All posts by Mike Yanke

Mike Yanke

About Mike Yanke

Mike Yanke is the lead content developer for the blog. A Certified Water Specialist, recognized by the Water Quality Association since 2014, Mike shares tips, insight and advice that help ensure his readers enjoy the cleanest tasting, highest quality drinking water possible.

5 Kitchen Remodeling Ideas To Transform Your Life By Monday

Kitchen Remodeling Idea - Repaint Your KitchenAnyone that has ever been involved in a kitchen remodeling project knows how quickly it can spiral out of control, with even the best of intentions.

In all fairness, sometimes this chaos is unavoidable.  You are, after all, tearing down and rebuilding a major epicenter within your home, potentially rendering it unusable until completion.

But fortunately, there are dozens of simple kitchen remodeling ideas that can be completed over the course of just a few days, or even just a few hours.  By transforming a major part of your home, these ideas can in a very real sense transform your entire outlook on life.  Better yet, if you start on some of these tonight, you’ll be an entirely new person by Monday:

1. Repaint – a simple and obvious remodel, repainting is also likely to be one of the lengthier projects on this list.  As HGTV shares in the article where we pulled the image to the left, “Never underestimate the power of great paint colors,” – whether that means brightening a small room with white coloring, adding sophistication by blending whites and creams or going full-on dramatic with black, navy or grey.

While the advice in the content of HGTV’s article is great, there’s an even better piece of advice hidden in the photo.  Namely – make sure your dog stays out of the kitchen.  Regardless of the face he gives you.

Kitchen Remodeling Idea - Hang Vintage Wall Art2. Replace Your Kitchen Faucet – perhaps the most focal point in your most central room, your kitchen faucet could be the most powerful element in your home.  Changing just this one element can change your perception of everything from the everyday task of brewing coffee to the annual tradition of preparing a holiday meal.  If you’ve never replaced a kitchen faucet before, don’t worry.  Bob Vila himself includes this kitchen remodeling idea on his list of ’20 Insanely Easy 60-Minute Home Improvements.’  To be just a little bit promotional, he also includes changing your furnace air filter on this same list.

3. Update Your Wall Art – you don’t need to paint the walls in your kitchen to give it a transformative look.  Adding new wall art, ranging from the vintage advertising seen in the image to the left to themed family photos  – and everything in between – can provide your kitchen with an entirely new look in minutes.

4. Move and Reconfigure Your Fridge – sometimes, just moving everything into a new location within a room is the quickest and easiest way to give it a new look.  But when it comes to moving your refrigerator, one of the bigger challenges you could run into is that the door swing will only be compatible in certain locations.  If your kitchen remodeling idea involves a new fridge location, and the only hold-up is the way the door swings, check out the article linked above for some quick instruction on how to reverse its doors.

Kitchen Remodeling Idea - Buy New Dish Towels5. Update The Accessories You See Every Day – this last idea can be as big and expensive (think: new lighting fixtures) or as small and budget friendly (think: new dish towels) as you like.  It’s amazing how swapping out something you use every day for a similar product in a different color or shade will help to change your entire perspective when you inhabit a room.

What kitchen remodeling ideas would you recommend for someone trying to make a small, yet impactful change in their home?  Please feel free to share your thoughts via a comment below.

We invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or +1 us on Google+ to be the first to learn about new contests and exclusive deals on our refrigerator water filters and furnace air filters.

Are you a veteran, currently serving in the Armed Forces, or are you buying a gift for a veteran or soldier?  Use the discount code ‘SOLDIER’ at checkout to take 10% off your entire order!

10 Years of Free Tier1 Refrigerator Water Filters Awarded!

Eileen Souza - Winner of Ten Years of Free Tier1 Refrigerator Water Filters
Eileen Souza – Winner of Ten Years of Free Tier1 Refrigerator Water Filters

Late last year, we were proud to start offering Tier1 refrigerator water filters, a new line of filters designed to provide you with great tasting water and ice at a great looking price.  These filters are designed to fit and perform in nearly every major refrigerator brand.

Needless to say, we were excited.

But we couldn’t just keep the excitement to ourselves; we had to use it to get the word out about Tier1.  Like many before us, we thought the best way would be to get some of these filters in your hands with a few free samples.  Of course one thing led to another, and before we knew it, a few free samples became 10 YEARS worth of free filters awarded to one lucky winner.

Today, we’re proud to follow through with this bold offer and announce that one lucky winner’s identity.

Congratulations to (drumroll) Eileen Souza of Sykesville, Maryland!

Eileen is a long-time customer and professional genealogist who owns and operates Old Bones Genealogy in Eldersburg.  You can learn more about her company here.  For the next decade, Eileen will be able to focus even more of her time and resources on this business as remembering to order her next refrigerator filter will be a thing of the past!

10 Years Free Refrigerator Water Filters From Tier1
We Actually Did This!

Needless to say, when we contacted Eileen last week, she was thrilled to win.  Even better, she still has more than ten years worth of free, clean drinking water to look forward to!

While there was only one winner for this sweepstakes, we can help to ensure you get the same clean drinking water that Eileen will be enjoying for the next decade, at the great price you deserve.  Simply check out our selection of Tier1 refrigerator water filters here to find the model that fits your fridge – and if you need help – just call our customer service team at 800-683-8353.

Our congratulations go out once again to Eileen Souza for winning ten years worth of free refrigerator water filters from Tier1 – and our invitation goes out once again to you to give these filters a try in your own home!

We invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or +1 us on Google+ to be the first to learn about new contests and exclusive deals on our refrigerator water filters and furnace air filters.

Are you a veteran, currently serving in the Armed Forces, or are you buying a gift for a veteran or soldier?  Use the discount code ‘SOLDIER’ at checkout to take 10% off your entire order!

How Would MacGyver Clean Rust & Hard Water Stains?

MacGyver LifehacksAs of 2014, MacGyver has now been off the air for more than twenty years.

And if MacGyver is like anyone else who has been retired for more than twenty years, this secret agent who could turn objects as simple as paper clips into weapons of destruction, defense or escape is now turning his attention to far more pressing matters at home.  Such as, just how do I get those rust stains out of my white dress shirts?  Or even, how can I quickly clean those hard water stains out of my refrigerator water dispenser?

For the benefit of all those that trusted in MacGyver to provide life hacks weekly – before life hacks were even a thing – here are five ways we envision MacGyver using his skills to ensure his home is free of both rust and hard water stains:

1. Trust In Lemon To Save Your Dress Shirts – To some, a squirt of lemon is simply a way to add flavor a piece of fish or glass of clean drinking water.  But for those that deal with the occasional rust stains on white dress shirts, usually as a result of poorly filtered washing machines, lemon can be the secret ingredient to saving your injured clothing.

From a few sprinkles of lemon juice combined with a few minutes of steam, to lemon juice and salt rubbed into deeper stains, lemon is the savior ensuring you will never see an elderly MacGyver strolling through town in a rust stained dress shirt.

Clean Hard Water Stains on Refrigerator Water Dispenser With Vinegar2. Battle Hard Water Stains & Crust With Vinegar
Hard water stains can add an unpleasant crust to everything from your silverware to your refrigerator dispenser, pictured to the left.  Also as shown to the left, in an image that could be pulled from an elderly MacGyver’s scrapbook (but in this case, is pulled from Thrifty and Chic) vinegar is a far more effective hard water solution than store bought Windex.

3. Introduce Your Shower to Epsom Salts – glass shower doors give your bathroom a sleek and modern look.  And attract hard water stains like no other.  To clean hard water stains in his shower, MacGyver would just mix up a solution made up primarily of Epsom salts that he knows by heart.  As we are guessing you are not MacGyver, we’d direct you to the same recipe he trusts, over here at PopSugar.

4. Partner With Baking Soda To Save Stainless Steel From Rust Stains – stainless steel appliances are particularly vulnerable to rust stains, requiring more protection from you.  Fortunately, with just a simple solution of baking soda and water, scrubbed into a stain with a toothbrush, and rinsed away with a paper towel, you can protect your stainless steel appliances for years to come in a way that would make MacGyver proud.

Cerama Bryte 212 Ceramic Cooktop Cleaner 26-piece Kit5. Invest in Cerama Bryte – If MacGyver is like many retired men, we may rightly assume that he prefers to spend more time on his hobbies and interests than on anything that reminds him of his former job.  So rather than mix up a cleaning solution from random items around the house, maybe he invests in either a stainless steel cleaning kit or ceramic cooktop cleaner kit from Cerama Bryte, found here and here respectively.  Proudly offered on our site, Cerama Bryte products help you quickly clean and maintain your appliances using a phosphate free formula.  Sometimes, even MacGyver prefers the easiest possible solution.

Are you a household MacGyver with tips for cleaning rust spots or hard water stains that you’d like to share?  We encourage you to offer your solutions via a comment below.

We invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or +1 us on Google+ to be the first to learn about exclusive deals on our refrigerator water filters and furnace air filters.

Are you a veteran, currently serving in the Armed Forces, or are you buying a gift for a veteran or soldier?  Use the discount code ‘SOLDIER’ at checkout to take 10% off your entire order!

How Winning 10 Years of Free Refrigerator Water Filters Can Help You Win At Jeopardy!

10 Years Free Refrigerator Water Filters From Tier1Let’s face it – remembering to order your replacement refrigerator water filter every 3 – 6 months can be a lot to keep track of.  After all, that’s why we send our customers reminder emails.

But what if you didn’t have to remember to order replacement refrigerator water filters at all?  What if every 3 – 6 months, we just sent you a replacement, free of charge – for TEN YEARS?

The week of  March 16th, one lucky winner will be awarded ten years of free refrigerator water filters from Tier1.  If you haven’t entered yet, you can do so right over here.

Imagine now, winning ten years of free refrigerator water filters.  Just think of everything you could keep in your head instead.  It may just be enough to help you win at Jeopardy!.

For instance:

You Would Remember That Bill Walton…was the Trailblazer that Kareem Abdul Jabbar dares a young passenger’s ‘old man’ to drag up and down the court for 48 minutes in Airplane!  Kareem Abdul Jabbar didn’t even remember that – and it was his line!

You Would Remember That Roger Clemens…was the ex-Red Sox player, and all around questionable person, whose 354 career wins were still not enough to get him into the Hall of Fame.

You Would Remember That 45 Degrees…is equal to 1/8 of a circle, saving yourself much chiding from Alex Trebek.

You Would Remember So Much More Than Wolf Blitzer…who somehow managed negative $4,600 dollars – after just the first round of Celebrity Jeopardy!

You Would Remember That Archibauld Leach, Bernard Schwartz and Lucille LeSeuer…were the real names of Cary Grant, Tony Curtis and Joan Crawford, and not three people who have never been in your kitchen.  You would also have five extra minutes to watch the full, classic clip below from Cheers where Cliff Clavin gives this unforgettable answer.

Prepare yourself to win ten years of free refrigerator water filters, and maybe to win on Jeopardy!, by entering here.  Winners will be announced the week of March 16th.

We invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or +1 us on Google+ to be the first to learn about exclusive deals on our refrigerator water filters and furnace air filters.

My Refrigerator Smells…How Do I Fix It?

My Refrigerator SmellsBread, cookies and bacon.

The smells and odors coming from your kitchen should be pleasant and comforting.

Rotten meat, stale garlic and fish.

If your refrigerator smells like any of the less than pleasant smelling foods above, you can bake all the cookies you want but your kitchen is still going to emit a rotten odor.  And when it comes to rotten refrigerator odor, there’s only so much one can take.

What’s ironic is that sometimes, the healthier food you cook, the more unpleasant smells can emit.  Food like broccoli, cauliflower and the aforementioned fish are staples of a healthy plate, but can generate such strong and unpleasant smells that you may find yourself retreating back into a world filled with nothing but cookies and bacon.  (Or bacon-wrapped cookies, but that’s a topic for another post.)

If your refrigerator smells, fortunately, it’s fairly easy to determine why.  Most times, in fact, it simply involves leftovers that have been allowed to go bad or food that has found a way to leak through its packaging.

All Natural Disinfectant Spray RecipeOnce you determine the type of and source of the smell, the next step is to arm yourself with the right refrigerator odor clean-up and removal products, some of which may be purchased and some of which can be made at home with all-natural ingredients.  A recipe for a fool-proof, all natural refrigerator odor eliminator and kitchen deodorizer can be found below or in the image to the left:

  • 1 cup water
  • 20 drops lavender
  • 20 drops thyme or eucalyptus oil
  • 10 drops tea tree oil

Mix all the ingredients above into a spray bottle, empty all the contents out of your refrigerator, and give it a thorough spray and wipe down – hitting every corner and beneath every drawer.  When restocking your refrigerator, it goes without saying, throw away anything that looks as though it may have turned.

Gonzo Refrigerator Odor EliminatorIf refrigerator smells persist, baking soda or Gonzo odor eliminator (proudly offered by can act like a hungry magnet that attracts and swallows odors whole.

Following the steps above once per week, or once every other week, can help ensure fridge food odors rarely become an issue.

If your refrigerator odor is not food related, there are some other potential issues you may be experiencing.  The first, of course, is a malfunctioning part or leak.  If the smell resembles ozone, smoke or burning – our recommendation is to call a local service provider as soon as possible.

If your refrigerator is emitting a rotten egg smell, you may be due for a water filter change, especially if you use well water, commonly chock full of iron and sulfur.  If your refrigerator water dispenser is emitting an eggy smell, a filter change – along with a quick clean-up of the dispenser and tray with a lemon / vinegar solution – should do the trick.

On the other hand, if your refrigerator water smells metallic or similar to chlorine, you are likely experiencing the same issue as described above, just swap out ‘well water’ for ‘city water.’  The same steps for eliminating the smell are recommended.

What other refrigerator smells have you done battle with, and more importantly, how did you beat them? We encourage you to share your stories via a comment below.

We invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or +1 us on Google+ to be the first to learn about exclusive deals on our refrigerator water filters and furnace air filters.

Combating Hard Water Stains & Sediment Buildup In The Country

Don't Let Hard Water Ruin Country LivingAhh, life in the country.  Virtually no nosy neighbors, very little traffic and something money can’t buy: peace and quiet.  But moving from the city to the country is a trade-off that brings with it some uniquely annoying issues specific to country living.  One of the biggest issues? Hard water stains and sediment buildup, courtesy of shifting your water supply from municipal sources to your own private well.

Well water comes straight from the earth, no added fluoride, no chlorine, just nature’s clear miracle…and some natural minerals, sediments and contaminants – ranging from calcium and magnesium to dirt and limescale.  These contaminants can leave behind stubborn hard water stains at best and sediment buildup that can damage your pipes and appliances at worst.

Culligan HF-150 Whole House Water Filtration SystemFundamentally, the best way to combat hard water is investing in and installing a water softener. A water softener removes much of the hardness from your water, helping to prolong the life of your appliances and pipes.  However, a water softener also represents a significant investment, and one you may not be prepared to take on if you just uprooted your life with a move to the country. Fortunately, there are several very simple and cost-effective ways to combat hard water stains and sediment build-up throughout your home.

First, find where the water comes into your home.  If you filter your water from the source, the hard part is already done for you.  The Culligan whole-house water filtration system pictured to the left is affordable and easy to install, without the need of help from a plumber.  Once installed, you can completely customize your filtration to suit your needs with an incredible array of filters that will fit inside the housing, from multiple different brands.Omnifilter SF100 Inline Shower Filter

Once your whole house water filtration system is installed, a very basic sediment filter will do wonders for easing your hard water issues.  One such sediment filter we recommend is the GE SmartWater FXUSC.  This replacement water filter cartridge helps to significantly reduce sand, sediment, rust, soil and silt bigger than 30-50 microns (for comparison – the human hair is 70 microns across.)  Note that this type of system will not reduce water hardness, but will help to significantly reduce issues you are likely to face with sediment build-up that can cause issues with water taste and quality.

If you are unable to install a whole-house system, there are several point-of-use water filtration systems that can help you win the war against hard water stains and sediment build-up.  For avoiding hard water stains and issues in the bathroom, a good water softening shower filter – like the OmniFilter Inline shower filter to the left – is a great place to start.  This shower filter is specifically designed to soften water and reduce rust, corrosion, dirt and sediment – helping to ensure your shower water does not leave stubborn hard water stains or scale in your tub.

A good water softening shower filter will also ensure your body doesn’t suffer from hard water issues, including acne and itchy skin.  Keeping your shower water soft will also make it easier for your shampoo to lather, a basic function that shampoo has trouble performing when meeting hard water.

Aqua-Pure AP717 Inline Water Filtration SystemIn the kitchen, sediment buildup in your dishwasher or refrigerator dispenser are common issues that can quickly sour you on country living and well water usage.   Inline water filters, such as the Aqua-Pure inline filtration system pictured, are easy to install and designed to trap contaminants common in well water, preventing them from causing build-up or other issues.  Better yet, an inline water filter will help to significantly improve the taste of your water.  If you’re living with well water for the first time, trust us, this benefit will be greatly appreciated.

Water is the one thing that we all depend on.  While we may not be able to control everything that happens to it before it enters our home, with just a small investment of time and money, we can exercise almost complete control of it once it enters our home.  And if you’re living in the country and waging a war against water quality issues ranging from stains to build-up, controlling your water is half the battle.

We invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or +1 us on Google+ to be the first to learn about exclusive deals on our refrigerator water filters and furnace air filters.

Are you a veteran, currently serving in the Armed Forces, or are you buying a gift for a veteran or soldier?  Use the discount code ‘SOLDIER’ at checkout to take 10% off your entire order!

What Pete Seeger Meant To Clean Water

Pete Seeger At Farm Aid 2013This week marked the passing of Pete Seeger, a folk-singer and activist, that reached the impressive age of 94.

In an obituary published by Bloomberg, Seeger’s influence on artists ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Bob Dylan – along with his overwhelming role in the emergence of folk music – are prominently cited.  Seeger’s life and accomplishments could, and have, stretched across several volumes – with his voice booming through more than 100 albums and thousands of concerts & hootenannies.  Seeger even performed at President Obama’s 2009 inauguration where he was joined in a performance of This Land Is Your Land by Bruce Springsteen.

When we at remember Seeger, what will resonate most strongly is what he meant to the clean water movement.

In 1966, Seeger and his wife founded the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, an organization dedicated to protecting the Hudson River and surrounding wetlands.  Clearwater, known for its hard-to-miss boat and impromptu concerts by Seeger and his banjo, was instrumental in supporting the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972.  Seeger was named a Clean Water Hero in 2002, in fact, for his efforts in support of this major initiative.

Seeger’s influence on the cleanliness of the Hudson River is difficult to sum up in just a few words, but this quote from writer Michelle Nijhuis perhaps comes the closest:

The river was dirty, and now it’s cleaner. What’s wrong is being righted. What’s impossible is possible.

As recently as this year, Seeger took on another clean water issue by becoming a vocal opponent against fracking – a controversial practice where thousands of gallons of highly pressured water are pumped into the ground to extract natural gas.  Seeger joined the likes of Neil Young and Dave Matthews to protest this practice at Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid just this September.

When we think of Pete Seeger going forward, we’ll remember the lifetime of music and activism dedicated to the well-being of so many that depend on clean drinking water.  Fortunately, the video below that will play out this post – a clip of Seeger well into his 90’s playing This Land Is Your Land at an anti-fracking protest – allow us to remember everything this man encompassed all at once.

An RIP and a thank you to Pete Seeger, a true clean water hero, on behalf of all of us at

We invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or +1 us on Google+ to be the first to learn about exclusive deals on our refrigerator water filters and furnace air filters.

Are you a veteran, currently serving in the Armed Forces, or are you buying a gift for a veteran or soldier?  Use the discount code ‘SOLDIER’ at checkout to take 10% off your entire order!

Free Refrigerator Water Filters Are Being Sent To Our West Virginia Customers

Maytag UKF8001 - Comparable Refrigerator Water Filter by Tier1

Maytag UKF8001 – Comparable Refrigerator Water Filter by Tier1

On January 10th, residents of Charleston, West Virginia awoke to find that their tap water was undrinkable and unusable.

An unprecedented chemical spill from a storage facility managed by Freedom Enterprises leaked up to 7,500 gallons of MCHM (4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol) – an industrial chemical used to separate coal from rock – into the Elk River, just under two miles from the area’s water treatment plant.

This week, residents are striving to get back to normal as tap water has been declared safe again in most areas.  But after-effects, from odor to discoloration present in drinking water, persist in many homes.  In addition to dealing with these after-effects, residents are also instructed, by the CDC and West Virginia American Water authorities, to flush their lines and replace all water filters – including refrigerator water filters.

This type of event robs us of our peace of mind.  While we at may not be able to help our customers in the Charleston, West Virginia area fully regain this peace of mind, we do want to do our small part to help.

West Virginia American Water Map Providing The All Clear

West Virginia American Water Map. All Blue = All Tap Water Has Been Declared Safe

This week, we will be sending all of our customers in the Charleston, West Virginia area a free replacement from our Tier1 line of refrigerator water filters*. Tier1 refrigerator water filters are built to fit all major fridge brands and provide the same great tasting water, virtually free of stated contaminants. We are happy to be one of the exclusive distributors of this new line of filters.

If you live in West Virginia and have ordered a refrigerator water filter from us in the last three months, no action is required from you – your filter is already on the way.

We hope this helps to bring some normalcy back into your routine.

If you have friends or family in the Charleston, West Virginia area that have been impacted by the recent chemical spill, we encourage you to refer them to us.  Provide them with the code ‘Facebook10’ to use at check-out, and we’d be happy to offer them 10% off on your behalf.

If you have any questions, please feel free to connect with our customer service department at 1-800-683-8353.

We invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or +1 us on Google+.

*Important note: refrigerator water filters from Tier1, or from any brand, are not designed to reduce MCHM, primarily because not enough is known about this chemical. Replacing refrigerator water filters is a necessary reactive step after MCHM has been cleared from the water source.

Why Refrigerator Water Filters Must Be Changed After Any Boil Water Alert

West Virginia Drinking Water Safety MapAs of this morning, nearly half the residents impacted by the water contamination incident in West Virginia are being notified that their tap water is once again safe to use.

But before tap water is used again – for drinking, cleaning, cooking or anything else – there are critical steps that all residents should take.  While many of these steps are being more  heavily publicized now in light of the West Virginia chemical spill, each of these steps are critical after any incident causes a significant water event or boil water alert.

For those that have not suffered through a boil water alert, this is an indication from water officials in the local area that tap water has been deemed as potentially dangerous for drinking or use.  A boil water alert is a serious event and one that should be taken extremely seriously both during and after the incident ends.

Maytag UKF8001 Refrigerator Water FilterIn online forums related to boil water alerts, a question that continues to arise is whether or not tap water must be boiled if a water filter, including a refrigerator water filter, is in use.  The answer is a definitive yes.

First, the primary objective of a refrigerator water filter is to improve the taste of the water and ice dispensed by the fridge.  Our most popular refrigerator water filters, including Maytag’s UKF8001 and Whirlpool’s 4396710, are carbon-based filters and are simply not designed to remove bacteria or hard-core chemicals (such as the MCHM that is currently flowing through West Virginia water lines.)

Once the boil water alert ends, replacing all point-of-use filters – including refrigerator water filters – is just as critical as avoiding use of water during the alert.  This instruction comes directly from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) The reasoning behind this is that the filter media itself can become contaminated – and because the filter isn’t designed to trap certain chemicals or bacteria or reduce the likelihood that these nasties will end up in your drinking water – your filter can become a storing ground just waiting for you to pour your next glass.  This can result in accidental exposure or sickness after your drinking water supply has been deemed otherwise safe.

Whirlpool Refrigerator Water Filter 4396710If you live in an area where boil water alerts and water quality issues are common, we would recommend:

  1. Order From Us Online or Via Phone and Request Rush Shipping
    At, we have nearly every type of refrigerator water filter you could possibly need at prices to beat the big box stores, provided you can even find the filter you need at a big box store.  Our customer service team, available via phone at 800-683-8353, are also happy to offer rush shipping options that ensure you get your filter quickly – especially in situations like the chemical spill and corresponding water contamination incident in West Virgina.
  2. Order 2 – 3 Filters At A Time
    As you order more filters, not only will your price go down, but you will likely qualify for free shipping – as all our orders over $75 ship free.  Just as importantly, you’ll always have the replacement water filter on-hand that you need.

In addition to replacing your water filters, flushing your water lines and thoroughly cleaning your refrigerator icemaker are also critical steps to adhere to after any boil water alert.  For instructions on how to flush your lines, and details regarding what other appliances should be cleaned and flushed after a boil water alert ends, we would recommend the resources below.  With the chemical spill in West Virginia still fresh in everyone’s minds, each link below is current within a few days of this post’s publication:

If you have any additional questions regarding the chemical spill and drinking water contamination in West Virginia, we would encourage you to visit the West Virginia American Water website for real-time updates.  We will also continue to link to relevant updates from our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages.

If you have any additional questions regarding what to do during or after a boil water alert, we welcome you to call our customer service team at 800-683-8353.

Plastic Water Bottles: The Good, Bad & Ugly

Plastic Water Bottles - The GoodVery little in life is either all good or all bad.  Take plastic water bottles, for instance.  We hear the horror stories regarding BPA and see the images of over-stuffed landfills and could rightly assume that plastic water bottles are a scourge that need to be removed from our society.

But classifying plastic water bottles, or the bottled water industry, as just ‘good’ or ‘bad’ misses out on some of the subtleties behind this issue – and even some of the good that the growth in the bottled water industry represents.

Before you make your next bottled water purchase, or next time you find yourself taking sides in a plastic water bottle debate, ensure that you are armed with the good, bad and the ugly facts below:

The Good of Plastic Water Bottles:
Recent data indicates that the bottled water industry brings in nearly 12 billion dollars each year.  Before we dig into whether or not this represents a good trend, let’s first acknowledge that if nothing else this indicates that Americans are on a water drinking kick.  And considering some reports indicate up to 75% of Americans suffer from dehydration, and that our own First Lady had to schoolmarm up the airwaves to plead with us to drink more water, this can’t be a bad thing, right?

Plastic Water Bottles - Seabed PollutionThe Bad of Plastic Water Bottles:
In the Pacific Ocean is a trash vortex as big as the size of Texas.  Much of this trash vortex is made up of plastics used in the manufacture of products like plastic water bottles.  Some studies indicate that 10% of all plastic used will someday make it into our oceans.  On top of this, 80% of plastic water bottles will end up in landfills where they will slowly degrade, releasing toxic chemicals along the way.  This is about as far from good as you can possibly be.

The Ugly of Plastic Water Bottles:
As of 2009, one person at the FDA was in charge of bottled water oversight, per data cited by the bottled water documentary Tapped.  That’s one person overseeing the safety of a multi-billion dollar industry.  Tapped, and several other sources rightly report that most water used in plastic water bottles differs very little from the water pouring from your municipal source.  The key difference, of course, is that bottling water exposes it to BPA, an industrial chemical used in plastics that may seep into food or beverages.

Dark Side of Plastic Water BottlesFor those that are comfortable with the small risk posed by BPA or with the fact that the bottled water industry has a relative lack of oversight, there is one more ugly fact that is sure to trouble anyone:  bottled water, by the gallon, is twice the cost of gasoline.  Here’s the math:

20 oz bottle of water = $1.50.
One gallon = 128 ounces.
128 ounces = 6.4 bottles of water.
6.4 x $1.50 = $9.60.

If you are drinking one bottle of water from time to time, and you are responsible with your trash, you will likely experience only the good of bottled water.  But if you are buying it consistently by the case, you could wind up spending thousands of dollars lifetime on a product no different, no safer – and potentially more harmful to your health and to our planet’s health when taken in large doses – than what you could get by turning on your tap.

If you are trying to break a bottled water habit, or at the very least trying to significantly cut back, here are some products that we would recommend.  Note that making the switch to any of the products below will give you the great taste you are looking for from bottled water, provide you with a beverage with significantly fewer contaminants – and, of course – save you money in the long run:Brita Faucet Filters

1. Faucet Water Filtration Systems – manufactured by brands ranging from Culligan to Brita, a faucet filter will easily connect to most sinks and reduce up to 99% of contaminants that can cause water flavor issues.  Simply turning on your faucet will give you the great tasting water that bottled water can only hope to achieve.

2. Water Filter Pitchers – While Brita may be the most popular, brands ranging from PUR to 3M offer water filter pitchers that give you the same great tasting water, virtually contaminant free, that is easy to chill to fridge temp.

Klean Kanteen Green Stainless Steel Water Bottle3. Water Filter Bottles – most that buy bottled water will do so on the go, rather than at home.  Water filter bottles from companies ranging from Brita to Klean Kanteen start at around $23 and will filter up to 99% of contaminants from 20 or more gallons of water.  These things pay for themselves after just a few uses – and like their in-home counterparts, will give you great tasting, virtually contaminant free drinking water that bottled water manufacturers only wish they could promise.

The growth of the bottled water market means we are drinking more water as a culture.  If we can just scale back our dependence on bottled water, and focus instead on just drinking water, we can take the good without the bad that comes along with it.

If you need help finding or placing an order for a water filter or water filter bottle, please call our customer service department at 1-800-683-8353.

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Are you a veteran, currently serving in the Armed Forces, or are you buying a gift for a veteran or soldier?  Use the discount code ‘SOLDIER’ at checkout to take 10% off your entire order!