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Jan 16, 2010 04:13 PM

Filtered tap water in San Diego

My wife and I are both don't like the taste/quality (e.g. strongly chlorinated etc.) of the tap water in SD. On the other side we also really don't like the environmental impact of buying gallons of water from a store. We are looking into buying some kind of filter system but obviously there are many different variations on the market. I was wondering if any CH has experiences with filter system at homes here in SD and recommend any. (We are living in a rented appartment so that more elaborated systems for a house are not possible). (Note to moderator: Please don't move this thread to another board because I would like to get feedback on experiences with tap water in San Diego which can be quite different to other cities and therefore might require different filter systems)

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  1. I have a Waters undersink mount RO system that works great and produces good tasting water, picked it up at Costco. Not a real invasive install as long as you have an available sink opening for the tap.

    1 Reply
    1. re: stevuchan

      We've got a reverse osmosis system at work for drinking water and it does make a significant improvement in the taste of SD tap water. I second this recommendation.

      We've been using a Brita water pitcher at home for the last year. It helps but only up to a point.

    2. We have exactly this problem. It's definitely not your imagination because while not horrible it's better in LA and much better in Northcal. Won't hurt you but it tastes bad and ruins cooking.

      I've tried both Brita and PUR faucet adapters, and while I recommend PUR I think you'll be impressed with either one. The water coming out of them is perfect and it makes a black and white difference. PUR I'd recommend because they use metal screws not plastic, and they come with an option to add a mineral flavor unit (since the filter removes everything first). This system should fit on almost any faucet and is pretty cost effective and convenient. If you use a decent water filtration system, it'll work whether you're in San Diego or a place with even stronger tasting water.

      The exact PUR system I use is called "PUR FM-9100 3 Stage Horizontal Faucet Mount with Filter, Brushed Stainless Steel", $48. Brita's version is cheaper, and there is also a cheaper PUR version too. Just keep the faucet cap so when you move out, you screw it back on. They cost less than a dollar of you lose them.

      I used to use a Brita water pitcher which is real cheap, but this system is much much faster (about 3-4 times). The cheapest faucet version is about $25 at CVS if cost is an issue. I replace the filters every 6 months, they have a light that indicates when they need replacement.

      14 Replies
      1. re: royaljester

        Oh, I STRONGLY disagree that the water in NorCal is much worse than SD. I lived in Marin county for 10 years and the water there was leagues better than what I grew up with here in SD. I also lived in the greater Los Angeles area for 15 years and the water there was better than here. For better or worse, San Diego has some of the worst water in the entire U.S.

        I've also used the PUR filter and it did okay. But a word of caution, metal or plastic screws make no difference. The water here is so hard we had to get a new faucet for the kitchen sink because we couldn't get the PUR filter off the existing faucet. The minerals in the water had kind of welded the unit on there. Expensive lesson.

        1. re: DiningDiva

          Yeah if you read my post again you'll see that I ranked Northcal as the best water by far. The water has no taste of chlorine and tastes great. We seem to have the same ranking, so there must be something to it. =)

          Metal screws aren't for the quality of water, they're for the quality of seal on the faucet so leaks don't occur. Brita has a problem where eventually after 6-12 months the water will leak from the side and not pressurize through the filter, defeating the purpose of the filter as raw water drips into your container. If you look on Amazon, there's a consensus on this and I can attest first hand. =) To avoid problems of welding, use plumbing tape if available. I don't think either Brita or PUR ships with it, but they should!

          1. re: royaljester

            Most municipal water systems are chlorinated, even when ozone is used for disinfection, chlorine is added prior to the water entering the distribution lines. It sounds counter-intuitive, but the excessive Cl- smell and taste actually are more detectable and occur when the concentration drops below the optimum level. Try filling a pitcher or plastic jug with water and let it sit overnight on the counter or in the fridge, being a gas the Cl- will dissipate.

          2. re: DiningDiva

            "For better or worse, San Diego has some of the worst water in the entire U.S. "

            I saw recently on some report that San Diego had the 8th worst water in the country.

            Not sure exactly what metrics they were using.

            1. re: stevewag23

              I wonder where the 7 cities with worse water are. I want to be sure not to go there ;-)

            2. re: DiningDiva

              Yes, I see I was dyslexic when I read your post. Sorry about that.

              But I still stand by my comments about the PUR. The screws have nothing to do with the quality of the water, but they do have everything with how the unit attaches to the faucet. There was no way that plastic assembly was coming off the faucet. And we needed to get it off because we had leakage. It worked great for a while but once that corrosion sets in, all bets are off.

              1. re: DiningDiva

                Have you considered buying from The Water Lady? She has a filtration system and the water is a reasonable cost. If you don't mind going to her shop to get the water, I highly recommend it.

                1. re: binkychow

                  Does she have a web page? Where is she located?

                  1. re: DiningDiva


                    She is two doors away from Paw Pleasers on University, about a block south of Texas.

                    1. re: binkychow

                      Thank you for the link. She's not that close to where I live but she looks like a good resource for those in that area.

                    1. re: stevewag23

                      Not that I know. You could ask her, Sonja. She rocks.

                  2. re: DiningDiva

                    The plumbing tape I'm talking about is what you want to solve the corrosion issue. It acts as a barrier between the screw and the faucet, both to make a tight seal but more importantly to allow you to unscrew it. You wrap it around the screw head, so that metal never touches metal. At any hardware store, ask for "Teflon" plumbing tape - super cheap.

              2. I recommend the filters by New Wave Enviro. Water tastes great for drinking and cooking from the 10-step filtration process, which filters out more than Brita or PUR. And you don't have to change the cartridge until 4000 gallons, which is cheaper on the cost per gallon basis. I think you can also get different seals depending on the size of your faucet.

                1. Thanks everybody for some good starting points.

                  1. We buy our water from the PB Water Store, don't know if it's convenient to your location or not, but it is a great "mom and pop" store owned by locals. They charge a little more than the water "stations" you see outside grocery stores, but after seeing some of the folks that use the outdoor one's in PB, I am more than happy to support the smaller operation and really appreciate the personalized service.
                    Another point - in terms of environmental impact, I believe that buying RO water from a local store is much more environmentally friendly when you re-use the 5-gallon containers. Don't forget that all that plastic for each filter you replace is going right into the landfill, whereas the large plastic jugs are both reusable and recyclable.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: CampySD

                      RO water is the opposite of environmentally friendly though, it wastes 3 parts water for every one part of purified water. If you have a yard you can re-use some of that waste water, but most people don't.