Become an Educated “Water Smart” Consumer
Frequently Asked Questions
Get answers from the most trusted brand in water filtration: Brita PRO®.
Water is life. Literally. So doesn’t it make sense to know more about it? Becoming water smart will help you keep your family healthy and safe. What’s more important than that?
- How much water does a typical American family consume?
- According to the EPA, the average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day, which adds up to 109,500 gallons in one year.
- Why is water so important to human health?
- Water represents approximately 60 percent of a human’s body weight. Water is integral to every bodily function, from the individual cell to system levels — the respiratory, circulatory, nervous, digestive and other systems all need an adequate supply of water to function properly.
- How much water should my family drink for optimal health?
- The Mayo Clinic says that adequate daily fluid intake for men is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women. A common recommendation for all individuals is eight glasses of water per day. Factors influencing human requirements include exercise, environment and overall state of health.
- It’s hard to get my kids to drink water. How do I get them to drink more?
- Suggestions from Children’s Hospital Colorado include:
- Use frozen fruit in place of ice cubes, or add fruit to ice cube trays before freezing.
- Add fruit such as berries, lemons, limes or cucumber slices to the water itself.
- Add a fun straw to the experience, such as a colorful curved straw, a mustache straw or other creative designs.
- Carry a water bottle on outings, and put one in your child’s school backpack.
- Set up a reward system, such as awarding a sticker or doing a silly dance when your child returns an empty water glass of bottle.
- And set a good example. Let your child see you drinking water.
- Where do municipal water supplies come from?
- In America, most drinking water comes from streams, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, groundwater or a combination of sources. From the source, water flows from intake points to a treatment plant, to a water tower and from there through a system of pipes to the user.
- What are the most common impurities in tap water?
- Although tap water in America is generally safe, specific impurities vary widely by location and region. According to the EPA, there are four general types of impurities in tap water: physical, which include sediments and other particulates that primarily affect the appearance of water; chemical, which are elements or compounds that occur naturally or are man-made such as chlorine or lead; biological, which includes bacteria, viruses, protozoa and parasites; and radiological, which emit radiation, such as uranium or plutonium.
- Doesn’t municipal water treatment remove all impurities that I should care about?
- The United States enjoys one of the safest water supplies in the world. In 2019, an EPA administrator said that 92% of water every day meets all EPA requirements for safe drinking water. But that means that if 8% of our water doesn’t meet EPA standards, then up to 209 million glasses of unsafe water — 2.3 billion gallons — are being consumed each day. With aging infrastructure and increasingly strained federal, state and local budgets, it may not be smart to take clean and safe water for granted.
- How can I tell if my family’s water is safe to drink?
- According to the Water Quality Association (WQA), you can sometimes see, taste, smell or feel contaminants in water. Signs of water problems include scale deposits or corrosion on fixtures and other surfaces; staining of fabrics or surfaces; bad taste and smell; and cloudiness and discoloration. However, many harmful impurities are colorless, odorless and have no taste. The best way to know if your water is safe to drink is to have it tested by a locally based EPA-certified testing laboratory.
- Does contaminated water taste different?
- Sometimes. A rotten-egg or sulfur taste can suggest hydrogen sulfide typically caused by a certain type of bacteria. Metallic taste can indicate presence of potentially dangerous contaminants like mercury, lead, copper, arsenic, zinc or others.
- Should I be concerned about bacteria or virus issues in our water?
- Many waterborne microbes are harmless or even beneficial. Some, however, are harmful to human health, such as E. coli, Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Municipal water treatment, when it functions properly, is highly effective in eliminating biological impurities such as bacteria and viruses.
- There’s a slight smell and taste of chlorine in our water. Should I be concerned?
- Chlorination of drinking water protects consumers from microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and parasites, and it is very effective. Municipal water treatment plants add chlorine under strict EPA regulations. As long as chlorine levels remain under EPA limits, the water is considered safe to drink for healthy people. If you can smell or taste chlorine in your water, however, it may be worth testing to make sure that your water is not over-chlorinated.
- Our water smells like sulfur. What causes this?
- The taste or smell of sulfur or rotten eggs in your water very often is an indication of the presence of hydrogen sulfide gas produced by a certain type of bacteria. It can also be caused by naturally occurring chemical reactions within the soil or rocks.
- We’ve been noticing a metallic taste in our water. What does this indicate?
- If your water has a metallic smell or taste, it could indicate the presence of lead, mercury, copper, arsenic, manganese, zinc or other metals, many of which can be very dangerous at certain levels.
- What are PFAS?
- Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States, since the 1940s. The problem with these chemicals? They don’t break down and can accumulate over time in the environment and the human body. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects.
- I recently read about manganese in water. Should I be concerned?
- Manganese, a metal that is healthy in tiny amounts, can be toxic at higher levels, especially in children. Research by the University of California, Riverside found instances of groundwater in certain regions in the world — including the glacial aquifer system, which spans 26 states in the northern United States and provides drinking water to more than 41 million Americans — contained manganese levels that exceeded World Health Organization (WHO) standards.
- What are the health effects of lead in water?
- The EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agree: There is no such thing as a safe level of lead in the human body, particularly in children. A dose of lead that might have little effect on an adult can be very harmful to a child. Even low levels of exposure in children have been linked to damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing and impaired formation and function of blood cells.
- What is arsenic and what are its health effects?
- Inorganic arsenic is naturally present at high levels in the groundwater of a number of countries, including parts of the United States. Arsenic is used industrially as an alloying agent and in the processing of glass, pigments, textiles, paper, metal adhesives and other products. Arsenic is highly toxic in its inorganic form — it’s a confirmed carcinogen and is considered one of the most significant chemical contaminants in drinking water globally.
- What is chloramine? Are there health effects?
- Chloramines, a group of chemical compounds that contain chlorine and ammonia, are commonly used by municipalities as an alternative to chlorine for the disinfection of public water supplies. As far as health effects, there are differing views. The CDC reports that monochloramines, the variant used to disinfect water, are safe in the levels used to kill germs. Citizen groups such as Citizens Concerned About Chloramine (CCAC) dispute this, claiming that monochloramines can rapidly shift to more harmful forms, such as trichloramines, influenced by pH levels, temperature, turbulence and other factors. According to CCAC, chloramines have not been adequately studied for health effects, which they say can include a variety of respiratory, immune system, skin, digestive and gastric, kidney and blood problems.
- I know that many municipal water treatment systems add fluoride to the water to reduce tooth decay. Can this be harmful?
- According to Medical News Today (MNT), excess exposure to fluoride can cause a number of health issues. For children in particular, one of the milder effects can be dental fluorosis, which can cause discoloration of the teeth but is not otherwise harmful. MNT cites the International Association of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), an organization that campaigns against the use of added fluoride, in listing other more serious, potential long-term effects of overexposure that include damage to bones and joints, neurological problems (possibly leading to ADHD) and others, including skin, thyroid, cardiovascular and other issues.
- What is hard water?
- Hard water is water that has high mineral content, typically the natural result of percolation through limestone, gypsum or chalk deposits in the earth. Specific minerals typically found in hard water are calcium and magnesium compounds. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, approximately 85% of American households have hard water.
- Is there an easy way to tell if I have hard water?
- According to wikiHow, a research-based advice website, there’s an easy test to determine if your household has hard water. Simply find a 12-ounce (or larger) clear bottle, fill it with tap water, add 10 or so drops of liquid soap — hand soap is better than dish soap for this test — cover the bottle and shake it for a few seconds. If there are not many suds, this is a good indication of hard water. Other signs include soap scum on glassware after washing, mineral deposits on fixtures and dry, itchy skin.
- What are the negative effects of hard water?
- The most common negative effects of hard water include soap scum, which can make the skin feel “slimy” after washing with soap and rinsing; spots on glassware and silverware after coming out of the dishwasher; mineral stains on surfaces and clothing; less water pressure due to mineral deposits on pipes. Many of these effects can add to household costs — the need for more soap or laundry detergent for showering and household cleaning, for instance.
- Is hard water a potential health issue for my family?
- According to Healthline.com, there are no serious adverse health issues associated with drinking hard water, citing dry skin and hair as the most common effects. Healthline does mention that for some individuals, hard water can change the pH balance on the skin, which can weaken it as a barrier against harmful bacteria.
- How does a Brita PRO® home water softener system work?
- To remove minerals in hard water, our system uses ion exchange technology comprising a softener tank and brine tank. The softener tank is filled with specially developed resin beads; the brine tank is filled with potassium chloride pellets.
Untreated water enters the softener tank first, where the negatively charged resin beads bond with the positively charged minerals in the water to remove them. The now-softened water exits the tank into your home pipes. When the beads reach maximum bonding capacity and lose their ability to attract minerals, the softener tank is flushed clean, or regenerated, using the brine tank. The system automatically triggers regeneration based on preset water use levels.
What makes Brita PRO different and better than other systems? Advanced technologies designed to tailor the system to your family’s needs optimize performance and save money. Learn more here!
- A Brita PRO whole-home water filtration system seems like a significant investment. Are there less-expensive options?
- Yes, there are less-expensive options for filtered water, including faucet filters, bottled water and other whole-home filtration system providers. Faucet filters are effective only where they are placed in your home and do not address water used in showers and baths, dishwashers and washing machines, which can expose your family to impurities through inhalation of steam and residue left on dishes, clothes and bed linens.
Similarly, bottled water addresses only drinking water. In addition, it is expensive and a serious threat to the environment, including the growing problem of plastic waste in our oceans and landfills. Some experts have cited a potential health threat from “microplastics” created when plastic waste degrades.
Regarding other whole-home filter systems, some may cost less, but none of these providers has Brita’s global reputation for water filtration leadership and innovation. Learn more here about the Brita PRO difference.
- Isn’t a faucet filter enough to protect my family?
- Faucet filters are effective only where you place them in your home and do not address water used in other locations, such as in showers and baths, dishwashers and washing machines, which can expose your family to impurities through inhalation of steam and ingestion or skin absorption of residue left on dishes, clothes and bed linens.
- What if my family drinks only bottled water?
- Bottled water is expensive and a serious threat to the environment, including the growing problem of plastic waste in our oceans and landfills. Some have cited a potential health threat from “microplastics,” created when plastic waste degrades, that can potentially be present in various amounts in the bottled water itself.
- Will a Brita PRO whole-home water filtration system affect our water pressure?
- All Brita PRO whole-home water filtration systems are designed for high-capacity flow, able to deliver high-quality water without compromising water pressure.
- How often do I need to change the filter in my Brita PRO whole-home system?
- Depending on your Brita PRO system, you will need to change the filter media every __ to __ months. Our systems are designed to make it easy to change the filter, and our filtration media is landfill certified to minimize environmental impact.
- How do I know that my Brita PRO system is doing what it’s supposed to after installation?
- Many water filter providers offer a free test before system installation. Brita PRO is the only provider that encourages and offers post-installation testing by an independent EPA-certified laboratory to ensure that our system is doing the job we designed it to do — provide a reliable supply of clean, high-quality water for your family.
Trust Brita PRO to protect your family's water supply.
Brita PRO customizes its whole-home water filter to remove all impurities from your family's water. And only Brita PRO tests your water with an independent, EPA-certified lab before and after installation to deliver the peace of mind you get when you know your family is safe.