Drop the Bottle! Drink Filtered Water Instead.

iStock_000019689327_Medium - CopyLounging around the neighborhood pool this summer, I am aware of how many people still choose to buy bottled water.  True, it is convenient to toss a few in a cooler when heading out to the pool or beach, but there are so many better alternatives these days, so it still surprises me to see how many people still do it!  The latest published statistics state that over half of all Americans drink bottled water!

I thought this might be a good time to remind myself as well as others why we need to “drop the bottle” and filter water at our homes instead:

Reason #1:  Negative environmental impact.  The production and transportation of bottled water wastes our precious fossil fuels. It takes a plastic water bottle 1,000 years to bio-degrade. Knowing that 80% of water bottles end up in our landfill; that’s a pretty scary statistic! When not recycled, bottles produce mass amounts of litter, not only in landfills, but in our lakes, rivers and oceans.

Reason #2: Cost.  The average American spends over $100 per year on bottled water (think $400 per 4 person family on WATER).

These are just my two top reasons to drop the bottle.  There are obviously many more.  You can find detailed reports and statistics at The Water Project. Or read 15 Outrageous Facts about Bottled Water.

Additionally, if you buy bottled water because you feel that it is safer and tastes better than general tap water, there are many alternative options available to you.  Visit FiltersFast.com to find a full range of water filtration devices including whole house filtration systems, faucet mount filters, refrigerator filters, filtered water pitchers and water bottles (to throw in the cooler for the pool or beach).  These days, home water filtration options are endless.

Aside from the better taste and smell that filtered water provides, there are other benefits to filtering water as well:

  • More cost effective than buying bottled water
  • Eliminates the environmental impact of bottled water
  • Filtering removes unwanted, harmful contaminates from drinking water

This summer, when you head out to the pool, or pack a cooler for the beach, or venture out for a nice hike or picnic, forget the disposable water bottles!  Use instead a reusable filtered water bottle or fill some other reusable container with clean filtered water from your refrigerator or other home filtration device.

Check FiltersFast.com for available options.

Buying Generic/Compatible Products: Even Air and Refrigerator Filters!

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One of my favorite budgeting tips is to use compatible products.  Compatible, generic, comparable; whichever term you prefer, it basically means you are NOT using the “name brand” item, but rather a product of equal quality, but different brand.  A recent study by economists at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business found that Americans can save nearly $1 billion per year by buying generic products.

There are a lot of commonly known products that we think to buy generic.  Here are a few:

  • Groceries (baby formula, food and drinks)
  • Clothes/ fashion accessories
  • Cleaning products
  • Make-up/ sunscreen/ personal care items
  • Medications
  • Batteries

But did you also know there are some other commonly used household products that are available as generic?  FiltersFast.com, the leading source in online retail for air and water filtration products, offers a variety of compatible items.  Whether you are looking to replace your home’s air filters, refrigerator filters or even swimming pool filters; FilterFast.com provides the name brand item, but also offers you more economical options by way of compatible filters.

For example, if you are looking for the Maytag replacement filter in the above picture, you can find it at FiltersFast.com, but you will also find a perfectly comparable filter (non-Maytag) as well.  The side-by-side graphic above shows the price difference.  In this case, the Maytag being $29.95 and the compatible filter being $19.95!  Then the choice is yours!

Another example is for air filters.  Generally these must be replaced at least 4 times per year, which can quickly add up.  Did you know that FiltersFast.com offers all of the brands you trust for quality air filtration, as well as their own brand of air filters?  This 6 pack of Filters Fast brand filters will save you $17.00 over the comparable name brand of the same quality!

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As you can see, by checking into buying generic (comparable, compatible) products, you can save money without sacrificing quality.  In addition to your standard off-brand items, such as groceries, there are other nontraditional items to investigate as well.

Visit FiltersFast.com for a wide range of air and filtration products and brands!

*All prices shown are subject to change

Hard Water: What is it and How to Reduce It

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According to the WQA (Water Quality Association), the most common problem reported by consumers throughout the US is hard water. According to a U.S. Geological Survey, hard water is present in more than 85% of the country. Yikes!

What causes hard water

More than 60% of the earth’s water is groundwater. As it travels through soil and rock, it picks up minerals (including magnesium and calcium) along the way. These two contaminants (calcium and magnesium) produce hardness in water. Generally, hardness is measured in grains per gallon (gpg).  For example, if a water test indicates a range of 1.0 to 3.5 gpg, the water is considered slightly hard. If the measurement is greater than 10.5 gpg, the water is rated as being very hard.

How to know if you have hard water

  1. Clogged pipes and appliances is a common sign of hard water. Hard water mineral deposits can build up in pipes or plumbing equipment, coffee makers, and more. You may notice a reduced water flow.
  2. You may notice a film on their shower tiles or bathtubs, or even on yourself. The film that is left often results in additional scrubbing and scouring of the affected fixtures, and can cause hair to be dull and limp, and dry the skin. Also, your water heating costs could increase as a result of hard water. Hard water mineral deposits can form an insulating barrier between the heating element and the water to be heated.
  3. The calcium and magnesium in hard water negatively act on many detergents and soaps causing a reduction in their cleaning capabilities. The soapy residue they form can be abrasive and reduce the life of clothing.

How to solve your hard water problem

To solve the problem of hard water in your home, filtration will be the most effective approach. By investing in a water softening system, it will “swap out” the excessive magnesium and calcium (as well as other hard water minerals present) for sodium ions. These ions will decrease the negative effects of hard water in your home.

Three main parts make up water softeners:

  1. Resin bed: Made up of small bead-like materials. The beads will attract and hold positively charged ions(such as sodium), but will exchange them whenever it encounters another positively charged ion such as magnesium and calcium.
  2. Resin tank: Contains the resin bed
  3. Brine tank: Holds the dissolved salt solution that is necessary to “regenerate” the resin (i.e to reverse the ion exchange operation). The salt will force the magnesium and calcium ions to be released, where they are then discharged as waste during the backwashing cycle. The beads will then be ready to once again attract hardness ions from the water.

Conclusion

Chances are you’ll come face to face with hard water and some point in time, but with the right tools, you can reduce the chances of it being a consistent nuisance in your home.