Thursday, June 19, 2008

Is it Worth the Savings?

The economy has made things tough for a lot of people lately, and our family is not immune. Thus far, we are not talking foreclosure like so many other families around us, but with the rising cost of gas and groceries, we have decided it is time to tighten up the budget a little here and there. We are trying to combine errands to conserve gas. We are choosing to eat at home instead going out as often. We have also decided that certain grocery items might just be luxuries, not necessities.

For example, bottled water can get awfully pricey for a family of 8. If you consider that the best price for Sparkletts (my preferred brand) is about $1/gallon, and each person should be drinking about 1/2 gallon per day, that adds up to at least $120/month just for water. We decided it was time to seek an alternative. Will headed over to our local Wal-mart, and called with the choices he found. After going over the pluses and minuses of each item, we decided on this and a package of these. Altogether they will filter 160 gallons of water, and would provide a permanent replacement for just about half the cost of one month worth of bottled water. It seemed like a no brainer to us.

We followed all the directions included in the package. We soaked the filter. We disposed of the first container full of filtered water. We then filled it up, and prepared to enjoy our new, economical, filtered water. I tried to enjoy it. I really did. For 3 days I sipped at the weird tasting stuff. Slowly I found myself drinking more soda to avoid the water. I finally had to break down and tell Will that I am apparently an incurable water snob. In fact, it was so bad that I thought I was actually getting diarrhea from the water. That might sound crazy, but there did not seem to be any other explanation for my recent issue. UGH!!

Well, today Kyle noticed that it seemed like the Brita water tasted like it had chlorine in it. He and Will even came up with a plan to find out. They broke out the chemical testing kit for our pool. First Kyle tested our tap water, and found that it has three times the level of chlorine in it that is in our pool water. Now granted, we have a salt system on our pool which means there is less chlorine than the average pool. However, there still has to be enough chlorine to keep all the ickies away. Next, Kyle tested the filtered Brita water. The box claimed that the filters would reduce the chlorine in the water, and they do. The problem is that they only reduce it to the same level that is in our pool water. I don't know about you, but I don't think it can possibly be healthy to be drinking 8 glasses of pool water everyday. Perhaps the new water really is the source of my tummy troubles.


Jesi and Joe said...

Wow... totally fascinating. Love the science experiment. I can't say I'm a "water snob" but hated the water when we first moved here. We drink it filtered through the fridge filter normally... but have never let myself get hooked on bottled water. What a quagmire! What are you guys going to do now? Back to bottled?

Anonymous said...

Time for the gospel of water according to Tim. I feel i can write the gospel after many years of water treatment experience.

First... Sparkletts starts out with the same tap water (or about the same) as comes out of your taps.

The Brita Filter (I'm very familiar with them) will reduce chlorine... some, but not enough.

Sparkletts and Arrowhead and the rest use a multi step process.

Here it is:

1. Water Softener - to remove hard water scale forming elements. Water going in has it's magnesium and other hard ions echanged for sodium ions.

2. Active Carbon (charcoal) filter - removes darn near every drop of chlorine. This must be done to protect the next step.

3. Reverse Osmosis Filtering - Removes heavy metals and impurities. Chlorine plays hell with RO membranes so it must be removed in the 2nd step.

4. UV disinfecting - The water is exposed to UV (ultraviolet) light to kill any bacteria that may be present. This is necessary because that's what the chlorine was there for to begin with.

We buy our drinking water at a asian water store just down 40th street for 25 CENTS per gallon. We have to go and fill our own bottles but that's the only drawback.

Sparkletts and their ilk are charging you mostly for delivery.

The other thing you can do is buy a RO system of your own at Costco or wherever (cost about $200) and have it on it's own tap in your own kitchen.

Any questions feel free to contact me @

Yer Old Dad

Karianne said...

I have missed you! Can't wait to catch up.

smiliesar said...

I totally agree! CA water is the worst stuff I have ever tasted (other than Hawaii's). I'm a water snob too. You can drink freely from the tap in Oregon when you come to visit!

Grandma Carroll said...

Your Dad, the research Geru, is absoulutely right on.

We actually pay a little more, $.41 per gal. and buy the same water he is talking about at Albertsons or King Soopers (Kroger). Even at $.41 it would take many, many years to buy a machine of that magnitude, and once you buy the bottles and whatever stand you want, you are basically home free. I calculate your cost, at my price, to be approx. $200 per YEAR. (8(1 gal bottles)*.41)52. Just think, at your present cost you are getting approx. 11 months of free water.

It use to be that the only draw back to RO was that it did not produce enough drinking water on a daily basis for a family. However, that may have changed.

It is sad to think that with Colorado mountain water one would need to buy bottled water. However, the "water treatment" process used to supposedly make it healthy gives us pool water. What a crock.

BTW, you grandmother with her Vegas water is so proud to annouce that SHE put together, by herself, the hot/cold Frigidaire machine she uses for her bottled water that she too buys from the store (UV +) for a few cents a gallon. Not too bad for almost 79 yr old.

Love ya, Mom

Jody said...

Okay, I vote that you buy a filter systen at Sams or Costco and install it yourselves under your sink. We had one in our old house and it made a HUGE difference in the water quality.

Also, after you install your filter, invest in some Kleen Kanteens with scuba suits (neoprene sleeves) we LOVE them, and they do not change the taste of the water AT ALL. I can't recommend them highly enough. Even my 4yo can fill it etc by herself (we got the water bottle lids that attach to the bottle wit a ring so it can't get lost). The tops are easy to unscrew and the opening is wide enough to add ice without having to force it in one cube at a time.

Beth said...

OK. As a water agency employee I have to let you know that tap water meets or exceeds water quality stardards and is safe to drink. As a resident I suggest ice and Crystal Light.

Anonymous said...

We spent a week in Ventura recently. I can attest to the fact that all California water is NOT bad. The water in Ventura was excellent.

For those having problems finding water at lower rates look at Asian video stores, dry cleaners and convenience stores. They frequently piggyback water into their other businesses. Look for Star, Lucky, Happy, and such in the business names. This isn't meant to be stereotyping but it's just the way it is..

Our water costs us 20-25 cents per gallon and is of excellent quality. It's hardly worth the effort to install your own RO system at this rate. There are 3 locations in a 2 block area less than a mile from our home.

The search may be worth it.

Tim (Blaine's dad)