help me make water taste good

CalicaCalica Registered User regular
edited August 30 in Help / Advice Forum
My tap water has a bitter, chemical taste, I assume from dissolved minerals and chlorine. I use PUR faucet filters, which remove most of that; but the water still tastes slightly chemical with a bitter aftertaste, which is enough to discourage me from drinking it. I want to drink more water - I spend way too much time mildly dehydrated - and it would be much easier if water didn't taste terrible.

The two basic strategies are removing the bad-tasting elements from water and adding things to mask the bad tastes. So far I have not found either to be effective.

Things I've tried:
  • Brita and ZeroWater filters: less effective than PUR at making water palatable.
  • Charcoal sticks that go in your water bottle: did nothing.
  • Using a Brita filter pitcher in addition to the faucet filter: made no difference, except that the water absorbed a plastic taste from the pitcher.
  • Filling a glass carafe with water in the evening and storing it in the fridge for the next day: water tastes funky and flat.
  • Infusing water with fruit: water smells a little like fruit, but all I get is a vaguely tart taste that's not any more pleasant than straight water.
  • Flavor concentrates: water tastes like diluted sugar-free candy. Blech.
  • Tea and other infusions: tea/tisane brewed with bad-tasting water also tastes bad.

Bottled water is expensive and wasteful (and tastes like plastic anyway). So is reverse osmosis (uses much more water than it purifies). Water delivery services also feel indefensibly wasteful when I have safe, albeit unappealing, tap water (and there's the plastic jug issue). Filtered water from a grocery store dispenser also tastes like plastic.

For a while I thought maybe I just don't like water, period; but I have since experienced tap water that tasted like water is supposed to taste - in New Zealand. Where I do not live.

There are several natural springs within driving distance of me, but I have safety concerns about water straight out of the ground.

I sometimes buy glass-bottled or canned sparkling water and drink that straight or mixed with juice, but it has the same cost and environmental issues as regular bottled water.

I'm out of ideas. What do y'all do to make tap water not suck?

Jedoc wrote: »
The GOP cares about babies until they're born, soldiers until they're in need of care, and families until they interfere with stockholder dividends.
Calica on

Posts

  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    Calica wrote: »
    My tap water has a bitter, chemical taste, I assume from dissolved minerals and chlorine. I use PUR faucet filters, which remove most of that; but the water still tastes slightly chemical with a bitter aftertaste, which is enough to discourage me from drinking it. I want to drink more water - I spend way too much time mildly dehydrated - and it would be much easier if water didn't taste terrible.

    The two basic strategies are removing the bad-tasting elements from water and adding things to mask the bad tastes. So far I have not found either to be effective.

    Things I've tried:
    • Brita and ZeroWater filters: less effective than PUR at making water palatable.
    • Charcoal sticks that go in your water bottle: did nothing.
    • Using a Brita filter pitcher in addition to the faucet filter: made no difference, except that the water absorbed a plastic taste from the pitcher.
    • Filling a glass carafe with water in the evening and storing it in the fridge for the next day: water tastes funky and flat.
    • Infusing water with fruit: water smells a little like fruit, but all I get is a vaguely tart taste that's not any more pleasant than straight water.
    • Flavor concentrates: water tastes like diluted sugar-free candy. Blech.
    • Tea and other infusions: tea/tisane brewed with bad-tasting water also tastes bad.

    Bottled water is expensive and wasteful (and tastes like plastic anyway). So is reverse osmosis (uses much more water than it purifies). Water delivery services also feel indefensibly wasteful when I have safe, albeit unappealing, tap water (and there's the plastic jug issue). Filtered water from a grocery store dispenser also tastes like plastic.

    For a while I thought maybe I just don't like water, period; but I have since experienced tap water that tasted like water is supposed to taste - in New Zealand. Where I do not live.

    There are several natural springs within driving distance of me, but I have safety concerns about water straight out of the ground.

    I sometimes buy glass-bottled or canned sparkling water and drink that straight or mixed with juice, but it has the same cost and environmental issues as regular bottled water.

    I'm out of ideas. What do y'all do to make tap water not suck?

    It sounds like you need something more powerful than passive filtration, so anything you get will likely need electricity and should have NSF-certified filtration. If you can't or won't install a reverse osmosis system, then there are countertop systems like this: https://www.aquasana.com/clean-water-machine/dispenser

    I bought a similar model from Costco a few years ago, and don't have any major complaints other than some spillage when replacing filters, etc.

    tynicJaysonFourdispatch.obowen
  • firewaterwordfirewaterword Satchitananda Pais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
    Do you rent or own? If you're able to do so, and really want to go all out, a whole house filter system (plus a softener if you feel like your water needs it) by a company like Pelican would probably do the trick. Drawback is that these systems can cost $$$$.

    Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited August 30
    In some areas you can get a free water quality assay from the local/state water district. It's a painless process. You get a couple of tubes in the mail, fill them at your tap and send them back. It takes a few weeks to get results but finding out exactly what is causing the taste will help.

    Is the water gross from all the taps in the house? The garden spigot? Faucets can corrode and start tasting funny.

    Is it seasonal? When I lived In the south (Nashville) it was a yearly occurrence that there was some sort of algae bloom and the water would be disgusting for about a month. I want to say it always happened in later summer when warm rains became frequent just before fall.

    I suggest trying the water at a local grocery store just to see if their filtration works. You can usually pay a deposit and get big jugs and refill them at a commercial style machine with a high quality filter.

    dispatch.o on
    Iruka
  • NoquarNoquar Registered User regular
    My question is along the lines of firewaterword - do you rent or own? Are you on town/city or well water?

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Our grocery store does the large water jugs with an exchange program, I haven't researched this because our tap is more or less fine, but the option has slightly less waste if you need to go that direction.

    Have you tried this process?

    - Boiling a pot of water
    - Let it cool enough that you can pour it between two pots or containers a few times (aerates it a bit)
    - refrigerate it for 24hours

    I see heating the water and drinking it, cooling the water and drinking it, but not all of these steps in this order. The Pouring/aerating should help reduce the flat taste.

    I would note that I've read multiple articles about britas and faucet filters actually being breeding grounds for bacteria, which they aren't designed to filter out: https://www.michiganradio.org/post/study-bacteria-can-grow-faucet-water-filters. If your faucet filter is not helping, you might consider trying water from a different tap in your house and adding charcoal to that.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Part of what gives water its taste is the local mineral profile too. Calcium, magnesium, sodium. Metal also seems to give it a "flavor" so all the pipes in your path will do that too.

    Water softeners will also change the flavor profile of tap water (it'll be saltier and more metallic tasting). Reverse osmosis will help with those.

    The harder the water, the better it tastes generally.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
    zepherinHappylilElfNightDragon
  • That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    I am super picky about my water. I grew up with really good well water so city water just tastes nasty to me. I have had great success using a solid carbon block filter in the 0.5 micron range. In the past I've used a filter like this that attaches to my sink faucet. The filters are a standard size and manufactured by a lot of different companies making them cheap and readily available. These days I'm paying $50 a pop for the expensive fridge filters that are basically the same thing. I was getting 4 packs of the generic filters for my sink unit for less and they worked better. The only reason I'm not still using the sick model is that my faucet has a wand without a standard aerator fitting.

    camo_sig.png
  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    Part of what gives water its taste is the local mineral profile too. Calcium, magnesium, sodium. Metal also seems to give it a "flavor" so all the pipes in your path will do that too.

    Water softeners will also change the flavor profile of tap water (it'll be saltier and more metallic tasting). Reverse osmosis will help with those.

    The harder the water, the better it tastes generally.

    This is a good point. Pure water actually doesn't taste like much of anything, even if you get something like reverse osmosis, if you still don't like the taste then you very well may need to add things afterwards to make it taste better.

    The only reason I filter my water is that my building is 50 years old and I rent.

    bowen
  • CalicaCalica Registered User regular
    I rent and am on city water. Free assays do not seem to be available where I live unless it's buried in a website somewhere; I'll look more thoroughly later. The utility does offer free lead testing, but only if someone in the household is pregnant or under six years old.

    The faucet filter improves the water a lot; just not to the point where I want to drink it. And yeah, I wondered about the bacteria issue. There's no good way to clean the housing that I can see. I'll try @Iruka's steps and see what that does.

    I think the taste I don't like is metallic, which would make a lot of sense. At least some of the pipes are copper.

    Jedoc wrote: »
    The GOP cares about babies until they're born, soldiers until they're in need of care, and families until they interfere with stockholder dividends.
  • firewaterwordfirewaterword Satchitananda Pais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
    edited September 1
    If you own and want to go all out, here's a high level view on what you might want to consider:
    * ah just saw your post re: renting.

    firewaterword on
    Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
  • That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    Calica wrote: »
    I rent and am on city water. Free assays do not seem to be available where I live unless it's buried in a website somewhere; I'll look more thoroughly later. The utility does offer free lead testing, but only if someone in the household is pregnant or under six years old.

    The faucet filter improves the water a lot; just not to the point where I want to drink it. And yeah, I wondered about the bacteria issue. There's no good way to clean the housing that I can see. I'll try @Iruka's steps and see what that does.

    I think the taste I don't like is metallic, which would make a lot of sense. At least some of the pipes are copper.

    A counter top 0.5 micron carbon block filter is going to filter out any chlorine, bacteria, viruses and most dissolved minerals. From my research it'll filter out anything larger than fluoride. I think fluoride ions are just a little too small for anything short of a multi-stage reverse osmosis system.

    The problem with Pur and Brita filters is they use charcoal chips, not a solid carbon block so a lot of undesirables still get through. With the carbon block filters, water can't get around the filtering step so every drop of water that comes out gets filtered down to the specified size.

    camo_sig.png
    CalicaNightDragon
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    edited September 1
    When I’m adding filters to govt buildings, I use an under the sink inline filter. And people stop bitching...which is an incredible feat considering if I’m painting using a zero voc paint the next day on a different floor 3 people call out and go home from the fumes.

    Something along these lines:
    https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/company-us/all-3m-products/~/3M-Aqua-Pure-Under-Sink-Dedicated-Faucet-Water-Filtration-Systems/?N=5002385+8730931+3289735925+3294145474&preselect=8709409&rt=rud&DCSext.CDC=AC&DCSext.Business=Health Care Business Group&visitID=44393543717982652031825730985506489637

    The systems are a little spendy (about 300 bones) and they require some plumbing knowledge but they work really well. Grainger generally has something from 3M or culliver.

    zepherin on
    Calica
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    The water from the under the sink ones definitely tastes "crispier" and I'd say better than the above the tap filters, I can confirm.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
    Calica
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    Sometimes you really can't improve your water effectively for the volume you drink. We live in a swamp and, even at the best of times, water in my area tastes bad. Always has, and I've lived in a dozen places in the area.

    Like Iruka said, find a grocery store with a water jug recycling system. We buy 3-4 gallons of purified water at ~70 cents a gallon each week and then return the plastic jugs, which are shipped back to the plant to be melted down and reused. As a renter you really shouldn't be messing around with your plumbing.

  • That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    zepherin wrote: »
    When I’m adding filters to govt buildings, I use an under the sink inline filter. And people stop bitching...which is an incredible feat considering if I’m painting using a zero voc paint the next day on a different floor 3 people call out and go home from the fumes.

    Something along these lines:
    https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/company-us/all-3m-products/~/3M-Aqua-Pure-Under-Sink-Dedicated-Faucet-Water-Filtration-Systems/?N=5002385+8730931+3289735925+3294145474&preselect=8709409&rt=rud&DCSext.CDC=AC&DCSext.Business=Health Care Business Group&visitID=44393543717982652031825730985506489637

    The systems are a little spendy (about 300 bones) and they require some plumbing knowledge but they work really well. Grainger generally has something from 3M or culliver.

    The unit I linked in my first post is functionally identical but doesn't use proprietary filters and just screws onto your existing faucet.

    camo_sig.png
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    edited September 1
    That_Guy wrote: »
    zepherin wrote: »
    When I’m adding filters to govt buildings, I use an under the sink inline filter. And people stop bitching...which is an incredible feat considering if I’m painting using a zero voc paint the next day on a different floor 3 people call out and go home from the fumes.

    Something along these lines:
    https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/company-us/all-3m-products/~/3M-Aqua-Pure-Under-Sink-Dedicated-Faucet-Water-Filtration-Systems/?N=5002385+8730931+3289735925+3294145474&preselect=8709409&rt=rud&DCSext.CDC=AC&DCSext.Business=Health Care Business Group&visitID=44393543717982652031825730985506489637

    The systems are a little spendy (about 300 bones) and they require some plumbing knowledge but they work really well. Grainger generally has something from 3M or culliver.

    The unit I linked in my first post is functionally identical but doesn't use proprietary filters and just screws onto your existing faucet.
    I haven’t done a side by side comparison of the systems, but the system I linked is a 0.2 micron absolute system. The system you linked is a 0.5 micron nominal system. It’s not bad. I used a pur faucet system when I had an apartment and it was fine. I’m just saying professionally what style I use at work.

    zepherin on
  • That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    zepherin wrote: »
    That_Guy wrote: »
    zepherin wrote: »
    When I’m adding filters to govt buildings, I use an under the sink inline filter. And people stop bitching...which is an incredible feat considering if I’m painting using a zero voc paint the next day on a different floor 3 people call out and go home from the fumes.

    Something along these lines:
    https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/company-us/all-3m-products/~/3M-Aqua-Pure-Under-Sink-Dedicated-Faucet-Water-Filtration-Systems/?N=5002385+8730931+3289735925+3294145474&preselect=8709409&rt=rud&DCSext.CDC=AC&DCSext.Business=Health Care Business Group&visitID=44393543717982652031825730985506489637

    The systems are a little spendy (about 300 bones) and they require some plumbing knowledge but they work really well. Grainger generally has something from 3M or culliver.

    The unit I linked in my first post is functionally identical but doesn't use proprietary filters and just screws onto your existing faucet.
    I haven’t done a side by side comparison of the systems, but the system I linked is a 0.2 micron absolute system. The system you linked is a 0.5 micron nominal system. It’s not bad. I used a pur faucet system when I had an apartment and it was fine. I’m just saying professionally what style I use at work.

    You can get a .2 micron filter for the system I linked, it just really cuts down on the water flow. It uses standard/generic carbon block filters.

    camo_sig.png
  • CalicaCalica Registered User regular
    Does hooking something up under the sink really count as messing with your plumbing? I replaced my leaking toilet fill valve assembly awhile back because maintenance took forever to get back to me, and this doesn't look much more involved than that (turn off water, unscrew hose, install thing, reattach hose and check for leaks) :razz:

    Anyway, there are three grocery stores within as many blocks of where I live. I'll check that out first.

    Jedoc wrote: »
    The GOP cares about babies until they're born, soldiers until they're in need of care, and families until they interfere with stockholder dividends.
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    Reattach hose can be difficult depending on the fitting. You don't want to accidently crimp one of the lines and if you have a sprayer hooked up the little automatic valves don't hold up well to manipulation if they're older.

    Otherwise it's not hard to do I guess? I would definitely go with jugs at the grocery store or a countertop filter as a renter though.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited September 1
    Yeah the expertise from doing under sink after doing attached to the aerator of the facet is about as hard as going from multiplying by two to multiplying by three.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    i would just get a water dispenser

    camo_sig.png
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited September 2
    Calica wrote: »
    Does hooking something up under the sink really count as messing with your plumbing? I replaced my leaking toilet fill valve assembly awhile back because maintenance took forever to get back to me, and this doesn't look much more involved than that (turn off water, unscrew hose, install thing, reattach hose and check for leaks) :razz:

    Anyway, there are three grocery stores within as many blocks of where I live. I'll check that out first.
    bowen wrote: »
    Yeah the expertise from doing under sink after doing attached to the aerator of the facet is about as hard as going from multiplying by two to multiplying by three.

    Both of these things are true, until there is a problem. At which point the liability issue is on you for the water damage as the renter for making unauthorized pluming alterations. It's not the complexity of the issue that is the concern here, but who pays for things if something anywhere in that system goes wrong and the landlord decides to blame your water filter as the cause.

    Enc on
    Inquisitor77dispatch.o
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    yes you would shoulder the burden of it

    I have yet to have a landlord not be a shithead about kitchen area water damage from their shitty plumbing though, so even that's a toss up.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • CalicaCalica Registered User regular
    Fair enough. Probably not going to risk it in any case.

    Jedoc wrote: »
    The GOP cares about babies until they're born, soldiers until they're in need of care, and families until they interfere with stockholder dividends.
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