The 7 Deadly Water Purification Myths that Everyone Should Know

During the summer months, we often use more water than any other time of year. Whether we’re planning a swim, filling our water bottles several times a day to hydrate, or hooking up the hose to water the garden or play with the kids, water is all around!

Having clean water to drink, use, or even play with, should be one of the fundamental rights of life. Unfortunately we know too well that contamination can happen during any stage of our water access and that is a scary thing to think about.

 But you’ve come to the right place! If your water has ever had a worrying color, texture, taste, or odor, if you want to ensure you have the healthiest water at the twist of a tap, or if you just want to know the real truth about clean water, we’re here to debunk myths about home water systems and drop some illumination on water purification. 

As false info on water can fly around during the summer, before you make decisions about how to hydrate yourself and your home, we want to make sure you’re not getting caught by the seven deadly water purification myths that wash away the key points you need to know. 

Water Myth 1: Filtered water is pure water! Right?

Wrong! Water filtration and water purification are both ways of cleaning water. Essentially the difference lies in how many contaminants are removed from the water in each process. 

If your tap water has a worrying smell, taste or color, investing in a water filtration system for your home might be a good bet as this will lead to cleaner water, perfect for improving home maintenance costs, effective cleaning, and higher quality water straight out of your showerhead or your hose. But if you’re looking for the purest water to drink while chugging down daily water intake, you might want to take this a step further and consider your water purification options.

So what’s the difference between filtered water and purified water?

Just like its name implies, water filtration has a filtering process where large particles are filtered out of the water leading to generally cleaner water. Water purification is considered the highest standard of purification where more particles are removed including almost 100% of contaminants and chemicals. The currently used method of water purification is reverse osmosis, where water is pushed through a semipermeable membrane, massively reducing even the tiniest particles found in the water. 

What is the difference between distilled water, deionized water, and reverse osmosis? Which is the purest water?

All these methods mentioned above are ways of purifying water… but only to a certain extent. 

Distillation is a process that involves boiling water to rid it of its contaminants. This method has been used for centuries as it’s a surefire way to kill off bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms in the water. It is a cheap and usually easy method of ensuring clean water is available, especially if the water is double or triple distilled (boiled multiple times.) The biggest problem with distillation is that it’s only a short-term water purification solution as sediments can creep back into the water supply. Furthermore, distilled water is not used as a regular household water system as it’s not an efficient system to filter water for a whole house or building, and as explained, sediments would creep back into the water through a plumbing system. Instead, distilled water is often bought in handles and bottles and used for gardening, food processing, and home appliance usage such as with steam irons. 

Deionization is a form of cleaning water that targets mineral salt contaminants. It uses a tank to undergo ion exchange, removing positively charged ions including calcium, copper, iron and sodium, and negatively charged ions such as bromide and chloride out of the water. 

Reverse Osmosis filters out impurities by pushing water through a semipermeable membrane, leaving even the tiniest particles behind and therefore leaving almost 100% purified water. 

Both deionization and reverse osmosis largely filter out most of the impurities in water and the system that’s best for you might depend on what you need from your water. Additionally, the fact that the purification mechanism of deionization targets minerals, means that deionized water also carries many benefits of softened water. Deionization is likely a necessary choice for a business or organization that needs a chemically neutral water. This might include manufacturing for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and processed foods; cooling process machinery; car washes; power plants; and any laboratory testing, research, or cultivation. 

Reverse osmosis systems lead to water that’s incredibly purified from any nasty chemicals and microbes, but also have the added bonus of great taste, most overall health benefits, and the option of remineralization additives to get the best of all worlds. Because of this, a reverse osmosis system is often considered to be the current gold standard for water purification, and is a popular choice for a water filtration system that is used for consumption, whether that be at home or in a work setting. 

A mixed-bed deionizer is a system that combines both reverse osmosis and deionization for the purest possible water and is a great option that combines the two above options when needed. 

Finding the water system that’s best to suit your needs, doesn’t need to be complicated, and when in doubt, speak to our team at Culligan Kansas City. If you’re looking for the perfect water purification system, our job is to find out what’s best for you considering your needs, preferences, and your local water supply.

Water myth #2: Filtered water removes the minerals we need for our body

Did you know that your primary source of minerals actually comes from our diet and not from water intake? While water does contain minerals, the amount is very small (8 glasses of water has about the same mineral amount found in just about one slice of bread) So while it’s true that water purification does indeed remove minerals from the water, purifying your water is unlikely to affect your mineral intake, and with the healthiest possible water purified from all contaminants and chemicals, we believe the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

Furthermore, even the minerals that are present in water are not necessarily usable to our body due to limited bioavailability. Bioavailability refers to how easily a substance can be taken up by the body. For example though water contains calcium, calcium’s bioavailability to the body is just 1% in water  (only 1% of the calcium in water is absorbed by the body)). When you compare this to calcium rich foods such dairy products that have a calcium bioavailability of 30% or broccoli that have a bioavailability value of 85%, we see that the amount water water we’d have to drink to maintain a high calcium content is insignificant compared with foods we consume to maintain a mineral-dense diet. 

Still not convinced? Many purified water die-hards also set a habit of remineralizing their water. This is a method used by many avid gardeners who can purify their water from even the smallest harmful microbes but can then control good minerals in their water. So re-mineralizing water is also a great option if you’re a water purist who’s concerned about packing their water with extra goodness. 

Water Myth #3. Public water/city water is already the safest and highest standard!

Most of us would assume that no news means good news when it comes to our water supply right? Wrong! Though water municipalities that supply over 80% of the U.S. population with water are the force responsible for our drinking water supply, with mass cleaning and distribution of water, disinfectants in the water, and filtration that has limited effectiveness on a massive scale, the water that makes it way through our plumbing and into our homes and bodies is not as clean as you might think. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not require our water to be 100% pure. While some chemicals such as harmful organic and inorganic chemicals and radionuclides are well-regulated in your water, many worrying contaminants such as hormones, pharmaceuticals, and pesticides have no formal regulation process. 

Scarier still, as we grow used to the taste of our water, we would have no way of necessarily knowing by taste or odor if our water is contaminated

For more information check out these guides on Chemical Contaminants and Microbial Contaminants, that describe what substances are not regulated.

Water myth #4: DIY pure water: Can I just Brita or Berkley filter?

Sure! Many kinds of water filtering are still beneficial… Just be wary that filtering water such as with Brita/Berkley is NOT the same as having access to purified water so make sure you’re aware of the differences before you make your decision. 

So how pure is filtered water? Filters are often a popular choice for water, as investing in one involves a one-time purchase and suppliers normally “guarantee” cleaner water. Here’s the problem though, filtration is a wide term that only promises filtration on some level, without always specifying how much is filtered. Most consumer filters use “microfiltration” which unfortunately ranks pretty low in the pyramid of water purification. While a filter can be sure to clean water of larger particles such as chlorine and mercury, it very likely cannot guarantee that smaller, more deadly particles such as viruses, bacteria, and protozoa are eliminated.

Common water filters such as a filtered pitchers or urns often claim to remove 99.99% of contaminants, but as these methods are both forms filtration and not purification, it can make you questions what is claimed to be removed when we know what we know how limited the effectiveness of microfilters are for removing the vast array of contaminants that are present in public water. 

Water myth #5: Purified water for your home costs a fortune!

Everyone’s been in a situation where they make an investment in a lifestyle change or find an exciting deal, only to be hit with extra charges, ongoing costs, and hidden fees. Ever found a super deal on a fancy coffee maker only to find out the pods cost a small fortune? Ever paid for a gym membership on a January whim only to find increased fees later in the year, or group classes costing extra (and enough to buy a small meal!)?
Kitting your home out with the purest water possible, does not fall into this category – luckily! Our consultants can talk you through the prices of a home water filtration and/or water purifying options and will ensure you have the most appropriate system for your needs at a family-friendly cost. Once you have a system installed, the only regular input needed to run your system efficiently is filter cartridge (costing around $8-$15 a filter) that needs to be replaced a few times a year or only once every few years, depending on individual systems.

Water myth #6: Bottled water is cheaper and safer than a whole house filtration system 

With bottled water affordable to many households, it can be a valuable alternative to contaminated water, especially in difficult situations where the only option for your home water system is potentially dangerous. However, with bottled water calculated to cost as much as 2000 times more than tap water, there are many arguments in favor of investing in a whole filtration water system rather than committing to unlimited orders of bottled water (and using all that plastic!) 

About that plastic… it’s not just bad for the environment. Unfortunately single-use plastic poses hidden health risks that are under-publicized. Chemicals such as DHEA (a carcinogenic chemical) and Bisphenol A (commonly referred to as BPA, a potential hormone disruptor) are found in plastics that make up many single-use water bottles and can contaminate the water, especially if the bottle warms up or is reused. 

So with bottle-reuse leading to harmful chemical contamination and regular plastic use polluting the planet, it’s hard to win the plastic battle… so let’s talk about your key alternative.  

We understand that a whole house filtration system means a large upfront cost, however when a whole house system works out cheaper in the long run, reduces waste, and is a water alternative that guarantees purer water for longer, it’s a hard option to ignore.

Water myth #7: Isn’t a whole house water treatment system too much of a hassle?

Ok, you might think “I can’t argue with pure water, but I don’t need a water system taking up all my space!” Many companies, including here at Culligan, install central water purification systems that simply travel through your home’s plumbing system. So with a system that can be installed in your basement, garage, boiler room, or wherever, you can have a whole house water treatment system that has no under-the-sink purifiers and no large boxes taking up space. 

Aside from having a superior method of guaranteeing the purest water for your home, a whole house water filtration/purification system actively removes chlorine, which would otherwise dry out rubber including gaskets, plugs, and any rubber mechanisms found in large appliances such as dishwashers or washing machines, shortening the life of your plumbing and appliances.

Whether you have heard your own myths you need to debunk, or you’re ready to talk to someone about your home or office filtration system, contact us at Culligan Kansas City today to pour out pure water tomorrow.