Safe and Drinkable Water at Home is important because:
60% of the human body is made up of water
Women should consume “2.7 L [91 oz] and men 3.7 L [125 oz] of water per day” (pg. 39), as recommended by the U.S. Institute of Medicine
The above values in Liters includes “from all sources including drinking water, other beverages and food” (pg. 39)
(Source: WELL v2, 2018)
When we are dehydrated or not drinking enough water, we often resort to consuming more food. In areas where water safety is lacking, sugar-sweetened beverages tends to be the replacement drink of choice, hence there is a strong correlation between obesity and the lack of potable (drinkable) water (WELL v2, 2018).
Increased hydration encourages our gastrointestinal system to function properly, maintains skin elasticity, and reduces weight gain by preventing us from drinking sugary beverages.
Regarding water and our spaces, poor moisture control and long-term exposure to mold can compromise a person’s respiratory and immune systems. Such conditions at home are not ideal for us during our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
We must therefore be vigilant and ensure that our spaces keep us healthy, that it provides us with drinkable water and are mold-free as we continue to work from home.
Here are therefore 8 DIY Hacks for Safer Drinking Water & Hygiene at Home (from cheapest to expensive) within a reasonable price range:
1) Provide Hand Drying Towels for kitchens and washrooms
Proper hygiene to prevent the spread of germs is as important as sanitizing our drinking water at home.
Hand drying using paper towels prevents the spread of germs in the air. Although air drying is more sustainable, paper towels are recyclable and better for our health also. The latter is also a more economical solution for homes.
2) Provide Fragrance-Free, Contactless Hand Soaps in Dispensers
Cost: $15 to $25
To support our sanitary practices, soap that is dispensed without the need of physical contact should be utilized in our kitchen and washroom spaces.
Neutral smelling hand soap that is hypoallergenic is also highly recommended for those who have sensitive skin.
3) Install Faucet Mounted Filter for kitchen sinks
Much like a water filter pitcher, a faucet filter uses a compartment that contains activated carbon and sometimes zeolite granules to capture unwanted metals and chemicals as tap water flows through it.
The benefit of faucet filter over water filter pitchers is its reusability, and can last much longer than the latter without having to be replaced.
4) Purchase Water Filter Pitchers that are NSF-certified
Cost: $8 to 30
Water filter pitchers like Brita filters utilize activated carbon to attract and absorb contaminants such as heavy metals, chemicals and organic compounds from our tap water.
Make sure to purchase filters that are NSF (National Sanitation Foundation)-certified, and that they are replaced after a few months of use, as indicated by the product’s instructions. They are often sold in bundles of 2 or more.
5) Purchase a Water Test Kit to monitor your home’s Drinking Water Quality
A low cost and effective way to ensure that the water coming into your home is safe to drink is by purchasing a test kit. Simply collect a sample of your municipal drinking water from the tap and within minutes your test results will appear, in which you can compare it to a color coded chart for more info.
Furthermore, compare your results to WELL v2’s W01 and W02 and threshold charts for the following: Dissolved Metals*, Coliform Growth, Organic Pollutants, Volatile Organic Compounds, Byproducts of Disinfectants, Herbicides, Pesticides, Fertilizers, Nitrates and for Water Additives (Fluoride, Chlorine, Chloramine).
Should any of them exceed their limits, it can impact the safety of our health. For example, excess exposure to lead and copper affects our cognition, especially in children, and our intestinal, liver and kidneys, respectively.
6) Purchase a Water Test Kit to measure the aesthetic thresholds of your Drinking Water Quality
Even though our drinking water can be safe to consume, we also want to ensure that it is appealing to drink which will encourage us to stay hydrated for our health benefits.
Purchase a test kit and measure your water for Aluminum, Chloride, Fluoride, Manganese, Sodium, Sulfate, Iron, Zinc and Total Dissolved Solids to ensure that they meet their thresholds for W04 as per WELL v2.
If your water tastes too salty, it may indicate excess Chloride or Sulfate, whereas a metallic taste may indicate higher concentrations of Copper, Iron, Zinc or corrosivity due to low pH levels of water. Teeth discoloration may also indicate an excess of Chloride (EPA, 2020).
7) Provide a Water Dispenser for your most occupied space
Cost: $0 (collateral if near a potable source) to $400 (if stand-alone dispensers are required)
Staying hydrated is a lot easier if potable (drinkable) water is visible and easily accessible.
Aim to drink at least 2 L of water a day so that your body can function optimally.
8) Install an Ultraviolet Sterilizer for your water system
Cost: $300 to $800
Ultraviolet Sterilizers use UV radiation (wavelength between 100 to 400 nanometers) as a disinfectant to damage the DNA and RNA of germs that live in water, thereby killing them.
The Sterilizer’s reactor is designed in such a way that as water passes through its chamber, the water must be sufficiently exposed to the UV light for disinfection without having its hydraulic flow be disrupted.
*Dissolved Metals - minerals that unintentionally seep into our drinking water, and can pose a serious threat to our health when they exceed a certain threshold, specifically: Lead, Arsenic, Antimony, Mercury, Nickel, Cadmium, Copper, Chromium (WELL v2, 2018)