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If you ‘treat’ your drinking water, make sure to keep changing filters

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Arizona is known for its really “hard” water, loaded with minerals like calcium and magnesium. So, homeowners often remove those minerals by installing a water softener to treat water used for showers, bathing and washing clothes. Softer water also reduces chances of corrosion in pipes.

At the same time, residents often object to how their drinking water tastes or they worry about bacteria that might have been missed at a local treatment plant. So they install an under-counter reverse osmosis system for filtering out chlorine and other substances they find objectionable in drinking water. Or they only drink water that passes through a filter in their refrigerator water and ice dispenser. Or they might only drink water poured out of a pitcher or carafe with a filter. There are also faucet-mounted filters.

Whatever your choice, you should regularly replace the filters and/or membranes in those devices to be sure you get great-tasting water. Many homeowners say they can notice a change in the water’s taste if they haven’t changed a filter regularly.

For a reverse osmosis system, carefully read the owner’s instruction manual for tips on when and how to replace the filter and/or the membrane in your system. Some filters and membranes can last as long as two years, but some need replacing before that.

The same is true for refrigerator filters, but generally most of them can last about six months. Refrigerator filters clear contaminants by forcing water through activated carbon filters. But once that carbon gets covered with contaminants, the water passes through untreated.

Meanwhile, filters in pitchers or carafes often need changing every two to five months to do a good job.

One difficulty is the cost of the filters. Filters for pitchers can be much less, but could sometimes cost $15. Some RO filters cost $100 to $200. Some refrigerator filters – from the original manufacturer — can be $40 to $50 or more.

You might be interested in trying out generic filters that can be less costly. But manufacturers have complained that many very cheap off-brand and generic filters that seem to fit your refrigerator perfectly will do a poor job of purifying water and might damage the fridge. So check those bargains out carefully before you buy.

Rosie on the House

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