When you have bad tasting water or other undesirable traits coming out of your kitchen sink tap, you want a home water solution that is fast, easy, and cheap, right? For some people, the upfront cost of a reverse osmosis drinking water system or other home water filter seems to outweigh the benefits. Unfortunately, that means people can turn to potentially dangerous DIY alternatives. If you’re trying any of these tips, you should stop ASAP.

Boiling

Boiling your water can kill many kinds of bacteria. However, it has downsides. It doesn’t fix all water hardness issues. You may know water hardness is measured in a 1-10+ range, but did you know that there is ‘temporary hardness’ and ‘permanent hardness’? The high mineral salt concentration in hard water includes calcium and magnesium; some of the ions, like calcium, are considered ‘temporary hardness’ easy to dissolve with multiple rounds of boiling. Others, like lead, arsenic, and organic carcinogens are not removed by boiling alone, no matter how many times you boil the water sample.

Chlorine or Iodine Drops

Consistent use of these drops at home is not really recommended. For some people, consistent consumption of iodine can actually cause an allergy-like reaction. It’s also recommended that pregnant women and those with thyroid issues stay away from excess iodine consumption. Chlorine in the right low amounts in tap water is generally safe to drink, but having chlorine tablets around in the home can be very dangerous with young children or pets.

Biofilters

A well-put-together biofilter (using materials like sand, charcoal, etc) can actually do a surprisingly good job filtering out some, but not all, sediments and viruses. On top of that, putting together an effective biofilter can be a guessing game. You don’t want to accidentally make an ineffective filter and drink risky water. And for goodness’ sake — don’t try to just filter water with a bit of cloth or gym sock.

One of the biggest myths? That any one of these methods is perfectly effective on its own. To have truly safe water, multiple effective methods should be used. First of all, a scientifically proven safe filter such as a reverse osmosis drinking water system should be used to clear your water of all harmful particles. Second, keep an eye out for warnings about local boil advisories and other temporary water suggestions.

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