Let’s get this out of the way upfront: Your water is foul.
The water coming out of your faucet might look pristine, but a closer inspection would reveal a toxic cocktail of things you don’t want in your body. Trace amounts of chlorine, chloroform, arsenic, lead, pesticides, and even radioactive substances such as uranium could be present in the water you drink, bathe in, and cook with
SoCal’s drinking water problem
Most people in Southern California know their municipal water supply isn’t exactly spring-creek quality and accept the fact that disinfectants such as chlorine and fluoride are necessary to make water potable. However, the problem with our tap water goes way beyond a few added chemicals. There are things that should not be in there and we are just now beginning to learn about their potential effects on our health.
The good people at the Environmental Working Group collected data on almost 50,000 public utility systems from 2010 to 2015. What they found is sobering: The nation’s water suppliers are piping contaminants linked to cancer, brain damage, and infertility into our homes. Lead, for example, was found in 19,000 public water systems. Young children exposed to lead can suffer from irreversible brain damage.
SoCal water systems are some of the biggest offenders. According to EWG data, the Joint Regional Water Supply System served 1,100,000 people in Laguna Beach with water that contained 10 contaminants exceeding health guidelines established by state or federal health authorities. These pollutants include bromodichloromethane, bromoform, chloroform, and total trihalomethanes, among others that pose a risk of cancer. Likewise, the Irvine Ranch Water District, serving 370,000, had 12 contaminants above recommended health guidelines.
It’s important to note that neither of these utilities exceeded legal limits, nor were they found in violation of drinking water standards, but that only speaks to the need for increased regulations on the utilities that supply the very thing our lives depend on.
Our water is not safe to drink or cook with. Even showering is risky. Steam opens your pores, allowing your body to absorb contaminants through the skin.
So, it’s up to you to purify your own water. That means getting a filter. There are several options to consider.
How whole house water filters help
This is the most comprehensive solution for cleaner, safer, better-tasting water. A whole-house filter removes impurities right at the source: your main water line. This ensures purified water is delivered to all the taps in your home – kitchen and bathroom faucets, showerheads, and appliances. These systems are typically installed in a garage where they take up very little room. In most cases, they’re smaller than a water heater tank. A qualified plumber will help you determine the size you need.
Different filters use different technologies. Some use a process called reverse osmosis, which pushes water through a semipermeable membrane to remove toxins such as arsenic, fluoride, nitrates, and hexavalent chromium. The interesting thing about hexavalent chromium: The Golden State currently limits our exposure to this carcinogen, which has been linked to reproductive problems, to 10 parts per billion. That’s 500 times higher than scientists recommend.
Other filtering technologies include ultraviolet and ozone, both of which are effective bacteria killers.
We’ve got hard water, too
Not only is our water polluted, but Southern California tap water also has some of the highest levels of magnesium and calcium in the country. While hard water isn’t a health hazard, it’s certainly a nuisance. Hard water corrodes plumbing and fixtures and it’s hard on your appliances and your skin. If you have water spots on your counters, scale on your faucets and showerheads, that’s hard water.
Another clue that you may need a water softener: It’s hard to take a shower. Hard water prevents soap from lathering, so you don’t feel truly clean and it leaves a nasty ring of scum around the bathtub. And because soap can’t do its job, dishes and clothes are never quite clean, either.
Water softeners are an effective solution. They replace calcium and magnesium with softer minerals such as sodium or potassium. The results are decreased water deposits, cleaner laundry and dishes, and plumbing that performs better.
If you want purer, softer water that’s safe to drink, cook and wash with, ask us about our whole-home water filters and softeners. Our expert plumbers can help you determine what type of system is best for your home.