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How to Save Money on Drinking Water During COVID-19

In response to the growing economic toll stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, many households have begun to tighten their budgets. One area that may be overlooked when budgeting is how costly drinking water can be. If you rely on purchasing cases of bottled water or a bottled water delivery service and you’re looking for ways to cut costs around your home, it may be time to consider filtering your own drinking water. By making a simple shift towards filtration within your own home you can reduce ongoing expenses and increase your access to clean, filtered water on demand.

 

Have you thought About Your Water Costs Recently?

Water is a fundamental necessity, and how you get your water can have important implications for your health. But where you source your drinking water from, comes at a cost. Due to the fact that this is viewed as a necessity, many people don’t take a close look at how much they are spending on their water each month. 

The two primary ways people access drinking water in the United States is through their tap or from bottled water. Bottled water has only recently become the most popular beverage in the United States after it displaced carbonated soft drinks. Let’s take a look at the average costs of these water sources, so you can see how the cost of your drinking water can add up over time.

 

The Cost of Tap Water

If you are drinking water from a tap, it can actually be fairly difficult to understand how much your drinking water costs. The portion of your water that you drink is rolled into your total water consumption from your municipal water supplier, which obscures the true cost of drinking straight from your tap.

Using tap water as your primary drinking water source is very, very inexpensive . The Environmental Protection Agency estimated that the average cost of 1,000 gallons of water from a municipal water supplier in the United States in 2016 was only $3.38. This means a gallon of tap water costs on average less than a penny.

If you consumed your total daily recommended water intake at home throughout the year your total drinking water costs would be less than a single dollar. This is assuming that the average male requires 100 ounces per day of drinking water, and the average female requires 73 ounces per day.

Even for large families, tap water is an incredibly cost-effective source for drinking water. While many people find the taste of tap water less palatable than bottled water, effective home water treatment can mitigate or eliminate unpleasant odors and tastes.

 

The Cost of Bottled Water

The cost of bottled water can vary substantially depending on where you are, where you buy it, what brand it is, and whether it is bought in bulk or not. Bottled water has become a normal part of many shopper’s grocery trips, where a case or two are thrown on the cart without ever really considering the cost. What you may not realize is that the bottled water in your cart is, on average, more expensive than gasoline or milk.

A breakdown of bottled water costs at The Balance uses an average cost of $0.70 per 16.9 ounce bottle of water. Using this average to estimate costs it was found that total annual water costs were approximately  $1262 on average.

Keep in mind that this total cost assumes an average cost-per-bottle that may not reflect the price you are paying for water. The brand of bottled water you purchase, where you purchase it, and how often you drink bottled water will all play a role in determining your water costs. However, what is very clear is how substantially more expensive bottled water is than municipal tap water. 

Bottled water can also come from bulk delivery services, where 5-gallon jugs of water are delivered to your home and business where they are mounted in a dispenser. Bottled water delivery services are often considered the more cost-effective means of getting bottled water. The International Bottled Water Association pegs the average price-per-gallon of bottled water from all sources including bottled water delivery at $1.11  While this estimated cost is very low compared to most others, it is a simple way to demonstrate that even an ounce of the cheapest bottled water costs three times more than the cost of a gallon of tap water. 

 

Driving Down Your Drinking Water Expenses

The fastest and most effective way to rapidly scale down your drinking water budget is to switch from bottled water to tap water. The problem is that many people who prefer to drink bottled water don’t want to do that. Two of the main reasons many people prefer far more costly bottled water is because of a perceived health benefit, and a preference for the taste of bottled water. These are both very important concerns when it comes to drinking water, so let’s take a look at each of them in a bit more detail.

 

Safety and Health Concerns

Many people perceive bottled water to be a safer alternative to tap water. This is encouraged through a variety of factors including savvy marketing that emphasizes the health aspects of clean water combined with the grim reality that water quality violations occur every year in the United States. But is bottled water actually different or safer from tap water?

The answer is more complicated than you might think. Many bottled water brands simply treat and repackage tap water. Once repackaged, the water falls under the regulatory authority of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), rather than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which regulates water delivered through community water supplies. While the FDA requires bottled water suppliers to adhere to certain requirements, including testing their products, the FDA doesn’t usually test the water on their own.

This leaves a large degree of room for bottled water suppliers to do as much or as little testing on their water as they’d like. Investigative efforts by Consumer Reports found that while contamination of bottled water still occurred, it was much more difficult for consumers to find out about water quality violations with a community water supplier who has mandated reporting requirements. Tests of bottled water have found many of the same contaminants that contribute to water quality violations in community water supplies, such as high levels of arsenic. Through their own testing, Consumer Reports found that 6 percent of bottled water brands had a product that contained levels of contaminants that exceeded either state or federal thresholds.

What the testing by Consumer Reports demonstrates is that bottled water can still contain contaminants, sometimes in levels that exceed regulatory requirements. Often, the water in the bottle came from a municipal tap before it underwent further treatment. While treatment can remove some impurities, the act of storing, packaging and transporting the water can also introduce its own risks.

 

Taste

The taste of water is very subjective, but it is an important factor in how we hydrate ourselves. Many people simply prefer the taste of bottled water, but why is that the case if many suppliers of bottled water use tap water in the first place?

Nearly all tap water in the United States is treated with disinfectants to neutralize microbes. The most common disinfectant used is chlorine, which imparts a distinct odor and taste to the water that is unappealing for many. In addition to chlorine, ammonia is sometimes added to drinking water to form chloramines. These chloramines are considered a secondary disinfection tool that provides long-term protection against the growth of microbes. Unfortunately, chloramines also alter the taste and smell of tap water.

The mineral content of your water will also alter the taste. Many bottled water suppliers remove a portion of the mineral content in the water they process, causing it to taste differently than the water in your tap.

 

How to Eliminate the Bottle and Get Great Tasting Water

If you don’t find the taste of tap water pleasant, or you are worried about unwanted contaminants in your tap water, the most cost-effective solution is to filter your own drinking water. Installing a drinking water filtration system allows you to reduce ongoing expenses while providing consistent protection against a wide range of contaminants.  

The best home drinking water systems use reverse osmosis to reduce contaminants. Reverse osmosis forces tap water through a specialized membrane with tiny pores that allow water molecules through but limit larger contaminants. Rayne Water reverse-osmosis systems also include an activated carbon post-filter, which captures disinfectants and their byproducts such as chlorine and chloramines, as well as other harmful contaminants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

 

Closing Thoughts

If you’re looking for effective ways to cut costs during the COVID-19 pandemic, consider cutting your bottled water consumption. With home water filtration you can have access to great-tasting water with fewer contaminants at far less cost than bottled water. With a Rayne Water treatment system, you’ll have access to as many gallons of drinking water as you need on demand. At the same time, you’ll significantly reduce the environmental impact of your drinking water by creating a bottleless, sustainable solution for clean drinking water for years to come.

To learn more about how a Rayne Water system can save you money, contact us today. One of our water quality specialists will help you find a water treatment solution that fits your needs and gives you access to clean, filtered drinking water at a fraction of the cost of bottled water.

 

Sources:

  1. https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/why-americans-spend-billions-bottled-water.htm
  2. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200518005477/en/Infiniti%E2%80%99s-Article-Explains-COVID-19-Pandemic-Influencing-Customer
  3. https://www.consumerreports.org/bottled-water/should-we-break-our-bottled-water-habit/
  4. https://www.consumerreports.org/bottled-water/how-coke-and-pepsi-make-millions-from-bottling-tap-water-as-residents-face-shutoffs/