Los Angeles Times
THE CLEANEST WATER AT HOME
Clean water is essential to good health, safe communities, and a thriving economy. While guidelines are in place to protect the country’s water supply, what comes through your home’s pipes may be full of contaminants like pesticides, metals or parasites.
Who’d want to drink a glass of that? You can help improve the quality of your tap water, and it’s very much a DIY project. Here’s what you can do:
Use and maintain filters: If you have a pitcher or refrigerator filtration system to purify your drinking and cooking water, it is a big step towards improving your H2O. But if you rarely change the filters, your tap water could be unhealthy. Filters work to rid water of contaminants and must be changed according to manufacturer specs. To remove debris in the bathroom, install a shower head filter.
Let the faucet run: When water sits in your pipes for several hours – say, everyone in the family is at work or school or sleeping – toxins can accumulate. The best remedy: Run the cold water for a moment before using, or even flush the toilet prior to getting a glass.
Avoid hot water: When you are cooking dinner and need to fill a big pot, don’t use hot water – it may be detrimental to your health. According to Maureen Schmelling, director of water quality at the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, “Your hot water heater may have more metals leach into the water due to the higher temperature and holding of the water in the tank.”
Keep pipes up to date: If you have an older home – one that was built before the 1980s – and it hasn’t been renovated recently, any lead pipes should be replaced with copper pipe to avoid contaminated water. “Over time, iron pipes corrode, building up scales on the inside of the pipes that restrict water flow,” says Schmelling. “Lead may accumulate if there was lead pipe upstream of the galvanized iron pipe.”
Clean debris on aerators: That thing often found at the tip of a faucet is an aerator, and it plays a key role in how water comes out of the faucet. “Remove and clean every few months,” says Schmelling. To get rid of sediment and particles that have collected in the aerator screen, cover the sink drain to prevent any aerator parts from falling in, then unscrew the aerator and separate each part. Remove any small particles on the screen, soak the parts in white vinegar for a few minutes, and scrub the parts with a brush.