports having rated only 2 reverse-osmosis units, the Kenmore 38470 and GE SmartWater GXRV10ABL01 in Jan, '03. They both have very slow flow rates (may be hard to get around unless the filter becomes huge) but tested excellent in filtration. These filters are hard to change and the Kenmore one doesn't even claim to remove lead which is strange for reverse-osmosis. They cost about $250 with about $40-$80/year for filters. (Faucet mounted filters if you change them according to instructions will cost $80-120 per year for the Pur Ultimate Hor. probably using non-warehouse prices.) Has anyone found more info? I've tried looking into the archives, but it only addresses the carafes about not removing flouride. Are there other resources that have tested and rated water filters? How do you like yours? Thank you in advance. Susan

We've lived with a ''bacteriostatic'' (NSA brand?) under-the-sink water filter since we moved into a house where it was installed almost two years ago. I don't know exactly what it does or how it works, but we have had no problems with the water pressure. According to the person who responded to our email for information about the system, the whole thing needs to replaced every three years (or when the water pressure starts droppping), and a replacement costs $185+S If you are interested in the contact information, let me know. Good luck. robin

We got a reverse-osmosis water filter about 10 years ago (when they were relatively newly used for other than industrial facilities and REALLY expensive). We have never regretted it. The tank is under our house for the whole house system and there is another filter under our sink for drinking water, so our drinking water is double filtered. Our water tastes so good. People comment on how great our water tastes. I haven't done any other research...We have our filter changed and maintained by the company(Micro Pure in Lafayette) about once a year and we have to add salt to the big tank about every 3 or 4 months. If you're going to stay in your house for a while I'd go for reverse osmosis (although you can take it with you if you move).Good luck, June K

i've had a multipure for many years - i love it. $55/ year for new filter. haven't done research really, but their stats look good, and as far as i know it takes out flouride and chlorine. good luck. peggyh

We have been very happy with our under-sink water filter, a reverse osmosis type which also reduces chlorine. It was a bit of a pain to install -- we had to drill a hole in our older house's old sink with a big old drill bit we had to buy specially for that purpose. But once in, it was worth it. The filters last 6 months. Also, a fairly sizable space under the sink is devoted to the storage tank that the filtered water waits in until you drink it (it's not filtered immediately). We got it online from PurWater Systems: http://www.h2opurwater.com/reverse_osmosis.html Jocelyn

Brita removes Flouride?

Nov 1999

Can anybody tell me if they know if the Brita Water Purifyers (you know, the ones you pour tap water into and it trickles down into a clear pitcher) gets rid of flouride? If so, can anybody recommend another (inexpensive) purification system that does NOT get rid of flouride? Thank you.

I, too, was concerned about whether Brita filters out fluoride. I asked by dentist and she says that they do not filter out fluoride and that she uses Brita at her home.

The Brita water filter pitcher filtration system does NOT get rid of fluoride. We checked that out 2 years ago, so it may bear checking again. I'm sure they have a website.

I had the same question and called the Brita 800 number a few weeks ago. They said the filter removes a very small amount of fluoride, but not enough to make a difference in the fluoride's effectiveness.

I called Brita about the fluoride issue, and I was told that it does get rid of a minute amount of fluoride, that the filtered water is still considered fluoridated. I think there is an 1-800 number on the package, so you could call to confirm this.