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5 Ways to Make Water Safe for Drinking at Home – Pro Guide

Ways to Make Water Safe for Drinking

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Natural disasters and flooding contaminate the water and make it unsafe for drinking. The unavailability of potable water can cause serious illness; therefore, it is crucial to purify your water.

CDC recommends bottled water as the best option, but it is expensive and may not always be available. However, purification or filtration methods are easy and affordable. Firstly, you must test your water quality to determine the contamination type. Then, you can use boiling, disinfection, and distillation easily at home; if it doesn’t work, installing a water treatment system is the best option.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to make water safe for drinking. Let’s get started!

Determine the Culprit – Testing the Water Quality

Testing the Water Quality
Image credit: Unsplash

Firstly, you must check your water quality when conscious about safe drinking. Various DIY ways, test kits, and laboratory methods are available that assist you in finding what your water actually contains. 

I suggest you go for laboratory methods, although they are costly but offer the most accurate results. They inform the exact amount of contaminants such as heavy metals, dissolved solids, microbes, turbidity, pH, hardness, etc.

The water safety and quality standards depend on the level of contamination present in the drinking water. However, you can get help from professional water testing companies and local health departments on water safety.

Whatever your water contains, it can be detected by using the test given below: 

Physical Tests

Physical testing evaluates the physical characteristics of water, such as its color, odor, and taste, but is not responsible for detecting specific contamination. 

Chemical Tests

Firstly, You need to collect and analyze the water sample in the laboratory using various methods such as chromatography, spectrometry, or titration. It is the best method to determine the water contaminants, heavy metals, organic insolubilities, and nitrates present in the sample.

Biological Testing

It is useful to detect living organisms such as bacteria (E.coli or giardia), viruses, and parasites. 

Once you’re convinced about the contaminants, this guide will help you learn the best ways to purify your drinking water. 

How to make water safe for drinking at home?

How to make water safe for drinking at home

Various methods can be helpful in transforming tap water into safe hydration. Boiling, disinfecting, and distilling the water are the cheapest methods to remove microbes at home. 

However, if you’re concerned with physical, microbial, and chemical contamination, Installing the water filtration system is an incredible choice. 

Here are the methods that you can choose depending on the cause, ease, and cost. 

1. Boil Your Water

Boiling is the oldest method that our ancestors relied on. Now, with the latest technology, is boiling tap water as safe as it was in ancient times? 

Boiling water is one of the most effective and cheapest methods to make tap water safe for drinking at home. It is suggested to boil vigorously at 100 Degrees Celcius for at least five to ten minutes to ensure safe drinking.

Boiling is best if your water source has giardia, bacteria, parasites, viruses, and other waterborne disease-causing organisms.

In research, the Indonesian government has promoted the boiling of water where the major cause of diarrhea among children <5 years was non-potable water with E. coli. 

The disadvantage of boiling water is that it cannot remove chemical contaminants or toxins from the water. So, if your water contains sediments, mud, heavy metals, hardness (calcium and magnesium), and other solid impurities, then you should go for an effective filtration method.

2. Disinfect Your Water

Disinfection is another useful method to make the water safe for drinking at home. You can disinfect the tap water by using various methods, including chlorination, iodination, pasteurization, and solar disinfection (SODIS), according to your convenience. 

It is effectively used to kill or inactivate bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella, viruses like hepatitis and norovirus, and some parasites like giardia. 

However, like boiling, this process will help to remove biological contaminants, but it wouldn’t work if your tap water contains hardness, heavy metals, and other chemical impurities. To fix these issues, you must install a water treatment system for your tap water.

Note

You can use iodine, chlorine dioxide tablets, home bleach, and Tetraglycine hydroperiodide as chemical disinfectants to kill most germs, but not Cryptosporidium. Additionally, it is important to note that iodine-treated water is not recommended for pregnant women, thyroid patients, or persons with hypersensitivity to iodine. It’s also not recommended for continuous use—don’t use it for more than a few weeks at a time. 

3. Distill You Tap Water

Although boiling and disinfection are effective, distillation also works to remove radiation, pesticides, and various heavy metals, including lead and arsenic. It is a better option if your area is prone to natural disasters, flooding, or rainfall. 

In this process, You must heat and collect the water as vapor. The steam is then captured and cooled back into liquid form, which results in pure, distilled water. As the steam rises, it leaves behind minerals or chemicals in the form of solid contamination. 

It involves a simple process of using a stove to offer safe and purified water at home. Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can do it:

  1. Take a large pot with a lid to trap the steam, fill the water in it (don’t overfill), and place it on the stove.  
  2. Turn on your stove and heat the water. Put the small heatproof container inside the large pot, which shouldn’t touch the bottom of the pot.
  3.  Keep the lid on the container and place the ice cubes on the lid.
  4. Once the water is heated, it will give rise to steam, which is cooled and condensed through ice cubes and can be collected in liquid in a small container. 
  5. Allow the distilled water to cool, and here you go! 

Although It’s a time-consuming process and needs a lot of heat for boiling, it costs you a lot. However, it’s important to note that distillation doesn’t effectively remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other contaminants. In such cases, you may need additional filtration or treatment methods to ensure safe drinking.

4. Installing Water Filtration Systems

Filtration is the most effective way of safe drinking while using the right multimedia, depending upon the contamination present in the drinking water. 

No matter what is present in your drinking water, I have enlisted the best water filtration systems that will work for you; read on how:

Reverse Osmosis Systems

Reverse osmosis systems are the best and most effective method to remove up to 99% of dissolved solids, including minerals, salts, heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceutical products, and microorganisms. These systems contain RO semi-permeable membrane of micron rating, which filters out particles ranging from small to large.

RO filters offer multiple stages of filtration to give efficient results without consuming time and effort. They are installed at the point of use, countertop, or under the sink. Additionally, they are available in aesthetic designs that give an elegant look to your kitchen or place where you place it.  

A bonus point of reverse osmosis systems is the availability of a combo with activated carbon filters, ion exchange mechanisms, and UV filters. 

Note

We think that Reverse osmosis water filters are the best choice who want a peaceful, long-term investment in high-quality water. Some of our top picks are waterdrop G3P600, APEC, and Express water filter systems, which can treat well water and microbiologically unsafe water to remove 99.99% of the contaminants).

Ultraviolet (UV) Filtration Systems

UV Filters are another treatment system that increases the safety of drinking water. 

UV filters work by exposing water to a UV-C light source, which emits ultraviolet radiation at a specific wavelength to inactivate or kill the DNA of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and some parasites.  

UV filters can be installed as under-sink units or whole-house filtration systems to provide an additional layer of protection against harmful microorganisms. They disinfect effectively, but they do not remove minerals, sediments, or chemicals.  

It is suggested to use them with RO, Water softeners, sediment filters, or activated carbon filters to deal with water quality issues. E.g., Springwell.

Activated Carbon Filters

Activated carbon filters, also known as activated charcoal filters. Thanks to its adsorption-based process that uses millions of pores and a large surface area to remove reducing chlorine, chloramine, fluoride, sediment, and some organic compounds. 

When water passes through the filter, the activated carbon adsorbs the impurities and traps them to enhance water quality. It is the best method if your water has a foul odor and taste.

Activated carbon filters can be installed on your faucets, under-sink systems, or at the point where water enters a house. You can use them to treat all the water used in the entire household. 

They are popular for home use to provide clean and better-tasting drinking water; however, your water is affected by microorganisms and heavy metals, so it may not be a suitable option for you. 

5. Ion Exchange or Water Softeners

Regarding drinking water, it is the commonly used process to remove hardness minerals such as calcium and magnesium. They also prevent the formation of scale deposits in pipes, fixtures, appliances, and laundry.

Ion exchange softeners work by removing these minerals, resulting in a better-tasting and more manageable water supply. The resin beads inside the tank are negatively charged with sodium ions. When hard water flows through the resin tank, the calcium and magnesium ions in the water are attracted to the resin beads and replaced with sodium ions. This results in the removal of the calcium and magnesium ions from the water, effectively “softening” it.

They are installed at the point of entry and also available with other filters, which I’ve mentioned above. However, it might not be the right option if your problem is other than hardness. 

Conclusion

In an endpoint, filtration is the best way to purify your drinking water. However, it is important to note all filtration methods are not created equal. A water filter system’s effectiveness depends on the source, the type of contaminants present, and the quality of the filter itself.

Reverse osmosis systems are costly but offer a long-term investment opportunity with the best water quality promising.

In severity of impurities, you must consult a professional water testing company or your local health department for guidance to make water-safe methods for your specific situation.

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