/> a mother's heart » Blog Archive » things i love thursday: clean water

We take having clean, safe drinking water for granted here in the States.  Even when I lived overseas, I was in “first world” nations that provided drinking water with a turn of the faucet.  It’s a blessing – but sometimes it doesn’t taste good enough to make you want to drink what comes from the faucet.

When we lived in Dexter, we had well-water.  I both loved and hated it – I loved being self-sufficient and not dependent upon city water.  I hated it when the electricity went out and we had no water (because the pump is electric).  I loved the lack of chlorine and other additives to the water, but hated the heavy iron and calcium deposits.  Boiling a pot of water for spaghetti reminded me of our iron-rich water because there were always rust-coloured bubbles on the water in the pot.  Bleah.

But moving to Phoenix was a shock to our system.  Our friend Ashley always used to say how fantastic our well-water tasted, but we thought it was less-than-ideal, having tasted well-water in the next county down which was much less iron-rich and had fewer sulfuric odors.  We had no clue how much we would miss our well water once we lived down here – until we went to brush our teeth and came up feeling like we had rinsed our mouths with pool water.  Blech.  The water here is that chlorinated – it smells like the community’s pool!

For emergency preparedness, I’d been stalking a Berkey water filter for several months, but moving put the plans to purchase one on the back burner for a bit.  We finally ordered one and have been using it for the last several days.  May I just say?

WHAT A DIFFERENCE!

Seriously.  The water doesn’t taste like chlorine, the tea tastes SO much better, the coffee is SO much smoother, and pretty near everything we cook that requires water tastes better now.  It is amazing.

The Berkey is definitely one of the more “powerhouse” purification systems out there.  There are installed units (under the sink or whole house), but this is portable.  We opted for the Berkey Light Max – it’s a clear (light blue) unit and it’s easy to determine how much water is there.  It’s easy to fill for any of us – Brendan can manage it readily.  The Berkey Light comes with 2 Berkey filters, but we paid a little more to have it upgraded to a Berkey Light Max – it has 4 filters.  It breaks down in to smaller pieces for transport very easily – which is great if a severe emergency ever required us to “bug out.”

The filters are easy to prime and install and filter out 99.9% of everything you don’t want in your water – chlorine, sediment, bacteria, even viruses!  Four filters don’t filter better than two, but it is faster, providing more surface area with which to filter.  Four filters will last for – get this! – TWELVE THOUSAND GALLONS OF WATER.  That’s mind-boggling to me.

For emergency preparedness purposes, not only is this portable, but it will filter potentially contaminated water to drinkable in short order.  This will cut down on the life of your filters, but in an emergency when you’re desperate for water, the life of the filters is less important than the ability to filter water.  And between living in the desert and being convinced that water storage is a huge part of any food storage plan, this fits in beautifully.

We did discover (accidentally) that you can’t put extra water in the filtering reservoir – as it filters, it flows.  And if the “ready water” reservoir is full, well… let’s just say we should’ve had a towel ready, just in case.  😮

We’ve already saved money by using this just a few days.  I drink close to 2 litres of water per day, and our monthly water bill (just for drinking) was somewhere in the $30 range for bottled water from Costco.  That was judiciously drinking water and not using it for cooking, coffee, tea, etc.  Our bottled water in the garage (other than our water-storage) is almost gone and I’ve already been able to skip one of the biweekly trips to Costco for just that – water.  Love it!

I’ll also be purchasing and stocking up on more filters in upcoming months just to have on hand.  The white (sterasyl) filters filter more water (for a longer life) than the black ones, but are harder to come by.  I’m so relieved to have this part of our preparedness done.  I’m gonna go get another cup of joe – it tastes so darned good now!  :)

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