How to Purify Tap Water

How to purify tap water: 9 methods compared

Tap water smells and tastes bad and would you like to purify it to finally drink good water? There are many possibilities, depending on the filtration technique and budget you have available.

The price generally rises as the effectiveness of the purification process increases . In this ranking I start from cheap filter jugs up to the most expensive reverse osmosis purifiers, the most effective ever.

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Let’s compare them hoping to be able to remove your doubts.

1. Method # 1. The filter jugs

How To Purify Tap Water

Filtering water with filter jugs seems a very economical method at first glance, you buy the jug at the supermarket or on amazon with 20 – 30 euros and the activated carbon filters to change about once a month.

The jug superficially filters the smell and bad taste of tap water by removing chlorine and large particles with small replaceable filters.

It is important that you do not neglect the change of filters, otherwise you risk bacterial contamination of the water.

ADVANTAGES:

  • It is the cheapest method
  • Superficially removes bad smell and taste

DISADVANTAGES:

  • Tiring , because you have to remember to buy filters and change them frequently.
  • Expensive , because every month you have to pull 15 euros out of your pocket to buy the filter, the cost / effectiveness ratio is really low
  • Not very effective , in fact the jug does not eliminate heavy metals, pesticides, lead, asbestos, nitrates, arsenic that could be in tap water.
  • Uncomfortable , because you have to wait minutes before it has filtered a quantity of water sufficient for the whole family, dripping slowly into the bottom of the container.

Price range : 15 – 50 euros for the purchase of the carafe + 10 – 15 euros for frequent purchase of filters.

Method # 2. Activated carbon filters / microfiltration kit

The activated carbon filter kits are installed under the sink and purify the water with the same technique as the jugs, only much more effectively and quickly.

They not only remove the bad smell and taste of water, but also sediment ,

algae , suspended particles that detach from the conductor of the aqueduct.

You can choose kits of 1 or 2 activated carbon filters (those with 2 are even more effective).

These kits include a tap to be installed next to the kitchen tap to dispense filtered drinking water.

It is important to combine the kit with an ultraviolet lamp to eliminate bacteria that could lurk in the filters after removing the chlorine.

ADVANTAGES

  • They are much more effective than filter jugs , filter more deeply (down to 0.5 microns)
  • Filter changes are less frequent than jugs
  • They are cheap compared to purifiers

DISADVANTAGES

  • You need someone to install it if you are not practical
  • They only deliver still water, not cold and sparkling
  • They do not filter invisible particles that are bad for health (heavy metals, pesticides, arsenic, asbestos, lead, etc.)
  • You have to change the filters regularly (usually every 6 months)

Price range : 200 – 600 euros for the purchase of the kit + 50 – 100 euros for filter maintenance every 6 months.

Method # 3. Microfiltration purifier

The microfiltration purifiers are real systems designed for the purification of tap water that are installed under the sink, but can also be above the sink.

They filter chlorine, pesticides, sediments, suspended particles, algae larger than 0.5 microns.

They consist of a battery of activated carbon filters (usually 3) and an ultraviolet lamp to kill bacteria, enclosed in a metal container. These are combined with a tap that delivers purified water that can also be refrigerated and sparkling with the addition of a CO2 cylinder and a small refrigeration chamber.

All components are controlled by an electronic control unit which:

  • Counts the liters dispensed and warns when it’s time to change filters
  • When there is a component failure it activates and closes the water inlet valve to prevent flooding

ADVANTAGES

  • They are much more effective than filter jugs and the activated carbon kit
  • They are cheaper compared to reverse osmosis purifiers
  • They are comfortable and fast in dispensing water
  • You don’t have to worry about anything
  • They can also dispense cold and sparkling water

DISADVANTAGES

  • You need a specialist company to install it
  • They do not filter some invisible particles that are bad for health (heavy metals, pesticides, arsenic, asbestos, lead etc.)
  • You have to change the filters regularly (usually every 6-12 months)

Price range : 700 – 1200 euros for the purchase of the purifier + 60/100 euros for filter maintenance every 6 – 12 months. The price can go up if you want cold, sparkling water too.

Method # 4. Reverse osmosis purifier: the best

It is the most effective system for purifying tap water. It gives a low mineral content water, light and tasty, also eliminating all the invisible pollutants with a size greater than 0.0001 microns (heavy metals, arsenic, lead, mercury, pfas, nitrates etc.).

In addition to the activated carbon filters and the UV lamp of the microfiltration, the reverse osmosis purifier has an additional component: the osmotic membrane and the pump.

The pump pushes the water under high pressure against the membrane which has tiny pores (0.0001 microns) and purifies the water.

All components are enclosed in a metal container. Modern purifiers are managed by an electronic control unit which:

  • Counts the liters dispensed and warns when it’s time to change filters
  • When there is a component failure it activates and closes the water inlet valve to prevent flooding
  • Check the operation of the pump
  • It controls the washing of the membranes

ADVANTAGES

  • It is the best and safest purification system
  • It also eliminates invisible harmful substances (heavy metals, arsenic, lead, mercury, pfas, nitrates etc.)
  • They are comfortable and fast in dispensing water
  • You don’t have to worry about anything
  • They can also dispense cold and sparkling water
  • They have a lever for adjusting the desired amount of mineral salts

DISADVANTAGES

  • You need a specialist company to install it
  • They are the most expensive
  • You have to change the filters regularly (usually every 6-12 months)

Price range : 1700 – 3000 euros for the purchase of the purifier + 80/100 euros for filter maintenance every 12 months. If you buy it on Amazon you can also find it at very low prices (800 – 1000 euros), but in this case you do not have the assistance of a specialized company. The price varies based on whether you want cold, sparkling water as well, and numerous other factors.

2. Boil tap water to drink

The simplest and most homemade method of purifying drinking water is to boil it. It is the most traditional way for the water to be free of microorganisms that are harmful to health.

This method consists of boiling the water for 15 to 30 minutes and letting it cool before pouring it into the bottle. 

With boiling it is possible to eliminate almost all the microorganisms that can live in the water.

Since boiling will remove oxygen from the water, purified water may taste flat. However, this is fixed by shaking the water a little to oxygenate it again .

Also, to improve the taste, you can add a pinch of salt in the container in which you keep the purified water.

Main drawback? The evaporation that causes boiling causes a high concentration of mineral salts to be lost.

3. Purify tap water at home with the heat of the sun

Another homemade method to purify water is to do it with the heat of the sun. This method is also known as Solvatten (which means “solar water” in Swedish).

Ultraviolet radiation or UV rays are able to eliminate microorganisms because they directly affect their DNA and destroy them. 

It is a totally natural method (in fact the water from some springs can be drunk thanks to the effects of the sun on microorganisms).

To do it at home, you simply need to put the tap water in a transparent container with a protective lid (better if it is not plastic) and leave it in the sun all day. The next morning the water will be purified and ready for consumption.

4. Purify tap water with natural chemicals

Two of the most effective chemical elements when it comes to purifying water are chlorine and iodine. In any drugstore you can find chlorine dioxide or iodine tablets that are used to purify water.

To use this method, we fill a container with water of about 3 to 5 liters, and add one of those tablets. Normally they usually take effect in a time between 30 minutes and 4 hours depending on the manufacturer. The taste will not be bad or strange , and the water is completely drinkable and purified. 

As a substitute, you can also add a few drops of chlorine, no more than three per liter. In this case, it is advisable to let the water rest for at least an hour to be able to consume it.

In short, you see that there are several simple and inexpensive methods to purify tap water. Choose yours now because you have no excuse to continue buying bottled water, making the planet sick and damaging your health.

5. Ceramic balls

These small balls can be used for life, because they regenerate. They neutralize unwanted microorganisms in tap water, such as lime, chlorine, etc.

It takes about 15 balls to purify 1 liter of water. It usually takes 15 minutes.

6. Activated charcoal sticks

Activated charcoal is a natural and vegetable purifier . Its absorbent properties are recognized. It is also recommended to drink water with powdered activated carbon, for a child who has consumed household products for example, in order to cleanse his body.

Activated charcoal absorbs harmful particles and releases essential minerals for good health. A stick placed in a 1 liter bottle should be enough to purify it in a few hours.

7. Moringa seeds

If you want to consume tap water, you can also invest in moringa seeds to purify it. Often sold in powder, they allow water to be purified to 95% . The proteins they contain bind to and retain water impurities.

Use 50 to 150 mg of moringa seed powder per 1 liter of water. This is a really interesting and 100% natural alternative to tap water.

8. Colloidal silver

Less known and sometimes controversial, colloidal silver is an excellent treatment for water, especially contaminated water. It will destroy bacteria, microbes and fungi, just like chlorine. it is not odorous and leaves no taste in water. Colloidal silver is great if you want to purify water and store it for a while .

NASA and several airlines use colloidal silver to purify the water consumed by astronauts or passengers on a flight.

1 to 4 teaspoons of colloidal silver at 15 ppm can purify 1 liter of water. If you have any doubts about this alternative to tap water, seek the advice of your doctor.

9. Purify tap water while traveling

In some countries, drinking water does not reach the tap. Sometimes even, the water which flows there is not adapted to the organisms of the Westerners. This is why, in some destinations, travel agencies and health services recommend against drinking tap water.

If you are going on an adventure for a hike, a trek … know that the boiling technique works quite well to eliminate bacteria and viruses . 10 minutes are enough for the water to be perfectly purified. However, it will have a little taste and should not be consumed for the long term.

If you have more time or are lost on a desert island, you can also fill a water tank and leave it in direct sunlight for 24 hours. The water will be decontaminated and suitable for consumption.

Gourds equipped with an instant filter exist  to drink all types of water found on its way.

Likewise, straws specifically designed for countries where drinking water is not available are now on sale in specialist stores. LifeStraw is one of the pioneers in this area. They allow you to drink water from a puddle or lake, while effectively filtering toxic or unhealthy particles.

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