It’s hard to go into a somebody’s fridge today and not find a Brita. In this day and age, we are all obsessed with the quality of our water. And why shouldn’t we be? The Flint water crisis is no laughing matter.

So naturally, we turn to water filters to counter any possible bacteria or toxins our tap water might contain. When a friend owns a water filter, they won’t even let you fill up a glass with their “impure” tap water from the kitchen sink. Just the thought of it could make them cringe.

If they only knew that their pricey filter may not be serving up the justice they once thought. It turns out that the greater majority of the country is fortunate enough to have clean, drinkable tap water. This, of course, is all thanks to the tight regulations put out by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Brita filter

Photo by Caroline Liu

Sure, some tap water can smell weird or taste just slightly off but that’s because the EPA is focused on eliminating all harmful substances from our drinking water rather than making it appealing to our senses. If you still feel a need to filter your water yourself for precaution, there are some things you should be aware of.

Water filter pitchers, compared to tap water, are hardly regulated at all. The NSF, an independent public health and safety organization, certifies water filters with incredibly broad regulations. Whether the filter restricts 3 contaminants or 40, they all still gets the same certification with no specifications.

Additionally, household pitchers don’t filter out impurities such as lead, chlorine, or zinc. If someone is ever in a situation with incredible toxins in their water, going out and buying a Brita is not the quick fix. 

Maybe the most common mistake Brita owners make is failing to change their water filter frequently enough. Their website indicates replacing the filter every 40 gallons of water. Think about how many gallons of water you use a week. Add in sharing with roommates or rehydrating after a night out…. yikes. My roommates and I are lucky if we change once a semester.

Brita filter

Photo by Lauren Lahr

All in all, it’s important to do a little research to understand exactly what your filter is capable of. Luckily, colleges and universities are filled with drinking fountains for those who are a little weary of their dorm room sink, so you can save your Brita for improving some crappy vodka.