Tips to clean up the tap water you're drinking - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Tips to clean up the tap water you're drinking

Water. We bathe in it. We do laundry and dishes with it. And most importantly, we drink it – or we die.

So, yeah, it's kind of important.

And based on EPA data and American Water Works Association taste test results, the folks at Rodale's Organic Life released a list of theTop 10 Best Cities for Tap Water. They include huge cities like New York City and Chicago, and some midsized towns like Stevens Point Wisconsin and Ft. Collins, Colorado.

If you sense a theme, these are cities with large, mostly clean sources of water. But what about folks not lucky enough to live in one of these areas? Are they stuck buying bottled water forever?

I spoke with Bob Crissman at EcoWater, who says the first step is to get to know your local water. “Every city has an annual water quality report – what they found in your water during that year. This report is free to everybody.” You can link to your local report from the EPA website.

Once you know the deets, what can you do?

Let's start with the lighter ordnance: Off-the-shelf products like Brita,Pur, and Mavea are water filtration systems. The ones that attach to a faucet can do more than the pitchers that rely on gravity, since the pressure from the tap can force the water through a more densely packed filter.

And change your filters on time! An old filter can actually addbacteria to your water, making it worse than it started coming out of the tap.

And if competing product claims have you confused, here's a simple rule of thumb: Look for National Sanitation Foundation seal, which certifies that the claims made on the box have been verified in the NSF labs. If you're confused about the claims, they have details – searchable by product – on their website, or call their toll-free number: 800-NSF-MARK.

In the battle to keep your tap tasty, the big guns are whole-home systems that filter and soften water at the point-of-entry, and use processes like reverse osmosis at the point-of-use in order to get the most contaminants out of your drinking water. Brands in this space include EcoWater and Culligan.

These may sound like Cadillac options, but they might be competitive once you factor in the ongoing cost of replacement filters for the off-the-shelf products, and the slow payback effect as your water-using appliances run more efficiently. And if you don't own your home, Bob Crissman at EcoWater says some vendors will even rent point-of-use systems.

No matter how much you have to spend, you can have an impact the water you and your family rely on.

Copyright 2015 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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