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Your tea is only as good as your water

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You bought some great specialty tea, yet when you prepared it, you were left with that sideways look: Yuck! What could be wrong?

Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, your tea is only as good as the water you use. Unfortunately, most homes have hard water, which costs more in many ways, not the least of which is having to buy more soap and detergents. Hard water is brutal on your appliances, and you are having to replace them more often than if you had soft water. Your tea kettle probably has a white powder that is covering the insides of the pot, and which builds up quickly. You may even find specks of calcium and deposits as you pour the water into a teapot.

Hard water, notwithstanding its negative points, is perfectly fine for watering your garden and hosing down your driveway. But it is definitely not good for making that perfect cup of tea. So what is a tea drinker to do? The most commonly advised filtration system for drinking water is the reverse osmosis system.

Like many things we use today and do not know how they originated, the reverse osmosis system was developed by our military--the US Navy needed to create safe drinking water from seawater for the submarine crews. That technology has advanced many times, and today you can install a small system under your kitchen sink that produces great-tasting water and does not break your pocketbook.

You might be wondering whether you can just use distilled water. The short explanation is that distillers do not do a good job with removing volatile chemicals with a low boiling point. To quote from one source: Chloramines, for example, which many cities now use instead of chlorine as a disinfectant, aren't removed well by distillers. Reverse osmosis, with the carbon filters that accompany it, does a very good job with chloramines. Unless volatile chemicals like chlorine are removed by carbon filtration before they enter the distiller, they will…end up in the distilled water.

Obviously, there are some costs associated with maintaining a reverse osmosis system. You will have to replace filters on an annual basis, and the quality of the water and amount used will be the key factor there. The main membrane in the equipment itself will normally last between two and five years. The average operating cost is less than $0.30/day. The unit itself will last forever with regular maintenance.

The bottom line is: If your tap water is heavily laden with minerals and chemicals, or you do not care for its taste even when drinking it alone, you may want to consider installing a reverse osmosis system so that the money you are spending on luxury tea is not wasted in poor (albeit, potable) quality water. A side benefit—your system will cost less than what you will spend on buying bottled water!

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Click here. Check your local yellow pages or Angie's List for a company that is local and who can not only install a system for you, but maintain it as well. Albuquerque has several highly rated companies.

TO READERS: I have no idea where or what the thumbnail photo is that accompanies this article in 'shares.' I did not put it there--Examiner did, and I cannot get it deleted. Sorry for that.

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